Registered charity number 1188652
March 2023 Issue No. 47
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Welcome to newsletter No 47
Spring is just around the corner. No chance of leaving the vest off yet, though. Catkins are popping out, this Hazel is producing a fine display of male catkins. That blur in the background is man's best friend rolling in something nasty, probably. Anyway, on with the show. We have lots to tell you, so crack on and have a good read.
Charity News
Northants Parkinson's People contact details are
If you want to be a member of Northants Parkinson's People then, please

Join Us Here
You get to vote in our AGM, or even join our committee or management team. Members also get discounts and subsidized tickets on our trips and outings. Joining is free, but of course we will accept donations.

Item Available
Would anybody get any benefit out of this, it might help to carry Tea or plates from the kitchen.  Top tray is 73 cm from the floor handle is 91 cm from the floor, the unit is 41 cm x 41 cm. A small donation would be appreciated for this. Please call Helpline to get more details

Do You want to Try Indoor Bowling
Why not check this out? Every Thursday Evening (that's what they said, even if 10th Jan is a Tuesday), So check for details, the NDIB phone number is 01604 721200

Upcoming Events and Outings
At a glance - Dates for your diary - March
  • 4th March, Saturday zoom quiz 11:00am in the comfort of your own home.
  • 7th March, 1st Tuesday Lunch Club Queen Eleanor Pub 12:30
  • 21st March, 3rd Tuesday Carers coffee morning, VENUE the Queen Eleanor Pub 10:30am
  • Our regular (Thursday) Fit&Fab sessions and (Mon, Wed, Fri) Walks in the Park as detailed below
More details below

Northants Parkinson's People
are inviting you to a fun day outing to sunny Skegness on Wednesday 7th June

Ticket prices:-
Members £15
Non-members £20
  • Leaving At 09:00
    (from Country Lion bus depot Oxwich Close, Brackmills, Northampton NN4 7BH)
  • Arriving Skegness Promenade 12:00
  • Departing Skegness 17:00
  • Arriving Northampton 20:00
To book your place
Please contact Sylvia at any NPP weekly activities or Nick at any NYPD events. If you do not attend any of these, then please contact the HELPLINE, and we can arrange a ticket for you.
  • Please notify us when booking if you wish to take wheelchairs, walkers and mobility scooters so the correct Coach can be provided. 
  • Coach will have a lift, and we expect to stop part way for a comfort break.
  • Please remember to bring your own snacks and drinks for the trip.
'It looks like being a member of
Northants Parkinson's People
gives you a subsidy on Trips and Events'
Join today Right Here
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
Fit&Fab is online every Tuesday at 10am. For a small fee, join in for exercise from home. Email Angela on [email protected] or call 07954099537 for more details
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.
    Umbrella Fair for coffee afterwards
  • Wednesdays AND Fridays       10:30, ABINGTON PARK, meeting at the bowling green/tennis courts. 
    Park café for coffee afterwards.   

Lunch Club
Our Lunch Club is on 7th March (1st Tuesday of the month), so please come along to the Queen Eleanor pub for 12:30 we have reserved tables, great atmosphere and good company.
Please contact Sylvia to say if you are attending

I'm saying nothing!

Partners/Carers Coffee Morning
21st March at 10:30am (3rd Tuesday of the month) at the Queen Eleanor Pub. Join us for coffee and a chat
Zoom Quiz
4th March 1st Saturday of the Month 11:00am ZOOM QUIZ. Exercise the ol' grey matter from the comfort of your own home.  Call the helpline to get a zoom invite.

They haven't got a clue, Join the Quiz and beat them!
From the Chair

Crikey that month went quick, whoever came up with “time slows down when you retire” obviously wasn’t a member of Northants Parkinson's People!

So let’s look at the here and now (especially as the Editor is looking impatiently in my direction!), and a take the opportunity to welcome all our new members

First then would be Skegness. All the details are in this Newsletter, but heed the words of Fred Pontin, “Book early” to avoid disappointment!

Just a little tip off, its worthwhile being a member of Northants Parkinson's People, because you just never know where it will take you next.

I think I still have enough time to mention a couple events for March (the Editor is now drumming his fingers on the desk – very annoying).

The first session of indoor bowls starts on Tuesday at the Kingsthorpe Bowls Club, which is on the Harborough Road. The session runs from 16.00 – 18.30 every Tuesday. Everything is provided and It's free to NPP members. Give me a shout if you’d like to take part (numbers are limited).


NYPD are having another of those pool nights on Thursday 9th starting at 19.00and finishing late at the Road to Morocco. It's being organized by Bob from his cabin aboard ship while in a force 9 gale crossing the North Sea, so who knows. I’ll let you know next month.

Got to go
         The E
                           has jus
                                        t pulled
                                                      the p
                                                              aper away!

The Quiz
Can you name these famous landmarks?

Scroll down the newsletter for the answers.
The Great Hobby Heist
Ambush at the altar
I was 10 years old when I got my first camera as a Xmas present, a mighty Kodak Instamatic no less, and I was hooked from day one. I took photos of anything and everything I could point the Kodak at and as a result I still have a heap of fading prints to show from this early enthusiasm which I’m currently scanning in to preserve. I kinda lost touch with the hobby somewhere in the high maintenance, young parenting and career building years and when my second son dropped into the world I figured my precious Sunday mornings ambling around with the tripod over my shoulder and all the time in the world to compose my piccies, were most definitely gone.
And so it proved. Children became the target of 99% of the pictorial output, and the resulting piles of colour prints ended up in a large plastic crate in the spare bedroom. Nothing to see here, move along, please.
So, in the belief that it made sense to have a camera designed to take snapshots when that was all I was taking, I had traded in my beloved and utterly beautiful Olympus OM4 camera for the more workman like solidity and automation of a Canon EOS 650. This is like trading in Keira Knightley for Liz Truss… not that I’m implying Keira Knightley isn’t entirely dependable you understand, or that Liz Truss in any way resembles a solid workman… way…not a bit of it. Anyway. Moving swiftly out of the corner I so skilfully painted myself into there, I ran straight into The Phone!
Recently I felt it was time to get back into photography, having watched in fascinated horror as a more than adequate communication device with the bonus of a weedy little camera tacked on the end turned into a High Definition imaging powerhouse with features that dedicated cameras could not match – and just happened to let you do an ET as well. The quality of the image, or lack of it, didn’t seem to matter at first. Money then poured in from the electronics giants and the technology has leapt forward.
Once the inebriated masses realized how easily they could take pictures of themselves with these devices, such dignity as remained in the self portrait genre slipped out of the back door and boarded a plane for Switzerland. The selfie was alive and  kicking. Rock bottom was rapidly reached with the arrival of the selfie stick.
It all seemed like interesting times, even for an old codger like me. Digital photography was still an enticing idea, so I hedged my bets and upgraded the little Fuji compact we had as the family camera for an entry level digital Canon SLR for me to play with. Taking pictures was still gonna be fun. I also borrowed my son's iPhone for comparison (after some protracted negotiations and guarantees were put in place in case Dad in any way caused said iPhone to suffer damage, however microscopic.) Playtime!
Not quite. In fact, not at all. First time out with the new camera I ended up at the reasonably local Saxon church ideal for my Black and White only and no post-production, purist style. First proper shot I tried to take, I put the viewfinder to my eye, overbalanced and went down to inspect the Saxon flooring in more detail than I’d planned. Parkinson's was out to play, and I could no longer stay steady enough to take a simple eye level shot. Thankfully neither my camera nor sons iPhone were damaged. My planned comeback tour of photography however was wrecked. I felt ambushed. And still do.
Shortly afterwards, I began freezing when trying to walk, leading to a couple of falls around the house. I now have a walking stick which I use most days and the council have kindly donated me one of them walking frame wotsits. Haven’t used it much, since I’m worried I’ll go out for a bag of chips or something - as yer do – forget where I am and shuffle off into the sunset, pushing the frame (and chips) before me. So Parkinson's has robbed me of my hobby. I knew it was coming but I’m still sulking now that its happened. It hurts. I’m not giving it up just yet though. At least not all of it.
My walking stick is actually a monopod (camera support) and attaches to the camera very nicely. Bit of a fuss to use but an option nonetheless. I have also dug out a set of forgotten extension tubes (!) from the darkness of the garage storage box which will let me explore still life and macro (small things) photography. Never really got into it before, so there’s much to be learned there. Onward and upwards and all that jolly stuff.
But I’m still gonna sulk.
RH 210223

Bridges. Decaying road bridge supports in Nottingham.

Doorway. Ambiguous or what?
One of the first photos I ever took . I was 11 years into this innings. Thats my Dad, probably trying to work out why he bought me that b****y camera in the first place. He was not a fan.

A game development studio I used to manage. Great team, good at coding, not good at Xmas events. No children (or ghosts) were harmed in the production of this image. I was bored, OK?

Latest iPhone develops self-defence mechanism !

Close but no cigar for the man who put the lamppost just there at 45 degs. Maybe it was a Leaning Tower contest?

The shot is of the shadows thrown by some of the enormous figures around the Valley of Kings. Kind of abstract is it not?
Gardening for March

I am writing this around the 18th February, positively basking in the sunshine and mild temperatures! The plants in the garden are throwing out new shoots and making ready for Spring. I suspect that by the time this newsletter goes out towards the end of February/beginning of March it will be freezing yet again and the new growth will, most likely, get frost damaged. However, it is amazing how the plants bounce back by throwing out yet more growth.
There are a few jobs which can be tackled in the garden over the next week or so.

Buddleia, beloved by the butterflies. These shrubs flower in the summer from stems grown in the same year. A hard prune now will keep the plant to the size you want, and also you will get more flowers. I cut mine down to about 8–12 inches from the ground.
Clematis: Now is the time to prune late summer flowering clematis. Cut right back to just above, a very low-down, healthy looking bud. The flowers are produced on this year’s growth. If you don’t cut them back, the flowers this coming summer will just be at the top of the growth and not evenly spread.

Ornamental grasses. Time to trim these deciduous grasses back to almost ground level. Cut off the old brown looking growth, pulling out any remaining strands (thatch) from the cut grass. Wear gloves as protection against any serrated edges of grass.
Chillies. Last year I grew a hot chilli, and it really was hot! So, this year I am growing a mild to medium chilli called ‘Hungarian Hot Wax’. (Doesn’t sound very mild, does it?) It’s an early cropping chilli which produces fruit about 3.5” inches long and the flesh is thick making them suitable for frying, baking, stuffing and grilling. Also, they can be eaten raw in salads, if you dare! This plant can be grown indoors on a window sill or put outside from mid-April, although the fruits from outdoor plants would probably be smaller. I have set my seeds in a small window sill tray with a clear lid, and they have already germinated. This is a picture of what I am hoping to produce…
Hydrangea: Middle to end of March is time to deadhead these wonderful shrubs. If your plant is only a few years old, just cut the old flower heads down to the first healthy pair of buds. If your plant is more than five years old, cut about a third of the stem down to good strong shoots. If we have late frosts like we did last April, it is possible that the buds will get damaged, although by no means certain. Not a problem though as you can just cut down to the next pair of buds if or when it happens.
Photo 1 before pruning, photo 2 after pruning.
Hosta: Beautiful foliage and little care and attention. These will grow in the ground or in pots. My personal opinion is that they are best in pots because it is easier to control attacks from slugs and snails. These pesky creatures adore Hostas! Purchase a roll of copper tape and stick on the outside of the pot, all around, about two inches from the top. Slugs and snails don’t like the copper tape, as it gives them a harmless electric shock-like reaction when they come into contact with it. If you have a Hosta which is several years old then now is probably the best time to split it by removing from the pot and just slicing it into two or three pieces either with an old knife or a garden spade. Each piece can be re-potted to make new plants. If you require expert advice on this process, please contact Phil
"WHAT A SHAMBLES" No doubt you will have had this shouted at you by an exasperated mother, many times.
But what is a shambles? In medieval times, in the more affluent times of the reign of "Longshanks" Edward the first of England.  The main signs of the success of the rising mercantile (middle class) after the "Black Death" and the rising of the "Peasants Revolt", was the introduction of the "high street shop" i.e. the "butchers, the bakers" etc. In these less enlightened times with regard to health and public safety, it should be noted that the layout of the shops that the frontage was to the main street and all the butchery and baking etc was done at the rear of the premises in the open ground between the two streets. With all the obvious issues concerning the disposal of the waste products relevant t the period. I.E. everything was disposed by way of the open gutter in the centre of the street. That's EVERYTHING! Human, animal EVERYTHING, went into the street. 
One can only imagine in these enlightened times the stink, stench and the possibilities with diseases such as cholera , typhus and many others.  This then was what was known as the SHAMBLES.
The best example of this is the one in YORK. 
This then is a SHAMBLES.  
Quiz Answers
  1. Taj Mahal, India
  2. Colosseum, Italy
  3. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  4. Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
  5. Uluru, Australia
  6. Chichen Itza, Mexico
  7. Statue of Liberty, USA
  8. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Russia
  9. Mont Saint Michel, France
  10. Mount Fuji, Japan
And Finally...
Following on from the Catkin photo at the top of the newsletter

A catkin is a cylindrical flower cluster (a spike), with inconspicuous or no petals, usually wind-pollinated (anemophilous)  They contain many, usually unisexual flowers, arranged closely along a central stem that is often drooping. Male and female catkins do not produce scent or nectar. Natures logic probably at work here because in winter, early spring months there are less pollinating insects about.
In many of these plants, only the male flowers form catkins, and the female flowers are single (hazel, oak), a cone (alder), or other types (mulberry). In other plants (such as poplar), both male and female flowers are borne in catkins.

The female Hazel Catkin Flower, small but Beautiful
While the blooming months for catkins may vary due to factors such as climate change, the following are some general timeframes: Hazel catkins bloom from January to March, alder catkins from February to March, silver birch catkins from March to May, oak catkins from April to May, and white willow catkins from April to May.

Hazel Catkin (centre) female (cone on left)
In Britain, catkins can be seen in January or February, when many trees are bare for winter. They can even occur in December.
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Northants Parkinson's People is registered in England as a charitable incorporated organisation,
Registered office: 5 Redland Drive, Kingsthorpe, Northampton NN2 8QE 
Registered charity number 1188652
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