Here's No. 002

The Northants Parkinson's People bulletin is proud to present Newsletter No. 002  We were amazed at the positive comments we received  after Issue 001. In this issue we have 2nd instalments of Doug's Army days, another gardening article from Sylvia and an extract from Simon Ingrams latest book along with another quiz and and lots more interesting bits and bobs.  Also don't forget to check out the information on Parkie Radio, the internet radio station run by Parkinson's sufferers

Northampton Younger Parkinson's Group
have a trip organised 
They have  a coach trip going to The Black Country Museum on TUESDAY 11th June. There are 3 pick up points, Wellingborough, Kettering and Kingsthorpe Northampton.  (exact locations to be notified later)
  • The Coach cost is £15.00 and entry is £11.50 for the over 65's and £14.50 for the under 65's
  • Essential carer's entry is free with either a Carers Network Card or their PIP cover leter as carers Idendification.
If anyone is interested please contact Liz Birch,  Tel  01604845596 / 07944756576 or email: [email protected]

Thank you 
Dianne Whitney held a Coffee Morning in aid of Northampton Younger Parkinsons's Group on the 30th May.
Thank you to all who contributed cakes and raffle prizes and supported the event. The event raised £81 and probably increased a waistline or two.

World Parkinson's Day from April
Last month Mel Smith; your Parkinson's Disease Nurse Specialist and Angela Jeffery joined forces to work with Northants Healthcare. The Comms Team at Northants Healthcare asked us to help them get the word out; what Parkinson's Is. Mel and Angela want to thank our service users who got involved by allowing us to video and photograph them; telling us what Parkinson's Is to them. Northant's Healthcare then tweeted, Facebooked and shared these video's and photo's to all of their followers.  We are hoping that we can share these video's when our website eventually works!!

Hollye from the comms team was very generous in thanking us - here is an extract from an email Angela received:

"I just wanted to say the biggest, biggest thank you to you all for the hardwork you’ve put into this awareness day. The videos are something else – they are emotive, capture our audience well and showcase what Parkinsons Is.

 Thank you so much for your work on this, and just a quick email to say I’ve learnt so much about Parkinson’s which I hadn’t ever realised was related to Parkinson’s. Please say the biggest thank you to all the service users involved in this and to you guys – THANK YOU FOR BEING OUTSTANDING AND FOR ALL YOU DO."

Isn't that great?? Hear are a few of the pictures and images.
Fit n' Fab had a bit of fun on
World Parkinson's day
The Fit n' Fab Exercise Group had a little dressing up party on World Parkinson's day. Just to show that having Parkinson's does not mean that you cannot have a bit of fun whenever you like.

See The Photos on   

I Can't Draw, Or Paint

Yes You Can!
When you think of the word artist, what do you think of immediately, is it a painting or a person who paints? Maybe a potter or sculptor, the answer really, is we all are artists in our own way, the way we comb our hair , set the table put food on the plate, all these things are done carefully ( even if quick) till you are pleased with the result, if not you move the articles around to suit.
Art is not many steps away from the above and is infinitely more satisfying and therapeutic than presentation of food on a plate!
Painting is something I feel compelled to do, the finished article may not be anything special but it’s mine.
I dare you to buy some paints, water colour, oils or acrylic and some brushes or just a rag. Mix some paint, cover the brush or rag and quickly draw it across a piece of paper. Can you see where the texture has changed, where you put more effort into it, at the start where the colour was deeper or the end when you ran out of paint. What does the smear make you think of, can you do something with it, have a go.
All of the images in this article were painted after I was diagnosed wth Parkinson's in Oct 2010
If you have a problem with one arm, try the other, or your mouth, or even your feet, just try another approach – what have you got to lose? Paint whatever you feel happy doing, flowers, landscapes, still life, animals, teapots! Use an old toothbrush to spatter, or a spray, bits of wood, look around the garden or kitchen for something to use and just enjoy it. Design a shape with candlewax and paint around it to see the pattern emerge. I guarantee you will be so absorbed you’ll forget about Parkinson’s!
Sometimes the experience can be so intense with the concentration that you are uplifted away from the PD torment – how wonderful is that? Of course this total absorption is relevant to other hobbies, but the end result is the same. You feel amazing, relaxed, exhilarated and incredibly happy that you are still able to create. You feel
better than if you’d had a massage, or had your hair done and it’s cheaper!
You may find it easier to work on your own though not liking the isolation, but if like me you get so involved, the loneliness wont bother you. There is of course great benefit from creating with others, they encourage, comment and socially it helps you achieve possibly a better product than you might have done without their input.
In conclusion I can’t recommend this method of escapism enough and it’s been tried and tested! Parkinson’s, what’s that? Painting , knitting, needlework, any hobby really
will leave you feeling tranquil, calm and amazed at your own ability at having produced such a wondrous creation. Go on – have a go !


Let's Get Quizical   No 2
  1.  Which semi aquatic South American mammal is the largest living rodent 
  2.   In WW2 who was known as the "Desert Fox"? 
  3.   How long was the hundred years war? 
  4.   Which star from the 1930s,1940s and the 1950s was born in Bristol as Archibald Alexander Leach? 
  5.   Which English football team is nicknamed "the Shakers"? 
  6.   What is the meaning of the word Blague? 
Quiz by Doug.  Answers are below

As promised the first page or two of Simon Ingram's latest book. Simon is really happy to hear any feedback - see his Facebook page contact at the end of this extract - Enjoy …
 Parkinson’s Disease - 
Take a Walk with me.
Definition-Parkinson’s Disease - a progressive chronic disorder of the central nervous system characterized by impaired muscular coordination and tremor. Often shortened to: Parkinson's. Also called: Parkinsonism, Parkinson's syndrome, paralysis agitans, shaking palsy.
Well, B******s to that…probably one of the first (and last) occasions I’ll conduct any research into anything to do with my ‘progressive’ travel companion.
Initially, I thought a dictionary definition would help me significantly reduce the expected word count for my book when trying to describe the disease. However, despite the exercise probably saving several pages those cold, shallow and uncaring words has left me feeling less than happy. Parkinson’s has turned my world upside down affecting every aspect of my life. To see such a destructive illness defined in less than 50 words has left me feeling grumpy. It feels as if someone, somewhere is underestimating the ‘enemy’.

Like most children of my generation, by about the age of 8 or 9, I’d given up on the naive notion that:

Option 1. One day I’d rule the world.


Option 2. I’d be the world’s richest man.

In August 2019, I’ll celebrate my 53rd birthday. With the benefit of my advancing years I can now clearly see the instruction manual for ruling the world is far from complete. Indeed, unless further work is urgently undertaken on international diplomacy there may be significantly smaller chunks of the world to rule.

Whereas the dreams I once had as a youngster have now changed, I would still love to generate huge amounts of money to enable me to donate pots and pots of cash to help speed a cure for Parkinsons.

I’ve absolutely no idea where these megalomaniac dreams came from as my early years were spent living in modest surroundings even when compared to the average standards of the day.

Even more puzzling perhaps was the way in which I thought I’d amass the vast sums of money as earning the fortune was never a consideration!

Despite my illness impacting huge swathes of my life, it’s interesting to note that during periods of sleep, where I’m able to recall my dreams, my disabilities completely disappear. Perhaps this is my way of coping with the disease, or, could it be an indication of a default setting for the human brain where the subconscious can override your waking thoughts and any disabilities. I maybe way off the mark but I believe that it’s worth asking the question.

Every time I sit down to write I’m instantly overwhelmed by memories of my life. I’m sure that some people would see my nostalgia as a sort of weakness. To anyone who may have come to that conclusion, I would argue that they couldn’t be further from the truth as nostalgia and an unstoppable desire to live my life drives me forward.

The memories I have of my immediate family are enhanced by the monochrome family photos from the 1960’s and early 1970’s that seem to suggest that life was colourless, humourless even pointless when compared to the endless high definition images and vivid colours that scream at you in this 21st century world of ours. Not a bit of it, the truth lies behind the fabulous, never to be repeated tale of a special time in British history that goes largely unreported because we didn’t all have a trillion-pixel mobile camera phones capable of highlighting the smallest pimple on the chin of a cousin, brother or even a passing imposter hell bent on ‘photobombing’ your next image to be picked to pieces on social media! Are we having fun yet? 
Perhaps there is one criticism of the old fashion black-and-white photograph that even I cannot defend. In what must be some sort of chemical imbalance brought about in people being too close to the camera, ‘back-in-the-day’…nobody ever seemed to smile!
Due to my overdeveloped competitive nature, my relationship with Parkinson’s was always going to be a difficult one, often breaking out into open hostility as the symptoms of this illness cruelly make my life as difficult as it can.
If you think of it in terms of a boxing match, the opening rounds went to the disease as I initially found it hard coming to terms with the disease. Despite being on the ropes following a series of relentless punches, my knees beginning to buckle under the weight of the world, it never quite had me beaten and sitting on the canvass. However, despite being caught by a few uppercuts, I’ve won every round since on a unanimous points decision. 

Anyone wishing to add any of their own thoughts or ideas are more than welcome to contact me on my Facebook page:

Simon Ingram

Re-cycling in the garden...we all need
to do our bit!
  1. Buy peat free the peat bogs!
  2. Ditch weed killer/pesticides. Mix washing up liquid with water in a spray bottle (old surface cleaner bottle ideal). Green, black and white fly don’t like it!
  3. Use empty plastic bottles for a watering system. Cut off the bottom, make hole in lid invert into soil and fill with water. This will then drip feed into the soil getting the water directly to the roots which is where it is needed .
  4. Ditch the slug pellets unless they are  organic. Instead use coffee grounds,sharp sand, gravel or crushed egg shells around tender young plants. 
The 1st photo, bought waterers is the posh way, the second is my cut off plastic bottle which works better as it holds more water so its ideal if going away for the weekend etc.

Next time... more timely tips on pruning and other little jobs about the garden and a report on my sortie into growing cucumbers!


A few quotes compiled by Harry
“You gotta keep in shape. My grandmother started walking 5 miles a day when she was sixty. She’s 90 today and we don’t know where the hell she is.”
Ellen Degeneras, actor and comedian.

Age is an issue of mind over matter.
If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.
Mark Twain.

The secret of my long life?  Swim, dance a little, run a little, and live within walking distance of two hospitals.
Dr. Horatio Lurgo.

I don’t mind dying. The trouble is , you feel so bloody stiff the next day.
George Axelrod, writer.



Day one of Doug's  memories of his Army Service days

Place - Dettingham Barracks      Time - April/May 1959

After drawing our kit or rather part of it and being allocated an Army Service Number, we commenced basic training. We were given several rules to follow some of which were
1) No civilian clothes allowed including underwear
2) Not allowed to leave camp without permission (rarely given).
Each day followed a pattern. Get up at 6am, breakfast 6.30,make beds clean barrack room then parade at 8.00 being late not an option. Morning inspection (this was the first time I heard some of the old favorites) "are you in pain boy" "no sir" "you should be I'm standing on your hair get it cut". From there it was foot drill until lunch, afternoon weapons drill and familiarity, and pt and sports. My bunk mates and I all agreed, we were in a cross between a public school and an open prison. 
Once a month on a Sunday was church parade our first one came after three weeks. We paraded at 9.30am then we separated into the different denominations. I was catholic and we marched of to the WVS hut as there was no catholic church nearby we had a service, then us new recruits (5 of us) had to wait to meet the Padre. 
He was a large man, Father David Ross he spoke to each of us asking name and where we came from. He came to me and I told him my name but when I told him I was from Northampton, he glowered at then said in a forceful way "what that abode of heathens and blasphemers". I was totally surprised and nonplussed, he then retired to his office. My mates were bewildered and I couldn't enlighten them so much speculation occurred.   Sometime later as we were having a cuppa I was instructed to report to the Padre. Being a bit apprehensive I entered his office "I apologize boy and hope I didn't alarm you" "no sir" I replied "I just thought you had gone a little mad" He looked at me then burst out laughing. He then explained that his outburst was due to the fact that Northampton worked on Good Friday, which at that time it did. 
Several years later I came across him in the sgts mess at 3 BOD Singapore, he looked at me and said "Arh yes, the heathen from Northampton, would you care for a scotch".
A Little Background.
   When I joined the Army my father was actually in the John Radcliff hospital Oxford in a coma for 16 months. He had 2 blood clots on his brain.He did recover later after an operation. A sign of how times were different, when I joined my mother was not allowed to sign the enlistment papers it had to be a male member of the family so one my uncles did the deed. 

Radio Parkies
A Radio station run by people with
Parkinson's disease.
I'm siting here writing this short article and listening to an internet radio station. The playlist which shows the songs played has a mix of music. Brian Adams is currently knocking out 'Everything I Do' and its quite pleasant. AND ITS PRODUCED AND RUN BY PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON'S
A Parkinson's sufferer, Jean-Paul de Cremer from Belgium decided there wasn't enough media attention on the disease so in 2010 after months of planning started Radio Parkies with the help of a 'Young People with Parkinson's group in Belgium. Initially produced in Dutch only and for 8 hours a day.
In record time an English-Language Version was launched broadcasting from Yorkshire. It now broadcasts in 8 Countries!
Don't just take my word for it try it your self at if you are using a PC or laptop you can listen by clicking the PLAY LIVE RADIO PARKIES button. There are apps for listening via Apple and Android devices too.


Recipe of the Month
Philly Chilli

A lot of chef's have placed their recipes out there for people to refer to. The 'refer to' is an important term.  Please refer to this recipe, its perfect for me, you might find you need to adjust some of the amounts or ingredients. Please do, make a note, and when you have it just right it will be Your Chilli.

Serves 5-6 (stores in fridge 3-4 days or can be frozen)        Preparation 15 mins    Cooking  55mins



500g minced beef

Lower fat is better for you, but you go with what suits your style or pocket.

2 medium onions, chopped

1 large onion, chopped to your preference

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

That's what they all say, I mostly use garlic paste. Golden rule with garlic don't burn it

½ -1 tsp hot chilli powder

* If you're not sure put a small amount in and taste it after it has simmered for 5 mins

2 tsp ground cumin

Gives the dish a smoky and earthy flavour

2 tsp ground coriander

Adds a sweet and warm taste

2 tbsp plain flour


150ml red wine or extra stock

I only add this if I have spare wine! That's not often!

150ml beef stock, made with 1-2 beef stock cube


400g can of chopped tomatoes

I've used Pasata and tomatoes from the garden (skin them or pick out the skin after chopping)

400g can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed


2 tbsp tomato purée


3 -4 squares dark chocolate

Or 1 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp dried oregano

Alt.-Thyme or Basil would be ok

freshly ground black pepper, and salt

To taste

To Garnish, a dollop of creamy blue cheese

Alt- A dash of sour cream, chopped basil



  1. Using a large lidded saucepan, put a dessert spoon of oil in the pan and soften the chopped onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the minced beef, cook until beef has lost its redness breaking it up with a spoon to ensure there are no clumps.

  2. Add the chilli (to taste*) cumin, coriander and garlic. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and mix well to coat the meat.

  3. Add the stock, if its hot pour it straight in. if its cold add it slowly so the cooking process doesn't stall. Add the tomatoes, drained kidney beans, oregano and tomato puree. If you are using sugar instead of chocolate add it now. Add salt and pepper.

  4. Adjust heat until the chilli is just simmering. Put the lid on loosely (I always leave a wooden spoon in the pot) cook for 45 minutes stirring often.

  5. At 45mins the sauce should be thick and the meat nice and tender. Taste and adjust (chilli powder, salt, pepper)

  6. Break up the chocolate and add. stir and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Garnish with a dollop of creamy blue cheese or a swirl of sour cream. You can go all cheffy and sprinkle fresh coriander or basil leaves on too.

Serve with rice or jacket potatoes. Sides of garlic bread, salad or coleslaw

In our house its brown long grain rice on day one, jackets on day 2. Chilli is one of those dishes that seem to improve by chilling and reheating. It also freezes well.

We aim to...

We aim to be an inclusive group so if you have an idea for an article that you think would be of interest then get your idea to us. You don't have to be a journalist, and if you find trouble getting your idea onto paper or email we'll give you a helping hand

Answers to this months quiz
 1. CAPYBARA.      2. Field Marshall Erwin Rommel.    3. 116 years. 1237-1453.   

 4. Cary Grant.        5. Bury.                 6).   C (
a piece of nonsense/ joke)

We have a community facebook page, here is the link please like and share:

And Finally... 

We are still finalizing the style of our website. We will be archiving our newsletters there and adding articles concerning Parkinson's as well as some general interest pieces on a range of semi-related stuff. We'll also be polling you shortly on what you want to see there too! So, thinking caps on please

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