Northumberland Coast

You just can’t beat this area for unspoilt quiet beauty.

Embleton to Dunstanburgh


The Art of buying Music

I’m just sat on the train to London listening to mp3 music downloaded from iTunes on my iPhone through my AirPods and remembering when buying music was a joy a pastime and an art. I’m talking back in the 70’s. You hear a song you liked on you trannie, perhaps on radio Luxembourg or maybe Caroline or possibly Top of the Pops and come Saturday afternoon, cause that was always the time, you’d get your pocket money and go to top to the local record shop, to spend hours not only looking for the single or LP that you wanted, but rifling through hundreds of albums. Admiring the art work of the record sleeves, opening the gatefolded covers and reading the words. Then you’d go to the counter to ask to listen to some tracks and enter the little booths with headphones, whilst the guy serving would load your choices on the the record deck for the pleasure of your eardrums. O the afternoons I’ve spent passing pleasant hours doing that.

Then, decision made you’d take your purchase home perhaps in a bag or under your arm, or on full show so that other could admire your fantastic taste in music.

Once I’d got my hands on the record player at home, I would slowly and carefully slip the vinyl out of its sleeve, carefully handling the black plastic disc at the edges and slipping it onto the deck. The needle carefully poised above said disc, I would then very gently drop the needle onto the first track. Then headphone on, I would lay on the lounge floor, open the gatefold and follow the printed words to every song.

Bliss. It’s just not the same.


Mike and I visited this medical museum, housed in the old workhouse building next to St. James’s hospital in Leeds.  It’s over 20 years since we last visited and its had a bit of a revamp.  Lovely cup of tea and scone in the cafe before we even started.  The ticket will enable us to visit as many times as we want in the next year.  There’s a lot to see and take in.  The workhouse became a military hospital during the first world war.  What I found particularly interesting was the history of the health of the inhabitants of Leeds and how it has advanced.  Anybody who wants to go back to the “good old Victorian Britain” needs their head examining!

Below are a selection of images of some of the information boards.

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.


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





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).”






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.




7/1/1924 – 3/1/2015



I write this for myself, so that in some way I have permanently marked my mums passing.  

Born 7/1/1924 in LiverpooL
She became the eldest daughter of Percy and Lillian Fishwick

She had two brothers Clem and John and a sister Barbara. She was the last of that generation of Fishwicks.

She attended Notre Dame school in Liverpool on Mount Pleasant.

The family lived in Tuebrook in Liverpool. The house was badly damaged by a bomb during the second world war. So the family moved to Noctorum, a then pleasant suburb of Birkenhead. As a child I, loved this house with its big garden, greenhouse, shed and fascinating extra outside toilet. I also loved Werbie the budgie that my Grandparents had. Mum however, didn’t and whenever it was let out of it’s cage she would run upstairs!

During the war my mum was evacuated to Gowerton in South Wales, with her young sister Barbara. My Grandma gave strict instructions that they were not to be separated. Whilst standing on the platform waiting to be selected for homing, Barbara was nearly snatched from my mums grasp, because she looked so cute but they didn’t want mum!! They were eventually homed together with what mum described as a lovely couple.

Mum did a secretarial course and then went on to Calder Teacher Training College in Liverpool. She specialised in Domestic Science.

She moved to London with a friend and started her teaching career in Stratford – the East End of London. Her next job was in Chadwell heath – also in the East End.
It was at this time that she met my Dad, through his sister Veronica who mum had got to know. I have photos of Dad in his RAF uniform at that time and he does cut a rather dashing figure.

Mum and Dad married in 1948 and have had a long and enduring marriage. Til death do us part.

They bought a house in Romford where Chris was born in 1953 and myself in 1957. I of course was a perfect baby, however Chris had to be left down the bottom of the garden due to his continual crying!!! Apparently the only thing to keep Chris quiet on a car journey was mum and dad singing “Blue moon”!

Mum went part time, teaching DS at Pettits Lane and Chase Cross Secondary Modern schools in Romford. As a child mum sometimes took me to school with her, which I found a little daunting. One time she subjected me to being a model for a fashion show that her needlework department was putting on. It was a bridesmaids dress with frilly knickers which i had to show off!!! Mortifying!!

When in 1978 Dads job was relocated to Southport, they bought a house in Park Road near Hesketh Park, where they lived until last year. Unfortunately Dad got called back to London and for a few years he ended up living down there during the week.

Whilst living in Southport, until she retired at 60, mum taught Business Studies at Bootle High School. I was teaching in Scotty Road Liverpool at the time and used to meet mum for lunch on Fridays at the Mons Public House. Those were the days when teachers had a proper lunch hour – long gone now.

Mum joined the Southport Townswomens Guild and the U3A where she played Bridge and learnt Spanish.

Last May, at 90 years old, Mum and Dad finally realised that they needed more support at home and with me and Chris living so far away, decided to move into the Methodist Housing Association, Hatherlow House, just round the corner from where they lived. Mum found this extremely hard but the staff and residents couldn’t have been more caring, helpful and friendly.

They say “once a teacher always a teacher” and this was definitely true of mum. She loved planning, organising and telling people what she thought they ought to do! Everything she did was always done with the best of intentions.

I will miss her phone calls and answerphone messages, her advice, her generosity, her love and most of all just knowing that she was there.IMG_0869family




So we have a major crisis on our hands – yes our hands!  We live on this planet with the rest of humanity, therefore any of the worlds problems are our problems.

Thousands upon thousands of people rushing out of Syria, in abject fear for they lives.  These people are REFUGEES, that is “a person who fears, on well founded grounds, persecution in their own country”, as accorded by the Geneva Convention on refugees.  Well I think being bombed out of your home, with whole villages being wiped out, just about covers it!!

A MIGRANT, on the other hand is someone who wants a better standard of living, a better job, a better way of life, who leaves their own country to live in another.  This is also called IMMIGRATION.  The person leaving the country of their birth is called EMIGRANT!  There is also a crisis at Calais in France, where their are thousands of economic migrants, who wish to come to Britain.

With a large amount of reason, a sprinkling of compassion and smattering of empathy lets look at this situation.

Firstly, wherever you are lucky or unlucky to end up on this planet is a complete accident of birth.  You might be lucky and pop out of your mothers womb in a rich, democratic country, with freedom and food and luxury.  Or unlucky, born into a poor, starving country, or a war torn country or a country ruled by drug barons, a country ruled by a despot or the army.  Believe me, there are more nasty places to live than nice.  If you live in Europe, or North America or Australia/New Zealand/Japan you are living in the richest countries, which comprise a third of the world!  How lucky are you?  I hope you are grateful.

So, if you didn’t win a place in the “West” ask yourself this?  What would you do?  Probably what people have always done – migrate!  Thats if you had any initiative.  I wonder how many people sitting in their armchairs in the UK would have the guts to do what some of these migrants have done.

Secondly, humans have always migrated, immigrated, emigrated – moved from place to place.  Thats how the world got populated in the first place.  Humanity came out of the African Sub-continent.   The UK is a country full of immigrants – we are all immigrants.  From Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, France, Spain, India, and the old colonial countries, that we ransacked and raped.  Indeed Britain is responsible for many of the worlds troubles.  Our country has been made great on the backs of thousands of these nationalities.  Its all in the mix!

Thirdly, many Briton are migrants.  Thousands of British people have made their homes in Canada, USA, Spain, France, Australia, New Zealand to name a few.  And some are lucky enough to have homes here and abroad!

And so we come to the question of refugees from war torn Syria.  England has given refuge to the smallest amount of these people.  I know we are a small country but I think thats something to be ashamed of.  I’ve heard all the excuses, the latest that they may be terrorists in disguise.  Some may well be but surely we can weed them out?  Are we to be dictated to by Isis threats.

Are we happy to be a race of Little Islanders, who barricade their doors for unfounded fears?