Welcome to newsletter No 40
Cor, wasn't it hot, I had to leave my vest off again. On the Monday it was 24 deg C in my house and I though, I've got this, I'll cope. The next morning 1st thing it was 29 deg C inside, and it climbed all day!!
Thank the gods, I had my ice lollies! (Angela left hers out of the freezer by accident, she was not happy) While we wait for the next heatwave, get stuck into issue No 40.
Please get your Friends and Families involved
We are registered with EASYFUNDRAISING, AND ALSO WITH AMAZON SMILE 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 – And if you or your friends and family shop at Amazon you can help us 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!
Even if you don't shop online, maybe your friends or families do. Please ask them to help too.
To sign up for EasyFundraising go to
To sign up for AmazonSmile
How to use AmazonSmile on a web browser:
- Visit smile.amazon.com
- Sign in with the same account you use for Amazon.com
- Select your charity
- Start shopping! Remember to checkout at smile.amazon.com to generate donations for your chosen charity.
Tip: Add a bookmark to make it easier to shop at smile.amazon.com.
Northants Parkinson's People contact details are
If you want to be a member of Northants Parkinson's People then, please Join Us Here
NYPD GO ALL PIE AND MASH
(Coupled with an evening’s entertainment of table skittles)
Now I suppose that the outing could be, at a stretch, described as a sporting event; I’ll leave it to you the reader to decide. So the pre-match warm up by the players consist of the downing of hearty meat pie with a good dollop of mash all accompanied by a jug of gravy; oh yes, and a few green things! And who wouldn’t follow that with a glass or two of home brew. (well, it wouldn’t be polite not to, given the location is at The Phipps Brewery!)
To the event itself.
Perhaps I should first explain what table skittles is about, as one should never assume that we all had a miss spent youth. There’s a table that looks like Granddads old leather armchair (but on longer legs). This has a goal net fixed to its back. (to protect the landlords' decor from wayward cheeses!)
Yes, Cheeses. These are in-fact 3 wheel shaped lumps of wood used to throw at the skittles. (look like large baby-bells with their jackets off!).
Finally, there are skittles; all 9 of them, and these are arranged in a diamond pattern on Granddads chair, nicely spaced to allow the cheese to pass without knocking them over.
So now the game begins, and that’s with each player having a warm-up throw with surprising degrees of accuracy. Impressive.
For this occasion, it would be a knockout, with each player having 3 lives. The challenge would be to knock more skittles down than the following opponent. They say that practice makes perfect, but not on this occasion. Should I just say that the gap between skittles and the net at the back were in high demand for some. Lives tumbled like our 9 pins weren’t. Having said that, there were a few impressive moments, like Nicks 9 in 2 throws, and then spoils it by only hitting one on the reset (total 10, which was the highest individual score of the night). Needless to say, the following player lost a life!
Unlike a bowling ally where a machine resets the skittles, with this game it's done by hand. We more or less took it in turn to reset, but quickly realized it was prudent to move clear while the chesses were flying.
The last man standing in this killer game, Steve. (yes, that’s all you get Steve, a mention in this month’s news bulletin!!!)
Another great night out for NYPD, thanks go to Nick for arranging the event, and thanks to the staff of Phipps brewery for free use of the table.
From your roving reporter, news just in, NYPD goes golfing!!! We’ll see!
Written by Richard, our New Chairman
Upcoming Events and Outings
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Trip
There are a few places left on this trip 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.
DATE: Wednesday 7th September leaving Northampton at 10 a.m. from the County Lion Depot, Oxwich Road, Brackmills. arriving at the gardens at approximately 11:30. We will leave the botanical gardens at about 3.30 p.m. and arrive back in Northampton sometime around 5 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.
The trip is subsidised and will cost £15 per person. (Sorry, but we cannot provide any physical support to access the bus or during the day).
THERE ARE ONLY A FEW SEATS REMAINING, SO FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED.
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.
Some weeks we are maxed out with over 20 people in attendance, others we are a little quieter. However, we always work hard, get our muscles pumping and our hearts thumping, we then have a relaxing cool down and stretch. Followed by tea, coffee and treats! This month we have enjoyed Pain Au Chocolat - Thanks Jenny, and Birthday cakes - thanks Rodney.
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
...sadly our little trip to the Deco Theatre for afternoon tea and songs from the shows was postponed by the Theatre - not wanting to disappoint anyone, we have booked another canal trip for the beginning of August. Look out for pictures in next month's newsletter.....
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.
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 2nd August
(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
Sorry, we cancelled July's meet up due to the heat, I understand the Halts' kitchen staff decamped and prepared all meals that day outside, sooner them than me!
Meeting on every third Tuesday of the month, this month it's on the 16th August 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.
(The views expressed below are my own and not necessarily those of the Charity).
Hello everyone, I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter every month? If there is anything anyone would like to share with our growing membership, just let us know. Perhaps you have an interesting hobby or have been on a trip you think others might like to try, or hints and tips for - absolutely anything!.... and within reason we would be happy to share with our readership. Northants Parkinson's People are all about supporting each other and building our little friendly community.
As our readership and membership is growing regularly, I thought it may be an idea to update everyone on the other support that I mostly provide. You already know about the walks, exercises, lunch group, meetings and outings already, and I hope you enjoy our pictures from these. However, as a Charity, we felt it was important to also offer one to one support in other areas. I do this work, and that includes helping individuals claim benefits of which they may be eligible.
Firstly, there is a benefit for people over state pension age called Attendance Allowance, this is for individuals who are having 'difficulty' or who need help with daily activities such as getting out of bed, using the bath or shower, getting dressed etc. The person may be able to perform these tasks themselves, but if they take longer and tasks are more tricky, then it is definitely worth applying. It adds up to quite a bit of extra income, which lets face it we could all do with in the present climate.
For people under State Pension age, the benefit is called Personal Independence Payments (PIP). Again, this is for individuals who are having difficulty or who need help with activities of daily living such as preparing and cooking food, washing and bathing, getting dressed etc. PIP has a separate mobility element, which can then mean a person may be eligible to have a car through the Motability Scheme. This benefit is a little more complicated to claim, and I would advise anyone to get advice before attempting to claim this independently.
I can help with both of these benefits, and I am more than happy to discuss requirements, completely confidentially, if anyone would like to make a claim.
I also help people to claim for Blue Badge's, you may have seen the feedback a few months ago where I helped someone successfully appeal a refusal for a blue badge. They were very happy to get their badge in the end. So again, it is best to get help with these things and that is why, as a Charity, we want to help.
I also support people who call the helpline with all manner of enquiries, no question is a silly question and if I don't know the answer to your enquiry I will find out and let you know. As a Charity, we want you to feel assured that we are here to help you, and we will help you if at all humanly possible.
July and August are always a bit quieter, so it seemed a good time to do a little stock take. I keep very brief notes, facts and figures of the work I have done so far for Northants Parkinson's People. Bearing in mind we are just beginning our third year of being an official Charity in Northamptonshire, I am proud to let you know that over that time I have had:
157 Enquiries - these have been through the helpline/website/leaflets/word of mouth/Nurses/etc
40 of these included successful AA Applications (have not had one turned down yet). Other support has included applying for PIP, Blue Badge, housing to help with relocation, Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Employment support, Carers support, Speech & Language Info, Exercise Info, Aids and Adaptations Info, signposting to other agencies.... etc.
Please let me know if I can help you - that's why we are here.
Finally, a bit of a mystery has been unearthed this month and I want to advise people that plan to look on our website to type the whole address: northantsparkinsonspeople.uk
This is because Parkinson's UK has set up a webpage with a very similar name to ours: northantsparkinsons.org.uk !!!! This page was set up after we set up our website. They also still have their old website www.localsupport.parkinsons.org.uk
WHILE THIS IS VERY FLATTERING it's also confusing and while they claim to support people with Parkinson's in Northamptonshire, the pictures they have on this (new) website show two images that I took approximately 6 years ago and are very much out of date. The question that comes to my mind is why would an organization that claims to support people with Parkinson's attempt to divert people away from our support? Not very Charitable, I'd say.
So beware imitations!
Keep cool and hydrated
|Recipe of the Month
Due to nearly every supermarket now selling 'Greek style' yogurt (which bares absolutely no resemblance to Greek yogurt whatsoever) here's my method for making your own.
A little introduction
- Milk UHT (1 ltr)
- some live yogurt to start (about 70ml)
Regular yogurt is made by heating milk, adding bacteria, and leaving it to ferment until it reaches an acidic pH of about 4.5. After it cools, other ingredients like fruit may be added. The final product has a smooth consistency, but may vary in thickness. Greek yogurt is just regular yogurt strained to produce a thicker yogurt, its taste is altered because the whey is removed.
Greek 'style' yogurt (yuck!) has thickening products added to it, so they can retain the whey, therefore providing an inferior product at low cost.
Live yogurt starter (you only need to buy this once because you can use some from your last batch) any plain Yogurt that contains the following live cultures: Bifidobacterium - Lactobacillus bulgaris - Streptococcus thermophilus. (Yeo valley works, check the label for the culture)
The fermentation process calls for the milk to be heated to 85 deg c for a prolonged period to break down stringy proteins prior to adding the live culture. Just use UHT, Ultra Heat treated milk works a treat without this step, it can be stored at home without refrigeration, and it's cheaper.
(wrap in towel and place in oven with oven light on)
- Heat 1 LTR UHT milk to 50 deg C. I do this in the microwave, 2 batches of 2.5 minutes.
- Allow to cool to if over 50
- Put about 70ml of the milk into a small bowl, add the yogurt starter to it and stir gently until it is smooth.
- Add the mixture to the rest of the milk, stir gently.
- Cover and keep it warm for 6-10 hours (ideally 38 degrees)
Yes, it's a bit of a faff at 1st, but if you like the end result, a yogurt maker will streamline the process. The picture below shows the yogurt and the whey produced from 1 LTR of milk. The yogurt is 600 grams, a 500gm pot of Tesco's finest now costs £1.85. I paid 90p for the milk and 4p to heat it up. The whey can also be used in smoothies, baking, making crème fraîche, even using as an acid soil improver. Greek yogurt (and whey) can be stored (covered) for over 2 weeks in the fridge.
- Once yogurt is 'set' place in refrigerator for 3 hours
- Use as normal yogurt or continue to make Greek yogurt.
- Cover a large bowl with two layers of cheesecloth and pour the yogurt in, the whey will drain through leaving Greek yogurt behind. The straining process will take about an hour.
As anyone who has spent anytime in my company, would soon surmise, that I love the English language, in particular the origins of phrases and nursery rhymes. So for your perusal are just 2.
Humpty Dumpty sat on wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the kings men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
This rhyme dates back to an incident in 1647 and took place during the English civil war. At this time the city of Colchester was under siege, it was occupied by Royalists (loyal to King Charles I) and besieged by a force of the Army of the Parliament (commanded by General Fairfax), The main part of the defences of the town were a small number of cannon, there was also a large cannon on the roof and castle walls adjacent to the St. Mary's church.
The besieging force had been repulsed twice, due to efforts by the cannon on the church roof. This had caused the attackers to give the cannon the nickname "HUMPTY DUMPTY" as in the normal way of soldiers, they like to find about a possible weakness of an enemy and turn it into a joke.
After a week of shells fired to and fro to no apparent benefit of either side, the parliamentary cannon concentrated their fire on the wall that supported the roof on which Humpty Dumpty stood, and it wasn't long before Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. As the defenders were now exposed to fire from all sides. No matter how hard they tried, with ropes horse and pulleys, the king's horses nor the king's men were able to put the cannon back on top of the wall. Without the cannon, the defending garrison of Royalists soon surrendered. With Colchester now in the hands of Parliament, most of East Anglia followed suit.
Little Jack Horner, sat in the corner
Eating his pudding and pie
He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum(b)
And said what a good boy am I
In 1434 Henry VIII (King of England) ordered that the Roman Catholic Church in England would be replaced by the Church of England, with the King as the head. The chancellor, Thomas Cromwell, ordered all properties of the Catholic Church to be surrendered to the crown.
All the diocese (area controlled by a Bishop) had to produce a list to the crown by Christmas that year. The head steward of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, was THOMAS "JACK" HORNER.
He was given a pie to take to the king. In the pie were the deeds to the 12 richest properties. Now he wasn't informed of what was in the pie, but obviously guessed correctly what it was. In those days the journey, Bath to London, took 3-4 days. Sometime during the journey, Jack Horner eased up the crust top of the pie with his thumb, then eased out the richest plum. Then sealed it back down, and then went on to present it to the Chancellor (for the King) they all thought that this such a novel way to present it that no one asked how many deeds should be in the pie. The deeds were to the property of Mells Hill farm, it was the top wool producer, held other deeds to several smaller farms and the rights to a lead mine, hence the plum(b) "plumbum" is the Latin word for lead, "plumber" worker of lead. Jack Horner really did get a plum, and it stayed in his family for the next 250 years.
Take care everyone
Gardening for August
Let’s start off with the lovely Basil. The herb, not the bloke! Although to be truthful I loved Basil from Faulty Towers, he was so funny! Yes, I know, that really ages me, doesn’t it? Well never mind it’s just a number! Anyway, I digress, back to basil the herb. If you have been growing basil then by now it should be quite vigorous and to keep it like that for some time to come keep picking the tips regularly to keep the plants bushy. I grow mine in the same pots as my tomato plants, as the
scent of the basil helps to keep away white fly etc. Plus, there is the added bonus of picking a tomato and basil at the same time. Nothing like freshly sliced tomato with mozzarella and basil on top and a little drizzle of olive oil for lunch. Now here is a top tip! If you have a good supply of basil, then pick it and chop finely. Mix it into a paste with a little olive oil and pack the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, pop the cubes out into a plastic bag or container and keep
in the freezer to use during the winter. One cube is equal to approximately one tablespoon of fresh herbs. You can repeat this process for chives, rosemary, mint or indeed any herb.
During the current very dry weather we are experiencing, don’t forget to leave some water in a shallow tray or bowl for the hedgehogs. I haven’t seen any in my garden recently and was a little disappointed as I have gone over to organic growing completely and had hoped to encourage the hoggies. I was so excited two days ago to find hedgehog poo on the patio! Who knew that poo could lead to such happiness!
Now is the time to prune early summer fruiting raspberries. I have three bush type ones growing in pots. This year has been my best crop ever. Most days over the course of three weeks I have had a small bowl of raspberries with yogurt for my breakfast. Now the crop has finished and the stems which bore the fruit need to be cut right back to the soil level. Do not cut any of the other stems as these will be the ones to bear fruit next year. You can repeat this process for raspberry canes too.
Luckily, I have blueberries growing in pots which are now bearing ripening fruit. They are delicious and provide me with a nice addition to my yogurt. I have attached a picture of the most vigorous bush which bears PINK blueberries. They taste exactly the same as blue ones, delicious!
Finally, I have been reading about a new innovative peat free garden compost which is not in a plastic bag. It consists of a coir block with a separate bag of nutrients all of which arrive in a cardboard box. Very easy to carry as much lighter. It is then hydrated by adding water and then the bag of nutrients. However, you would, I imagine need a container big enough to take the bulk and the water. To make 70L of compost, you need to add 25 litres of water. At the moment the cost for this is £18. Hopefully, if the idea takes on, the price will come down. Of course, the other alternative, which I have mentioned before, is to buy peat free compost and then return the plastic bag to the garden centre where they have a recycling bin specifically for compost bags.
Finished product Before pruning
Bye for now
Technology, and something useful for a change. Anglia water sent me a letter this week. 'Your water meter has shown us that you are constantly using 2 litres of water an hour, this indicates you may have a leak' (well they did fit a smart meter last year, so it must be working.) 'This may increase your bill by £56 per year.' They went on to tell me which parts of the system are my responsibility etc. So I went to investigate. I live on a corner, so the water meter is at the side of the house on the pavement, right where one of my neighbours parks a large van, with its wheels over the pavement and over the meter. The pavement is concave where it's sunk over time. So I went through the 'can you move your van/why?/I got a leak/cor, that'll cost you/not if your bloody van caused it' conversation. Then trusty screwdriver in hand, I prised the lid up, Oh no, the chamber was full of water. So I scooped it all out to reveal the meter. New smart water meters have a digital display, we are charged in cubic meters, but the three digits after the decimal point are litres. So I filled the kettle, took a meter reading and sat back with a cup of tea, hole watching. Sure enough, the meter was slowly changing. But wait, after two hours, it showed about 5 litres used but the few drops of water in the meter chamber had not increased. So the leak wasn't near the meter, hmmm.
Turns out that the hose pipe stretched across my garden for veggy watering has been used as an ad hoc chew toy by the beast! Most of the puncture marks self healed, but several were leaking through. I wondered why that area of the lawn was a lot greener than the rest!
It also turns out that if you register with Anglian water, you can see hourly water usage online (provided they have installed a smart meter, that is.)
Members of NYPD have found a novel way to beat the heatwave
They use their copies of Playboy magazine to keep the sun off
Well done chaps!