Newsletter No. 011

Rain, rain wind and rain. We hope you are all safe, well and above water this month. I've just finished a nice big pancake for Shrove Tuesday, (That crêped up on us didn't it!) And now I'm finishing off another Newsletter. Already two months gone doesn't the time fly. Now is the time to save water, we can expect standpipes at the end of the street soon as the summer heatwave hits. In the meantime, settle down and have a jolly good read.

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
Tuesday Walks - The Racecourse
Just to remind everyone that we walk in Abington Park every Friday. And now also on the Racecourse every Tuesday. Both walks start at 10:30 am. Meet near the Tennis courts in Abington Park and at the Pavilion car park at the Racecourse

Everyone is welcome –if you would like more info about either of the walks you can email Sylvia at [email protected]

Northamptonshire Younger Parkinson's Group are going to The National Memorial Arboretum on Thursday 23rd April 2020. It's in Alrewas, Staffordshire. Their website is

They are going by coach and there will be pickups in  Kettering, Wellingborough, and Northampton.  NYPSG members go free.  Non members are invited to join us at a cost of £15.00 per person.  

Entry into the Arboretum grounds is free but donations are appreciated.  There is a restaurant/cafe on-site, or you can take a picnic with you to enjoy in the grounds of the Arboretum.  

A land train with audio tour, guided walks and buggy tours are available. A limited number of motorised scooters can also be booked in advanced costing £5 per day.  (book on their website

If you are interested in joining us on the day out, please can you let Liz Birch know by email ([email protected]) or at our next Support Group Meeting, on Saturday 7th March.  

Let's get Quizzical
  1. Who created and played the character "Ali G"?
  2. Tevye and his wife Golde, are the main characters in which musical?
  3. What is the habit of ONYCHOPHAGY better known as?
  4. Who is the author of the "Just so stories" and the "Jungle Book"?
  5. EBORACUM was the Roman name for which english city?
  6. What is the meaning of the word  CYNOSURE?
                 A) Centre of attention       B) Assassin        C) Sheepdog

Sylvia's Gardening Tips
Common fig tree---Brown Turkey.
I love fresh figs so I thought why not grow a fig tree. The common Brown Turkey fig tree grows well in this country. Especially so if grown in a pot. It will be more likely to produce fruit when planted in a pot as it prefers to be pot bound. They also love coffee grounds believe it or not!
The inside of a fig is not actually a fruit, it is a flower. Some fig trees need to be pollinated and this is where the Blastophaga wasp comes in. It burrows itself through a minute hole in the pip, pollinates the flower and then, having done its job, dies. Fortunately, the brown turkey fig does not need pollinating which is just as well as the wasp doesn't live in the UK.  (If you have a Fig tree that isn't self-pollinating in the UK the chances of getting fruit is very slim!)
More about this in future editions.
Remember the bulb burgers from last October. Well, they are looking beautiful with the dwarf daffodils just appearing.
Time to think about planting first early potatoes. They will grow well in a bag if your space is limited. However, it is best to ‘chit’ them before planting. Stand the potatoes with the ‘eye’ facing upwards in an old egg box or similar container for a few weeks in a cool place until the shoots are about half-inch long and looking healthy. The picture shows mine which have been ‘chitting’ for two weeks. I will plant them out at the end of February.
Also cut back to ground level any buddleia shrubs you have.    The flowers are produced on the current year’s growth .   Good hard cut back is beneficial to both shrub and flowers. This shrub is  a must for any garden as it attracts masses of butterflies
And finally if you have any deciduous ornamental grasses then now is the time to chop them right back before the new shoots appear.

Giving Parkinson’s a hard time.

Another footballing story - Team Tactics

Simon Ingram
Can I begin this latest offering with an apology? Most people will very quickly pick-up on the football theme running through my work. I’m sorry but, anyone who knows me will appreciate that football is a way of life for me, my club QPR long since attacking my brain cells and turning them into a sort of footie soup!
The benefit of belonging to the same club for 17 years [Team Parkinson’s] is you get to understand your weaknesses when facing the opposition. In my opinion, my team has many superb factors including, a sound defence, often tackling the disease head-on. A combative & creative midfield, more than capable of creating numerous opportunities for our strikers. Unfortunately, the attacking options are a ‘bought in’ service. In my opinion, the charity set up in our name isn’t pulling its weight. There seems to be an almost complete focus on making the organisation look good, sadly, without substance. They appear to have forgotten why they exist! If we wanted a seemingly top-heavy management structure where it’s possible to dictate policy without getting your hands dirty then BINGO! Sadly, this is far from beneficial for those of us at the business end of the battle with the disease. This isn’t a whinge, it could indeed be a misunderstanding. Perhaps the organisation does ask questions of the people affected by Parkinson’s, they just haven’t got to ‘I’ for Ingram yet? Where I really score heavily is the help and support of my family. As families go, my bunch are brilliant, all tried and tested members of the ‘Give Parkinson’s a Hard-time’ club.
The Ingram family see them all on a regular basis, every time we get together I instantly relax in their company. I’m not sure any of them truly appreciate how much energy I get from simply being around them. However, I can’t claim the family members are all tough and easily brush-off the symptoms of my neurological meltdown as I can see the sadness in their eyes. What I say with confidence is they all listen, they all offer help and they all do more
helping to fund causes who offer assistance to people with Parkinson’s…Now doesn’t that sound helpful!

A Trio of Parkinson's Nurses

We recently got all three of our Parkinson's Nurses together at a FitnFab exercise class. Katie Lee (left) is the newest member of the team. She joins Mel Smith and Debbie Smith.

Katie has been in Nursing for eleven years and has worked in A & E, Trauma and Orthopaedic departments and more recently worked in Cransley Hospice. She is interested in long term conditions and in particular Parkinson's disease.

I'm sure you all have their numbers but just in case its 01604 678120 for South of the county and 01933 235850 for North of the county.

I Remember Part 11

Central Ordnance Depot, RAOC, Bicester
221 BVD, RAOC, Johor Bahru, Malasia

Time: 1967
At last, my wife and I after 5 years of married life, the birth of 2 children ( Carolyn and Robert), were to be living together. In previous times we had actually spent 6 to 8 months of actually living as a family. This separation had taken its toll on our relationship; one instance brought this matter home when I was selected for a trial for the Depot cricket eleven, I joined without consulting Tina, (my wife). This resulted in a first-class row but this resolved itself with concessions on both parts. I soon realised that this was to be our way forward. Our married quarters were at 25, West Hawthorn Road, Ambrosden, Oxfordshire - our first married home.
My job at the depot was at the Headquarters as part of the emergency “Red Star” unit. This was collating all requirement information that had been forwarded from the front line units to the forward ordnance units, then to the central depot, whatever was required the necessary paperwork was raised and then passed to the depot responsible. Compared to my previous jobs this was very quiet because a lot of the work was sensitive to time, it meant that a lot of it was done at night. This entailed having to work 2/3 nights a week, obviously,
this didn’t go down well with Tina. I had only been at the unit for a couple of months when we had our first major world crisis; the “six-day war” which started in June 1967. As we still had some forces in the area there was plenty of urgent messages flying about, many concerning stores requirements, vehicles and ammunition
On a personal front, Tina and I were getting on with our lives, which she adapted to quite readily. It was at the beginning of September that we found that Tina was once again with child, our third. It would be due at the beginning of March. I was also doing quite well with the depot cricket team and then at the end of summer the football team. This occasionally led to words between us but as she reminded her mother when she sometimes tried to interfere “At least I know where he is most of the time.” So, all in all, a reasonable posting, and we settled down as a family, Tina’s pregnancy was going along quite well, and there was the supposed advantage that both our families were only an hour or so away from Bicester in Northampton.
Our older 2 children were getting used to living in a new place, plus being quite near to relatives had people visit for birthdays and being included all together for family “do’s “. So Christmas ’68 arrived and then the next event was the arrival of son number 2 who we named Michael. He checked in in March 1968.
But as you good folks will have noticed that just as things were going along nicely, something always intervened to knock everything of course. In this instance, it was a notice of a posting for me to Commonwealth Brigade detachment, RAOC, Malacca, Malaysia due to take place in August. This meant that if I accepted the posting as offered with married quarters and we travelled as a family, then the baby would be only around 12 weeks old. If I went without the family, I had no idea if or even when they would join me. No one knew when married quarters would become available again, and we didn’t have much time to make our minds up; about a week. Tina came to the decision that she wanted to come with me this time as I could be gone for 3 years or longer.
It was a bit of a wrench for Tina to give up the house, but it had to be done and she had made several friends who had moved a few times and they reassured her that where we were going would be great. So, the day came and we said goodbye to the families (we had stopped for a week at Tina’s parents) and
my father in law had borrowed a minibus to take us to Brize Norton.
The journey there was a nightmare and the baby was ill most of the time. We arrived in Singapore (via RAF Gan. ) where it was decided to put the baby in the British Military Hospital, Singapore. The decision was made that I would not be with Commonwealth brigade and my posting would be with 221 Base Vehicle Depot, Johore Bahru, Malaysia. We had our quarters allocated which was quite a palatial pad and was only an hour from the BMH so Tina could spend as much time as she wanted to look after the baby. Thankfully they found what was wrong with the little one which turned out to be a food allergy; an intolerance to lactose in his milk and later also Gluten in bread. Although it sounds a minor complaint now, remember this was in 1968.
In the meantime, we had a beautiful house, 4 bedrooms, 2 bath/shower rooms both tiled (1 green and 1 yellow) 2 reception rooms, a large kitchen utility room and servants quarters. The servants were known as armah’s. You had to find the servants yourself, but they were paid for by the army, so you had to work on recommendation from others. Our quarters were once the home of a rubber estates manager. I, with a great deal of help from Tina, found a first-class armah named Muna. Muna doted on our children and was a great help to Tina; she would insist that if she thought Tina needed a rest she would say “Missy you go rest, I tell you when time to collect little missy from school”

This then was our life.
Doug, somewhere in Malaya.

The Keep Safe Scheme
The Keep Safe Scheme was initially launched in 2011 for people with learning disabilities. It proved a popular way for cardholders and their families to feel the vulnerable person was safe when they were out and about. Many other organisations were keen to be able to provide the card to their service users and so, with financial support from Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, the scheme was relaunched in April 2018.

The expansion of the scheme has enabled new member organisations to sign up as key partners. These organisations include Northamptonshire Association for the Blind, Age UK, Autism East Midlands, Mind,
Northamptonshire Carers and Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.

The project encourages people with a disability, condition or illness which may make them vulnerable, to sign up as Keep Safe Card holders. When a person registers they are provided with a Keep Safe Card, which holds some basic details about the person's needs as well as contact details for people close to them, such as family or carers, who can be telephoned in an emergency. The card also gives an idea of how best to help and support the cardholder.

The card can then be shown whenever the holder feels worried about their safety or in need of assistance in any way and helps people supporting them to understand their needs if they are in crisis. Help may be found in shops, libraries, leisure centres, GP surgeries or anywhere a person feels they can ask for support. Countywide business and public-facing organisations have received information about the Keep Safe Scheme so as many staff as possible are aware of how to help someone who may show them a Keep Safe card.

The information about the cardholder is also held on a secure database, which the three emergency services (police, fire and ambulance) have access to, to be able to support the person in the best possible way. For more information and to find out how to register for a Keep Safe card please visit

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) Sacha Baron Cohen   
2) Fiddler on the roof
3) Nail-biting
4) Rudyard Kipling     
5) York 
6) A the centre of attention  

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And Finally...
It's really rewarding to see a newsletter going out. Alright, it's hardly the Times or even the Sun but it gives us (I'm sure all the others feel the same) a sense of achievement. My job is to set the letter out and fill in the blank bits. As I don't have a set subject I wait for inspiration to strike. Sometimes I have to wait a long time.  I was sitting at home with a coffee, Tv on and adverts blabbing on, half listening and then it struck me. We are being force-fed a load of old drivel.  I got my pencil and pad and made a few notes. In one day of Ad scrutiny, I heard...
  • 'We tested this on real people'  As opposed to made-up ones!!
  • 'made with the essence of Horse Chestnuts'  what a load of Conkers!!!
  • 'I didn't even know Oral B  made a toothpaste'  What did you think they made then, Eyedrops?
  • 'Only'  as in only £899.98!
I did find one advert gave me a severe case of earworm you know when a song sticks inside your head and you cannot get rid of it, I knew it from somewhere but could not recall it. Well, I found the solution just type in the product and you can get the Title and Artist of the music. 

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