Some random images of staying active - march 30.4

Walking to Upperthong

Friday zoom Pete Manning coffee in the Royal Oak garden, Upperthong.

Family matters

My crazy daughter is 41. Unbelievable.
Nice chocolate brownie tower.

Garden glimpse

Mindful out again. Now we have two frogs so we need another name.
I suggested Zen, but the birthday girl wanted something more zippy like Bill and Ben.
But not Bill and Ben, something like. GOK.

Wiki tells me this is an iridescent cloud.

Stay active - try walling

Work in progress, Upperthong.
Anyone else feel like this?
It has promise - layers and dressed stone, a frame. Yet?
Bit to go.
Anyone else stuck in the middle of a project - this may be near the beginning?


Twelve months since Doris locked us all up - march 24.3

Awayday - pandemarsden

Marsden was busy, just a few coffee lovers at Tunnel end.

Garden Glimpse - spring not quite

Dave's notebook

Lots of media coverage on a year since lockdown - mostly trying to embarrass ministers.

I've counted 53 weeks doing the blog. What does that say? One too many again of course.

Loads of time and no plan. Googling crossword puzzle answers and sitting with Mindful.

He's got a bit timid and pond-dives at the slightest provocation - deep Mindful.  

Not waking up with the joys. No progress on garden and writing projects.

Megan's gone quiet - hope it stays that way.

The radio4 coverage is so serious, TV mostly celebrity reality quizzes and cooking and gardening and repairing and makeovers in general.

But Corin's semi was an exception. Hard or what? Missing vowels - Shakespeare a la Yoda (Winter of our discontent it is).

Thank whoever for Bill Bailey and Limboland. Not bad, all things considering.

If memory serves me, Cassie was in an RTA? Anyone expecting that? 

I think I heard the new Line of Duty star in Brave. Don't know her name and Brave is a children's animation film with Billy Connolly as an oversized cartoon Scots clan chief. He's the voice obviously.

Silly. I try to solve too many crosswords. You also have to watch. Stay with two or three or you will get lost.


So what has happened to the rugby and the cricket?
It feels like I look. Just a tad past it. Soon to be 74 - 9th April.

The antidote to everything - The Casuals immortalised in concrete.

Give us a ring if you don't understand any of the above. At least we can have a chat. I'll talk to anybody. Send me a card on my birthday. 

Mindful - our male frog and his mate - march 23.2

Garden Glimpse - frogs

Common frogs have smooth skin that varies in colour from grey, olive green and yellow to brown. They have irregular dark blotches, a dark stripe around their eyes and eardrum, and dark bars on their legs. They are able to lighten or darken their skin to match their surroundings.

This species is widespread in mainland Britain. Common frogs are most active at night, and hibernate during the winter in pond mud or under piles of rotting leaves, logs or stones. They can breathe through their skin as well as their lungs. They can emerge to forage during warm spells in the south west of the country.

In spring males croak to attract females. The male embraces a female and fertilises her eggs as she lays them in shallow, still water – frogspawn is a familiar sight. Tadpoles hatch, and over about 16 weeks gradually change into froglets: a process known as metamorphosis.
                                                                              from Giving Nature a Home

Male - eardrum smaller than eye

I think these guys sort of get it together, but it doesn't last.

Frogs I have heard of

Freddo - a Cadbury chocolate bar much loved by Dara in Mock the Week.
Kermit/Robin - Muppets and Sesame St. Kermit is in a relationship with a lady pig.
Mr Toad - strictly speaking he is a toad - Wind in the Willows.

Ramsden reservoir walk - march 20.1


Frogs, bumble bees, butterflies, mice, squirrels, sparrowhawk - it's getting wild.

Dave Haigh


Week53 - it's getting to lots of people including me

Family matters


Childbride's birthday flowers still alive

I came across the card on Amazon - quarantini drink advertised in the Times Magazine

Garden glimpses

Sparrowhawk unless anyone says it isn't

It's that time of year again. Birth rate going down in humans.


Week 52 - rugby memories


New College 1963-66
Dalton St Pauls/Deighton CYC RLFC's U17s

New college was founded in 1958 when the existing Huddersfield College (founded in 1839) was merged with Hillhouse Technical School to form a new boys' grammar school at a new campus at Salendine Nook with 950 boys.
Huddersfield College was a soccer school with connections to Huddersfield Amateurs, Elland. Hillhouse Tech was known as the Redcaps. My dad was a former pupil and I think they played rugby league.
New College had houses and the prefects wore gowns. A large proportion of the sixth forms went onto higher education. Soccer was played and rugby union was introduced - feels like it was the thing to do rather than play rugby league. Hawes is the master on the pics - Ron Capper, a winger with Huddersfield RUFC was the first coach of the XV. He taught geography. It became a sixth form college in 1973, so the team had a life maybe of 12-15 years.
We had some tussles with Barnsley GS and Normanton GS, Wakefield. Heath, Crossley & Porters, both Halifax. Silcoates, Wakefield. QEGS wouldn't play us.

We still meet every 2 years. Clic on link.

5 or so played rugby league on Saturday afternoons. Dalton St Pauls was a Methodist youth club run by Martin who was keen on league. The club folded and we moved across to Deighton. I didn't play every week because dad said not to. 

Huddersfield RUFC 1966-68

Short period with Huddersfield. I remember travelling to Birmingham and Sheffield at home. Halifax night game in the cup. I played for the first XV whilst in the sixth form and during holidays for the first year away at university. We had a decent team, county players. Three medical students - the other two from QEGS, Wakefield.
I also trained with the YMCA at Laund Hill, Salendine Nook but never played for them.
Huddersfield RUFC schools/colts 1965 approx
Holme Valley, New College, Greg's/All Saints, ?other

This colts team was a one-off, but it did get a life soon, the forerunner of a great junior section. 

Waterloo RUFC 1968-72

Between 1968/9 and 1972, various teams - started in colts. These pics represent a low point. We played Dublin Wanderers at Lansdowne Rd and St Mary's the following day. In between three of us were the guests of the Irish Government. Shown are the bridewell and the flag we tried to pinch on a large high street apartment store - Switzer's on Grafton St. Not sure whether it's still there.

Cannot avoid mentioning the medical school team in Liverpool - the reason we played for Waterloo rather than the university team. We played Wednesday afternoons against other med schools and local colleges. Had the almighty bar room brawl at Birmingham University when Andy Thompson chucked a full pint over his shoulder.

Llandaff 1972-78

A super second tier team, cup winners and league champions or runners-up in the Glamorgan section. The centenary fixture list includes a number of first tier teams. Pontypool front row etc. Match under lights 'down the Arms' - the pic shows me falling over. Nearly beat Ebbw Vale in the cup. There were no easy games. Travelling up the valleys was a prelude to a battle - Talywain the most bloodthirsty. Blaenavon a small ex-mining village with two teams. Meeting up with a few of the guys who took part in my survey of families with Huntington's Disease. Our closest rival, draw in the league and a loss in the championship final, Abercynon.

The top pic is 'down the Arms' before a cup final. We had a local gp who kicked them to death, whoever they were. Bottom pic outside the clubhouse before an evening match. Great location next to Llandaff cathedral. We were all Brains' dark men. Steward had to get bottles of the stuff in as well as his usual.

The Heath Hospital team, played in the Wednesday afternoon university league
before repairing to the med school bar

Saddleworth Rangers RLFC 1978-82

We pitched up to live in Delph. Shared a boundary with a policeman, Brian, who bred King Charles spaniels and raced greyhounds. He introduced me to Rangers who played in Uppermill. The coach was an ex-pro. His first question was "What do we do when someone stops breathing?" My reply "How often does that happen?"
The top pic is Leeds Road playing fields against my old club Deighton. Middle is somewhere on a ploughed meadow in Bradford. Then the second team at Leeds Rd - three pros included. Bottom - the reporter was on the Manchester Evening News and Brian caught his interest - my grandad being a pal of Douglas Clarke. We went over to this bloke's local. Closing time and he ordered four pints. "Oh thanks" I said. They were all for him. Met him again at The Farrers Arms in Uppermill. His wife sat in the car the whole interview.

Northallerton (Fettlers) 1982-85

The bottom team - a refuge for old slow cowards and blind youth. Often short; travelled to The Stray at Harrogate once. We borrowed a spectator who was a soldier visiting his girlfriend - someone must have had a bottomless kitbag. 13 a side and we won. They were miffed, our soldier scored the winning try.

Old Brodleians (Vets) 1986-1991

I'm not sure I played the whole five years - it's just I've always said I retired aged 44. Highlight was a Benelux tour. I'm still looking for the pics.

Week51 - sporting memories (2)

Sheila's birthday. The furry foreground things make more comfortable private sitting arrangements.

Now for the second instalment of my sporting moments.

Botham's Ashes: England vs Australia (1981)

No need to spend time on the cricket - legendary doesn't cut it. Stratospheric possibly.

But I hardly saw any of it. I was working at Manchester RI, researching down in South Manchester at the David Lewis epilepsy unit. Did anti-convulsant therapy really produce bone problems or was it all due to the residents staying indoors? So we'd to go every day to supervise the wearing of sun badges that measured how much time a resident spent out of doors. And blood letting. Two of us - Peter Carr as well. The unit had an old imposing headquarters building complete with approach via a cricket pitch. Out-of-use staff facility. Another era.

This is the MRI medical unit team. We played in the university evening league. Here we are in a Sunday afternoon challenge match against a Delph and Dobcross select. A beautiful ground up in the hills. We won with the help of two local ringers and their best bat out to an early caught behind.
Thorp Perrow CC (1978-85)

53 against S. Northumberland (1984).

I was working in Northallerton. We lived near Bedale, virtually on Sir John Ropner's estate. This was country house cricket. Long fixture list, playing both Saturday and Sunday. North East and Yorkshire. mostly. Everyone wanted to play here, BBQ and have a few beers on the boundary. The tea ladies were splendid, including Louise and Andrew. I never saw much of Sir John. Most of our team were local, with some input from Catterick Garrison and guys that our skipper knew - included a Theakston or two. I guess the standard was a reasonable league second team.

The Northallerton evening league included the rugby club. Fixture list made up of teams dotted along the A19. At the level of shooing sheep off the pitch to get started. The NEEB strip was on a plateau above the level of the outfield. We had to shout and guide fielders to the ball. Rugby club square between first and second XV pitches - sporting to say the least. Dave Hale got one delivery which bounced in the bowler's half first, rolled a bit and then reared up off a length to hit Dave dead centre in his specs and broke his nose. The rest of us fell about. 
  I used to wave from square leg to the Middlesborough express as it trundled out of Northallerton station just beyond the boundary.

5-Mile handicap: Holmfirth Harriers (1988 approx)
I ran with the harriers for 4-5 years. Introduced by a guy I'd been out to a random dinner with - roughly the same standard. The elite 6 minute and below milers didn't mix with us slow oldies and youths. Got their comeuppance in the 5 mile handicap. We all set off at the same time - none of this going first and being run down. I was given 20 minutes and won by 2 seconds. Was first past the post pissed? You bet. No handicap for me after that. I'd run out of my skin - the only time I ever got under 7 minute miles. I saw the red mist just the once, at the end of relay fell race. I'd been selected because there was no one else. Bit like Casper in A Kestrel for a Knave. Finishing straight and a woman was overtaking me. That just wasn't going to happen. Catch for Almondbury Casuals against Jacob's Well (2005)

‘Fielding at long off and long on can be a lonely business. Most of the time, nothing much happens and then suddenly something serious comes along. Jacob’s Well had kept a big hitter in reserve, down the order. He proceeded to clout The Casuals’ bowling and looked like he would win the game for them. Then he hugely skied one toward long off where Dave Walker was fielding and the action seemed to slow down. Up and up it went and everyone, including Dave, began to realise it wasn’t going to clear the boundary. Will Ward recalled thinking “He’ll never take that, not after The Jesters”. Silent and open-mouthed, aware of Dave’s frailties, others waited for the scorer to record a four. Mercifully the ball had gone too high for the infamous Thongsbridge industrial backdrop to be in play. It was a black orb against a clear sky. Dave walked in, too far, stepped back, too far. “Is he doing a bloody waltz?” Bill Crossland remembered asking himself. Dave said later he was simply getting a sight on it. But the ball was still in the air and dropping steeply. Dave then raised his right arm, pointed at it, straightened his neck and closed his left eye. On a moorland estate he would have been drawing a bead on a grouse. The action returned to normal speed as the ball plummeted and stuck in Dave’s right palm. He fell over. A short stunned totally silent second, and the Casuals ran as a man to long off. “Never in doubt,” said Greg. Handshakes, back slaps, smiles, jokes as the astonished batter walked back to the pavilion. The catch was a game breaker and Jacob’s Well never recovered.’ (here is pic of me and the fielding prize)

I note from the score they were only one short, so not quite a game breaker. Funny, no one ever remembers who the bowler was. The Jacob’s Well is a public house along the Woodhead Road in Honley, the village next to Thongsbridge. Their cricket team is made up of local drinkers and plays in the evening leagues. I knew a few from my time with Honley Juniors soccer and I was quietly pleased with the result.

Interestingly the Casuals played at the 'Retreat', a big mental hospital in York. Like David Lewis in Manchester and Storthes Hall, Kirkburton. Great staff facilities in lovely settings. Another era. 

Bowls/Boules double champion (2020) Friday boules with David and Ann Talboys

We are privileged to be made welcome every Friday to the Moorbottom boulodrome. David and Ann have lived here for nearly 30 years. Francophiles, they espouse all things French, including p├ętanque. A large garden and gravel alley roughly the size of a cricket strip. Additional random inch to two inch stones provide a sporting challenge. There is a routine: David keeps the records; Ann makes coffee and tea; boulists bring cake. 
   David is a U3a boules tutor and Moorbottom is home to annual competitions - Honley Ladies Choir and Holme Valley Fitness. Annual Christmas concert - Alan Brierley, musical director, is a boulist.

If you can bear another, then sporting memories (3) next week - rugby.


Week 50 - away day and sporting memories (1)



Baldy rosy cheeks still has a role in teaching the important life skill - eating an ice cream cornet
This is our child-care bubble

Dave's Sports Review

Where were you when these sporting moment happened? The idea is borrowed from Simon Barnes in his book on sport. My list is biased to me - great to relive some moments and what was happening at the time.
What started as a objective list has turned into an indulgent trip through a bit of my sporting past. I've split the events into two.

Chataway vs Kuts (1954)

Chris Chataway was one of Britain's finest middle-distance runners in the 1950s. A member of the Olympic team in 1952 and 1956. In May 1954, he helped Roger Bannister break the four-minute mile before achieving his own world record in the 5,000 metres four months later. By the end of the year he had become the first person to be awarded the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year.

He beat European champion Vladimir Kuts in a nail-biting finish in the London v Moscow match at White City athletics stadium in West London. 

We had a black-and-white TV the size of a matchbox. The plug fizzed and smoked and the TV needed a clout to get going. We were living in Hillhouse when we bought it for the 1953 coronation - the only one in the street. Busy day street party in our small kitchen. So we took it to Waterloo, Huddersfield, when dad got a mortgage. Watched most things in a limited schedule including athletics which we weren't into. I remember the race as special - because of the finish and because it was on TV.

I was playing soccer at right back, or soon would be, for Dalton Primary in the Red Triangle League.

A motley crew, though well scrubbed up for the cup pic. Alec Eales is the giant on the back row. He came from a family of giants - butchers I think. The team in assorted shirts is at Paddock. Mine is cousin Gordon's lace up 'Town'. 

Town vs Wolves (1960-61)

Town finished 20th with just 35 points, the 'closest shave with relegation in their history'.

The season is best remembered for our exploits in the FA Cup. The 3rd round match against the holders and Division One leaders, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Town travelled to Molineux Stadium with virtually no chance of victory. Managed a 1–1 draw thanks to a goal by Stokes. The replay at Leeds Road was the first match under the Denis Law Lights - transferred to Man City. Town won 2–1 (Stokes and Michael O'Grady). We lost to Barnsley in the next round.

I used to stand at the Kilner Bank end, hoping to be with Sheila Sykes who use to go with her dad. Stokes' goal was a glancing header from a short O'Grady cross right in front of us. We sort of embraced, embarrassed. What a night.

Fartown vs Wakefield Trinity (1961-62)

We lost at Wembley in the cup final. For years BBC sports programmes showed Spanky Dyson missing a tackle or not stifling a pass from Briggs, I think, to the winger. We beat them in the championship at Odsal Top. We hired a bus to travel to London from Dalton St Pauls. Went for the afternoon to Bradford - had an inflatable Yogi Bear dressed up in a Fartown shirt which we paraded on the pitch at the end of the game. Huddersfield New College boys. Working towards 'O' levels. At 14 years old, rugby and girls were more important.

1966 World Cup champions

England beat Germany at Association Football. I watched it on TV home alone. Great game with Geoff Hurst hat trick. I then had to post my 'A' level results to Liverpool to secure place in the clearing house - success. I was a bit worried about creasing the certificate. A* A* with a B from the previous year. We did three years in the sixth form. Something to do with Oxbridge.

Tug-of-War champions: Winwick Hospital (1970)

I don't remember how we got into this. We lived in a Toxteth flat and fancied a day out I guess. Must have been representing one of the Liverpool hospitals. The tournament was held at a large asylum near Warrington. I seem to think there was athletics as well. Recruited some other rugby boys. We got to the final which had been won forever by a particular team. We are wearing football boots. Them all pukka in hobnails. Our coach simply told us to pull when they were up in the air. Beat them in two rounds straight. Miffed or what? Big smiles on the spectators.

Waterloo (Southport) vs Orrell (1971-72)

Over 20 years before professionalism. Waterloo was a posh rugby union club near Southport - Blundellsands to be precise. We played there because one of us, Chris, went to the same school (Rydal, N Wales) as an England International, Chris Jennins. We didn't play for the college/university as we had other commitments on Wednesdays. 
  From a 1971 memoire - 'The fixtures included Headingley and Gosforth away, and a long home run, Harlequins, Northampton, Moseley, Rugby, Birkenhead Park for example, who were all 'first class' sides then. We lost more than we won. We had some names. Greenwood played for England, and there were county players like Hanley, Lyon and Smaje. But they weren’t regularly with us, we’d no coaching and morale was low.' Since the leagues came in, these prestigious fixtures have gone. 

Orrell was a second tier club, socially, from Wigan, but on the up. Some well known players - Carleton, Brian Ashton, Dewi Morris and more. They won many Lancashire Cups and other competitions. But, Waterloo wouldn't play them. Until this night match which we won. They had won the cup the previous weekend and were still celebrating. I scored in the corner next to the railway line.

We moved to Cardiff pretty soon after. Junior doctor, taking exams and researching.

Sporting moments (2) later this week.