I’ve missed you….

For those thinking this is the first line of a romantic monologue, prepare to be (slightly) dissapointed.The object of my affection here is Parkrun. I know I have written about this before here (do click and have a read if you have a minute) and indeed for those for whom even the thought of spending the first 30 minutes or so of their weekend running around a park is not a pleasant prospect, I wholeheartedly apologise.However for the thousands (actually tens of thousands) who do this in the length and breadth of the UK and much beyond, I really have missed your company, friendship and motivation.
I have had a 3 month hiatus (sounds very medical, but I just mean interlude!) for a whole variety of reasons not for discussion now, but culminating in a long abscence.
Anyway last Saturday was great, Spring Like weather, a park starting to wake up from the lashings of winter, and friendly faces not seen for months.So here we are on Friday evening again, it’s not too late for anyone to find their nearest Park run (or equivalent) dig out those trainers and a tee shirt and start the rest of your life .…I’ve yet to meet someone who has not started and been overwhelmed by the camaraderie, friendship and personal improvement that will transpire.
Happy Friday! See you in the morning…..  got to walk the dog? No problem, they are welcome too!
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Sweet Dreams ?

One of my subscribers (actually not sure if I like that word, as it reminds me of 1970’s telephone books or exchanges),

so lets just go for readers although technically there is a difference as a reader may just come across this blog (lucky them!) or indeed be directed there by a search engine whereas a subscriber has asked to be notified of each new posting….. anyway, one of my readers told me that last week, by chance this blog was the last thing he read before going to sleep. If I was self deprecating enough I would assume that the blog post had actually sent him to sleep, but anyway it appears the timing of reading was intentional as opposed to a homeopathic cure for insomnia. It seems that the effect of this was, he then had a dream featuring the content of the blog post. Fortunately the post was all about roast beef and Yorkshire pudding Sunday lunches at my parental home and it seems my reader had a very pleasant trip down memory lane and a nice lunch with his now sadly departed grandmother…and all was good…and he didn’t have to wash up!

It does however make me give a word of caution though to anyone planning late night reading of my blog that this may happen. The somewhat varied nature of my posts means that you could find yourself featuring in dreams about cows invading picnics, strange characters on your train journey or unusual taxi trips to name but just a few. You have been warned.

A friend recently recounted to me about a worrying recurring dream where she finds herself in a variety of locations – office, supermarket, post office and most specifically a well known DIY store found in every retail park in the UK wearing…well not much, in fact, just what she was born in. I am sure this means something if I looked it up in a dreams analysis handbook. Maybe it suggests that this is someone not wanting to share secrets or how they feel etc.

Alternatively it might just be suggesting she is exceptionally forgetful..or just a bit of an exhibitionist. To be fair, I dont think these latter two at least are correct.

Thankfully, its not a dream that features in my repertoire – mine is always about arriving late for every possible event and in the most embarrassing big entrance kind of way too. Strange really as I am a pretty good timekeeper and its very rare I am late.

Ignore the name of this blog of course…that’s a metaphorical lateness rather than turning up for a party when the host has got the hoover out!

Look forward to your comments……😁

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Healthy looks and the hunt for the perfect partner

For my generation, as spotty, gawky, awkward adolescents eager to charm the unnatainable crush at school (Anne-Marie, for the record its taken 40+ years for me to get over you….) our parents, aunties, big sisters etc. always came out with helpful suggestions to try to counter our insecurities.

We would be told ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, or “looks don’t last”, or the old chestnut..”well its the inner beauty that counts”.

Actually all totally true, but all totally pointless to a lovestruck 13 year old….

Anyway, I recently wrote a blog titled Looking for love, eat more fruit about how striving for a healthy diet will help you find love. After a quick read (click on the link) it will be evident to you that I was referencing opportunities to meet people rather than the nutrition in itself!

Anyway, a reader however has kindly taken me to task on this and pointed out that some recent research has identified that people with rosier or yellower skin are subconsciously determined to be more attractive – it seems that these colours denote a diet high in fruit or protein and therefore meaning you are a healthier and more desireable mate!

So it seems eating more fruit IS the answer.

Looks like I should have listened to my parents and not shunned the apple for a packet of crisps!

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Lost hope for the art of the picnic?

In the world of Enid Blyton children’s books, which were essentially stories of middle class children solving crimes that the police couldn’t, being at jolly good fun boarding schools where there was not a hint of bullying (or indeed anything of an unsavoury nature) and other stories of children having a unrealistically good life in middle class families, picnics were just part of that daily life.

The Famous five, the Secret 7 or the head girl at Mallory Towers would never have been seen with a takeaway burger or a milkshake. For them it was always potted meat sandwiches washed down with lashings of Ginger beer. If you are not from a country where these books were part of your upbringing, my apologies for baffling you. But it is worth reading one – even for me as a child from a relatively well off family, but growing up in a city in the troubled early 1970’s, these books (and they were a big part of my reading) were an anathema to my normal life.

So back to picnics…I think there is a comeback..partly driven by economic necessity, partly by a drive to reduce plastic and also driven by a desire to eat more healthily and do things together as groups of friends or family. They really do change behaviours….for example you will see far fewer people using phones for messaging or social media updates when outside picnicing compared to in a restaurant situation. Result!

And the downside…just occasionally, nature wants to barge in!

A quick visit to this story of a recent family event of ours is a reminder of that! Salsa with cows

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Just add salt…

The town of Saltaire just north of Bradford in Yorkshire was founded by philanthropist and mill owner Titus Salt.

Salt had mills in the city of Bradford but decided to build a large new textile mill, known as Salts Mill and create an entire model village on the banks of the River Aire, near Shipley.

This allowed him to provide much improved accommodation for his workers away from the slums of the city.

The name Saltaire derived from his name and the name of the local river, the River Aire.

Salt created a village of stone houses for his workers with running water, bath houses and even a hospital and an institute for recreation and education.

The village also had a school for the workers children, allotments for the families to grow fresh vegetables, almshouses and a park.

In December 2001, Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

So what now…rather than just be a preserved relic of past Victorian ideals, Salts has a vibrant new life.

The mill is home to art by way of permanent exhibitions of Yorkshire artist David Hockney’s work, a truly amazing book shop and some other specialised retailers.

This is no ordinary bookshop..on the ground floor of the mill it has a cathedral like feel, grandeur and ambience.

On the higher floor, a more esoteric style where presentation and space is the emphasis.

Every window provides a backdrop of Salts vision..rather than a shopping mall, retail park or mundane high street.

I can’t think of many bookshops adorned with fresh lillies!

Everywhere in the building there is evidence of both Hockney and the original purpose of the building and this just adds to the magic of the place.

Salts mill draws the crowds for its history, the books, the art and even the restaurant and tea shop.

I visit regularly – its a great place on a winter sunday, a rainy summers day or whenever the mood draws you.

If you are visiting West Yorkshire it’s a “must do” visit. A great example of getting preservation just right.

Salts is very alive with many one off events and opportunities to embrace books, music and art in a wonderful setting…oh and yes it’s completely free other than special events.

Sure you have to buy books if you want to take them home..but otherwise it’s there to enjoy!

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Time for an embrace…take #2

We had dogs visiting and I had time for an early morning walk prior to setting off on a work trip.

Our local reservoir is a mirror of the season and looking in the mirror what I saw was waves on the water whipped up by the stiff breeze, a hint of brown on some of the leaves and a little chill in the air.

Now it’s only August, but here in the UK as we encounter global warming we see a shift with warm weather spells from as early as April or May so in some way it’s no surprise in August to get a hint of the autumn that is waiting for us when we turn the calendar page at the end of the month.

My natural response to this is to bemoan the end of summer but on this walk accompanied by my daughter I was reminded to embrace the seasons for what they are….so true, and indeed we in the UK are fortunate to live in the land of distinct seasons…even though occasionally we experience all four in one day!

Enjoy each day for what it is.

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Shorts story

A week or so ago it was Dog Awareness week in the UK. Somewhat ironically you may not have been aware of that fact unless you live in the UK and received mail that week that actually had postage stamps that had needed franking. Were you to have received such mail you would have seen the declaration of ‘Dog Awareness week’ proudly stamped on your envelope.

So what is it all about? Obviously its more than just ‘be aware there are such things as dogs’ Most of us have got the hang of that. Dog Awareness week is promoted by the UK’s Royal Mail to remind householders particularly during school summer holidays and better weather (not that these always coincide!) to be cognisant of the danger of loose dogs in gardens or yards. Seemingly innocuous behaviour in the eyes of the householder with a secure and dog safe area. Well yes, until a visitor calls by. Every year countless postman and postwoman receive injuries from dogs defending their properties. As is so often the case…it’s not the dog at fault but just a thoughtless owner .

And an added risk…..UK postman have a shorts wearing season that can extend from January to December so usually the dogs success rate for being on target of teeth meeting leg is very high.

Longer trousers may have to make a comeback……

So actually it’s not the dogs at fault or the postman’s attire but the owners of the dogs. Regrettably ‘Thoughtless Pet Owners Week’ is too big a slogan to fit on most envelopes.

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A tale on the trail

When I say I am a member of a running club, you may have visions of this superbly toned, lean and hyper fit athlete. I think it is fair to say I have a little way to go on that front. But what is amazing is my running club. It is totally inclusive, warmly welcoming and embraces the abilities of all. It had fairly humble beginnings and now meets on several days per week affording lots of running opportunities. Like any organisation it relies on all to play their part in different ways and tonight I volunteered to be tail runner on our trail run. One of the joys of where we are located in West Yorkshire is that within minutes of starting from our club room we can be on rural paths, beside reservoirs, running on canal towpaths and farm land tracks.

As tail runner i.e. making sure no one is left behind, one of the benefits of this task is that you get to talk with and meet with more of your fellow runners than you normally would. Tonight was no exception and in fact proved to be an education as our run leader shared a lot of local history with me that as a ‘comer in’ (as one is described in Yorkshire when not being a local) I was unaware of. My club is actually located in a largish town, but if you move into a smaller village from outside…you can be a ‘comer in’ even after 20 years residence!

Tonight was also a first for me as tail runner as safety related duties are normally associated with keeping runners and traffic apart. We came across a very young hedgehog meandering across a road with seemingly no knowledge of the green cross code or whatever should apply to hedgehogs.

A swift bit of encouragement into some undergrowth was required and hopefully an accident avoided!

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The bees knees….

My grandfather was a doctor and naturally inquisitive and always striving to learn more. Even with something as simple as looking up a word in the dictionary he said you should whilst the book is open read the entry above and the entry below. In this way you will learn more things, admittedly maybe not things you need to know, but that might enrich you.

In the electronic world we live in some will argue that these opportunities don’t arise now…but I disagree. In our news feeds etc. there are often adjacent articles that may catch our eye and will be worth our attention.

I can testify to this as recently as yesterday. The said adjacent article intrigued me…’Large Investment for Bee Network’.

From more detailed scrutiny I learnt of a brave and bold initiative to create 1000’s of miles of cycle tracks in the Manchester (England) area including links to major tourist areas , city centre and outlyng towns to revolutionise cycling in the city.

Now I don’t live in Manchester, not really cycle that much but I do strongly support anything that gets people outside, doing healthy stuff and reducing polution so a tick in all three boxes there. I also embrace any kind of good news story so for this alone, I thank my grandfather. Manchester has been in the worldwide news spotlight in the past but for very troubling reasons – most recently the terrorist attacks at the Ariana Grande concert in the city’s arena.

Oh, and in case you are wondering why the name Bee network? The bee has been the symbol of Manchester seen in city emblems since the 1800’s representing it’s tradition as an industrious city. A very apt name for the evolution of transport in this resilient and growing city.

Sometimes in life you need to go and find the good news, it doesn’t come to you.

Why this blog? Click to find out more….

Race for Life

It’s Race for Life day today in my local park.Today will see 500 or more Woman and girls walk or run for this nationwide Cancer research fundraiser.For those reading this outside the UK, these events happen on various dates across the UK and are very inclusive. You will find runners of every ability and none. Actually it really doesn’t matter…it’s about being there and supporting the charity, and sadly for many marking their commitment for those that have been lost to cancer.We live in such divided times in the UK at the moment. We have embittered remainers and leavers, those fiercely pro-government and anti-government, and most sadly ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.Today at least for these people, that is forgotten .We need more of these days.Enjoying these posts? Please like, subscribe if you want to get notifications of new posts and share on your social media platforms using the buttons.