Newsletter No. 015

Friends, what would this pandemic be without them.  Ringing , texting, zooming. Neighbours have become more, well, neighbourly. I walk the dogs and people I barely know (we all recognise and know the dogs) ask how are you, keep well, stay safe or stop and chat. It's a little bit generational though, those with a phone to their ear or those little white cheese sticks in their ear (I'm told they are Bluetooth earphones) are a bit miserable. I still say a cheery good morning to them. It's polite and seems to unsettle them which cheers me up no end.

My friend Christopher,  used to meet a little bear in the woods near his house. The bear had a little saying.  A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.

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]

Contacting Us
We now have a new help line number it is:
01327 612333
Leave a message with your number and we will call you back.
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]

Help line number is: 01327 612333
leave a message with your number and we will call you back.
Information Document
Parkinson's Benefits - Can I claim?
By Angela Jeffery

Hi everyone I hope you are all ok and managing to get by in these strange times? One of the concerns that people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s have is whether they may be eligible to claim benefits. There is no doubt that managing long-term health conditions, which impacts on your mobility will have financial implications. The good news is that you may be entitled to benefits if your Parkinson’s symptoms are affecting your day to day activities. Below is a list of benefits that you might be interested in applying for:

If you want help with any of these benefits and would like to discuss your options call our helpline on 01327 612333 or email [email protected]

Personal Independent Payment - (PIP) is a non means tested benefit that helps with the extra costs of a long-term health condition or disability for people aged 16 up to age 65 (or State Pension age whichever is higher). It is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). You could get between £23.60 and £151.40 a week and the amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself. You can claim PIP whether you are working or not and you must have a health condition or disability where you have difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months.

Attendance Allowance – (AA) is a non means tested benefit for people of State Pension age or older. It is to support people who have difficulties or need help with daily living due to disability or illness. AA is paid at two different rates; you could get £59.70 or £89.15 a week. You do not need to have someone else care for you in order to claim. If you have been on the lower level for a while it may be worth reviewing if you are now experiencing difficulties during the night time.

Employment Support Allowance – (ESA) You can apply for ESA if you are under State Pension age and you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. You can apply whether you're in or out of work. There are conditions to working while claiming ESA.

Universal Credits – (UC) is a payment to help with your living costs, for people under state pension age. It’s paid monthly - or twice a month for some people in Scotland. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work. UC is slowly replacing; Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-related ESA, Working Tax Credits.

Carers Allowance- If you provide help and support to someone who claims AA or PIP and you spend 35 hours or more helping them, you may be eligible. All the following must also apply: you are over 16, live in England for at least 2 of the last 3 years, not in full-time education or studying 21 hours or more a week and not earn more than £128 after-tax, NI and expenses per week. Or you could claim Carers Credit if you are caring for someone for 20 hours a week and you will be credited with National Insurance contributions.

More Benefits for Pensioners and Older People in the UK
Pension credits is an income-related, tax-free benefit for people over the State Pension age. It comes in two parts: - Guarantee Credit – an income top-up for those on low incomes – available for those with a weekly income below £167.25 for single  pensioners and below £255.25 for pensioners with partners. – Savings Credit – this is an extra payment for older people who saved some money towards their retirement. It is only available to those who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

When applying for Pension Credit, the government will look at all your income. This will include both your basic and additional state pension, any income from other pensions, income from any other jobs you have any savings over £10,000.

Receiving pension credit makes you eligible for many more incredibly helpful benefits, so it’s definitely worth applying. You can start your application for Pension Credit four months before you reach State Pension age. To apply, call the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234. You will need to give your NI number, your bank account details, and information about your income. If you receive Pension Credit, even if it’s only a small amount, you can also qualify for the following benefits for pensioners:

Free TV licence from August 2020
Council tax reduction
Housing benefit – for those who pay rent
Cold weather payments
And several others
COVID 19 Virtual FitnFab
Angela is still running Virtual Fit n' Fab sessions twice a week 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.
COVID 19 Virtual Quiz

Our Virtual quiz is running every Fortnite Saturday morning 11.00 AM. If you do not get an invite to FitnFab you probably are not on the quiz list either.  You can get on either or both by emailing...
A Walk in the Park!

Writing an article on walking in what is without question testing times for us all isn’t as straight forward as I first thought. We in Fit and Fab have Angela to thank for keeping us well connected (and sane!) with our individual stories of daily life during lockdown, while at the same time giving us a twice-weekly workout. But it isn’t that walk in the park.
Photo: Richard on the right with Brian another Poles in the Park regular.
Now this isn’t going to be an announcement for the restart of the Tuesday and Friday walks, we won’t be doing that until we are all confident (and have medical clearance) that it is safe. (Let’s face it, the irresponsible actions televised over the recent days makes you want to run for cover anyway).
However, let’s be positive and proactive; YES!
So, how’s your memory of walking with poles? Yes, under the title of Nordic Walking! (Well the impossible title had to come up in the script at some time didn’t it?).
Right, I’ll own up. Until last Friday I hadn’t used mine either. My excuse, well, by the time I had taken the dog (Freckle or Freck for short) for the permitted daily exercise, that was it. You just can’t do what you have to do with a dog and have two poles to contend with at the same time; now can you?
So, what happened last Friday?
I had just the right occasion to use my poles on a 5+ mile walk around Draycote Water (near Southam and Dunchurch. No dogs allowed) with four of my old work colleagues. Knowing they generally have a quicker walking pace than mine, I knew that with the aid of the poles I was going to be able to keep up, and keep up I did. The walk was completed in just under 2 hours including a 15minute stop about halfway for a Cherry Bakewell and a drink, essential on any walk.
Why the confidence and increase in pace?
Those of you reading this who have already experienced the walks in the park may well remember why, but for those of you who may have forgotten or reading this for the first time, I’ll attempt to explain. The following is an edited version of one of my previous articles as an introduction to Nordic Walking, so some of you may be familiar with the topic and can go and have a cup of tea now! We all acknowledge the fact that exercise does play an important role in slowing the effects of Parkinson’s, and Nordic Walking has growing evidence of its suitability for both movement, stature, and boosting self-confidence. Looking at the here and now, how Nordic Walking has taken off over the year, not just with Fit and Fabs Tuesday and Friday, we have seen more and more other groups of walkers
taking to the activity, including other Parkinson’s groups.

This fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by Parkinson’s UK, and following the previous launch and trial of the Parkinson’s Nordic Walking Champions in February 2018, have started the training of more volunteers to take on the role. The target is to give everyone the
opportunity to experience the benefits that I hope you will find walking with poles. More about this to follow.
So before the ‘why’, and for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the term, what is Nordic Walking? Put very, very simply, it’s walking with the addition of two specially designed poles that enhance regular natural walking. It’s a very accessible activity and can be shared by people of differing fitness, and has no age limits.

So the question, why, and what are the benefits?

From one who knows, the benefits have been impressive. It has increased my awareness when walking to use the whole body and improves my posture, keeping me up straight, and gives me a better stride (or gait) to my walking. For me, I found that within a short space of time I had developed a better awareness of my posture and walk even without the poles, a
point noted by both family and friends.

So yes, I’m absolutely convinced it’s a fun form of beneficial exercise which will get you off
the sofa and with self-confidence to come into the big outdoors!
If you would like to know more, or better still have a go, come along and meet me at Angela Jeffery’s Fit and Fab groups Nordic walking session that meet at Abingdon Park (by the Bowling Greens) at 10.30 on Fridays. Poles will be provided. 

**** Please note that the walks and training are currently suspended until further notice due to the COVID-19 restrictions

Richard Clifft. Parkinson’s Nordic Walking Champion INWA Instructor
(*INWA – International Nordic Walking Federation.)

Just for the record, I may not know much about line dancing, but I am OK at Nordic Walking!
Recipe Of the Month
Flourless Brownies
I shop for a couple down my road as they are isolating and in the at-risk group. She occasionally treats me with a homemade cake. Her Flourless Brownies are in my opinion the best chocolate anything you can eat. She has now given me the recipe. I now give it to the world, starting with you lot!
  • 75 g (3oz) unsalted butter, chopped, plus extra to grease
  • 250 g (9oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 15 g (½oz) cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 250 g (9oz) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100 g (3½oz) ground almonds

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Lightly grease and line a 20.5cm (8in) square tin with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and whisk in cocoa powder, vanilla and sugar until combined.

Next whisk in the eggs, one at a time, before stirring in the ground almonds. Scrape into the prepared tin and level.

Bake for 25-30min or until firm to the touch. Leave to cool completely in the tin. Chill for at least 1hr before cutting into squares.

To store:
Once chilled, keep well wrapped in foil or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days
Let's get Quizzical
  1. Who was the legendary Benedictine monk who invented champagne? 
  2. Name the largest freshwater lake in the world? 
  3. Where would you find the Sea of Tranquility? 
  4. What is someone who shoes horses called?
  5. What item of clothing was named after its Scottish inventor? 
  6. What kind of weapon is a falchion? 
  7. Which word goes before vest, beans and quartet? 
  8. What is another word for lexicon? 
  9. Name the seventh planet from the sun.
  10. Who invented the rabies vaccination?
Sylvia's Gardening Tips


Water, feed and deadhead regularly and your plants will flower throughout the summer and sometimes beyond.

Take cuttings of dianthus (pinks). Select a non-flowering shoot (known as a piping) remove it from the main stem. Pull off the lower leaves and make a neat cut at the bottom of the stem. Trim the upper leave by half. Plant the pipings around the edge of a pot and water well.
A reminder that the great British butterfly count is from 17/7 to 9/8. Please record sightings of butterflies and the type. A chart can be downloaded from which will help to identify the different butterflies.
Most of us are finding DIY jobs around the house and garden. This is just one example of how I have been keeping busy and how one thing leads to another. About 6 weeks ago I was looking through some stuff in the garage. My late husband Bob’s domain. Bless him he was a bit of a hoarder. Many a time he would stoop to pick up a screw from the pavement. I can hear him saying ‘this could come in handy’! Well, anyway, I found a brand new tin of sage green fence paint. I have a side entry between my house and garage where I keep the wheelie bins. There is one 5-6 foot high gate at the front and the same at the back so that the bins are screened from view. Hmmm. I thought I could paint the gate on the back so it will be pleasant to look at when I sit in the garden. I gave it two coats of paint and was really pleased with my handiwork. I felt quite smug actually as jobs like this were always done by Bob. For a few days, I admired my sage green gate and then I thought why not order another tin of paint and do the front gate? So I did and a few days later the front gate was duly painted. Again I felt smug! A couple of weeks later I noticed the climbing/creeping plants on my garden fence were getting out of hand, to say the least, so I began to trim them back. It was really hard work as these plants had
been established for at least eight years. However, with secateurs and my newly acquired pruning saw I managed to cut them back by half. The ivy was particularly difficult and had almost grown itself into the wood of the fence panel. Afterwards sitting with a cup of tea admiring my handiwork I had a light bulb moment (yes! Another one!). What if I was to cut everything down to the ground and clear the whole border and paint the fence a nice sage green? Said fence consists of five full-size panels approximate length of 30 feet. Then when it is painted I could plant two pear trees.

The present situation is that the fence has been cleared and sanded down ready for painting.

I worry what my next light bulb moment will bring!!

Before and after clearing pictures below
I Remember Part 13

Place: 3 B. O. D. (Base Ordnance Depot)

(221 BVD (Base Vehicle Depot. attachment RAOC)


Time: September 1969


At this point, I must point out that I was now less than 2 years away from my discharge from the service. In all probability, I could as things stood, possibly be posted to another station anywhere and my family dispatched back to "blighty".  At the time we had no housing sorted which, with a wife and four children was a worry.

I had already sounded out my mother about the possibility of applying for a council tenancy. She informed me that I could write to the housing department and see. This I did and with mum's assistance we were placed on the Northampton housing list, at the top, so at least that angle was covered.

Christmas came and went, but I must remark on the fantastic New year's party which ended with a good friend; Davie Wishart leading what started as a group of about 20 and ended with 200 to 300 all singing and dancing several Conga lines with Davie leading proceedings on the bagpipes.

As the year passed, I finally got a summons to the adjutant's office and was asked if I wanted to resign. I said that I wasn't sure as I knew I was to be posted shortly, and I needed to know, if possible where it might be so I could discuss it with my wife.

He just refused to find out. Then, as I foretold a posting came in and I was to go to C.O.D, Chilwell Nottingham. To report in November 1970. This meant that we had to leave Singapore at the end of August 1970.

When the time came to leave there was much wailing from wife and kids on leaving the lovely Muna our servant.

On arriving back in Blighty we lived at my in-laws whilst our claim at the housing office was sorted. In the meantime, I reported to Chilwell where I was again requested to sign up for another 3 years. I decided that the answer was no.

Once again Christmas came but this time, we celebrated in our own home 

As I reported back to my new unit, I asked if I could take what leave I had coming, and add it to my re settlement. This all added up to the fact that in March 1971 I would effectively be finished.

The officer in charge of me said that as I had only 2 weeks left in Feb. I went home and started my temporary job.

Then on the 27 June 1971, I reported to RAOC HQ at Blackdown, Deepcut. Where I was given my final paperwork to sign, which I did.

 One amusing thing happened as I arrived at the gates to the camp; I went into the guardroom to report in and a rather officious chap told me to straighten up and get my “bloody" hair cut. I replied in some industrial language as to what he could do!   As he looked at me a voice behind me said "buckle you still causing trouble, nothing changes, I'll walk you over to the main office" and low and behold there was my old friend Chatterton. He happened to be guard commander that day.  The young fella who shouted at me looked aghast and I just smiled at him and said "mind who you shout at next time" 

That then was me done.

Time served in H.M. Forces at various points around the world: 14 years 63 days.

Northamptonshire Carers

The lovely Jenny Osbourne from Northamptonshire Carers has been in touch and asked us to remind you that:
  • Northamptonshire Carers, Carers Support Line is still open and very much operational for carers emotional support and listening ear service.
  • The Carers Assessment and Support Workers are working via telephone and also some groups are meeting ‘virtually’.
  • The support line is open Monday to Friday 9am to 12 noon and 1pm to 4pm. There is an answer machine out of these hours.
Telephone - 01933 677907    Email - [email protected]

Thank you Jenny, it is really great to hear that vital support services have found a way to continue during these difficult times – we look forward to working more closely with you and Northamptonshire Carers in the near future. xxx

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. Dom Perignon.
  2. Lake Superior.
  3. The Moon.
  4. A farrier.
  5. A Mackintosh.
  6. A sword.
  7. String.
  8. Dictionary.
  9. Uranus.
  10. Louis Pasteur.
And Finally...
On the 23rd March 2020 Lockdown was announced in England. I was a little slow on the uptake regarding toilet rolls and flour but after a week or so it seemed I could get by and didn't really miss out on any foodstuffs.
The day after lockdown was announced when the supermarkets were doing big business and other shops were dithering on what to do, yours truly wandered into Harlestone Garden centre and for no particular reason bought 5 tiny houseplants in 1" pots. They have sat on a window ledge, then a shelf in the kitchen and I've enjoyed having them about. Thought I'd share some photos of their progress since that day in March.  I've included the original pot in the picture, from the original 4  plants I now have 7 and once the spider plant has stopped flowering I'll be splitting that too. 
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