Welcome to newsletter No 39
It's July already! The longest day has been and gone, where did I put my vest? I'm willing the tomato plants to fruit, so I can stop buying the expensive ones at the supermarket for a while. In the meantime, get stuck into issue No 39.
We hope you enjoyed last month's newsletter. Due to circumstances, our newsletter ARCHIVE IS STILL NOT up to date. Please bear with us, and we'll sort it out soon
Our Annual General Meeting
We had our AGM last month. We had a few changes to our committee. Firstly, Doug Buckle stepped down as Chair. We wish to say a sincere thank you to Doug for being Chair for our first two years as an official Charity. Also, Val Hamblin retired as a committee member, those of you who know Val will know that she has given many, many years to supporting people affected by Parkinson's and we are privileged to have enjoyed Val's support over the last two years.
Staying in post are Karen Stokes as Secretary, Nick Clarke as Trustee and Tony Roberts as Trustee.
We welcome two new committee members: John Ellis was voted in as Treasurer and Richard Clifft has become our new Chairman. Please see below some more details about our newbies:
Please get your Friends and Families involved
We are registered with EASYFUNDRAISING, which means you can help us for FREE. Over 4,000 shops and sites will donate to us when you use easyfundraising to shop with them – at no extra cost to yourself! All you need to do is sign up and remember to use easyfundraising whenever you shop online. It’s easy and completely FREE!
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Upcoming Events and Outings
We have reserved some spaces for Afternoon Tea and Live Music from London's West End at the Deco Theatre. 20th July (Wednesday) at 1:30 till 3:30
it is £18 per ticket but carers pay £11. We have been before, and it is a good few hour's entertainment, and the afternoon tea was delicious. Please get your names down asap as places are limited. The venue is disabled/wheelchair friendly, and the car park is just next door. Email: [email protected]
or call 01604 244 444.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Members Trip
We talked at our recent AGM about how we could say thank you to the people who have joined us and become members of Northants Parkinson's People. (We ask people to join by either going to our website and joining or filling out details on our leaflet and posting to the address on the leaflet - you do not have to donate any money to join, but of course donations are always gratefully received).
We decided that we could give our members first opportunity of joining us on a subsidized trip out, then when all members have had the chance to get their names down, we will open up the trip to everyone else if there is room left.
Our subsidized trip will be to Birmingham Botanical Gardens where there are beautiful gardens to explore (lots of seats along the way). Four glass houses themed as tropical, subtropical, arid and Mediterranean. In addition, there is a butterfly house, Café and gift shop.
Proposed date is either Wednesday 7 th September or Wednesday 14 th September leaving Northampton at 10.30a.m. arriving at the gardens at approximately 12 noon. We will leave the botanical gardens at about 3 p.m. and arrive back in Northampton sometime around 4.30 p.m. this will allow us ample time to wander through the gardens and glass houses and have lunch.
We will be hiring a 29 seater bus which has a lower than average step into it - 12" from the ground for the first step, 8" for the second step and then 8" into the bus. There are two rails either side of the steps to hold onto. The steps are nice and deep. Sorry we could not find a suitable coach with wheelchair access. Wheelchairs and scooters can be rented at the gardens but you must book them. Walkers can be put into the bus boot. We haven't finalised trip amount yet but we think about £15 for the bus and entry. Members will be offered the first opportunity of booking a space, then we will open up to others.
Please let us know ASAP if you would like to come along by Phone or email...
Helpline 01604 244444
The website is birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk
if you would like to take a look at what is on offer there.
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
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.
A nice walk in the 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
Our Lunch Club is going strong, this month it's on the 5th July (1st Tuesday of the month), so please come along to the Queen Eleanor pub for 12:30 where the marvellous staff will serve us at our tables while we get on with this great social occasion.
Partners Coffee Morning
Meeting on every third Tuesday of the month, this month it's on the 19th July 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.
Our New Committee Members
An introduction to the new NPP Chairman, Richard Clifft
For those who don’t know me, my name is Richard Clifft. My wife Yvonne and I are both retired.
My career background was in construction. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s ten years ago, following the diagnosis, I had the opportunity to take part in several exercise groups. One of these eventually lead to my role as a Parkinson’s UK Nordic Walking Ambassador, championing the use of walking poles as an aid for those with Parkinson’s.
I joined Fit&Fab exercise group 5 years ago, and have been a member of NPP since it started, participating in the weekly walks, and contributing time to fund-raising.
I’m also a member of the Northants Young Parkinson’s Division (yes, even at 75!) run by Nick Clark.
It’s a privilege to take on the role of Chairman, and I will continue to promote and support Northants Parkinson’s People.
An introduction to the new NPP Treasurer, John Ellis
I first learnt of Northants Parkinson’s People after my wife, Rosemary, was invited to join a friend at the Fit and Fab sessions, and subsequently she went on the park walks. I join her occasionally on the walks, and discovered very quickly the passion and friendliness of everyone involved.
When I heard that the current Treasurer wanted to step down, I realized that it gave me the opportunity to offer to give something back, to thank everyone for the welcome given to Rosemary, and to do something in memory of my dad and uncle, who both suffered from Parkinson’s Disease.
I am retired, and my working background was in banking, building society and also as Finance Officer for Motor Neurone Disease Association.
- What name did the Romans bestow on the town that we call BATH?
- As we are in BATH (with the ROMANS) can you tell me what is the Roman name for a HOT bath?
- In the 1930s, which AFRICAN EMPEROR spent most of the time while he was exiled (by the Italians) in Bath?
- The Motor Vehicle Driving Licence was introduced in 1924, what was the MINIMUM AGE?
- What was first installed Nov 1927 in the U.K. in PRINCE'S STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON?
- Which aid to driving was invented by PERCY SHAW in 1934?
- How many sides has a CUBE?
- What type of creature is a GECKO?
- Which actors played the parts of the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY in the film of that name?
- Which African dictator was the film THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND about?
- In which U.S. state is Cape Canaveral to be found?
- Which U.S. state is the last alphabetically?
- The Author A. A. MILNE wrote the Winnie the Pooh stories, what does A.A. stand for?
- Rothschild, Maasai, Thonicroft and Angolan are all species of which large African mammal?
- What is the name of Long John Silver's parrot in the classic novel TREASURE ISLAND?
Compiled by Doug (the QUIZMEISTER)
NYPD Go Cruising.
Well, yes, I don’t see why a leisurely three miles an hour trip along the Grand Union Canal can’t be called a cruise, even if it was for one day! The boat (sorry, barge) was a neat craft with cabin, galley, open seating area, and the all important loo. All set for ten passengers and crew. Yes, we chartered a self-drive!
So after Nick had hesitantly negotiated the deposit (non-refundable if we were to abscond with the craft, or sink it!), we climbed aboard, each clutching a days provisions of their own choosing. The trip was from Dodford, a little hamlet just off the A5, to a southerly destination, determined by a number of factors.
First; the barge had to be back by 17.00.
Second; just how far can one travel at a maximum speed of three miles an hour.
Third; the number of hostelries likely to be encountered (yes you can be fined for drink-driving apparently!)
And finally; a mutiny or sinking!!
Now, believe it or not, there was no rush to take on the task of steering the boat. In the end it was Phil (I’ve done it before) who took the helm (that’s the steering thing) and off we went. Piece of cake!
As luck would have it, the weather was glorious, the conversation “varied” and the group soon became accustomed to the breakneck speed that is three miles an hour! As time went on, I think most had a turn at the tiller, some with, shall we say, a better understanding of the art. But we did keep the boat in the water pretty well throughout. We sailed past Weedon, Nether Hayford, and on to Bugbrooke, and it just happened that the pub (aptly named The Wharf) had its own moorings, and it was that time of day!
Despite bringing our own pack-up, most elected to sample The Wharfs' menu along with the liquid refreshment. Just the thing one should do on a sunny summer's day by the canal! Time stands still for no man; and when the decision to go a little further turned out to be uneventful, a nautical version of a hand break turn set the course for the return trip. Now, you might think retracing the route produces no surprises; not on this trip. It was while the rest were observing the views and impressive canal side properties from the prow (front), the lookout and tiller two noted something amiss ahead. The first impression was of a sharpish left turn; but no! A forty-foot barge had broken its mooring and drifted to totally block the canal, and we were about to hit it broad side (writer's licence to over egg the event). A bit of calm piloting by George on the tiller coupled with a full reverse of the propeller, and all was under control. Daredevil Phil jumped to the occasion (as videoed by nick) leaping from boat to boat, to tie the offending vessel back alongside the towpath.
There’s really not much more to tell. The boat was retuned in one piece, so Nick was happy, nobody fell in, and all passengers and crew were accounted for. It was an exceptionally brilliant day out.
Thanks to Nick for organizing the event.
In 1461 Henry VI (King of England) was defeated at the Battle of Towton. (Yorkshire). After this resounding defeat (it was the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil), with the Lancastrian forces scattered to the four winds, Edward of York was declared King of England (Edward IV).
In 1463 Edward IV married a virtually unknown widow Elizabeth Woodville (from a Lancastrian family), they had several children, 2 of which were boys (EDWARD and RICHARD, the prince's). The fast advancement of members of the queen's family created a great deal of disquiet amongst King Edward's other supporters. In particular the King's 2 younger brothers (George Duke of Clarence, Richard of Gloucester and Edward, Earl of Warwick). Suffice to state that Richard suffered no punishment, the Earl of Warwick was exiled, but George (Duke of Clarence) was sentenced to be executed, but the method not clearly stated (according to Shakespeare he was executed by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, but (I intend no pun) there is no real proof).
Then in April 1483 King Edward IV of England died after a short illness, at this time Prince Edward of York (soon to be King) was in the keeping of Sir Antony Woodville, Lord Rivers (the Queen's brother). As was the custom of the times, when a young gentleman attained the age of 5-7 years of age a boy of his status, were in training to become a "knight's squire", which was the case at that moment. All was as it should be, or so all thought.
In the confines of Ludlow Castle at this time April 1483, the occupants were in a frenzied state, a messenger had arrived from London claiming that the King, Edward IV, was dead. The message also contained instructions for the Lord Rivers and others to deliver the young King to be and join with the Duke of Gloucester's forces at Northampton Castle, then journey on to London for the prince Edward to be crowned. This created a bit of consternation as it was thought that Richard of Gloucester was still in the North meeting with others raising an army.
The next day another message came from the King's council, this said to go past Northampton and go via the old Roman road (Watling street) to the village of Stoney Stratford (this was now growing as a stop to London) and to meet at the hostelry "Rose and Crown". When Lord Rivers reached the village, they were astonished to find that Richard, Duke of Gloucester was already there. He had a considerably larger force, and an instruction for Lord Rivers to hand the Prince Edward over to Gloucester, as was proscribed in the will of the late King Edward. The instruction was obeyed (they had no choice) and the rest as we say is history.
The Prince disappeared to the Tower of London, Richard of Gloucester, had the offspring of Edward and Elizabeth Woodville declared illegitimate. Gloucester was crowned King, but was defeated 3 years later at Bosworth Field by the (Lancastrian) Henry Tudor (Henry VII).
Gardening Newsletter 39
So here we are into July already! Time is flying by! Not too late to grow a few courgette seeds. Sow about three and place them on their sides in a pot (photo) When the seeds germinate and produce a second set of leaves, the small plants can be transferred to a grow-bag. I am planting just one strong plant into the large bag which I grew potatoes in. The soil left after harvesting the potatoes is rich and full of goodness. Give them plenty of water and feed, as courgettes are greedy and thirsty plants.
I like courgettes in roasted vegetables and stir-fry, but my all-time favourite is courgette and sweetcorn fritters. See recipe to follow:
Courgette And Sweetcorn Fritters
- 150g s.r.flour
- salt, black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 150ml milk
- 2 medium courgettes grated
- 198g tin
- sweetcorn drained
- 4 spring onions finely chopped
- a little fresh parsley chopped.
Put the flour, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl, slowly add the beaten eggs and milk to make a smooth batter. Now add the remainder of the ingredients.
Heat a tablespoon oil in frying pan and drop a tablespoon of the batter mix into the pan. Fry for about 3 minutes and then flip over and fry on the other side until golden brown, Serve with a poached egg on top and a little sweet chilli sauce or a side salad. Any extras can be frozen.
Another easy vegetable which can be sown now are dwarf French beans. As with the courgettes, I plant them in the bag of soil which I had potatoes in but you can grow them in a large pot with a few short canes for support.
Do keep any plants in containers well-watered. They dry out very quickly, especially when it is windy and don’t forget to feed everything once a week. The nutrients in the compost which was used to plant up the pots in the first place will now have dissipated. I either use a tomato feed or organic seaweed but do check the bottles for the amount and make sure you use the measure provided.
Another little tip as you walk around your garden is to gently tap any tomato flowers that you have growing. This helps with pollination and setting the fruit.
Please recycle your old plastic plant pots and also compost bags! Yes! The garden centre on the Newport Pagnell Road have recycle bins for both on the right-hand side just inside the front door.
Finally, I wanted to share some information about the herb Rosemary. It has long been used medicinally for insomnia, inflammation, depression, headaches etc There are lots of studies and investigations being carried out at present it has been found that inhalation of rosemary essential
oil decreases stress levels and by increasing dopamine levels in vivo. A recent study also found that when using rosemary oil for aromatherapy, it significantly enhanced the quality of memory and increased mental alertness.
Note to self. Get some rosemary oil
Understanding Engineers 1
Two engineering students were riding bicycles across a university
campus, when one said, "Where did you get the great bike?"
The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking yesterday, minding
my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it
to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you
The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice: The
clothes probably wouldn't have fitted you anyway."
Understanding Engineers 2
To the optimist, the glass is half-full. To the pessimist, the glass
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Understanding Engineers 3
A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a
particularly slow group of golfers.
The engineer fumed, "What's with those guys? We've been waiting for
The doctor chimed in, "I don't think I've ever seen such inept golf!"
The priest said, "Here comes the green-keeper. Let's have a word with
him." He said, "Hello George, What's wrong with that group ahead of
us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The green-keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind firemen.
They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so
we always let them play for free anytime!"
The group fell silent for a moment.
The priest said, "That's so sad. I'll say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. I'll contact my ophthalmologist colleague
and see if there's anything she can do for them."
The engineer said, "Why can't they play at night?"
Understanding Engineers 4
What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?
Mechanical engineers build weapons. Civil engineers build targets.
Understanding Engineers 5
Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers
believe that if it ain't broke, it isn't sufficiently complex yet.
Understanding Engineers 6
An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him
and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."
He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a
beautiful princess and … I’ll stay with you for one week."
The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and
returned it to the pocket.
The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a
princess …. I'll stay with you for one week …. And I’ll do anything
Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back
into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, "What's the matter? I've told you I'm a
beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one week, and I’ll
do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"
The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a
girlfriend. But a talking frog - now that's cool."
Understanding Engineers 7
A graduate engineer steps forward to be presented to the University
Vice-Chancellor at the degree award ceremony.
“Congratulations on your achievement” says the Vice-Chancellor,
shaking his hand.
“Thank you, sir” replies the young man. Then he adds, “Three year ago,
I couldn't even spell enjinear. But now I are one”
Two engineers were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking at its
top. A woman walked by and asked what they were doing "We're supposed
to find the height of this flagpole," said one, "but we don't have a
The woman took a spanner from her purse, loosened a couple of bolts,
and laid the pole down on the ground. Then she took a tape measure
from her purse, took a measurement, announced, "6.5 metres," and
One engineer shook his head and laughed, "A lot of good that does us.
We ask for the height, and she gives us the length!"
Apparently, both engineers have since quit their engineering jobs and
have been elected to Parliament.
- AQUA SULIS
- HAILLE SELLASI (ETHOPIA)
- AUTOMATED TRAFFIC LIGHTS
- CATS'S EYE'S (REFLECTIVE ROAD MARKINGS)
- CLINT EASTWOOD (THE GOOD) LEE VAN CLEEF (THE BAD) ELI WALLACH (THE UGLY)
- IDI AMIN (UGANDA)
- ALLAN ALEXANDER
- CAPTAIN FLINT
Well, the bit about engineers stirred up memories. I did an engineering apprenticeship at Northampton Machinery Co Ltd. In those days long ago (1971 at the grand age of 16) I was indentured (yes, I thought it was about teeth as well) The signing process was quite formal, your dad had to sort of sign you over to the company (the indenture papers were massive and folded up into a linen sleeve) after that a bloke measured me for my overalls, strangely, with a steel tape measure. Two weeks later, I was an Engineer (with the baggiest overalls, apparently they had to last your whole apprenticeship so had 'growing room')
My first pay packet £2.63, (which my mum deducted £1.50 board, so I had £1.13 left which was a slight step up from the 50p paper round) but the first year was off the job training, so filing, sawing, hammering followed by more of the same, eventually moving on to machine tools. By the end of the 1st year, I had made my own toolbox and filled it with an assortment of tools I had made.
Year two was 6-week placements in different departments, Turning, milling, fitting, pattern making, welding etc. And lots of odd jobs, including getting out on the bike.
Many a terrifying trip to collect or deliver parts, one regular trip was to Baxter's in Gladstone road to collect, wait for it, a hundredweight of lard! We made plastic extruders and to check they worked correctly (without heating up lots of plastic) we used lard, lots of lard, which smelt really nice (not)
Getting back to understanding engineers, we were honed by trainers and mentors to think in engineering ways and be proud of our skills. One story sticks from back then, a USA company sent over the smallest drill they produced, apparently a British company sent it back with a hole drilled up the middle. Sadly not true but while British engineering isn't the biggest sector any more I like to think it still holds its own in innovation.