The day after my birthday - Jenson's birthday - walking around Holmbridge

Another childbride request to mark my birthday this time, in addition to the family party on Sunday. So overall a good do. The choir once played a Sunday game at the cricket club. It's got a winter feel to it just now. Nice to be out and we were pleased to be able to do the physical side of it. Rained. Bit sore in the afternoon. These views are familiar, recalling the times I took Fern, our retriever, for walks. Pickled Pheasant for lunch. Sleep afterwards. 


It continues (3)

                     Tiny yellow-green leaves just arrived

                     Bare birch April branches

                     Regular as clockwork

Arneside. March 2024

After the TV episode about Arneside in the series Villages by the Sea, the childbride requested a weekend visit to mark her birthday. We came here every Spring Bank Holiday when the kids were young as part of a group caravan weekend at Holgates in Silverdale. So a trip down memory lane.

Sykes Cottage, opposite the station and five minutes from the village promenade and hence the River Kent. Along with the viaduct that connects to Grange, these features define Arnside. Low fells in the distance, shops and bars behind.

At first the cottage was inaccessible. A phone call to the owner informed us No2 was hidden behind No1 front door. Upstairs first floor flat, recently decorated, lounge overlooking the station. Very comfortable.

Two days may not seem long, but enough time to visit Carnforth, Silverdale, Arneside Knott and the forshore delights.

And, every 20 minutes. people with luggage appeared, a train rumbled into the station and stopped and then moved on to Carlisle or Lancaster

The Albion. Go-to pub for an early evening drink before getting the bbq going back at Holgates. After there would be a lads v. dads soccer game with spectators and odd additions. I treated all the boys I took one mad weekend to a feed here (Sunley, Dove, Walker, Hutchinson, Cooper).  I slept in the van. They had the awning and tents. They latched onto some girls and pursued them out of the camp. I discovered them under a lychgate at a local church sheltering from the rain. No girls in sight.

The pub is popular with visitors, especially for food, but not with the locals - they go to the wine bar. Wainwrights beer is good though.

The view across the river including the pier, the promenade, quicksand warning sign, the bore and a train on the viaduct. The bore comes up from Morecambe Bay at high tide. It doesn't look much, but it roars under the viaduct. A danger heralded by a noisy warning siren 20 minutes before arrival. Best not explore the sands unaccompanied by an expert. All the years we've visited and this is the first time to see the bore.

The Knott - The highest local point with a great view of the viaduct. Someone has carved a heart.

Holgates - a big operation now with several sites for statics and tourers. Chalets as well. In Silverdale which is much bigger than I remember. Big wood red squirrel.
The Fighting Cocks - the nearest pub to the cottage. Pop inn before evening meal. A tad garish.

Carnforth Station - famous for Brief Encounter. Somewhat tired. There used to be a clock hanging here. It's in someone's garage now and the owner won't release it. We had a brief encounter with Ringo and then parked in Booths supermarket.
Crossfield's Wine Bar - where the locals go. Must be related to the boat builders who featured in the TV programme. Great view of the estuary. Good coffee.

Perfect weekend. Lots of memories. And still, every 20 minutes, people with luggage appear, a train rumbles into the station and stops. People get on and off and then the train moves on to Carlisle or Lancaster.

It continues (2)


solid still grey mossy stones stand
trembly breezy spawny rainwater
sane window mad world

It continues (1)


robin pairs perch on bare branches
in lighter Spring evenings
time for a fresh start

Tale of three halves

This is a tribute to our relationship - 1947 to 2023 - 76 years.
Apologies if the reader doesn’t recall events quite like I have portrayed them, particularly the dates. Memory isn’t what it was and anyway I have selected the good bits, mostly.
I’ve divided it into three: growing up, growing apart and growing old. The rough and tumble of family life, leaving home and developing our lives, and finally becoming pals and confidants.

Growing up. I have covered these early years in detail elsewhere (family stories). My memory is dominated by arguments between Dad and Steve. Dad was an angry man. He had an invalidity pension from the army for duodenitis which produced bouts of misery. He returned from the war to a family dominated by women and children (Granny Addy, her 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren had supported each other whilst the men were working or away). He did actually return to his pre-war job, but soon left for the ‘electricity board’. Whilst both jobs were in accounts he had no qualifications. I think he must have felt hard done by.
        Steve was bright and in 1953 went to Huddersfield College where he joined the rapid stream (taking ‘O’ levels in 4 years as part of trying for Oxbridge). He and dad clashed. Dad was grumpy anyway but Steve couldn’t keep his mouth shut. So we all copped it. Mum’s recurring plea was “Oh, Reg”. We lived in rented housing just outside the town centre. Despite apparently not having much money, in 1953, Dad bought a house in the suburbs. The arguments continued. I lived at the bottom of the food chain. Dad was unforgiving of my slightest error. Steve referred to me as the cretin. I do have fond memories of family holidays, caravans and holiday camps at Filey and Scarborough. Christmas was also a period of respite.


Growing apart. Steve progressed to the sixth form, specialising in the sciences. His hobbies were jazz, classical music and astronomy. He became a snob and had a girlfriend. In fairness he followed rugby league. University then, another girlfriend. Not home as much. Still fighting with dad. Started smoking cigarettes around this time. Married Hazel. Job at the university. So he’d left home. Though we had a super family caravan holiday in The Lakes. Walking and drinking in pubs (I’d be about 15).
        I followed him to what was now New College (amalgamation of the old one with Dad’s Hillhouse ‘redcaps’) and we shared 2 years (1958-60). I also followed the sciences, (biology instead of maths). Not a happy time for me in third, fourth and fifth years. Every end-of-term report was a nightmare, after doing so well at the beginning. I looked up to Steve. Writing like him. Saying stuff he said. Even followed him to Liverpool. There was also divergence as I was heavily into rugby union and pop music. I married Sheila in 1972, just after leaving university.

        Dad mellowed as more grandchildren came along. We got by.

        So this was the period for establishing our families and careers. Didn’t see a lot of each other - family visits and gatherings though we did meet supporting rugby. We even went to Paris for an England-France RU match. Steve was a tad arrogant - he thought the Wembley cup final was a home fixture for Widnes RL (won the RL Challenge Cup 5 times between 1964-84). My perception of Steve then was of a solid family man and he remained so for the rest of his life. In 1980, we took Mum to The Wembley RL cup final Hull derby. Train there and back same day. Queen Mother in attendance. Hull KR won. Mum sat between us - proud doesn’t cut it.

New College

Paris International

        His university career had always been a mystery to me, though he did give hints in moments of self-reflection. There were other bits I learned during his first illness (Oboe), but no need to dwell on them. The names in the piece have been altered. I'm Dyce, short for Dyson, son of David (like Rebus and Morse). He recovered after a rocky few days on intensive care.

Growing old. Any differences of opinion had gone. Just 2 old farts with common baggage and interests. We became closer after Mum and Dad died. Sorting stuff out. Grieving together.

        There are many highlights: The Lords tour (Lords) , The Anfield tour (Anfield), narrow boating, a lazy session at The Baltic Fleet down on the Liverpool Docks (Baltic Fleet). I have to mention my role in helping with information about Steve’s life-changing and threatening medical conditions. Phone consultations which I christened Steve’s medical textbook.

        We went all over on the boat. Steve didn’t want to drive initially. However, I had an episode with the toilet one morning and he had to take over (we didn’t stop). Couldn’t keep him off the tiller then. Gave advice to all and sundry, telling them not to worry if they made a mistake. Trent and Mersey, Llangollen, The Oxford. A famous trip on The Thames to Abingdon when Louise and Steve saved a boat from crashing; with help from some local lads. We'd got mixed up with a regatta.

Baltic fleet

 2023 New Year event

And we had the final chapter in Durham (Durham). His second trip to intensive care.

Short pleasant weather window amongst some unpleasant stuff.
Time for brother Steve to bow out.
He had already gone.
But he would have the last breath.
Well we had switched him off.
We were all there,
Funny thing that last breath.


Changes in the weather

Breezy free swirly circling leaves
                                                     Rain-sodden grounded clumps                                                    
 Not a turn for the worse 

Successful ageing (2)

The author with his grandson

Initial article here -

And plenty other sites, including examples like Helen Mirren and Clint Eastwood. This can be overdone and we all now know the benefits of exercise, meditation, new experiences and keeping in touch with friends and family. It's now obvious we have equal amounts of despair and happiness, and we must tailor expectations to what we can do and don't worry if we don't make it. We know all this now, but easy to forget.

This week it's the turn of Suzy Walker and Sir Muir Gray, Telegraph 30th Jan 2024 - 'It's not healthy to act your age'. Getting fit is the prime consideration. 'Change your attitude to ageing.' How? Challenges like learning a language, becoming a volunteer, join a committee. I'm not personally keen on these. What about having positive ideas about ons's own ageing - how? Not a lot of answers.

A purpose? For me short pieces like haiku and a pic get me started. I've no great target. But these simple things, along with what (eg shopping, housework) has to be done, keeping up with social life and a hobby (singing) and I'm close to needing a rest. And I haven't exercised yet. "I'm good" must be the standard reply to health queries. What's gone is gone and tomorrow hasn't happened yet. When there is despair - let it drift away whilst you stay in the moment.

I came across thoughts on anxiety, mine. I frequently hear 'there's nothing for ageing'. Well there is that. But victimhood is not a good look either.

Get over yourself.

Christmas/New Year 2023/24

Bitterly cold moments
Honley Ladies at Huddersfield Market - I had to keep moving
Two squirrels short of food

Warmer moments
Scarborough: St Mary's, Freddie's spa tribute, New Year's walk
Filey Bay distillery (price of flagship up £5 so I didn't)


New year 2023-24 curation

Deepak Chopra - how to meditate, Times 6th Jan.

'Ask yourself why you don't meditate .... I got bored, I wasn't getting enough out of it, my life is too busy, I wish I could find the time,'

Meditation is not a quick fix - not a mental health pill.

Meditation returns you to a state you are supposed to be all the time - simple awareness; quiet undisturbed relaxed but alert.

'Sit down in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. Sit comfortably, preferably in an upright posture. Take a few deep breaths, (centre your attention on the heart, maybe, but as long as there is attention to somethin

g, I think it's okay). 5-10 minutes to start. Don't rush back to activity. Repeat during the day.

[Reminds me of 'the sit' beloved of Simon Barnes. Stillness. Awareness of the senses, seeing and hearing. Let intrusive thoughts come and go. Keep coming back to the here and now.]

Steven Bartlett's rules for success, Telegraph 28th December. [flexible, practical, achievable]

Keep goals small and consistent and open-ended. No need to complete them.

Being fit is about consistency not intensity [for me exercise is always work in progress].

'Happiness is a direct result of managing expectations'. [Not many people know what happiness is. We probably have equal amounts of happy and unhappy, so words like fulfilment and contentment try to fill the gap. Melissa Twigg, Times, 30th December, introduces words like pleasure, enjoyment, satisfaction and meaning.]

I don't have an answer, but the discussion with yourself may help. Don't beat yourself up when the wheels come off.

So same old, but with latitude. Lets everyone give ourselves a break. 

It reminds myself of the school report quote 'He sets himself low expectations which he consistently fails to meet'.

Peta Bee again 13th Jan - ... why walking is the best way to get fit.

It's replaced coffee as the elixir. Anxiety, back pain, strength of bone and muscles, enhance flexibility and prolonging your life. Wow. Add nasal breathing, silence, weighted vest or rucksack, intermittent power intervals and it's a double wow.