Newsletter No. 013

Well, still locked down, but life goes on, what have you all been up to? I grew some tomato and pepper plants from seed, first time ever. Time will tell but I think I might just corner the market in stunted, dwarf, brown on the edges dodgy-looking veg. I've also managed to cut down on sweeteners in my coffee, so long as I have about 4 chocolate biscuits with it!  Yes, I saw all those people coming out of the supermarkets with toilet rolls and hand cleaner and thought 'I must save the biscuits!'  I knew they would come in handy.  Well, enjoy the newsletter. Please let us know if there is any subject you want covering be it quizzes, recipes, stories or whatever. your feedback is important.

We hope you enjoy this and the previous issues but if you missed any and would like to see them email Sylvia and she will gladly send any you have missed.

[email protected]

In preparation for our new website
Its been a while but we are moving on with our new website, As well as the archive for our newsletters, (which will be available as web pages and PDF's) we hope to bring lots of new information on all aspects of living with Parkinson's and have it in one place so you can find it easily.

We would like to introduce two new email addresses for contacting us.

For all newsletter enquiries its       [email protected]

For all other enquiries its       [email protected]

Telephone support and practical assistance
So If you need to talk, or need some practical assistance please get in touch. Our little band of volunteers are all on call
Email us at [email protected]


COVID 19 Virtual FitnFab
Virtual Fitnfab is up and running via 'ZOOM' conferencing app. The app is available for PC, laptop, smartphone and Tablets

Angela will send you a link if you want to join in, It's free but as Angela has paid to have an uninterrupted professional conference session a small donation would be gratefully received (a post-emergency bucket will be available after the emergency!)

Currently two sessions a week Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 am  A mix of social and light exercise.
As you will be exercising at home we strongly suggest you remain seated during the exercises. Obviously you will not have the same people at hand and we do not want any accidents. So please stay safe and use a stable solid chair without wheels such as a dining chair.
Get your FitnFab fix twice a week.  on your PC, Laptop, Tablet, or smartphone. As you can see here, if you have a laptop and an HDMI cable, you can put Angela up on the telly too!

Email    [email protected] to receive an invite link
A Little bit of Tech Helps a Lot

Using Zoom is opening up new possibilities of keeping in touch for Fit&Fab group. We have had three sessions so far and the first was a bit tricky and really just a tester, but good fun all the same. The second we still had a few teething problems but managed to get some exercises in and a minutes silence for the NHS and front line services. Session three saw more attendees and less technical hitches - by the time we are released we will all be experts. Doug, who writes the 'I Remember' memoirs in this newsletter, had quite a few technical difficulties to begin with but now he has got the hang of 'zooming' and his large extended family are now organising regular meetings for them all to stay in touch. This is giving Doug something to look forward to and to continue to feel connected to the people who are important to him.... so our advice - technology is worth embracing if you have the patience and the equipment!! 

Friday Walks - Abington Park
Tuesday Walks - The Racecourse

We are doing the right thing and abiding by the Governments Guidelines and our communal walks are now cancelled. We urge those who can exercise safely (with a family member) to continue with a single exercise no more than once a day if you can maintain 2 metres from other people.  We urge you to stay safe during this very trying time.

Let's get Quizzical
  1.  Who was the first British person to win a Nobel Prize for Literature?
  2.  Which cocktail is made using olive brine or olive juice and is garnished with an olive?
  3. What year did the Beatles split?
  4. Who was the first female artist to achieve a UK number one with a self-written song?
  5. What is the largest landlocked country in the world?
  6. Which French brothers invented the first films?
  7. What is Britain’s longest motorway?
  8. In cooking, Florentine means served with which vegetable?

Sylvia's Gardening Tips


The spring-flowering bulbs have now finished blooming. If you have grown them in pots as I did and you want to replant the pots with something for the summer, snip the flower heads off and let the foliage turn yellow.

 I then carefully pull the bulbs out, shake all the soil from the roots, and gently trim the roots.   Then I lay them out in the sun (try not to leave them out in the rain) to dry.    All that remains to be done then is rub any loose bits off and store in a cool place (garage or shed) either in nets or paper bags.   I use the netting that oranges come in from the supermarket.     When autumn arrives they can be replanted. 
Anyone who has grown an amaryllis bulb and the foliage is starting to turn yellow should turn the pot on its side and store in a shed.   In the Autumn gently rub off the brown and crisped leaves and you should see a tiny little bit of fresh green growth emerging from the bulb.    Now is the time to repot it ready for another fabulous display of flowers.
One of my favourite plants for the garden is a herbaceous perennial called Agastache.     It has a long flowering season from mid-summer right through to Autumn.       I have a white one in my garden and have just ordered a couple of purple ones for delivery mid-May.   This plant has mint-scented leaves and is absolutely adored by bees, butterflies etc.    Cuttings can be taken in late summer.

Everything in the garden is responding well to the warmth of the sunshine, even me! Apple blossom is out, sugar snap peas and carrots growing like mad and the tomatoes are racing ahead. At the same time, the slugs are staging a military-style attack at everything that is in front of them. I may have to resort to trying to drown them in beer. Whoops! No beer! Wonder if wine (shame to waste it on slugs) or fruit squash would work?

I Remember Part 12

Place: 221 BVD RAOC, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Vehicle Depot, ROAC, attached 3 BOD, Singapore

As the year 1968 slipped away, I must comment on the matter of spending winter, Christmas and New Year in 70 - 90 f degree heat with 70% humidity; it was very surreal at first. I was busy with closing 2 JWS (Jungle Warfare School) which was put on temporary hold when two platoons turned up. We were instructed to issue vehicles and requested kit to them and they were to be based at the almost empty JWS camp.
All went as required with as little fuss as possible, we were given no hint of what was afoot. I carried on disposed of all items as we had now been given instructions to close 221 BVD as well. All stock was to be moved to Singapore. The personnel were also to go to Singapore or back to Blighty.
Christmas came and went, and the start of the run down began, then vehicles and equipment were returned by the mysterious platoons, some were now decorated with holes in them; quite clearly from bullets and/or grenades. No questions were allowed, and no reasons supplied. It later transpired that two platoons of SAS, who along with Malaysian special forces, had put down an insurgence of communist terrorists on the Malaya/Thai border (Remember this was at the same time as the Vietnam war).
Tina now informed me that she was pregnant again (our fourth). She was given the option of going home but it would have meant giving up our abode and I would still be in Malaya. She took the option of staying. It was around this time that she had one of her happenings...
One Sunday morning I was playing with the boys in the garden. Tina was sitting writing a letter in the sitting room. All of a sudden there was an almighty scream, so I rushed inside. Tina was sitting at the bureau just pointing and she was as white as the proverbial sheet. What she was pointing at was sitting on her writing pad, it was dark-ish brown in colour with very hairy legs and about 8 to 9 inches across. It turned out to be a Malayan Brown Widow spider, apparently quite rare as myself, my boys and a couple of chaps who killed it were discussing. Tina was not amused and made it known, but it was still interesting.
As time passed, we were moved to Singapore. If we had thought our house in Johore was palatial, the one in Singapore was another step up, but totally different. In Johore it had been all about space, here in the new one, known as ‘Air View Towers’, it was luxury. There was 40 flats or rather apartments and we were on the 4th floor. On entry to the apartment on the left, was a small room especially for slippers, we always had to change footwear on entry (there were enough extra slippers for 10 guests). The first sitting room was around 20 x 20 foot containing a 3-piece suite of rattan cane with very comfy cushions and a couple of Afghan rugs. The next room was a dining room; oak dining suite decorated in a lemon-coloured theme including the walls and window drapes. The first sitting room was in rose pink. Then there was the kitchen which was a good size with an island in the centre and all the latest mod cons. We had two bathrooms both with mosaic tiles, one in yellow, one in green and both with showers. Then we had another large living room, complete with furniture, 3-piece suite, tables etc. There was an entry through the French windows to the front balcony with rattan cane furniture on it. There were three bedrooms all carpeted and furnished complete with mosquito nets. Also, there was a room next to the front entry for the Armah (servant).

We also had use of a swimming pool in the basement and also the use of a gym/workout room. There were only 6 military families in the towers, the other inhabitants were Singaporean, Chinese and as I recall, Swedish and French families. The rent per annum was $25,000 Singapore, to us £4 17s 6d a week. I never did find out how much the army had negotiated the contract, but it would have been a lot more than that. The military wives thought this accommodation was unbelievable, this was living at it's best.
Two or three times a week we would be invited to events by some of the residents and Tina and I did attend a few, We also went to the Raffles Hotel (where Tina imbibed a couple of genuine Singapore slings, but it was expensive so most of our visits were to the Union Jack Club (military) opposite, great pool and good food. Sometimes we would go out to the Mandarin Hotel that would be around midnight on a Saturday. To say we were enjoying life would be an understatement, Tina always said that this was the best place she had ever been to and you can understand why. 
There was only one problem while we were there: At the rear of the towers was a small Chinese canyon (village) where there was a shop that sold ice poles which the kids loved. One day the two eldest came home from school and then pestered Tina for ice poles. they went by themselves to get them. This meant they had to go out the back of the towers through the elephant grass following the trails to the Canton. It was an adventure, especially when Carolyn would ask for
the ices in Chinese. She had learnt words like please and thank you, she was now 7 and the couple who owned the shop loved it. Well, as they were running to the shop Bob fell straight into an ant’s nest, within seconds there were ants crawling all over him. Carolyn started screaming, I happened to be on the rear balcony on the first floor, I jumped from the first floor, around 20 foot, and sprinted to him (I could then). I picked him up and by now he was covered by hundreds of the ants, all biting as I could now feel. I got him back to the rear door of the block where there was a hosepipe connected for the
cleaner. I hosed him down then got him up the stairs to the shower. No lasting damage was done, except that he still hates ants and remembers the incident vividly, even though he was only 4 at the time and is now 54.
This was a slice of life that you don’t see in a travelogue.

Until the next time, Doug

Recipes of the Month
(Yes, two recipes this month both from Sylvia)
Brazilian Coconut Chicken Curry


  • 1 red onion diced
  • 10g chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon chilli
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 100g peanut butter
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 kg of chicken breast
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 15 g cornflour

Put all ingredients in slow cooker cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

My slow cooker is divided into two halves so I halved the amount of chicken and coconut milk and put in one side of the cooker. As I had opened the tin of coconut milk I decided to put a load of vegetables into the other side along with the remainder of the coconut milk and all of the herbs and spices. I ended up with three portions of chicken and two of vegetable curry. Good for the freezer.

I must admit I did add extra chilli, a teaspoon of garam masala and a teaspoon of madras powder as I do like my curry medium hot and spicy.

If you haven’t got a slow cooker I would imagine this could be cooked just as well in a large casserole dish in a very low oven.

My thanks to Nanette for sharing this recipe with me. It is definitely one I would do again, so yummy!

Rhubarb and Vanilla Cake


  • 175g softened butter
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 30g rhubarb cut into 2cm pieces and tossed with a little lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • Icing sugar to dust

Grease and line a 23cm rectangular baking tin
Beat butter and caster sugar, then beat in eggs and vanilla.
Fold in the self-raising flour followed by the drained rhubarb.
Gently pour the mixture into the tin and sprinkle the top generously with the demerara sugar.
Cook at 180c for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack then dust the top with a little icing sugar.
The cake will keep for a week in an airtight container.

When I made this I decided to have some of it as a pudding with custard.    Heavenly!


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.  Rudyard Kipling 1907
  2. Dirty Martini
  3. 1970
  4. Kate Bush
  5. Kazakstan 
  6. Lumiere Brothers
  7. M6
  8. Spinach

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

And Finally...
Inspiration is all around us at the moment, Captain Tom has proved that there are many people in this country that care and give so generously. The services that we all depend on but don't realise their importance until times such as this are still operating every day.  but we can all do with a stirring quote now and then and here's a cracker 

Eleanor Roosevelt
Oscar Wilde once said 'Life imitates art far more than Art imitates Life. It seems the current situation is no different. Life, as we are now living it, is imitating art.  The video below shows how that is. I particularly like the last two images as they show how life should resume, hopefully very soon.
Enjoy this little trip through and out of the current situation
through some classic art images
(may open a new browser window)
And really finally a poem

 I'm normally a social girl
 I love to meet my mates
 But lately with the virus here
 We can't go out the gates.

 You see, we are the 'oldies' now
 We need to stay inside
 If they haven't seen us for a while
 They'll think we've upped and died.

 They'll never know the things we did
 Before we got this old
 There wasn't any Facebook
 So not everything was told.

 We may seem sweet old ladies
 Who would never be uncouth
 But we grew up in the 60s -
 If you only knew the truth!

 There was sex and drugs and rock 'n roll
 The pill and miniskirts
 We smoked, we drank, we partied
 And were quite outrageous flirts.

 Then we settled down, got married
 And turned into someone's mum,
 Somebody's wife, then nana,
 Who on earth did we become?

 We didn't mind the change of pace
 Because our lives were full
 But to bury us before we're dead
 Is like a red rag to a bull!

 So here you find me stuck inside
 For 4 weeks, maybe more
 I finally found myself again
 Then I had to close the door!

 It didn't really bother me
 I'd while away the hour
 I'd bake for all the family
 But I've got no bloody flour!

 Now Netflix is just wonderful
 I like a gutsy thriller
 I'm swooning over Idris
 Or some random sexy killer.

 At least I've got a stash of booze
 To while away the time
 There is wine and whiskey, even gin
 I’ve even got a lime.

 So let's all drink to lockdown
 To recovery and health
 And hope this bloody virus
 Doesn't decimate our wealth.

 We'll all get through the crisis
 And be back to join our mates
 Just hoping I'm not far too wide
 To fit through the flaming gates!
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