Registered charity number 1188652
March 2021 Issue No. 23
Charity News
Welcome to issue 23, We're having a bit of a style change this month, 'someone' wanted more rainbows and Unicorns.  So we've splashed a bit of paint here and there (all in the best possible taste of course) we hope you like it, just remember though if you want any subject covering or have any ideas for an article then let us know. 
We hope you enjoyed last month's newsletter  If you missed it here is a link:   Click here to see
Lock down is still upon us, but vaccinations are rolling out to the 65 - 60 year olds. If you think you have been missed then give your doctor a ring. And get yourself some protection!
We have had some lovely feedback this week that we thought we would share to encourage people to get in touch

Hi Angela,
I think the enthusiasm you and Sylvia have shown to support Mum with the new Parkinson's Charity is commendable. Mum lives alone and although has a strong network of friends in her local area, this has made her feel more supported in the knowledge that there are other Parkinson's sufferers in the county. If we could only get her up and running on Zoom, she would love to take part in all the classes and quizzes ! Keep up the good work – the newsletters are also a brilliant read and full of interesting content.
Current Activities

Virtual Pub Quiz   Every 1st Saturday of the month. (next one is 6th Mar 11:00 am) Zoom in with the in-crowd. Several rounds of General Knowledge, Music and Pictures. A bit of a social at the end. Join our Zoom Meeting.

Meeting ID: 867 9381 2929       Passcode: 743968
‘Younger Chaps Group’  (they are still working on a name!) This is for guys more recently diagnosed – meeting via zoom at present but they are hoping to get back to the Pub or the Snooker or the Tenpin Bowling or the many Restaurant's or Walks (you get the picture, they get about a bit.) Use any of the contact methods below to get your invite.
Northants Parkinson's People contact details are
   A Heartfelt Thankyou   
You may remember the sad news that our friend Nev Gardiner recently passed away. We want to thank his lovely wife Pat for suggesting donations in his memory be given to us. We have received the fantastic amount of £ 485 from his friends and family. Some of the donations came through our
donation page on the website. This page has the option of writing messages and Pat has given us her permission to share some of the lovely messages in memory of Nev, which we thought you might like to see:
  • “An epic uncle, when I think of him I always smile! So many happy memories, so much laughter, so much fun. He will be missed but will always hold a special place in my heart. RIP Nev.” MB
  • “In loving memory of Nev especially our many Christmas meals together over the last forty five years.” S & R
  • “Remembering the good times we had bowling especially with the Aerosols & the laughs you had with Les on your foreign golfing holidays.” SL
  • “in memory of Nev a lot of memories.” TB
  • “Thanks for all the good times the four of us spent together.” PL
  • “We had great fun over the years bowling with Nev and Pat and will miss his cheeky remarks.” VR  
  • “Thank you for your company round the golf course, it was a pleasure.” MW
  • “As a fellow member it was a privilege to know and play alongside Nev, a wonderful and funny man at Harpole Bowls Club” Anon
Pat was really pleased with the amount donated and the messages made her feel happy and sentimental and we agree they are lovely.
Other donations came directly to our Treasurer and we will be letting Pat have a copy of all the messages we received from everyone. Nev and Pat certainly have a lot of lovely friends and we extend our thanks to everyone who donated and of course we are very grateful to Pat for choosing us.
Virtual Pop up Sessions
Duston Parish Council in association with St Luke's Patient Participation Group are organising monthly virtual POP up sessions. They have enjoyed the support of consultants from BMI Three Shires and Genesis Homecare speaking on Men's Mental Health, Prostate Cancer, Infertility in Men and Keeping a Healthy Heart. New for 2021 will be talks on Deafness & Tinnitus, Living with Pancreatic Cancer, Joint Pain & Irritable Bowel Syndrome and living with Parkinson's. Here is their website:

Rotary Club Charity Auction
The Rotary Club of the Nene Valley which has supported persons with Parkinson’s Disease in the past is holding an online auction in collaboration with the Swaziland Schools Project, a charity dedicated to educating children in Swaziland. The website advertising the auction opens on 8 March, when anyone interested can look at what is on offer. Bidding for the auction starts at 8:00 a.m. on 23 March and closes at 8:00 p.m. on 5 April.
Some Tips to help with Mobility
Doug mentioned he sometimes has problem with ‘freezing’ – this is something that can happen to people with Parkinson’s because of a reduction of Dopamine. People describe the feeling of freezing as if your feet are stuck to the floor and these episodes occur primarily with initiating walking, turning, navigating through narrow spaces or approaching obstacles.
Now Doug has been known to make a grand entrance through a doorway using our ‘TA-DAR’ method, much to the amusement of his family. Those who attend exercise group will be familiar with ‘TA-DAR’-ing. Basically, it is a BIG step forward while flinging the arms out to the side – whilst shouting TA DAR – now this may not always be appropriate so here are a few more suggestions
  • Firstly with freezing – the most important thing is please try not to panic and also try not to fight it by leaning forward too much, willing the legs to keep going. Please don’t get cross – any stress will make it more difficult. Just stop and try taking a moment. Get into good posture and have a big relaxing deep breath. Take the weight into one leg and gently bring the opposite heel up and flick that foot forward. Hopefully by breaking the battle, taking a moment and gaining some calm will get you going again.
  • Or, Imagine you are STEPPING OVER something – you can use visual cues such as cracks in the pavement, patterns on the carpet, I knew a chap who placed old 50p pieces across the room and stepped over them (please don’t do this! too shiny and slippy – get some anti slip plastic sheeting and cut into little squares) Or imagine you are kicking something or screw up a bit of paper and actually kick it to get going.
  • Or the old favourite – count 1 - 2, 1 – 2, or march left/ right and singing really helps too.
  • Doorways can be a problem sometimes, if you have a particular doorway at home that gives you trouble it may be worth sticking contrasting coloured tape on the floor, in strips and always tell yourself to STEP OVER the tape. You do always need to involve the brain – that sounds weird but concentrating on the task really does help and saying it OUT LOUD at the same time helps too.
  • Also you could try sending your gaze through the door opening and concentrating on an item beyond – so you are no longer paying attention to the doorway – yellow stickers at eye level have been known to work – worth a try (apparently the brain likes yellow!).
  • Turning a corner – perhaps coming out of a room and having to make a half turn to proceed down the hall for example. Contrasting tape again but in a half sun burst shape, so thinking again stepping over the tape.
  • Turning Around – now it is important to be careful when turning around, please don’t allow your top half to turn and your legs to stay where they are – this will put you of balance and you may fall.
  • If you do have particular difficulty with turning around try this…… IMAGINE – (the brain is required again) Imagine you are standing on a clock face, you have one foot on the centre of the clock, let’s say the left foot, and the right just to the side – say on the number 3 for example and you are wanting to turn to the left. Have your feet about shoulder width apart and start to shift your weight onto one leg and then the other, when ready step you right foot onto the number two on the imaginary clock and step in place on the left foot but staying on the centre of the clock, bringing the left foot in line, then step your right foot onto the number one on the imaginary clock and just step the left foot again but keep it on the centre of the clock…… you might need to practice this. Basically, you are shifting your weight from one leg to the other and stepping but only one leg is moving around the clock face the other leg is stepping but staying in one place. The clock face visualising is important as you can step around the numbers and count at the same time. The four pictures below show how the clock face method works, we'll try to produce a video if it helps to explain this – if you want one (and the tech guys can do it) let me know.

From time to time we are asked to share information which may be of interest to our readers.   Whilst we wish to help you to be informed of services available to you, we cannot accept any liability whatsoever should you decide to use any of the services we inform you of.

A Message From Mel  (Parkinson's Nurse)
If you are getting tired of shopping and cooking meals for yourself during the pandemic, but find the shop bought ready meals or the national chains of home delivery not satisfying, then this may help;

This is a local guy, Graham, he runs a catering business in normal times. He is cooking and delivering freshly frozen meals to people during the pandemic. If you want a change to what you are eating or know maybe that you are not eating properly because of your health or being self isolating then how about trying this? Proper food, eg lasagne or hot pot at reasonable prices. Free delivery up to 2 miles from Duston and then a small charge further away.

It is so important to eat well, in order to maintain physical strength and your immune system but we know this is not as easy to do at the moment.    (I am not on commission but I can recommend them)

Thanks a lot,
Mel Smith
Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialist
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Favell House, Manfield Campus, Kettering Road, Northampton. NN3 6NP
Tel 01604 678120

Poetry Corner

A couple more poems from the pen of Dave Meakins. 
Who writes to Annabel Amos at BBC Radio Northampton
in case you are wondering who Annabel is. 
Northampton parking charges ( A local lad )

I try to support Northampton Town in it's hour of need.
I won't have things said about it, I'm a local lad indeed.
I've filled in the consultation form, I've vented most my views.
Be good to see them do it nice, and generate some good news.
This town needs to get it right. and build it up from seed.
To see it built in my lifetime, as I'm a local lad indeed
Brand new parking charges that have been imposed today.
You will get various comments, and some won't want to pay.
So let's get all these empty shops, and fill them up with treasure
People would come back to town. and it would be a pleasure.
Northampton Town it’s quite nice and really not so bad.
I look forward to the future from Boothville Dave a local lad.

My Suffering Northampton Town
My Suffering Northampton Town, things do change don't let me down.
The empty shops here and there, does this mean that we no longer care.
We have a need for some fresh blood, to turn it around and make it good.
It's been a place of some neglect, let's work together and show it respect.
The homeless folk in the shop doorways, would prefer their own home in many more ways.
Keep this town kept litter free, and outsiders will want to come and see.
Dear Annabel you serve us well, mention things and time will tell.
Best wishes to you I must behave, all the best from Boothville Dave.
  1. Which item of clothing was named after a coral atoll  in the Pacific ocean?
  2. Which English Premier league club (football) is nicknamed 'The Toffees'?
  3. What was Queen Victoria's first name?
  4. Who was the last ruler of England, who when he was crowned, English was not his normal language?
  5. Who piloted Thunderbird 1?
  6. The illness Scurvy is due to the lack of which vitamin in the body?
  7. In which country is the currency the Dong?
  8. To win his bet, which London club did PHILEAS FOGG have to get to in the allotted time?
  9. What is the capital of Serbia?
  10. In 1993  the BBC cancelled a Soap Opera after just one year, what was it called?

Things are happening in the garden! Snowdrops and crocus are flowering, daffodils are throwing up their buds. Tiny shoots are appearing on shrubs and climbers. The birds are building their nest! SPRING is on its way!
Now is the time to prune certain things in the garden.

This needs to be cut as far back as possible, ideally down to about six inches above ground level. This will help to keep the bush to stay compact but also it should produce many more flowers. I had to wait for my daughter to cut this back as the stems  are so thick. 


If you have an old hydrangea shrub (mine is 25 + years old) it needs to be pruned now. Only cut back by going two or three side buds down the stem and snip off about ½ inch above an outward facing bud. So basically, you will only be cutting off about 18-24 inches, no more than this otherwise you will not get many flowers. Do this on all the stems which have dead flowers on them. Try to give the bush an overall nice shape. However, if your hydrangea is only a couple of years old just deadhead the old flowers to half inch above the very first bud below the flower.

These should be cut down to about 6 inches above ground level. I like to prune mine at the beginning of March rather than later in the month as once the new shoots start to grow it is then impossible to cut the plant back without damaging the new shoots.

I prune my roses down to about 12 inches. Cut on a slight angle just above an outward facing bud. This helps to keep the centre of the plant open and air circulates and helps the plant to stay healthy. Also cut off any dead, brownish looking stems. Secateurs will usually cut most of the small branches back but if you have older rose bushes which have really thick stems you may need a small pruning saw. I treated myself to one last year and it was well worth the money as I have used it on so many things.

Hedges. Birds are already nesting and it is illegal to trim or cut a hedge which is being used as a nesting site.
Early flowering climbers like clematis or spring flowering shrubs should be left alone now as they flower on last year’s growth. These should be pruned or cut back after flowering.

Some seeds can be sown this month but will need protection. I have just sown one of my favourites, a carrot called ‘Adelaide’. I originally chose this particular variety a few years ago because my mum’s second name was Adelaide but it did so well that I have stuck with it. Anyway it reminds me of my lovely mum! It germinates at any time in the growing season but also can be sown in early March under a cloche. You do not need a veg bed or garden to grow a few things to eat. I love mixed coloured lettuce called ‘salad bowl’. I am growing them in an 8“plant pot on my kitchen window sill. Once grown just snip off a few leaves to go in your salad or as a garnish.
Chillies and Dahlias have already germinated on kitchen windowsill and are now taking up residence in the conservatory. I’ve been more or less kicked out of this area!

Until next time…
An Update on how Parkinson's effects me.
As I lay in my bed at silly o'clock in the early, pre-dawn hours, I started to reflect on the fact that this year it would be the 7th since I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD).  I started to consider how my life had changed in the interim.
I re-called how this manifested itself at the start. The first indication that something was wrong was that my previous military stride was being reduced to an ambling shuffle. After the diagnosis and being placed on medication, my condition did improve somewhat.  But as anyone who has Parkinson's appreciates there's always something coming around the bend.  With me it was the dreaded constipation,  plus a worsening of my mobility and a "freezing " when walking, in particular when attempting to go through doorways.  
A change of medication with gradual 'tweaks' along the way did help with dealing with the problems. It does not cure everything, in fact it can create some problems, for me it was a slight increase in having some hallucinations. To some this can be worrying. To me they came in the form of my late wife, so I just talked to her and with further adjustments to the meds all is a bit better on that front.  Although as all PD sufferers know we do get mood swings.
Now I do not wish to make it sound like a terrible ordeal to have this disease.  It can be if you allow it, the trick is to not give in to it. I will admit that when I was first told I had this, I thought my world was over, I really couldn't see how I could function like this. But after a short time, I began to see that there is a world beyond, you just have to look for it. I cannot claim that everything is 'hunky dory ' but even with the present pandemic, the world from my view, still appears better than that day in 2014 when I was given what I thought was an ultimatum. 
So remember folks;     NIL  DESPERANDUM  and   CARPE DIEM
Doug Investigates - Togs?
Recently it was decided , by those who think of these matters, that I required a new Duvet. Then came a question from Kelly "What Tog do you want grandad ?" This got me thinking, what is a Tog? I think most are at a loss when it comes to this question, so I decided to investigate.
A Tog is a method of measuring how well an article or item of clothing retains or stops heat escaping. It was developed in WW2 by the 'Shirley Institute of Cotton Industries', when looking for better clothing in various climates. It was found that cotton-based fabric was best, it was the filler that determined how well or not, that the heat retention worked. 
Until the late sixties, Duvets were almost unheard of in Britain. The British retaining their preference for blanket and quilt. The duvet being considered as a strange foreign habit, to the extent that the duvet was known as a "Continental Quilt". 
It was mainly due to an advertising gimmick and slogan for Habitat, that challenged the British housewife, "To make a bed in 10 seconds", pointing out such a time saving convenience proved to be winner. 
The word Tog dates back to 1708, and is an abbreviation of 'Togman', a kind of cloak or loose coat. Ultimately it derives from the Latin item of clothing The Toga, which rather neatly looks like a bedsheet. 
A tale to illustrate the attitude of the time: In the latter months of 1964, on our return from Germany, my wife brought back a double and 2 single duvets as she had become accustomed to them. As we were living with my in-laws, the wife's mother, on being confronted with this strange creature (a duvet) made the bed with a heavy blanket and duvet on top. It took ages to convince the old dear that it was warm enough without the blanket. Such are the insular views of the English.
Another of life's mysteries revealed.
QUIZ Answers
  1. The Bikini ( after Bikini atoll where the H-bomb was tested)
  2. Everton
  3. Alexandrina
  4. George  ii
  5. Scott Tracey
  6. Vitamin  c
  7. Vietnam
  8. The reform club
  9. Belgrade
  10. El dorado
We have added a joke section, strictly under doctors orders you understand. Please let us know your favourite joke or story, we would love to publish it here!
Why do scuba divers fall backwards off of the boat?
Because if they fell forward, they’d still be in the boat.
A husband took his wife out dancing. There was a bloke on the dance floor really going for it. He was breakdancing, moonwalking, doing back flips - the works. The wife turned to husband and said: "See that chap? 25 years ago he proposed to me and I turned him down." Her husband says: "Looks like he's still celebrating!"


Everyone PLEASE be careful because people are going crazy from being locked down at home!

I was just talking about this with the microwave and the toaster while drinking my tea, and we all agreed that things are getting bad.
I didn’t mention any of this to the washing machine, because she puts a different spin on EVERYTHING!! Certainly couldn’t share with the fridge, cause he’s been acting cold and distant!

In the end, the iron straightened me out! She said the situation isn’t all that pressing and all the wrinkles will soon get ironed out!

The vacuum, however, was very unsympathetic…told me to just suck it up! But the fan was VERY optimistic and gave me hope that it will all blow over soon!

The toilet looked a bit flushed but didn’t say anything when I asked its opinion, but the front door said I was becoming unhinged and the doorknob told me to get a grip!! You can just about guess what the curtains told me: they told me to “pull myself together!”

We will survive!!

I called the Chemist and asked him if acetylsalicylic acid was the best remedy for a headache.
He says, "You mean aspirin?"
I said, “Yeah, that’s it, I can never remember that word."
And Finally...
Its nice to know, even while I sometimes think I'm shedding braincells at an amazing rate, that you can learn something new.
As chief cook and bottle washer in our household I get all the good jobs. One I'm not overly fond of is chief flower arranger, any flowers that arrive, I have to get the appropriate vase, chuck, er, no, arrange, the flowers fill with water and that sachet of powder that comes with them and then present them to my wife who then 'faffs' them into an amazing display.  All goes well until last week.  OH NO!! sachet of miracle powder (or liquid) was empty.  (Pause for quick Internet search) I'd always assumed the stuff was fertiliser.  I was wrong, its usually a mix of 3 things,  Sugar,  Acid and bleach.  The Sugar acts as a nutrient, the Acid reduces the Ph level (so increases water uptake) and the bleach reduces bacteria.
So a simple recipe for plant food (will work with home grown cut flowers too), is...
  • 1 level teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 level teaspoons of lemon or lime juice
  • 1 level teaspoon of household bleach
  • 2 pints of lukewarm water.
Of course you can use this as a refill mix if you want to change the water even if you used a sachet first.

So now you know
Don't Forget!  check out our new website
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Northants Parkinson's People is registered in England as a charitable incorporated organisation,
Registered office: 31 Winston Close, Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire. NN7 3JX
Registered charity number 1188652
Copyright © 2021 Northants Parkinson's People

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