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Wimbledon 2017

I have been watching Wimbledon since I was a kid. My mum played tennis when she was younger and my dad often took my brother and me to play at the local tennis courts. But my memory only goes back to 1977 when at college we watched Virginia Wade win the ladies championship.  Since which time I have watched every year.  I love rugby league and enjoy football but To me tennis is the ultimate sport.

The players have to be amazingly fit both mentally and physically and have incredible skills with racquet and ball.

It is gladiatorial . Two opponents in an arena that holds thousands of spectators so close you could touch them. Two opponents in pitch battle for hours on end.  It is such a mentally intelligent game played in such a sporting way.  Spectators that may be routing for one player but recognise and appreciate skills of the opponent.  

You may hear the occasional frustrated expletive but none of the foul mouthed yobs who scream at players and referees in other popular sports.

Have enjoyed other ATP tours but love grass. Its fast and unpredictable.



Its an area of Britain I’ve only just discovered and I love it.  Totally unspoilt so far.


From Carnforth in the south to Milnthorpe in the north, Morecambe bay to the west and the A6 being the border east.


If you love wildlife, birds, walking, spectacular scenery, peace and quiet, this is the place to go.

Morecambe bay is stunning and these pictures don’t do justice to its vastness.


I’ve visited twice now and will return many times, having found a brilliant caravan club CL site.  When we arrived the first time there were deer running in far fields.  We’ve seen an osprey and curlews from our caravan pitch.


Arnside is one of the places time forgot.  It has two pubs with great beer and food.  Great views, a railway station and plenty of nice walks. What more could you want Its lovely.  Oh and location is recently for where Nick from Coronation Street got stuck in quicksand.  You can cross Morecambe Bay from Arnside to Grange Over Sands at the North side, but at your peril if you do so without a guide to show you the way to avoid the quicksand.

IMG_5989This walk up Wharton Crag gave some fabulous views of the whole of Morecambe bay .  It was also here at the start of our walk that we saw peregrine falcons nesting in the disused quarry.


Leighton Moss RSPB reserve is nearby and is well worth a visit.  Highlights for us when we went were Mash Harriers and a heron eating an eel, which was quite a task.

We visited Heysham on the coast just below Morecambe and found this really interesting chapel.


As for Morecambe, lets just say I’d give it a miss.  I know they are trying to regenerate the place but it is pretty much dead.  Had to have a photo with Eric though.



Motorcycle ramblings

So, I went to Harrogate today to pick up some Levis I had ordered from Debenhams – lovely 28mile round trip in mostly sunshine – and got to thinking about the best gear to have on myself and my bike.  I like the look of my bike as it is:


It’s got nice clean lines and is uncluttered.  I don’t want to put a windscreen on – I’m not a speed freak – I like my fairly leisurely rides.  65-70mph is my max.  I think I will put some engine bars on for protection more than anything and a little more chrome won’t hurt!  But luggage is a bit of a problem.  Today I used a rucksack but I could do with a box or something that fits on the luggage rack that is lockable but can be detached by me if I want.  I think the box would detract from the bikes good looks but would be useful.  I will have to have a look around.

I’m very happy with the Knox body armour vest which frees me to wear any jacket over the top.


And love the versatility of a flip helmet.


Next we come to the problem of security.  I have a heavy duty chain and lock and an Oxford Screamer brake lock.  If I can, I try to chain the bike to something and if i don’t want to carry my helmet around, I link it to the bike with the chain, which is not really ideal if it rains, but then I’m a fair weather biker on my Virago. 

Oh and by the way, a motorcycle can park anywhere a car can without paying!  Just don’t park in a bicycle area, you will get a ticket!!!

Recharging my soul

I’m a humanist so I regard my soul as my inner being – the place where all the components that make me me live.  My soul has felt a little degraded recently along with my confidence.  Not sure why …………….could be an age thing!  But today, today its been rejuvenated.  How????  Very simple……….my trusty Virago 535 and the Yorkshire countryside.  What more could you want?


A 67 mile round trip to Malham in North Yorkshire.  Originally, I decided to go and see the peregrines at the Cove.  Peregrines at Balham Cove,  So loaded my bike with my heavy camera rucksack with my Canon 7D with large zoom attached and set off.  However, when I got there, after a lovely cup of coffee and carrot cake, I took the path I thought led to the Cove, but yet again my memory mis-served me and it was the path to Janets Foss.  So didn’t need the rucksack! Doh!


It was a lovely walk though.  So peaceful, gorgeous sunny weather and lots of birdsong.


The wild garlic covered the floor, a missile thrush sang its heart out, a dipper in the stream was gathering food for its young residing in a hollowed out tree trunk and a woodpecker drummed in the distance.


Janets Foss wasn’t as full as normal but this border collie was enjoying the cool water.

Don’t know what a zebra was doing in the Yorkshire Dales!  This pub supplied a welcome cold drink and although I didn’t partake the food looked gorgeous.  I will be back.


A very short walk just over 2 miles, but can be easily extended by carrying on across the road after Janets Foss and following the footpath to the cove.

I love my adopted county and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.


I taught at schools in the two villages, (Farsley and Calverley), that Rodley is sandwiched between, for 30 years and have friends in the area.  My very best friend Anne lives in Rodley and at the moment I am staying with her whilst building work is completed in my home in north Leeds.


                         the barge


                             the owl

There is no decent pub within walking distance where I live and as Rodley has, I have spent many a convivial evening here with my friend and new friends made.  The Owl pub, when run by Gina Howard and her family, has featured large in my social life.  What a fantastic community pub that was – great grub, fantastic well kept beer, live music, quiz nights, used by local clubs and most of all such a warm welcome.  Enterprise Inns should be ashamed the way they treated the Howards and for the eventual complete and utter ruin of one of Rodleys centre pieces, that has never been the same since.

The Barge pub across the road, privately owned thank god, has not had to suffer the same fate and still provides a welcome, good beer and live music and still carry on the successful beer festival at August bank holiday.  Then theres the Crown and Anchor further up the road and the Rodley Social Club with subsidised beer.  There’s also the Railway a short step away along the Leeds Liverpool canal.


the railway

the railway


small but perfect cafe








The    canal………..a great easy walk and cycle, with a couple of nice small but lovely cafes along the way.  Just wish some cyclists were more careful and polite.  

The river Aire runs next to the canal with another lovely walk alongside.

I took my dog, Tetley, for a walk along the river and couldn’t quite believe the vastness of the new Redrow housing estate that is being built – Horsforth Vale.  I believe 500 houses are being built.  I also believe Redrow has won building awards for this site.  That may be all very nice and dandy but what sort of impact is it going to have on the environment and infrastructure?   The traffic along the ring road and through Calverley and Rodley is already very heavy.  The new road layouts at Rodley and Horsforth roundabouts seem to have helped a bit, but with the massive increase in residents trying to get out of Calverley lane it can only get worse.  Then what about schools? Rodley primary was closed about 16? years ago. I know that Calverley C of E, Springbank and Westroyd will have increased capacity, but is that the way forward?  Bigger schools?  Will there be enough places?  How on earth Westroyed can be increased any more on that small footprint of land is beyond me.  

I managed to find this information about the proposals for the site, which is very interesting.      click here
img_3168img_3163towards leeds

There’s Rodley Nature Reserve which is a fabulous bit of well managed re-wilding and helps keep nature alive in the Aire Valley corridor.


And then theres my friends lovely garden.


Thanks so much for having me Anne






Today I found this  in the woods.  An explanation again from Secret Leeds 

Spackler wrote:
In 1861 the headmaster of Woodhouse Grove School agreed with Thornhill Trustees to lay a pipe from two springs in Calverley Wood so to supply pure water to the school. This agreement lasted 34 years. The small reservoir in the wood still remains.

This extract is from the wonderful ‘Guide to the Calverley Millennium Way’ which is available free in the area. I too had been trying to find out what this well/pond was after stumbling upon it. The little guide has loads on the history of the area and is a credit to those who produced it.




I have fallen in love with Calverley Woods.  A magical place where my Tolkienesque imagination abounds.  A wonderful playground for dogs and humans, with a interesting history. POWs, fireworks, quarries, stone circles and prehistoric markings.


Mighty trees arms stretched wide

Trunks gnarled and smooth

Leaves broad and small

Colours every hue of green and brown

Glades and copses

Paths that wind

Round and round

Up and down

Over roots and boulders

Tunnels of trees and bushes

Glisten in the sunlight and rain

A playground for the imagination.

Below is a small area of the woods.  Check out Secret Leeds for more fastinating history about the woods, including descriptions of the explosion at the fireworks factory from people around at the time.


IMG_3821Had a lovely walk this morning in glorious sunshine, over the golf course and through the wood at Paul’s Pond.

The pond drained to repair the dam.  Below is some information about it from Councillor Barry Anderson.IMG_3820IMG_3819

June 23rd, 2016
I have been advised of the information below by the Council’s Parks Officer:

“On the 4th July we intend to start essential dam works at Paul’s Pond. Since December 2015 we have been monitoring the dam as a small depression was seen by the dam wall close to where the valve chamber is located. In March the situation changed dramatically with a large swallow hole appearing on the other side of the dam path close to the valve chamber. As a result of this we brought in a Reservoir Inspector to look at the situation. The outcome of the survey was a leaking dam wall and emergency repairs required to prevent a breach leading to a loss of the contained water.

Please note that the current position is not life threatening or likely to cause substantial damage to assets.

The works are going to entail: –

An additional valve attached behind the existing valve to have a back-up in case one of the valves fail.
A 600mm lowering of the water level to reduce the likelihood of a breach occurring and make the structure safer
Removal of all fish from Paul’s Pond
The removal of all silt in a 30 metre radius from the valve chamber. The silt will be deposited behind the willows at the south end of the Paul’s Pond in straw bale enclosures.
Removal of all vegetation growing out of the upstream face of the dam wall. Stumps to be treated with glyphosate to prevent regrowth.
Removal of all trees on the downstream face of the dam to the point of the dam toe. The end result will be a grass banking to facilitate easy checking of the dam structure for leaks and to prevent tree roots compromising the dam structure. All timber to be removed from site, brash chipped and removed as well.
Draining Paul’s Pond to enable works to be done on the dam wall. If the leaks are high up it may be possible to avoid a complete drain.
Excavate behind the dam wall in the vicinity of the valve chamber to locate the leak points
Apply puddling clay and maybe a cement face to the leak areas and backfill with the excavated soil.

For the works to take place the following measures will also be employed: –

Closure of footpaths in the areas of the tree works.
Closure of paths in the vicinity of the dam repairs.
A temporary enclosure at the south end of the Breary Marsh next to the bridleway entrance from the A660. Welfare facility to be installed, puddling clay stored, temporary stock pile area for felled timber, stone for path remediation works and creating temporary stream crossing.
Removal of some trees on the access route to the dam from the above enclosure
600mm pipe covered with crushed stone to enable a safe vehicle crossing at the horse ford in Breary Marsh (On access route to dam)
Ecologist to be employed to remove crayfish where the silt traps are to be located below the valve chamber culvert, where the vehicle crossing is to be constructed and from the false stream that runs from the valve chamber to the spillway water channel (this will dry-up when the leak is repaired).”




Moral Tribes

I have always been interested in ideas, the way we think, how our brain works and philosophies.  My Dad taught me to question things and always think for myself , even though he didn’t always like it when I questioned him!  We had some great arguments in my teenage years, which became discussions later.  Mum didn’t always like it when they became heated and always took my side lol.

I have just finished reading a book called Moral Tribes – Emotion, Reason, And The Gap Between Us and Them, by Joshua Greene, which is so relevant today.  A brilliant, very well written book, easy to read, which answered a few questions and really made me think.  having said that, I found I had to stop after each chapter to digest what I’d read.

I wanted to put a few extracts on here to remind myself as much as anything:

The Tragedy of Common Sense Morality.

Two tribes of herders one east of the forest the other west.  The Eastern herders have a rule:  each family gets the same number of sheep and each family sends a representative to the council of elders that governs the commons.  Some families bred big sheep appropriating much of the Common, the council stopped this, one family poisoned another’s sheep and were punished.

The Western herders share a common too.  The size of the flock is decided by the size of the family.  They also have a council of elders.  One family had twelve children – some complained they were taking up too much of the commons.  A different family fell ill, loosing five of their six children in a year.  Some thought it unfair to reduce their wealth because of this.

Another tribe lived in the North.  there is no common each family has their own plot of land, surrounded by fence.  Plots vary in size because some are more industrious than others.Some have bought their neighbours land.  the less prosperous may have been unlucky, or had illness despite their best efforts.  Other herders are exceptionally luck having very fertile land because they inherited them.  The council doesn’t do much, just ensuring herders keep promises and respect each others property.  There is much strife because the the differences.

To the South, a fourth tribe shares pastures and animals.  The council of elders is very busy.  They manage the herd, the pastures, jobs and monitor work.  Everything is shared equally.  This causes much strife because some work hard, whilst others are lazy.  Most work hard, some by community spirit and some because of neighbours judgements.  the families are not as prosperous as those in the North but no-one has every died through want of food or warmth.

One day a great fire burnt the forest to the ground.  rains came and eventually where the forest was became a huge green pasture.  All the tribes moved onto it claiming it as  their own and bitter fighting ensued, causing injuries, death and feuds.  To make matter worse another tribe came claiming it for themselves, saying their god had gifted it to them.  It had been prophesied in their holy book. Another tribe claimed it as their ancestral holy land and yet another arrived with rules and customs, that to other seemed ridiculous.  Black sheep must not sleep in the same enclosure as white sheep.  Women must have their earlobes covered in public. Singing on Wednesdays is strictly forbidden.  Feuding commenced……………….

Despite this, all herders have much in common.  Each tribe wants the same, but each tribe views morality in different ways.

This is the Tragedy of Common Sense Morality.








My Patch

The spring is nearly dried up but the irises still bloom every year where it used to bubble above the surface.

Tetley loves to gallop through the buttercups and the hawthorn is looking rather gorgeous this year.




Where to start……………………
I’ve thought a lot recently about how my Dad influenced me and what I learnt from him.

My earliest memories are of sitting on Dads knee reading my Janet and John books from school – he definitely gave me my love of reading. Until lately Dad always had a book on the go. Later on he was the one trying to get me to learn my tables. Another of my earliest memories is of using my plastic hairdressers kit to style his hair whilst he tried to watch TV. He would always come up at my bedtime and tell me stories that he made up, he had a wonderful imagination. My father always did the decorating himself and I remember him showing me how to gloss the doors correctly.
He and mum belonged to an amateur dramatic club in Romford, called Caritas. I sometimes went with them to rehearsals in the church hall. Dad was the actor, mum made the costumes. Dads mum was also into Am Dram. I went on to specialise in drama at teacher training college.
My brother and father influenced me a lot – for better or worse!
Dad loved watching the wrestling on a Saturday afternoon. Chris and I would have a bucket and a milk bottle of water in each corner of the room. I was always Jackie Palo and Chris was probably Mick Macmanus. When seconds out rang we would wrestle on the floor of the lounge – Chris always won.
I spent many a weekend afternoon under the bonnet of a car with Chris and Dad. He always did his own servicing, when cars were mechanical not computerised.
He grew vegetables in the garden, onions, potatoes, cabbage, beans, lettuce, carrots.
We played cricket in the garden, tennis at the park and had lovwoely holidays in the west country, where he took us fishing! (Tom).
When Chris and Dad started gliding I would go over to the gliding club with them and help retrieving gliders and riding in the old launch truck.
Later in my teenage years, Dad and I clashed. I remember a lot of arguments – he had strong opinions and so did I. Later on after I was married and had Alison, we got on well. I loved the way he was with Alison – playing with her, being silly and making her laugh with his awful jokes.
The last few years have been very difficult for mum and Dad. Moving out of their home that they had made their own since 1976 was a massive upheaval. Neither of them was going to be as happy as they had been there, but Hatherlow House was the next best thing. I have nothing but praise for the management and staff, who treated them with respect and consideration. I know Dad would want me to thank them. After mum died Dad was very lonely, he became less and less able to do things for himself. It was awful having to feed my proud, independent father and it broke my heart seeing him being hoisted every time he needed to move. He told me many times that it was time for him to go. Some wonderful people helped Dad along the way and I know he would want me to thank Jim and Mary who were fabulous neighbours, Lorraine and Oliver who visited Dad regularly and did shopping for him and Paul Hardman who visited Dad and took him communion.
My daughter Alison was close to her Grandpa, ,more so as she helped to look after him towards the end. they had much in common. Both hated school and left as soon as they could, both worked their way up from the bottom. I would like to finish by reading what she wrote about her Grandfather.
Today I had to say goodbye to my fourth, final and favourite grandparent. My grandpa was my hero, a proud and hard working man who always had tales to tell from the war and his RAF days. He was the one that made me laugh, played with me and slyly slipped money into my pocket or my hand when nobody was looking. He made up amazing bedtime stories off the top of his head that would leave me with the best dreams for hours on end. He always greeted me with “nice to see you” and I HAD to reply “to see you nice”. I held his hand tightly through my grandma’s funeral last year and today I held it for the last time…cheerio granpops rest in peace.