We hope you enjoyed last month's newsletter If you missed it here is a link: Click here to see
March is here, The March winds will have to blow a bit to beat last week's storms. Its Pancake day on the 1st, this might get to you a bit late to remind though, but I always think pancakes are an acceptable snack any day of the year.
If you want to be a member of Northants Parkinson's People then, please
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Northants Parkinson's people
Our new Lunch Club started last month, (this month it's on the 1st, so you hopefully got an email a few days ago reminding you). The 1st event was well attended, 35 of us, and the Pub staff were marvellous. We have a few photos on social media. For those of you who don't do FaceAche and Twinker we have some here.
Hands up for more beer! Dig in!
And if you want the Noisy version
Here's the Video
Partners Coffee Morning
The first meeting date is 15th March and thereafter the meeting will take place on every third Tuesday of the month. The first meeting is to be at Brampton Halt Pub, Pitsford Rd, Chapel Brampton, Northampton NN6 8BA at 10:30am. Please do come even if this is a little way out for you as we will be open to moving locations to suit everyone who comes along. The coffee is very reasonably priced, and everyone pays for their own beverages.
This group will be looked after by Linda, one of our volunteers; And If you would like any more information please call on (01604) 244 444
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Every Thursday at Abington Park Rooms, Park Avenue North (& corner of Ashburnham Rd), Northampton NN3 2HT.
1st Thursday of the month is a one-hour session, every other Thursday it's a two-hour session with coffee and biscuits (and sometimes cake!)
Any questions you can call Angela 07954 099 537
Virtual Pub Quiz
Every 1st Saturday of the month. (next one is 5th March 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.
Walk In the Park
The walk in the park combines exercise, fresh air and good company. On Wednesday's and Fridays, we finish at the Park Café in Abington Park.
The full itinerary
- Mondays 10:30, RACECOURSE, meet at the Pavilion car park.
- Wednesdays AND Fridays 10:30, ABINGTON PARK, meeting at the bowling green/tennis courts.
The nearest entrance is in Christchurch Road. If you use the 'What three Words' app on your phone,
the location is ///lace.hiking.drain
The 1st Tuesday of the month at the Queen Eleanor Pub Restaurant, London Road, Wootton, Northamptonshire, NN4 7JJ. We will meet at 12.30-12.45. Everyone pays for their own food and drinks on the day. The purpose of this lunch? Friendship, companionship and a good old natter!
If you are interested, please be kind enough to email me so that I can give the pub a general idea of numbers. [email protected]
If you want to see the menu, it's here (link to Queen Eleanor Pub Menu)
NYPD Goes Bowling!
It’s Tuesday evening, it’s not raining, the gales have subsided, and the moon's somewhere behind the clouds. Cobblers are playing away and destined to draw. But the main event is centred at Sixfields super bowl(ing).
The mood was apprehensive; would everybody remember and arrive on time. Well almost! A warm welcome was extended to two new members, George and Peter, as they were introduced by the event organizer (Mr Fixit Nick). George maintained he hadn’t played before and Peter had his own ball!
Let the games begin.
Now, just to make sure you’re all clear on the intention of the game; it’s to skilfully send a chosen weighted ball on its way down an alley in such a way that the carefully placed skittles are knocked over. (Just in case you didn’t know). Well shall we just say that’s what was sort of achieved by some, and dismally under achieved by; well shall we just say that the photos give the game away.
Perhaps I should explain the SPARE
Well, two couldn’t make the event, so it was agreed that we would play for them. The embracing result; SPARE wine on the night!! (So, Bob, Tom, you’ll have to divide the honours!)
As for Peter and his own ball? Well, he reckons that’s going back in the shed. And George found that performance is not improved after a pint of shandy.
Your reporter can explain his poor results, he can’t aim straight, or was it something to do with the balls fascination with the gutter. Whatever, here was no sympathy from those NYPD boys!
I know these ‘reports’ are written with a considerable amount of tongue in cheek, but it is intended to portray the great camaraderie enjoyed by all those in the NYPD.
Thanks to Nick for arranging the events.
The next NYPD event is a Zoom Quiz (designed to give the group time to recover from the exhaustion of bowling)
The proposed next sporting event; Snooker (it's all about balls!)
The author accepts no responsibility for any injury incurred by the reader of this article.
Those who had the nerve to take part were:-
Playing the part of SPARE were:-
Thanks guys for the extra go.
Steve, George and Jonathan tell Richard he should consider a different game - Brian looks the other way as Nick steals Peters ball
Jonathan considers form while Steve and George consider their next move. - Pictures tell no lies! - Nick in shorts with Peter
Northants Parkinson's People contact details are
Mimi on the Move
Mimi, once our secretary, is teaching on a small island in South Korea. And, as we asked, sends us a report of her adventures from time to time.
Oreums not Oreos (although we like those too)
Welcome to the volcanic island of Jeju. Most of the many tourist sites are based around previous volcanic activities such as…a Volcano (dormant) and Lava tubes and caves, but one of the most unusual aspects of beautiful Jeju are its oreums.
‘Oreum’ comes from the Jeju dialect related to ‘climb’ or ‘volcanic crater’ – hence the loads of oreums here are a hill climber’s dream! Apparently there are more than 360, with Mt Halla being the centre (biggest and best as it is technically a volcano?). It seems that whole villages were built around the ancient formations, and some fall under the protected UNESCO designation we have as an island.
Mount Sangbangsan – a Buddha statue and temple is halfway up
Paul has climbed a few local ones, and most have tracks and paths built around them; some with car parks and whole villages nearby to catch the tea-thirsty tourist (although coffee is more popular!) I have climbed one, and it was very easy as we went around the edge, but almost slid down – they are steep (and this one is the mildest).
It is a very popular pastime, walking along Olles (trails around the Island) then popping up a big hill! Very beautiful sites and scenery abound with every turn. There is often a row of people queuing to get up the most popular one (it seems to be popular as it looks across open sea one side and mountains another, so good for sunsets? Plus it has no vegetation, so very good views all round.
I need to get fitter, but Paul and his mates’ plans are to walk up Mt Halla – which is apparently 6-7 hours. I shall be very supportive from the ground, making a cup of tea and offering kind words when he cannot walk for a few days afterwards. But fair play - an amazing goal to have. I prefer Oreos (the best biscuit to buy here – no Hobnobs to be had ‘even for ready money’ – as Wilde would say) but it is very easy to be active here, so I am enjoying seaside walks and Olle trails which are slightly flatter but still as gorgeous. Soon the weather is warmer, and we move into our Spring season, so hopefully lots of trips out before the scorching humidity returns…
Tourist map of the hills
Mt Halla towards the right, in both pictures
- "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get". Which character said that in which movie?
- The seven year .... Complete this classic film title from the 1960s starring Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe.
- On 26th October 1881, the Gunfight at the OK corral took place, but where?
- Where is the "Ocean of storms?"
- What is the common name for the "Olfactory Organ?"
- The RHODE ISLAND RED is a breed of what?
- BIRMINGHAM (UK) has more mileage of CANALS than VENICE (ITALY) TRUE OR FALSE?
- What is the name of the New York Stock Exchange?
- DAVID BOWIE had many hits, but what was his real name?
- " You're gonna need a bigger boat" is a quote from which movie?
Hello everyone and hello March! It has been a while since I wrote anything much for the newsletter, and I admit this ‘article’ is not the most eloquent; I am a bit rusty. However, I hope you find something of interest in my warbling’s!!
Let’s begin by congratulating ourselves on making it through the worst three months of the year!! December, January and February are well known to be the most depressing months – perhaps December isn’t too bad if you are a Christmas fan but certainly Jan & Feb are cold, dark, wet and let’s face it, we don’t see much sunlight. There is even a day in January named depressingly “Blue Monday” – it was the 17th Jan this year, – the third Monday.
Allegedly, a university professor precisely calculated this to be the most depressing day of the year…. Using the following formula, (if you are remotely interested): weather =W, debt = d, time since Christmas = T, time since failing new year resolutions = Q, low motivation levels = M and the feeling of a need to take action=Na. D is not defined, and neither are units. More clever bods (scientists, this time) have since dismissed this “equation” as baseless ‘pseudoscience’. However, we can’t get away from the fact that in the darker, colder, shorter months we don’t feel quite as jolly as we do when the sun shines, and we feel warm, happy and contented.
On a serious note, though, we cannot deny that there is very real “winter depression” more commonly known as SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a recognized type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. This can be a serious condition and if anyone reading this does feel particularly low during the winter months, or at any point in the year for that matter, to the point that how you feel affects your day-to-day activities, then we strongly suggest a visit to the GP is required.
For the sake of this article, I wanted to find some simple techniques which might help me just to feel a bit happier – and hey, I thought I would share these with you too…
Firstly, although it is obvious that feeling happy feels good, scientific studies show there are actual physical health benefits for ‘happy’ individuals. These include a stronger immune system, stronger resilience to stress and a stronger heart resulting in less risk of cardiovascular problems. Plus, quicker recovery times after illness or surgery. Some research indicates that being happy may help us to live longer, too!
Now whether feeling happy in itself brings about these benefits alone or the fact that if you are happy you tend to participate more in healthier activities (exercise, heathy eating, socializing, good sleep), is not fully understood but hey the two must be connected, so it’s all good news to me.
So let’s be realistic here, we all have difficulties in our lives, it isn’t possible to be deliriously happy all the time, but a bit more happiness now and again would be very welcome, so how can we achieve this?:- (I have been doing some research… Read on)
- Practice Gratitude. There is lots of research on this subject and if you feel inclined here is a link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12585811/ Basically, this is the same as the song… “Always look on the bright side of life – ta da … Da da da da da da …” Instead of thinking negatively ‘why has this happened to me’, about anything and everything – try to focus on a positive. It is recommended to ‘practice’ writing three things down, every day before you go to bed, which you are grateful for on that day. This will become a habit because you will be thinking during the day about what you can write, and therefore you will be looking for the positives in your life. Worth a try?
- Move About a Bit Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which trigger a positive feeling in your body, similar to morphine. Endorphins also diminish the perception of pain. Many studies show that people who regularly exercise benefit from a positive boost in mood. The good news is you don’t have to go to the gym to achieve this great feeling – switch on some music and dance in the front room. If you are stuck in a chair, clap your hands, stamp your feet and sing…. You will feel happier, I can guarantee that. Personally, I think music is a marvellous way to boost the feelings of happiness – as long as the music is happy, of course.
- Spend Time Outdoors/Get in touch with nature, Ok, so this may not be as easy as the top two. However, even a few minutes in the garden or sitting on a bench looking at the trees and birds, whilst getting some fresh air will do a power of good. If you like to walk – join our walkers – if you like to garden – send us some pics and we hope you enjoy Sylvia’s articles. Invest in a bird feeder and put it near a window; watching the birds feed and go about their activities also lifts the spirits.
- Spend Time with Loved Ones Socializing staves off feelings of loneliness and chatting helps to sharpen memory and cognitive skills. Spending time with friends gives you an opportunity to offer needed companionship, increasing your feelings of purpose and belonging. This boosts our happiness and feelings of wellbeing. As we have already read these feelings may even help us to live longer.
- (Finally) Mindfulness This may be a step too far for some, but it does work! It allows you to bring yourself back to the here and now - being completely present in the moment, stop those racing negative thoughts and be calm by concentrating on something else. It takes practice but once you get the hang of it, mindfulness is a fantastic tool to reduce stress and negativity therefore allowing room for positive thoughts and feelings, making you feel happier. Have a go at these short practices – nothing to lose, happiness to gain. https://www.freemindfulness.org/download
Whilst writing this, and I guess as reading we already begin to think of positive things, and I am aware that the above suggestions get mixed up, for example today I have walked with a friend in Harleston Firs. I really appreciate her friendship; she is happy and positive, and we have been there for each other during our difficult times, every week we share our news whilst walking the dogs. In the firs today we watched two huge birds flying overhead, we stopped to look at some particularly beautiful bark on a tree. We met some happy dogs, running through the mud and the stream (the dogs - not us!). Fresh air, mud and nature were involved, and I am grateful for this time.
As I sit writing this and look outside at the wind and rain, I am grateful I have a home, I am warm and I have food in the fridge... I have ummed and arrred about mentioning this next bit, but I think it should be said: whilst writing this I have been thinking about the people I have connected with through Northants Parkinson’s People and about how we are all here to support each other and help anyone new who comes along. I am so grateful to everyone who contributes by coming to the walks, to exercises and more recently to the monthly lunch. Even more gratitude goes to everyone who helps out by volunteering, raising funds and helping others. Wow I have lots to be grateful for and BLIMEY this stuff really works!!! Give it a try.
Hello again, I have once again been thinking (it's a problem I have), this time about time itself. We all know that when one travels, you invariably have to adjust any time piece you have to the local time when you arrive at your destination. But in Britain you don't, no matter if you go from Kent to Cornwall time is the same.
Well, it was once the case that for example the time in Bristol would be 10 mins behind London (Greenwich time). When everyone travelled very little, or by horse at the fastest mode of travel, it didn't really matter. However, with the arrival of the railway's this anomaly made a nonsense of timetables, so in 1852 Parliament declared, that after 5 years of having clocks with 2 minute hands (1 for London time and 1 for local time), that Greenwich Mean Time would be standard for all of Britain. The best example of a dual clock is at Bristol Temple Meads station, it still works and shows both times.
All is well, you would think, but there is another strange quirk concerning European time. Spain, who would be in the same time zone as UK, when you consider its position on a map, is not. It is actually in the same time zone as Poland. Why, I hear you cry! Well in 1940, General Franco, the recent victor in the Spanish Civil War, declared that to show support for what looked like the apparent winners of the European war: Germany, that Spain would be in the same time zone as Berlin. After WW2 Spain insisted they stayed there.
So there we have it. Time is time, but not necessarily true to actual solar time, go figure.
Have a good day, chairman Doug
GARDENING THIS MONTH There are several shrubs to be pruned this month. Roses can now be pruned. Using secateurs, cut about a quarter of an inch above an outward facing bud. Always cut on an angle so that water doesn’t collect on the bud. Cut out any dead or diseased stems. You should end up with a nice open shaped bush.
Buddleia (the beautiful butterfly bush) grows vigorously starting in early spring. If it is not cut back hard, then the shrub will end up looking a tangled mess and very tall. So, secateurs, loppers and a pruning saw may be needed to cut it back hard as some stems will be quite thick. Take the bush back to about 30cms in height. This may seem drastic, but you will have a much better bush with more flowers this coming summer. There are two photos below. One showing how far back I cut my plant, and the second photo shows it in bloom last year.
Photinia (Red Robin) hedging/bushes. Now is the time to clip back to a nice shape. This plant should not be cut back hard. It is an evergreen which produces delightful red coloured new growth in spring and summer. So, by trimming now, you will get lovely colour in the spring and then trim again in say June/July and you will get another flush of colour.
It’s almost springtime, and those of you who know me will not be surprised when I say I have another new addition to my garden! Two gooseberry bushes! One red fruit and one green fruit. They are going into pots. The red gooseberry is called Hinnomaki Red and the green one is called Invicta. They arrived in 2 litre pots and had well established roots, so I potted them on immediately into large pots just using peat free compost with some slow release food granules mixed in and gave them a can of water each. I don’t expect to get much fruit in the first year, as they fruit on the last two year’s growth. What few I do get will mix in well with my home-grown blueberries and raspberries. There is a photo below of how they arrived and one with them settled comfortably into the big pots. Photo of plant arrival and potted on.
|A Walk About
An update on Nordic Walking
For a while now Sue and I have been giving guidance and instructions on the subject of Nordic Walking, and this article has been drafted to give a heads-up on Parkinson's UK decision to end the training role of Nordic Walking Champion.
Now I should make it clear that Parkinson's UK have not dropped Nordic Walking, and now have a link on their website, nordicwalkingforparkinsons.org.uk. Which emphasizes why this is an effective and enjoyable exercise for people with Parkinson's.
Why have they done this?
The promotion of Nordic Walking was generated by the British Nordic Walking Association and Parkinson's UK (PUK) and sponsored by The Fore (a charity organization based in London). It’s the ending of the sponsorship of the Nordic Walking Champions that has resulted in the change of approach by PUK. However, PUK’s Area Development Manager – East, is advising the end of the original role of NW Champion, which in turn sees the end of PUK personal indemnity insurance cover for the activity of training Nordic Walking. That’s the only bit of negative news. The good news is the PUK support for the new role for the Nordic Walking Champion. Put this title simply, we can promote and demonstrate the concept and benefits of NW, BUT officially should not be coaching the technique. The other good news is we can continue to use the poles (they remain the property of Parkinson's UK).
There are no limits when walking with Northants Parkinson's People!
What does this mean for Northants Parkinson’s People?
Sue and I can, and will, continue to give support and advice for walking with the aid of poles. We will continue to uphold the principles of British Nordic Walking. Help in assessing the individual(s) suitability, safety and wellbeing prior to and throughout your initial introduction to the use of the NW poles. (i.e. Get to know you and whatever you advise are your limitations).
NW poles start at around £35 - £50, which is a big ask when you’re not sure, so be assured, one way or another, we will have a demonstration set available on the three walking days (Monday, Race Course, Wednesday, and Friday at Abington Park). Once you’re hooked (and you will be!) we can assess the best type of pole for you.
If you would like to know more about a demonstration and would like to have a go please send a message to 07735 779422 giving contact name and number. We will do our best to get you hooked and happy! Alternatively, contact Northants Parkinson's People
Richard Clifft (Parkinsons UK Nordic Walking Champion) 16.02.22
Updated 19.02.2022 following PUK issue of the NW leaflet (18.02.2022)
- FOREST GUMP in FOREST GUMP
- TOMBSTONE, ARIZONA
- ON THE MOON
- THE NOSE
- It is true, Birmingham has more actual mileage of canals than Venice. But Venice has more canals than Birmingham. There are 27 miles of canal in Venice and 35 miles in Birmingham. There are only 35 canals in Birmingham, but there are at least 123 canal/waterways in Venice.
- DOW JONES INDEX
- DAVID JONES
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If you know anyone who may be interested, can you please let us know. Thank you
The March Hare is a character most famous for appearing in the tea party scene in Lewis Carroll's 1865 book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. But why do we use this saying. Well, over many centuries of observing the European Hare (Lepus Europaeus) we, that's the human race not we NPP! Have noticed that the hare has a very short mating season, usually in March, though it also runs through to August (go figure that one out!) and to put it bluntly, lady hares are just as fast as male hares, so all the courting gets done at a fair old gallop. And It's not just about the running, The girls like a bit of boxing, and if the male can't stand his ground then no goodnight kiss for him, natures way of ensuring the species thrives.
A few things about hares
Hares can run at up to 45mph, but they can accelerate very quickly, about twice as fast as Usain Bolt, and they can de-accelerate twice as fast as they can accelerate, this allows them to twist and jink to avoid predators.
Hares can mate and get pregnant, WHILE THEY ARE PREGNANT! females that are about to give birth can also have a new set of fertilised ova waiting in the wings, as it were, for the first litter to be born. After the birth, the new set settles into the recently vacated uterus. Mind-bogglingly, this means that the sperm that fertilises litter two somehow finds its way through a uterus already full of well-developed young to reach the new eggs. This strategy shortens the breeding cycle by a few days each time, which may mean that the hare can squeeze in an extra litter per year before the summer’s end. This apparent friskiness has earned the Hare a symbol of fertility in Pagan religions, It also, not surprisingly, as Christianity is sort of wrapped over paganism in many ways, a very common motif in church symbology.
Hares and rabbits are lagomorphs, unlike ruminants, which have several stomachs, lagamorphs have only one. As they eat grass, to get the same amount of nutrients they eat everything TWICE! Yep, that's as bad as it sounds. During the night they produce special droppings called cecotropes, which are soft, moist and stuck together in lumps, and they eat them straight away, to give their guts a second go at absorbing nutrients. Only after a second journey through the intestines do those familiar dry pellets of poo come out.