Newsletter No. 010

Well, the New Year is upon us. The days are getting longer and the 1st stirrings of new growth are emerging in the garden. You can tell Christmas is over, summer holiday ads on the telly, easter eggs vie for space next to soon to be out of date puds in the supermarket. Oh, the joy.  Back to 'relative' normality with issue number 10. Happy New Year everyone.

We hope you enjoy this and the previous issues but if you missed any and would like to see them either in our ARCHIVE  or email Sylvia at [email protected] and she will gladly send any you have missed.

Friday Walks - Abington Park
Just to remind everyone that we walk in Abington Park every Friday. The meeting place is near the tennis courts at 10.30 a.m. Most of us use walking poles (there are some spares for new walkers to try). Also, there is usually a qualified instructor with us to show the technics of Nordic walking. We walk one of two routes. One short and one a bit longer. The bonus is the company and both groups meet up at the café from 11.15 to socialise afterwards. Just come to the Café if you can’t do the walk but would like the company –everyone is very welcome.
Starting Tuesday, February 4th and every Tuesday thereafter we will have a second weekly walk. It will be at the racecourse. We will meet at the racecourse pavilion at 10.30 a.m. There is ample parking space with 3 hours free. As with the Friday walk, there will be short and longer routes to suit every ability. The paths are well made and even, especially good for those with walkers/rollators. Afterwards, we will meet up at the Umbrella Fair café at the rear of the pavilion where we can have drinks and cake.... if required!  Everyone is welcome –if you would like more info about either of the walks you can email Sylvia at [email protected]

Let's get Quizzical
  1. Who was the last non-european to win Formula 1 world championship?
  2. Which country is the largest exporter of coffee?
  3. Which medical TV series was set in the Scottish village of Tannochbrae?
  4. Where was the 1980 summer Olympics held?
  5. Which king of England had the "nickname"  "Lackland"?
  6. What is the meaning of the word Meretricious?
                 A) beneficial        B) gaudy        C) straight forward

Men in Sheds
I went along to see some men in a shed the other day. Had a great time.

Northampton Community Shed has its roots in the Men’s Sheds movement which started in Australia in the 1990's.  They are a community-based organisation with a dual purpose – 
  • to serve the health and wellbeing of members 
  • to serve the health and wellbeing of the local community.
Men in Sheds has been described as a development of a man’s shed, as might be found in his garden – a place where he feels at home, pursuing his interests and deciding his own arrangements. There are now 1000 Sheds across Australia. In the UK at the last count, there were over 400 Sheds, with more regularly added. Men (and now women also) follow their interests, working together ‘shoulder to shoulder’.

It’s all about finding purpose and companionship while developing skills, making stuff and friends. A community of Shedders (that's what they like to be called) of all ages, together decide the Shed’s arrangements, creating for themselves a relaxed place for all to enjoy. They do this while funding their enterprise through the receipt of donations and securing support from grant sources.

Activities to be found in Men’s Sheds in Britain and other English speaking countries are many and varied. Woodwork is most common but metalwork, repair and restoration, electronics, alternative energy, gardening and many other activities are featured. Having fun, sharing ideas, conversation and making things is a great way to enjoy leisure in later life.

As well as having a great time Shedders also help with community projects. Northampton Shed has made furniture for a local community cafe, phone charging stations for local overnight shelters and many other projects.

If you are interested in Sheds and Shedding please check out their website for more details. 

Northampton Community Shed

Sylvia's Gardening Tips
January is a month when not much can be done in the garden so I turn my thoughts to planning for the coming season. I make a list of what flowers and veg I want to grow. In the case of veg, I stick to growing what I like to eat myself. I always buy my seeds in January.   They can be quite expensive but most garden centres sell them at half price at this time of the year and I do like a bargain!  Just check the use-by date on the back of the packet. Yes!  Seeds really do have a use-by date!
Many of us use herbs in our cooking and a little sprinkle of this or that can transform a mediocre dish into something really tasty. However, not so many of us know that herbs have other powerful properties. I have listed a few below.
  • Bay leaves are rich in vitamin C, folic acid and many minerals. Ingested in very large amounts it can have a narcotic effect! Therefore don’t go munching a whole bay tree!
  • Basil aids digestion but is best eaten immediately after picking. Nothing like making a fresh tomato salad with fresh basil leaves thrown on top. Pots of basil plant are available in the supermarkets now. Just put it on the kitchen window and give it a little water now and then and it will just keep on growing.
  • Chamomile is commonly used to treat insomnia and upset stomachs. It makes good tea too.
  • Chives (a member of the onion family) are, as we all know brilliant in our cooking or salad but they also contain vitamin C, K and Folate amongst other things. I grow them because I just love the bright purple flowers which seem to go on and on! And they are edible too!
  • Coriander is antibacterial and helps to lower blood pressure. It's lovely in a salad.
  • Dill and Parsley are good sources of vitamins A and C.
  • Mint has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Used as an oil it can relieve muscular pain. It has been suggested that it may also support healthy cholesterol levels. You can make your own mint tea by just roughly tearing up some leaves and put them in a jug. Pour over boiled water and leave to infuse for ten minutes. Strain into a cup and if required add a little honey.
  • Rosemary has powerful antibacterial properties and should only be eaten in moderation. In any case, only use a little as it can be very overpowering.
  • Sage is rich in beneficial oils, minerals and vitamins A, C and K. Avoid taking it excessively. My favourite is the purple sage, the colour is lovely.   

A Recipe for another drink which is said to help cold symptoms and also the immune system :
In a mug put:
  • 1 oregano capsule.    These are readily available at Boots, Holland & Barrett and online.
  •  ¼ teaspoon turmeric.
  • A few grains of black pepper.
  • One capful of The Mother cider vinegar. This is apple cider vinegar which is simply unrefined, unpasteurized and unfiltered. This can be obtained from Boots and Aldi.  Most herbal retailers will sell this.
Pour boiled water over, stir and drink when cooled down a little. I add a little honey and leave out the oregano as I am not a fan. I also add a small slice of lemon. You can drink a cup of this every day if you wish but three times a week is ok too.
My thanks to Aggie for sharing this.

And finally, keep warm, keep moving, stay fit and fab! Spring is just around the corner! I have the little white heads of snowdrops just peeping through the soil in my garden. Always a sign that spring is on its way.

Giving Parkinson’s a hard time.

Another footballing story.

Simon Ingram
During the last few weeks of 2019, one of the coaches at our Tuesday morning ‘Walking Football’ sessions ask me if it would be okay to submit a nomination in my name for the Kettering area ‘Get Active’ award.
Now I’d love to say that it was my football skills and general sporting prowess that pushed me into the limelight…sadly not! The reason for the nomination? Quite simply because of my absolute determination not to let Parkinson’s disease dictate what I can and can’t do. 
Football has been my passion since I was a youngster, my team of choice Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR FC). I simply fell head-over-heels for the Super Hoops from Loftus Road. 
One example of how Parkinson’s can affect your life without you noticing is you can start to shy away from life-long activities, in my case football, simply because it becomes all too difficult to actively take part…RUBBISH!
I’m well aware that as a football player I can still trip-the-light-fantastic on a Tuesday morning at the Kettering Conference Centre, scoring spectacular goals most weeks. I’d not really thought about it until I began to write but, since turning out once a week to play the ‘beautiful game’ I’ve got a season ticket at Loftus Road. In addition, I have purchased a replica QPR shirt that I wear with pride most weeks. I could still do a job if the manager could find a spot in the first team for an enthusiastic 53-year-old!
I won the ‘Get Active’ award AND a thumping great big silver trophy for the Sports Personality award, again for the Kettering area.
I guess the message to all my Parkinson’s friends out there is, give a new opportunity a try as you never know where it can take you.

Saturday for Seniors at St Giles Church 

A day full of fun, entertainment, and activities enjoyed in the company of fellow seniors. A great opportunity to make new friends and develop lasting relationships.
We meet four times a year; our next dates are 25 Jan/ 18 April/ 11 July/ 17 October 2020
Please get in touch with St Giles Church Office on 01604 628623 to reserve a place for yourself or your relatives to attend. 

St Giles Church, St Giles Terrace, Northampton NN1 2BN 

I Remember Part 10

Place: RAF Khormaksar, ADEN

Time: 2230 hrs 3 July 1965

Temperature: 82 Fahrenheit

So here I was 22 years old, married, 2 children and now I had been posted to this flyblown sweatbox for how long I had no idea. But the immediate order was that we were to bed down for the night and then to be assigned in the morning. 
At 05.30 the next morning I was awoken and after going through my ablutions, we went to the dining hall for breakfast. I said to the guy who was showing us around that it did seem to be getting rather warm very quickly. He laughed and said this is what they call the cool season. I found out later that average temperature daily hit 96.8 F (36 C).
On reporting to the orderly room for the Ordnance Depot, MELF, (Middle East Land Forces). I found that I already knew several guys which is always handy. I was assigned to the Vehicle Depot. But as usual with the army, nothing is straight forward.
To explain; on being posted to a foreign posting a regiment would be sent as a complete unit and was usually sent for a “tour” of 6 or 12 months.  Families were not sent on the short tours. If it was a longer tour then families would be included.  If you were in a corps such as RAOC, REME, RAMC etc.  then a tour would be for 18 months minimum. Usually, it was 3 years and families would be included if you qualified for quarters.  I qualified for quarters but Aden had been declared a combat zone and there was a halt to any families being included for the immediate future. In fact, there were plans in place to repatriate all families.  Consequently, I was not accompanied by my family and did not know when I would get to see them again.  In those days there were no mobile phones or internet. The only communication was by mail.
My regular job in the Depot was as a Tech clerk, but after about a week or so I was transferred to the Orderly room in the Vehicle Depot HQ. This was because I was being included in the unit’s football and cricket teams. Also due to the usual army foul-ups, there was a shortage of manpower to maintain all patrols particularly those considered to be soft targets: The orders at the time were:
  1.  No one, including families, are allowed out on their own, you must be accompanied at all times by at least 2 people and they must be armed, so, for example, a wife with her husband must have another person with them, and at least 2 out of the three must be armed, very incongruous when shopping. Shopping list: “sugar, tea, 2 machine guns”.
  2. Never allow you or the people you are with, to be surrounded on the street. 
There were several other rules for shopping or going to the married quarter areas, which I will explain as we come to them. To say this was the strangest place I had been to in my time so far in the military was an understatement. 
Well, later that year I was selected as one of the people to be allowed back to “blighty” for Christmas. The one thing that was guaranteed in Aden was that besides it being the hottest place I had ever been, time very rarely dragged because something was always happening.  Therefore, the time to fly back came quickly and I arrived home 5 days before Christmas. 
I explained to Tina why I was refused married quarters. The fact that only 2 weeks before, there had been an attack on a teenagers party; a terrorist got into a community hall and planted a bomb which killed  3 and injuring several more, rather proved my point. However, this meant that we would apart for a while yet.  At this time, we had been married for 3 years and actually been together for about 5 months. Still, whilst home I managed to see the Cobblers on Boxing day. It soon came around and I had to fly back to Aden, it would be another 18 months before coming home. 
On returning, it was back to ‘normal’, work at ungodly hours and hellish temperatures. There were occasional moments of light relief and at this point I would like to introduce a few individuals: Norman “Piglet” Pearson, “Scouse” Jones, Davy “Wee Dram” Macpherson, Hector Little, Mick “Hell on wheels” Helliwell and “Geordie “ Littlejohn. These were the residents of Banda 108, (a Banda being the billet/ barrack) we were assigned. Ours was the nearest to the outer perimeter (about 600 yards) and we had at least one or two drive-by shootings and a number of grenade attacks every 2 or 3 months. 

Looking out of our 'Banda' In the distance is hellfire bend, a bend in the back road into Crater district. We had countless grenade attacks and drive-by shootings by terrorists. We were the closest at 500 yards but no one from our banda was hurt in any attack. Unfortunately others were not so lucky.

Where 'geordie' McIntosh dug his crocodile pool before he was shipped home for being 'sand happy'

 The bar area of the Ord Depot club used by all ranks below sergeant. Officers and sergeants had to be invited to enter.   Bob Chatterton and I repainted it.

 Anyway, one day on going back to the Banda, myself and Piglet after completing a 24-hour patrol/guard duty,  came across one of the guys Geordie MacIntosh digging a big hole in the sand outside the Banda. “What you doing Geordie?” I asked, “Digging a pool”, says Geordie. “What's the pool for?”…  “Crocodiles,”  he says. I gave a nod to Piglet and he knew what I wanted him to do.  While I carried on chatting to Geordie, Piglet went for our duty Officer. He arrived, and after assessing called the medics. The upshot was that Geordie was hospitalised. He had what was known as “gone sand happy” the first one I came across, but certainly not the last. This is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 
As you may realise, that Aden campaign was a “cock-up” and we were informed by the government that we were to withdraw and give the locals independence.  However, no one knew who we were to hand over to, or indeed when.  By this point, the two main forces of the rebels were fighting each other. In fact, the whole sorry mess was to drag out for another year. In this period quite a lot of men lost their lives. 
This was probably the only time in my service that I, along with quite a lot of squaddies, were voicing opinions on what was happening with the situation. A good example was we had instructions that if we apprehended a suspect we had to call out “Stop or I shoot” 3 times in Arabic if they attempted to escape, or if they attacked. As usual, the top brass had us fighting with one hand behind our backs.
It was at this time later in 1966 that myself and a couple of the guys went to the main area for what was left of the families which was considered safe; the Maala Straight. We were celebrating England's world cup win which we had heard on the radio. After wandering around the bazaar trying to find something for wife and kids, we ended up at Chings Sin’s bar, a well-known watering hole. Many hours later I ended up at the rear gate to the camp rather inebriated.  Luckily for me, the Welsh Guards had duty that week, the guard commander was one Frank Wilson, who I had been at school with. He realised the I had left the camp with others, found out where I had been, put me in a vehicle and took me to the bar where the guys still were, wondering where I was. It turned out that I had gone back to camp straight through one of the main Arab areas, unarmed and alone. Frank left me there with the others and they took me along to one of our mates who had his family with him and thanks to them; Larry and Viv Coulson who sobered me up enough to be taken back later to camp. I still think I was a very lucky man, considering how many were lost there. The silliest thing I did whilst in the service.
By now it was November 1966, no leave this time, at least not back in “blighty” but  4 of us were offered a trip to Mombassa, Kenya on board a Navy vessel and return 2 weeks later. This was very pleasant, we went to the Tsavo National park and Nairobi, to say it was different from what we had become accustomed to is an understatement.
On returning to Aden the inter-faction fighting of the rebels and the attacks on the British troops and their families had increased considerably.  The troops and police of the SAA (South Arabian Army) had rebelled, once allied with the British but now were against us.  All British families had been sent home and in March of 1967, I departed from the fly blown sand heap called Aden.  I can honestly say that of all the places I have been this was the only one I’ve never wanted to return to. Aden and the Protectorate are now part of what is now called Yemen.
On return, I was posted to Central Ordnance Depot, Bicester and was allocated married quarters, so Tina and I after 5 years of being married would actually be living together. I will let you know how things turn out in the next episode.
       I look forward to the next time.    Doug
A Little Background on The Aden Emergency
The Aden Emergency, also known as the Radfan Uprising, was an armed insurgency by NLF  (National Liberation Front)and FLOSY (Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen) during the Cold War against British forces stationed in South Arabia, a protectorate of the British Empire, which now form part of Yemen. Partly inspired by Nasser's pan-Arab nationalism, it began on 14 October 1963 with the throwing of a grenade at a gathering of British officials at Aden Airport. A state of emergency was then declared in the British Crown colony of Aden and its hinterland, the Aden Protectorate. The emergency escalated in 1967 and hastened the end of British rule in the territory which had begun in 1839. On 30 November 1967, British forces withdrew and the independent People's Republic of South Yemen was proclaimed.

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 in touch with 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 the Quiz

1) Jaques Vilieneuve  (canada)        
2) Vietnam  
3) Dr. Finlay's  casebook  
4) Moscow     
5) King John       
6)  b -- gaudy  

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And Finally...
A couple of weeks ago while out walking someone said they felt really cold. I said you should wear a hat because as everyone knows you lose 40% of your body heat from your head. Not So! It's a myth said the hatless lady's spouse, a myth put about by the US Military in WWII to get their guys to wear hats.  No, not another of my gran's stalwart sayings debunked.  What about the others? Did I miss out on sitting next to my teenage crush all those years ago? She sitting on a concrete step, me standing there like a lemon torn between a cuddle or terminal piles. Why is my world being torn apart by all these truth-tellers?  What other 'facts' that shaped my life are wrong?  So many, here are but a few...
  • Eating junk food and chocolate causes spots.   Nope!
  • Peeing on a jellyfish sting will reduce the pain. Nope!  Vinegar works, urine is not acidic enough.
  • Sitting too close to the TV will make you blind. Nope! back in the 1960's General Electric produced a TV that emitted 100,000 times the max radiation allowed. They were recalled but the myth continues.
  • Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis. No gran was fibbing, again!
  • Carrots, eyesight. Naw.
  • Chewing gum if swallowed takes years to digest. Nope! another porkie!
  • Stop that or you'll go blind.  No thank god.

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