Newsletter No. 016

We hope you are all well and adjusting to what looks like the new normal. Covid-19 doesn't look as if it's going away soon and we have to maintain our mental and physical strength in these challenging times. I feel heartened by the efforts my social groups have put in to help. Neighbours have become more neighbourly, various groups have phoned and relieved the tedious days of lockdown with a chat which I know has helped my wife particularly. I get out to shop and walk the dog but it's still nice to hear that phone ring.

What about you? Are you feeling isolated?  If so please join in with our zoom sessions. If you have the internet it is really easy to get zoom onto your tablet, laptop or phone – you just follow the invite link and it asks you a few questions – and bingo – a whole new world awaits you. We run FitnFab sessions twice a week which have an element of social time and exercise. We are now having a quiz every first Saturday of the month. It occurs to me that any suggestions you have could be coordinated and maybe something could be arranged. so let your eyes wander down this newsletter a little and find our contact details. let us know your thoughts and ideas, please.  

Stay tuned. With a little luck and a following wind we should have a little surprise in next months issue.

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
PIP Assessments, an update
By Phil

Face-to-face assessments have not resumed and Covid-19 precautions have limited the Work & Pensions Departments ability to medically assess claimants. DWP says the position is under regular review.  Below we have summarised the latest notices on PIP and DLA.

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]

  • If people experience a change in their needs they are encouraged to contact DWP to ensure they get the correct level of support.
  • Where awards are due to expire, DWD will be extending end dates so that claimants continue to receive financial support at their current rate during this period.
  • Applications for benefits can still be made and Jobcentres will remain open to support people who cannot get online or use the phone.
  • Face to face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be slowly reintroduced over time, in line with public health advice.
  • No further action is required by any claimant. you will be contacted with advice on next steps.
  • DWP continues to accept new claims for all benefits.
  • Anyone already receiving PIP, Employment and Support Allowance(ESA), Universal Credit or Industrial Injuries Disability  Benefit, will continue to receive their current payments as normal until arrangements are put in place to review or reassess their claim.
  • If you are still receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Until DWP invites you to apply for PIP you need not do anything until DWP contacts you, unless your circumstances change. 
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

You should have received an invite to our virtual quiz which is now being offered once per month. If you did not please email…
Information Document
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
By Angela Jeffery

If someone has difficulties that mean they can’t make decisions anymore, they will need help managing their finances. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document where someone (while they have mental capacity) nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs IF they were to lose capacity. It is important to remember…

You will not be suddenly giving up your control. You can choose whether the LPA can be used either before, or only when you lose mental capacity (Obviously if that happens, which it may not!!).

Your representative should only make a choice for you if you are unable to make that specific decision at the time it needs to be made. For example, if you fall into a coma, your representative would start looking after your affairs. Yet if you wake from the coma, you should be able to make your decisions yourself again.

There are two types LPA

The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows a nominated individual to make decisions over day to day healthcare and medical treatments, as well as deal with any health and social care staff. This LPA can only be used after a person loses capacity, not before.

The two LPA’s are two separate legal procedures that are independent of one another. Just because you have given a trusted person power of attorney over your health, that doesn’t mean they automatically gain control over your financial affairs and vice versa.

Property and Finance Lasting Power of Attorney allows a nominated individual to make decisions about your finances to include buying or selling property, bank, building society and other financial accounts. Welfare benefits etc. Thinking about and talking about these things is difficult but unexpected situations can occur and if you do not have an LPA your loved ones will have to apply through the courts to become a ‘deputy’ which can be a long and expensive process.

You can only set up an LPA when you have mental capacity. If you lose Mental Capacity it is too late. I know this is pretty depressing but the common conditions which could affect us all are: stroke, coma, delirium, concussion, severe mental
health problems, neuro-disabilities/brain injury, alcohol and drug misuse, Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s.

How to Make a Lasting Power of Attorney Firstly, it is very important that the person making the LPA knows what the form is about and understands the process. The person must also be completely confident and trusting of the person or people they nominate, (you can have more than one attorney) and it is a good idea to include all the family and/or most trusted friends in the process.
  1. Decide if you need to use a solicitor – you do not have to, but it may be easier if you have complex assets such as businesses or overseas property.
  2. Do it Yourself – it is much easier than it used to be, everything you need is online. You can fill the forms online and will then need to print them out and sign them. Or fill them out by hand after printing them. You can get help from the Office of the Public Guardian: 0300 456 0300. Post them off and they can be used as soon as they are registered.
  3. Registering the LPA. The whole process can be found here:
Each LPA costs £ 82 to register in England, so if you do both that will be £164.00. If you earn less than £12000 per year and can provide evidence this is the case the fee is £ 41 each.
I hope this has been interesting and informative, If you need any help with an issue you may be having we will try to help, call the helpline on 01327 612333

Since we’ve had the helpline Angela has helped two people get the highest rate attendance allowance. She has also filled out a housing application for a client, written evidence for a PIP appeal and helped get a blue badge for someone who had previously been turned down.
Recipe Of the Month
Well, the cheek, this month Sylvia's gardening tips also includes several recipes this month, what to do with the homegrown produce.

I might as well have a little glass of wine and put my feet up this month.
Let's get Quizzical
  1. Which country is Santiago the capital of?
  2. In 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' where did the little boy live?
  3. What is the maximum weight for a flyweight boxer?
  4. What is the name of the afternoon nap traditionally taken in hot countries?
  5. What is the emblem of Ireland?
  6. What are you wearing if you are in your birthday suit?
  7. Where is the ocean of storms?
  8. What turns blue cheese blue?
  9. What kind of animal is Beatrix Potter's character Mrs Tiggywinkle?
  10. What was the world's highest mountain before Everest was discovered?
Our First Holiday
After leaving the Army I settled down with my wife and family and after setting up house etc. We decided to take our tribe on holiday as it was a first so something simple would suffice, we thought. We selected a caravan park at Caister on Sea as the recipient of our largesse. So, in the July of '75, we descended on the California Cliffs caravan park at Caister.  Arriving around midday.
After checking in, Tina and I decided she and Carolyn (daughter) would check out the amusements, food outlets etc whilst I took the boys (Bob, Mick and Rich) to explore the beach and rock pools. Saturday passed by pleasantly ending with a visit to the club for a taste of the local beverage and ending with a fish supper.
Sunday arrived and I took the kids on a little ramble along the beach then went back to the caravan. On arrival, Tina says, "let's go the club for a drink then see what we all want to do".  Of course, I'd already been informed that what she wanted to do was watch the wrestling that was on during the lunch hour. As was the thing at that time, 'All-In' wrestling was a favourite of most of the housewife's, my wife included.

The bout began, as usual, a 'goodie' and a 'baddie' both in turn getting the upper hand. The second, third rounds came and went with the crowd getting very vocal, my good lady included. I decided as the fourth round started to go to the bar for a refill taking Bob and Mick with me. As I waited at the bar all hell let loose by the ring. I didn't take much notice, but then young Rich run to me and says "Dad, come 'n see.... mums hitting one of the men"  So without more ado, myself and the boys went to find her.  To my surprise, she had indeed hit one of the wrestlers (the baddie of course) as they had fallen out of the ring, as they do. The little woman (bless her) had got carried away. 

By now the show had finished and I went and retrieved my drink. Then the club manager asked if Tina and I would come and see him at the bar asap. This petrified Tina as she was convinced we were going to be thrown off the site.  The manager (a nice chap) along with the two wrestlers gave Tina a bouquet and a box of chocs for her giving such a spirited show, it had been the best lunchtime show they had all season and the manager also gave her vouchers to use on the stalls which came in handy.
As always never a dull moment in our family and there is more to come.

Goodnight all and the best of British 

Wrestler refusing to leave the ring until Doug took Tina Home
Sylvia's Gardening Tips


Deadhead, weed and Friday feed is my mantra in the garden at the moment. Everything is growing
at such a fast pace.

Tomatoes, French beans, runner beans are producing more than ever. Even the plums are starting to ripen. So, this time. I thought it a good idea to concentrate on what to do with our gluts of homegrown produce.
I have to say that tomatoes are my all-time favourite for turning into tasty dishes for use in the winter. That’s providing I don’t eat them all!
Tomato soup has got to be the easiest way of making a tasty meal in super quick time which freezes really well for the whole winter. In fact, a few weeks ago, I had the last portion of tomato soup I made and froze last September and it was delicious. The recipe is so simple and here is a quick reminder:
Chilli and Tomato Soup 
  • 1 to 1 and quarter kgs ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • medium carrot
  • 1 celery stick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons tomato purée
  • Good pinch sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 pints vegetable stock ( made from stock cubes)
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped (optional)
  • Good handful fresh basil
  • 1 small red chilli or a good pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Wash tomatoes and cut into quarters...cut out the hard stalk bits. Roughly chop onion, carrot, celery and chilli
  • Put olive oil in large pan and heat over low heat. When hot add chopped veg and stir with a wooden spoon.     Cook gently until soft and faintly coloured.  Approx ten minutes.   Stir often to prevent sticking.
  • Add tomato purée and stir until veg looks a bit red.   Throw the tomatoes in with sugar and black pepper.  Tear two bay leaves roughly and put in the pan.   Stir everything together then put lid on the pan.    Stew the mixture gently for ten minutes stirring occasionally.  Slowly pour in the hot vegetable stock. Then turn up the heat until everything is bubbling then turn heat to low and put the lid back on the pan.  
  • Cook for 25 minutes on low stirring a couple of times.  
  • Remove the pan from the heat, stand back and take the lid off the saucepan. Fish out the bay leaves and throw them away.
  • Now you can either pour the mixture into a blender or, as I do, use a stick mixer and blitz until smooth while still in the saucepan. This soup can be frozen for 4-5 months.  
  • I usually make double the quantity and freeze it to eat in the winter.   It can be eaten warmed up or chilled with a swirl of cream on the top
Another really good recipe for conserving tomatoes is
Autumn chutney. 

1 kg ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped,( drop tomatoes carefully into a bowl of boiled water-leave
for ten seconds then fish out with a spoon and the skins will peel off easily)
750g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
375g light muscovado sugar/ 250g chopped onion/ 250g raisins or sultanas
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
350ml cider vinegar

Put all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer the mixture uncovered for 45-50 minutes until the fruit is tender and thickened. Cool and transfer the mixture into sterilised jars and seal. (To sterilise jars, wash in hot soapy water, rinse, then dry in an oven at 150c for ten minutes.
Plum Jam 
Plums are beginning to turn colour now so get set for making plum jam
  • 1.5 kg Plums
  • 1.5 Kgs suger
  • 100ml water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

  • Put all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Simmer the mixture uncovered for 45-50 minutes until the fruit is tender and thickened.
  • Cool and transfer the mixture into sterilised jars and seal.
(To sterilise jars, wash in hot soapy water, rinse, then dry in an oven at 150c for ten minutes.
if you haven’t time to make the jam just stone and stew the fruit and freeze until you do have time. Alternatively, you can stew the plums with the sugar and then freeze ready to make plum crumble in the winter.
Plum Gin or Plum Vodka
To make some plum gin ready for tasting at Christmas, It is really easy. You will need:
  • 800g ripe plums
  • 200g sugar (use less sugar if you don’t like it too sweet)
  • 70cl gin or vodka
Wash and pierce the plums with a fork. put into a large sterilised Kilner jar with the sugar then pour over the gin or vodka. Seal the jar and shake it. Leave in a cool dark place for 3 days, shaking every day until sugar has dissolved. Now leave it to stand for 3 months without disturbing then strain through a fine muslin cloth. Pour into a clean sterilised bottle and enjoy!

Don’t throw the plums away, they make an excellent plum crumble with added flavour
Don’t waste your chillies. You can dry them on a warm window sill and then flake them but it’s a lot easier and quicker to freeze them whole. I put them on a small plate a few at a time and then just store in a container so they don’t stick together.

One more thing! The fence is painted! Yeh! Got some paint left so I am going to paint the wooden raised veg bed!  Check out the Gargantuan Tomatoes, I have to support them from the roof of the greenhouse!

One more thing after the last thing. This year is a bumper year for blackberries. Great in a crumble with apple. Makes a wonderful chunky jam. and freezes well. 

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. Chile
  2. Down the lane
  3. 8 stone
  4. Siesta
  5. Shamrock
  6. Nothing!
  7. On the moon
  8. Mold
  9. A hedgehog
  10. Everest!
And Finally...
Occasionally one insignificant thing can lead me to dig and dig until I get an answer. Last week I went shopping at my local Tesco.  Then it happened, Dishwasher Tablets!  I was scanning the shelves and found one brand had 4 different sizes for sale.
25 tablets, 44 tablets, 65 tablets and 68 tablets
Then I noticed the labels on the shelves.  One pack was labelled with a price per tablet. the others in price per kilo. Ok at first glance I thought the largest pack would be the most cost-effective, er... nope. Ok, it got a little complicated. Out came the calculator.  Well, the 44 tablets were the cheapest at 13p per tablet. the 25 tablets were the most expensive at 40p per tablet. A MASSIVE 207% price difference.  The largest pack size was 22p per tablet 81% more expensive 
It's not the 1st time dodgy pricing tactics have been used. its been complained about for years and goes against the letter of the law. The problem is there is no specific law,  just guidelines.  The unscrupulousness knows no boundaries. I noticed Tesco had priced their value brand cheese at a higher price than their standard range recently. I performed a miracle and found a manager and took him to task. All apologies and we will do better. I just imagined a harassed mum on universal credit trying to get the shopping on a tight budget and going for the value brand only to be ripped off.
If you try to report this to trading standards, they have offloaded all complaints to the citizens' advice bureau who will tell you in a 'computer says no' tone that a price displayed is 'an invitation to treat'  (basically, push off we aren't interested) the Competition and markets authority (who do not even have a complaints procedure about dodgy trading) said 2 years ago that have put the supermarkets on notice they will be prosecuted for misleading the public on pricing. are all at home sitting out Covid-19.

I don't know why this kind of thing gets me so wound up. I can calculate the best price and work out unit prices from per kilo. But it really does.

Please Do Not Let Them Rip You Off,  It upsets me!  I have to lie down
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