Some recent health and welfare curation for older people

Why stretching is so vital for your health - Caroline Williams, Times May 28th 
Age-proof your face, body and brain (it's never too late) - Peta Bee, Times November 5th
8 easy ways to be happier, Meik Wiking, Times October 8th

Loads of stuff happening which we can do nothing about. Switch off the news maybe. Keep going with our relationships and daily routines. Otherwise be aware of our feelings and reactions to events. They are under our control.

Maintain social fabric through shared activities (games, coffee, singing). More meaningful conversations and less small talk.

Get outside. Enjoy the light. Stay calm. Go for a brisk walk. Keep moving, it's free.

Eat well. Oranges for eyesight. Almonds and wholegrain for the gut. Fruit and veg for everything.

Why chase the money? Evidence suggests that wealth may simply lead to search for more wealth. We can only live in one room at time. Find comfort in small pleasures - love, belonging, laughter.

We cannot be happy all the time. There are challenges. Anger and anxiety - nobody else owns these emotions, just us.

No time for sitting around. The gristle (fascia) that keeps us connected needs care as well. Sit less and stretch more (yoga, pilates).

These are messages that we have heard before. No harm in repetition. I do worry about people who don't have a lot of money - they can be unhappy? 

Can Lockwood compare with Old Trafford?

Back to the mundane after the World Cup excitement. Lockwood Park - certainly not a smouldering volcano. Huge slices of pork at the lunch and a few pints of blonde. Danny Brough was a fellow guest - still doesn't remember me. Top v. bottom clash where the outcome was by how many would Huddersfield lose. 

Back to the squash club for England v S. Africa. Fell asleep. Something to do with white wine?

Jenson was born the same year I started the blog - 2013. He's a dab hand at track design. Em is not allowed to get in the way.

News of old rugby friends - John Greenwood has died, as has Dick Aukland's wife.


RL World Cup Final - we knew how it would end, but what a journey

Oh No: not again

A repeat of 2013 (link), started by getting stuck again on Stalybridge railway station. 

    11.30am: we, me and my son Chris, decided on the train from Greenfield. We’d to drop off a child and I needed the loo, so we changed to Slaithwaite. He’s mobile-timing everything and we’d missed that one. Right, back to plan A. Traffic not helpful, so Stalybridge said the mobile. Greenfield was one train an hour. Stalybridge four (includes the shuttle to Manchester Victoria, but Chris had planned to Picadilly). Time for a quick beer in the buffet real ale bar. Full of men, presumably ‘ale-trailers’. Out for the Picadilly arrival. Packed and couldn’t get on. I suggested we could have gone to Slaithwaite and caught a return to Greenfield. Chris points out we wouldn’t have a car. Ah, what was I thinking? Now on plan D. Chris-mobile decided taxi, not the shuttle. It worked. Going up to 1.00pm as we got out at Picadilly - he pays £20.

    Tried a couple of taverns - ten deep at the bar just like the train. Walking toward Picadilly Gardens and what is on our right and emptyish? ASK the Italian. More than good enough. Peroni, Expresso-Martini (what? son of mine?), bread and balsamic/olive oil, calzone and bruschetta. I got legged up with the vinaigrette, but the waitress helped out. I pay over £40.

    Into the Christmas market. People everywhere. Manchester on a Saturday before Christmas and a World Cup final. Official looking guide at the tram station directed us to the Altrincham tram. Platform card reader. You must repeat when you get off. Comfortable ride. Lady next to me wanted to know what all the fuss was about. She’d gone to town to have her hair done, expecting a quiet time. Explaining how the Samoans all play in Australia and who all the crowd was - they couldn’t all be from down there - was a stretch, but I managed and she smiled and listened attentively - still got it.

  Walk past the cricket arena. Ryan Hall on the other side of the road. A group of very big people dressed in blue enjoyed my ‘Go Samoa’ chant. Tickets on the mobile, through the turnstile, a climb resembling Scafell and we arrived at the wrong place. A little man said we were part of a long line of displaced persons and “follow me”. Still the Ferguson stand, but down on solid ground and a distance from where we started. 3.45pm. Kick Off 4.00pm.


64000 and not far off full. Massive space. A cliche would be to describe it as a cathedral of soccer. Too noisy. Something more climatic, like a smouldering volcano. Messaged James (my 2013 partner) to let him know where we were. His strange reply was something about beer?

What on earth? Any better than plastic Carling? James thinks not - Whiches wee, wot?

My seat was okay as long as I kept my knees in the aisle. Some slight bruising and didn’t see a lot. Especially when people keep standing up - a hazard at all rugby games. Highlights included the Samoan war dance, a couple of set plays from the Australians and Kevin Sinfield finishing his ultra-marathons. Australia were never in trouble - they would have vapourised us. You have to have a beer. Carling in 330 plastic bottles at £5 each. Nasty.

 Full time and Chris arranged to meet up with a university pal. No rest, keep moving. Manchester United social club with wall-to-wall TVs screening the second half All Blacks v. England at Twickenham. Wish we’d play like that every week. The alumni got on well, recalling old events and swapping World Cup football cards. John Wilkin in the club and mobbed. An articulate pundit. And we were off again, retracing our steps to the tram. Danny Brough and Luke Robinson in the queue. It’s all a bit tight, people everywhere, but merciful short distances back to town and Stalybridge. Nobody said a wrong word. Home over Greenfield. 9.00pm.

We had a great day. Chris kept hold of me. His changing plans kept working and we got everywhere we needed to be.

Looking back to 2013, I realise that is when I began the blog. 9 years. 135395 page views (how many were mine?). Quite a few comments and a lot of adverts. Linked through facebook for distribution. Tried to understand SEO and failed. You could spend your life on it. It's never got beyond a personal record, a diary.


Bowling in Scarborough; soccer in Honley

Granddad is not the bowler he once was

Other views of Scarborough

Honley play on the cricket outfield. They are well catered for.
Jenson has a roving midfield role, I think

Galway September 2022

This must have been our fourth or fifth visit since 2005 when we did our round-Ireland cruise. 

The Irish people are amazingly friendly. You go in a pub and there will be a bloke sat there. "How are you?" "Where you from?" They've all worked in Halifax or Sheffield or somesuch. Either that or they have family in England somewhere.
They don't do bus queues. They stand around until it arrives and converge simultaneously at the driver. You can choose to be annoyed, or just suck it up. An Irish guy described it as the scattered queue.

Like the rest of Ireland, loads of history. Medieval especially, detailed in the museum. Otherwise a succession of invasions - Vikings, Normans, Cromwell - topped off by the famine. There were several wealthy merchant families in the 15th-17th centuries. Anglo-Normans in the main. Taken over during the Cromwell era and restored by Charles.

Galway City

The Long Walk and Quay St

Eyre Square



The barman took us on a tour of the back of the pub. I guess he was simply proud to work there. He was visiting Liverpool soon and he said for us to go buy sandwiches and bring them back to the bar.


Lough Corrib

The Burren; Cliffs of Moher


Lots of open water swimmers. 
Lots of traffic.
'Chippy' which did a fair attempt at one of our traditional dishes.
The view from the prom beyond the GAA is of Claddagh, a 5th century fishing village. Translates as 'the shore' and famous for the Claddagh ring, for loyalty (crown), love (heart) and friendship (clasped hands).


I don't need to say we had a great time.


Another trip to Zapato's brewery- doesn't disappoint

 zapato brewery     one of three along the canal from Slaithwaite.

So, despite protests from Andrew, we walked from Marsden - 25 minutes. Muddy puddles on the towpath, so more moaning. He soon calmed down with three pints. Fiona drinks coke or tea. Doris, her mother, lives in Jamaica. Fiona was born here, but spent most of her childhood and teenage years over there. Two brothers over here.

What is going on?

Nothing we can do, but what shambles it all seems and probably going to get worse. It started for me with brain fog in lockdown, then covid followed by hernia surgery with complications. And my 75th birthday. Finally a geriatric. Though The Times this weekend prefers older person (Carol Midgley Notebook - Oct 15th). I suppose if someone gets cancelled for using geriatric, I won't complain. A couple of definitions I like. "Getting any" refers to sleep; "you can live without sex, but definitely not your glasses".

So how to stay sane? Particularly we older people. Maybe happy even? Toby Keith has some suggestions. The song features in The Mule, starring Clint Eastwood, also directing, who is in his eighties. He is a 'prizewinning' horticulturalist who neglects his family. When internet competition undermines the flower trade, his need of cash accidentally connects him to the lucrative Mexican cocaine-running business. He finishes in prison but at least the family knows where he is. I've modified it a bit.

Don't let the old man in
I've got some living to do
New things to enjoy
He's knocking on my door

Many moons I have lived
My body's weathered and worn
Ask yourself how old would you be
If you didn't know the day you were born

Lots of things we have done 
Some good and some bad 
Leave your sorrows behind 
Enjoy the love that you have

Keep close with your kin
Talk often with friends
Toast each sundown with wine
Don't let the old man in

Stay true to yourself 
Sing and dance all the week
It don't cost a lot
Keep as trim as you can

I've known all of my life
That someday it would end
leave it out on the pitch
Don't let the old man in

When he rides up on his horse
And you feel that cold bitter wind
Look out your window and smile
Don't let the old man in

Look out your window and smile
Don't let the old man in

It's a metaphor

It could be a many-legged something. Able to walk. No head, no direction.

Actually the other half a brush head.
Autumn leaf forces at work, structural weakness undetected.
No one on the handle.

Water chute belonging Kinderland. Now part of the lake attractions next to the Open Air Theatre.
90 years old and only two ropes.

Autumn in Scarborough (2)


We have gone to Scarborough or Filey every year since we were first aware of going on holiday. The childbride's family and friends had a cottage and we went to holiday camps. Now the childbride's parental flat.
  Two trips this autumn. September, we went on our own to start with - make sure everything was shipshape. Then Judith, an old friend, and family, daughter Liz and granddaughter Jaz. October was Andrew and girlfriend.
 Craig, the piano-playing window cleaner came. Said it was 5 years since he last did the windows. Wanted his video deleting from Utube but the choir loves it too much.

Went to a Motown night at the spa.

3 girls, 4 men. Glitter.
Music a bit edgy. Some of the pieces sounded the same.
Pick - 'Heard it on the Grapevine', 'Endless Love'.

There was a 'seafest' down on the harbour (eating, drinking and shanties). It rained us off. Several festivals during the season. The beer's good.

The Altrincham team's first visit Scarborough. Apart from Judith who is a veteran. The others had not been. Stroll to the beach via The Grand, a short taste of waves and weather at high tide.
The wheel has now gone for the winter.
We cannot miss out a trip to The Clock cafe. Coffee certainly. Judith is pointing to the harbourish.

The distillery cafe does great breakfasts. There are tours, but we've not done one yet. It is located in Hunmanby village where the childbride's parents lived before Scarborough. The equipment is just visible through the window.
The flat is on the first floor and overlooks Albion Square which is a car park. Otherwise street parking which most people are good at.
Good day at the cricket with a drop in to the North Riding for pints of Citra. Having established my accent, a bloke asked me who I supported. Not impressed with Thongsbridge. He was Scholes, Holmfirth. Met him on Albion Rd the following morning.
Yorkshire have been relegated - management, culture, staff in meltdown - goodness knows the outcome.
The Spa orchestra thrives. Eight concerts per week including a Sunday family show - Teddy Bear's Picnic.

October - Flamingoland

Introducing Fiona whose mother lives in Jamaica.  The zoo is massive. Though tickets are pricey, the zoo is nearly worth the fee on its own. The rides are not for us. So we did 'carers' tickets. Special 'q'. Andrew and Fiona had to sit at the back. Not for long - Andrew didn't want to seem special or have a safe seat. Negotiated back to regular.


Fiona seems pleased with Sik.

Back to Scarborough

So we survived. The weather throughout was great.
The typing on the pictures can be variable. Scarborough is a favourite. Fiona wants to go again.


A week in Centre Parcs during the heat wave

Massive place. Costs must be enormous. So expensive, but it is everywhere. Busy. Walking or bikes. I thought on occasion some bikers were just as dangerous as cars. Houses and facilities good quality, nothing tired. Activities well organised. Staff pleasant.

This is NOT an ad for Centre Parcs. Whenever we said where we were going, our mates said take a full wallet and toilet rolls. Almost a sport, knocking it. Yes, but we had no issue with the experience as a whole.

I can't think of a better spot to survive the heat - Whinfell Forest near Penrith, Cumbria. With a ready-made den.

Mum and granny like their fizz.

Matthew supervised two barbecues until we discovered they were not being sold in the shop. Banned, everyone has had an email according to the checkout lady. We'd not.

Ideal cul-de-sac for safe scootering. Granny showed some style. Grandad watched on, trying to keep a straight back. Not old at all.

Wildlife. Is it a pheasant? Pecked me and drew blood. I was okay. The pheasant was not seen again. It certainly looked poorly. Rabbits of varying sizes. Very small red squirrels, soon gone unless they are eating. Little scurrying furry things as well. Birds, pigeons and ducks.

A full-size bowling alley. Granny and grandad were hopeless. It's another sign of something. As was our reluctance to join activities which were bewilderingly numerous. Indoor, tennis varieties, roller skating, paint a pot, photography, nature studies and more. Loads outdoor - the crazy golf a bit tame. Walks, little cars, build a den and so on to an aerial tree top something which induced dizziness looking up. Beginning to feel my age - bugger. I always had my seat back at the digs.

There was a sports bar. A beer and Fartown losing to Salford. 

A leisurely cruise overlooked by a swimming temple and pancake eatery. Emily spies the zip wire. It was accompanied by an eerie science fiction noise. The treetop walk sound effects were screams of girls wanting to get off. Bottom of the lake is a popular pub with food. Emily and Jenson swam daily. The greenhouse effect was immense. I made it once.

Winning 'stuff and outfit' a bear. Rainbow and Chris, now you see me now you don't, (after Chris Rock, slappee of Will Smith). The staff member was pleasing.

Great week, albeit confirming that I am less fit and able than I was. I'm the only one who is surprised.


Take2 - Mouth of the Tyne Festival with Marilyn Monroe

A19 is a very good road. Managed to crack the Tyne Tunnel on-line fee - there and back. We finished two miles from Tynemouth due to a last minute change of apartment - looked brand new, tiling everywhere which helps cleaning. Refund offered which didn't impress. So a lot of walking. Pete was not long post knee surgery and we wondered how he'd go.

First morning, we asked a bloke walking with a bike the way. "Follow me". So we did, what a nice man. Tynemouth mobbed when we eventually made it. Festival of street performers and craft stalls. Great.

Craft beer on the station. Pete asked if they had lager. He's a bit deaf, so the reply came, "Yes, rubbish". "I'll have a pint of rubbish then". "No, Spanish" the barlady corrected.

We investigated the local bus service - a complete mystery. We nearly caught the 306 three times.

Whitley Bay was very quiet. A Scottish bloke sat at the bus stop gave us a tutorial, but still a mystery. A couple of hours later, after a pointless walk around Whitley Bay, he was still sat there. We managed to catch one of his suggestions - the trip went through a massive housing estate where every road looked like every other. 

Tynemouth station is massive. Presumably built for holiday makers around the 1880s. Now on the Metro. Most weeks craft stalls selling a lot of stuff - even old bottles. A stage hosted choirs and dance troupes. Lovely for the kids to sing whilst signing.

So to Newcastle. Pete lost his ticket and was awarded a 'yellow card' by the inspector at St. James. I lost my Greggs corned beef pasty. Found a small quiet bar on a side street. Contrast with the crowds just outside the stadium. Anyway we won. I draped my fleece over my arms for sun protection. During the second half I felt someone tugging with one of the arms. Turned to see a mature lady trying to cover a bare patch. I haven't lost it. The husband didn't look pleased.

As usual an entertaining weekend. A lot of walking. Pete's conclusion "it's my new knee rehab".

Older guys take a break in N Yorkshire

The Premier Inn is cheap and cheerful, right next to the main Settle Road and the Leeds/Liverpool canal. I've made a note to read about the canal and its origins. Something about getting a west coast outlet for coal amongst other things. Shire Cruises were called out when our prop stopped working. Boss came up from Leeds.
The horticultural boat was a bit too overgrown to be a thing of beauty. Unusual.

The pick of our few days was the five mile towpath walk from Gargrave to Skipton. The weather helped. Caught a return bus. No doubt lots of Holme Bridges in addition to Holme Valley, Huddersfield.


Journey's end and a welcome pint. Fred gets a little lost in and amongst. 
Following day, ploughman's similar to the Ham and Cheese, near Malton. Walked into busy Skipton. I bought a new sunhat and Sheila a blouse.

So strictly speaking not a cruise - that boat has departed. Brilliant to walk one of the great canals as it braves it out into the country. Kind of rural but probably strongly industrial back in the day.


Older people on the canal - could be our swan song


Sowerby Bridge to Brighouse - not far, but ...

Three weeks after surgery is no time to cruise. No heavy work for me. Andrew was able to do most of it despite an ankle injury.

So started with a series of accidents. Windlass and my best glasses overboard. Collapsed put-up chair, sprained ankle which nearly had us drafting in more crew.

Got into some sort of rhythm by day 2, realised we weren't going to make Aspley, Huddersfield. Content with Brighouse. Tight on-board spaces. Canal not busy. Frequent locks. Morning cruising and chilled afternoons - BBQ and a few beers. Considering we were in the heart of industrial West Yorkshire, it is remarkably rural. Who would know there is a large marina in the middle of Brighouse. Plus a pub to sit out with Saltaire Blonde. Some guy appeared with a Maclaren. We think he was showing off just a tad.

Middle of Brighouse and the crew

Extremely broad and well-kept towpath. Dogwalking, cycling and running heaven. Those without dogs, often men alone or women in pairs. Don't go at weekends one boater warned. People with dogs do stop and chat with each other. Same with walkers and boats, especially those who fancy having a go. 

Putting your bed up each night is a pain. TV pixelated. We missed Elland's Barge and Barrel.

Catching up with fresh water in Brighouse a man sat on the point quizzed us about boating. Turned out he was an Airbus pilot, late of Thomas Cook. Applying for Jet2.

Finished the week bumping and brawling up deep double locks despite cautious filling. One didn't fill hardly at all, til we saw that mum, the gin queen, had left the paddles up.

Andrew bought some gin. Mum was soon worse for wear. Several coffee and craft boats. One of Salter Hebble lock flight is a guillotine.

Very unlikely we will be doing this again.

Rewinding? - we don't do the 're'

None of these plants were here when we moved in. We don't do weeding. They can produce pretty flowers.

Michael Deacon, Telegraph, 26th May. Should I have entered my garden for Chelsea?
'My back garden is a bold statement about the plight of our ecosystems, a hymn to the wonders of biodiversity, and a full-throated call to arms in the battle against climate change.'

Here are his top tips
    pour large gin and tonic
    sit on sofa
    switch on TV

I would modify Michael's advice to several beers on a seat among the wildness.


Older brother's 80th - Anfield tour

Up under the roof at Anfield. South housing to the horizon with a spire or two, but no obvious landmarks. East derricks, cranes, big ships of the port. The stadium is large and stunning and shining clean inside. Seems to be continuous expansion. On this site since 1880s, initially rented by Everton.

Older brother’s 80th and the Anfield tour. Beginning in the players’ lounge, Q&A with Alan Kennedy, left back and hero of the 1983-4 treble. Signed from Newcastle in 1974 for £43000 or thereabouts. “They get that per week now.” Alan seems to be the go-to media guy just now. R4 and BBCTV.

Supporting Liverpool is not a bandwagon. We lived there between 1966-72. Kop visitors twice. Hunt, St John, Lawler, Callaghan, Smith, Yeats, Shankly. We were rugby guys really. Followed from afar since - Cardiff, Saddleworth (Manchester), Bedale (N Yorks), Honley and now Holmfirth (Huddersfield). I'd a tenous connection when I was at school, supporting Huddersfield Town. Shankly was our manager then. Brought Denis law to Yorkshire. He supervised and played Sunday afternoon soccer on a rec in Lindley and I turned out.

Alan was on for an hour or so. Main takeaway message was the culture of team, manager, boot room, programme sellers, caterers and so on. They’d been a second division side until Shankly (1959 -74), a staunch socialist. All equal, no stars, humility, common purpose - winning, The Liverpool Way, The Liverpool family. Disdain for authority, world against you, closing ranks, strength from within. Needed for Hillsborough and Heysel. After Shankly, Paisley (1974-83), Fagan (1983-85), Dalglish (85-91). Moran and Evans in there somewhere. All signed up to The Liverpool Way. No idea when it all went corporate but today, it’s telephone number wages like the rest.

'The song was written for the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. In the second act, the character of Nettie Fowler, a cousin of the main character Julie Jordan, sings 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to comfort her when her husband Billy dies.'
                                                                                                                                                smooth radio

Sadly now a cliche, the song adopted by many teams and organisations. The Kop has sung it as an anthem since the 1960s, originally recorded by Gerry and the Pacemakers. The rise and rise of Liverpool FC was mirrored by the successes of Merseysound. And it's still powerful.

The boot room ran things. Inner sanctum, no players. Just room for six managerial staff under the main stand. No natural light. Talk for hours about everything. ‘Conveyer belt of wisdom concealed in a broom cupboard.’

The dugout and The Kop.

Older brother had a spat with the official photographer who was not allowing private pics of the European trophies. I sneaked in round the back. Three pubs round the stadium. The 12th Man, bottom left is a tribute to the extra player that the supporters represent - in this case more specifically The Kop. The Park, bottom right, was Pete and my choice for RL's magic weekend at Anfield. Totally mobbed. Hull FC supporters, stripped to the waist, singing, shouting, arms and shirts in the air. Landlady looking bemused. We went out the back which was a bit of a building site and had a quiet chat with 2-3 quieter Hull guys.

So we were treated to a view of a less pampered era. Alan confessed to an additional team drinking culture. Even drinking before playing. Still won. Today the players are confined to their rooms from 8.30pm the night before a game. 

We missed out on a few things, but it didn’t spoil an amazing experience.

And then, 3 months later - a card from brother Steve. My 76th.