May 15th

Dementia Awareness Week

By Mary B

It seems that every week is an awareness week for something........


However this particular subject - dementia - is of particular concern to me, as I lead a local initiative to make our town dementia friendly. I know many of us have experience of this terrible affliction through family members.


Alzheimer's Society want us all to become more aware of the following facts and figures: 


       225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one person every three minutes


       Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK live with a form of dementia. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to two million people by 2051


       Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia.


       Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them


       Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland


       Alzheimer's Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting 


      Anyone looking for confidential advice, information and support, can call Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22. You can also email enquiries to or visit


Alzheimer's Society report ‘Building Dementia Friendly Communities: A priority for everyone’ can be found here:



May 4th

Hedgehog Awareness Week




Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017

By the British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Hedgehog DrinkingHedgehog Awareness Week takes place the 30th April - 6th May, and hoggy events are being prepared all around the country! Organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), the initiative is an annual event, which aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how we can help them.

This year’s focus is on the harm done to hedgehogs by strimmers and cutting machines. Every year they cause many terrible injuries or deaths and the BHPS is asking everyone to check their gardens carefully before using any machinery. As well as checking areas before cutting, there are other ways that we can help our hoggy friends.  We can:

• ensure there is hedgehog access in your garden –
  a 13cm x 13cm gap in boundary fences and walls
• move piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it
• keep netting at a safe height
• check compost heaps before digging the fork in
• stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons
• cover drains or deep holes
• ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools if they fall in

They have produced water proof stickers that are being sent to councils, tool hire companies, grounds maintenance teams, etc free of charge on request (email  The stickers remind operatives to check areas for hedgehogs before using any machinery.  Once the group have received the stickers and sent the PHPS a picture of them in action, they will be added to their Hedgehog Heroes Roll of Honour!

BHPS Chief Executive, Fay Vass, said “We are asking people to pledge to do at least one positive thing for hedgehogs during the week.  We look forward to receiving pictures of the hedgehog hole or home you create, or from the event you organise!”

There are a number of different ways in which you can get involved with Hedgehog Awareness Week:

• Organise an event such as a cake sale, fun day, sponsored event, coffee morning or jumble sale. If you are organising an event please let BHPS know as soon as possible so that they can keep a comprehensive list of events across the country.

 • Contact your local council or tool hire shop and ask if they will use the free stickers on their machines.

• Display information in your local garden centres, schools, libraries, etc.  You could also post leaflets in your area letting people know how they can help hedgehogs (information and leaflets are available directly from the BHPS)

May 2nd

A Blog of little...

By phillip J W

...Joy but much teaching !

We had  built a timber frame outside our french window for a grape vine to grow on.

It has done well, but then we desided if we places a translusent roof on it it would amplify the warmth whilst keepig it a dry place to sit.

We bought the roofing - & thought...

And eventually last Saturday it was dry & windless & we gave it a go.   All essential cross-beams in place we had lunch;  then after a short digesting rest we began again.

I climbed my ladder & was just screwing in the first piece of the covering when the ladder slid in one direction - & I in the other.

My head met-up with the edge of a stone step & my hip & elbows encountered the sand stone paving... Very hard !  

Ambulance,  big strong paramedics, A & E.

then around 11.40pm I was discharged.


My good GP says I will take a while to feel better - & longer to mend, & at 71-years not to go climbing ladders !  I ache!

May 1st

May Day Ditty by Della Hodgson James

By Mary B

May day is coming

When all will be gay,

‘Twil be fun and frolic

All the live, long day.

Flowers in the green woods

In the orchard, too,

Leaflets are growing

Every thing so new.


May, May, May

May, May, May,

May, May, May

Is that all that I can say.


May day is coming

May day is here,

The very happiest day

Of all the glad new year.


Call me early, Mother

Call me early, pray.

For we must crown the King,

The King, and Queen of May.

Apr 21st

My holiday break!

By Ann R

For a while now I have been contemplating whether to go to a Warner's Hotel, having seen their adverts many times on the television.

A couple of months ago I decided to book a four night break at Holme Lacy, which is only six miles away from where I live.  Now some of you might think that is daft (lol) but the idea was that if anything should go wrong or I didn't like it, I wouldn't have far to come home.

I had alerted them that I was gluten intolerant and also could not climb stairs, so that was all taken care of.

Monday lunchtime the taxi arrived and we were there in less than half an hour.

The house is beautiful and was owned by the Scudamore family (of horse racing fame) for years, then it became a hospital, finally being taken over by Warners in the late 1990s.  I will add some photo in a moment, to the photo section.

As the taxi drew up to the entrance I could see two members of staff greeting the occupants of each car, so when it got to my turn I got out while the driver got my case and walker.  The girl explained that it was a welcome pack, told me my room number and how to get to it. Also to check in at the restaurant on my way through so that I could be shown which table to sit at (which I kept for the whole break) and also to give my gluten free order from the menu so that the chef would know in advance.

By this time the taxi had gone on his way (I had paid him) and he had put my case at the top of the steps.  There was a ramp hidden behind a hedge for me to walk up.

Well, it was like a maze inside but I soon got my bearings, remembered to give my order at the restaurant (after studying the menu) and then headed upstairs. My room was at the side of the building on the top floor, so lovely and quiet up there, I didn't get disturbed at all.

Also included in my welcome pack was details of events that would take place throughout each day - everything from quizzes to Tai Chi. There was also a cabaret each evening but I retired to my room before that started.

There was even a mini-bus trip into Hereford but, obviously, I didn't go on that.

The food was excellent apart from one hiccup, which I have pointed out to them (politely).  Lunchtime Tuesday I had a gluten free sandwich in their coffee shop, this was accompanied by a small bowl of salad.  I ate it without thinking, although I did realise there was some sort of dressing on it.  Two hours later I was in trouble and obviously will not go into detail here but, needless to say, I had to cancel that evening's meal.

I went into the coffee shop the next day and asked what the dressing was (as that was the only thing I could think of that was unusual). She informed me that the dressing wasn't gluten free!!!  Don't you think common sense would have told them that if someone was being served a GF sandwich then they should have salad without a dressing. Anyway I mentioned this on the form that had to be filled out this morning.

Days were spent knitting reading, doing quizzes, I did attempt the Tai Chi but it wasn't for me and sitting on a bench watching various people on the putting green. Oh, and I did buy some new clothes and had a manicure.

So, it is back to reality now, but I have booked another holiday for October, this time at their hotel near Nantwich, Cheshire.

Apr 14th

North East Up-Date.

By phillip J W

It seems so long since I first met you people on this site ["Met" in the sense of an action to comunicat on a web site, that is,]  & so I quite understand if many of you have forgoten me, but I thought I would bring you up to date.

Haveing posted my pictures on here I know you will see my general subject matter.  Well after much badgering from relatives & cadgoling from friends I am putting together a small exhibition of my photographs locally in the Tyne Valley. 

Currently I am sounding-out processing houses who can print & mount my work for display at an ecenomic rate & looking at venues who are interested in a display.   I am not expecting sales of prints, but should anyone, on seeing a picture, wish to buy then I have to step into a whole new field again.  

Anyway - early days still.If this idea ever gets off the ground I will mention a date & address for the few of us who live in the North of this beautiful land of ours.

Apr 12th

The Playful Wind - Margaret Gibson

By Mary B

The Playful Wind


The wind that sighs among the heads of wheat

is playing games, with neither thought nor soul;

its whispers lie, the breeze which cools your heat

is whim alone, your comfort not its goal.

Its fingers touch your face with pleasant scent,

its daggers find your bones in winter frost,

the clouds are toys, and storms are wind's lament -

the wilder winds, the greater human cost.

Yet, wind is not to blame for breaking hearts,

it has no ill intent with its misdeeds;

its nature is to come and then depart

without respect to any other needs.

Enjoy the wind, and fly in it, who dare;

the wind will blow away, it doesn't care.



By Margaret Gibson

Apr 6th

Can You Help Please?

By Maureen J

Yesterday, April 5th I had a telephone call from a lady with whom I have been in regular correspondence over the last fifteen years, although we have met only twice face to face; while attending the same meetings as supporters for the same campaign. Sufficient to say she’s a tough and feisty individual in her eighty-first year and suffers ill-health because of a chronic lung condition as well as profound deafness, and has had to contend with more than a few adversities in her lifetime.          

 Four years ago she moved from Newbridge-on-Wye, Powys, in Wales to Swindon in Wiltshire. Newbridge-on-Wye is administered by Powys County Council (PCC). When Margaret left Newbridge-on-Wye for Swindon, she duly gave notice to PCC and also paid Royal Mail to have her mail redirected. That was the start of yet another nightmare.

          Her mail from PCC did not get forwarded because their official envelopes have a logo – NOT TO BE REDIRECTED. As a result, letters notifying Margaret that she was in arrears and owed money to PCC did not get to her so PCC hit on the bright idea of deducting £10 per week from her state pension - ad infinitum. Since she cannot get anyone at PCC to give her more details, she does not know how long this will continue.

            She has sought help from the local Citizens’ Advice Board (CAB) – which requires  her to change buses twice in each direction from her home, but her interviewer, a man, was so unsympathetic and overbearing she had to leave; her breathing became so laboured  she became frightened of something worse happening.

            To whom and where else can this poor lady turn?  This was the kind of problem that we in COPP (Carmarthenshire Older People’s Partnership) used to try to help deal with, but since we disbanded in 2010, there has been a vacuum.

            When the Welsh Government announced they were appointing the first The Older People’s Champion, it was hailed as a great step in the right direction. It was a false hope. The appointee was a great talker, but did little more than talk. I was contacted by several people who were given the same bland response to their plea for help – ‘Sorry, the commissioner cannot get involved with individual cases.’

            This was untrue as I sat on the advisory board responsible for drawing up the parameters within which the commissioner would operate. We made it clear that the commissioner WOULD/MUST be involved at individual level because no two cases are exactly the same. 

            Some MPs get involved in such cases, but it seems that they have limited influence – or perhaps they have as much influence as the effort they are prepared to expend. If anyone has more ideas or avenues that Margaret can explore, please get in touch and I will pass on the information.  Sadly, the lady is not on the internet so we depend on the telephone or the postman.     

Apr 3rd

What Do We think About April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in America?

By Maureen J

The question may well be as old as time. Certainly child abuse is international despite categorical denial of its existence. Recent revelations have shown the tip of a pernicious iceberg or a fraction of the mountain, depending on one's allegorical point of view.

            Charles Dickens was one of those brave enough to put pen to paper and reveal the ugliness that lay behind the pretty images of Victorian life. We owe much to early pioneers of literature and their illustrators. Their unflinching courage in showing the ugliness of poverty and avarice gave us a glimpse of the truth and did not spare our shrinking sensitivities.

            The shame lies with our so-called pillars of society - the Establishment, who have had access to the facts, figures and sordid details for over a hundred years - but have done nothing other than wring their hands and pontificate. 

            Democracy, or what we euphemistically call democracy, has outlived its usefulness, but what to put in its place? The threat of inflicting the current mayhem sweeping the Middle East is not an alternative I would wish on any country or people. I wonder what my fellow silver-haired sagacity-dispensing bloggers think?


Mar 27th

The Threepenny Bit Pound.

By Bill W

A new pound coin will be in circulation tomorrow.

It looks like the old Threepenny Bit, perhaps a bit posher looking, which makes me that all the buying power of a pound is nowadays, could we buy the equivalent of todays pound years ago with threepence.

I was standing in a bus stop a few weeks ago next to another young boy with lots of wrinkles, when I spotted a pound coin on the floor. I asked him if he had dropped it, he told me that he hadn't, and even if it had been his, he wouldn't risk doing his back in by bending down for it............I told him that I'd risk it, and picked it up. 

What are your thoughts on the new you have one yet?


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