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Archive for October, 2011

Sixty

As another birthday comes hurtling towards me, I thought that I might indulge myself with a few observations and reflections: on the past and on the future. I don’t intend to be maudlin but may express a few personal naiveties. The economy for example!

The Lygon Arms, where I spent my 2007 birthday (7th December)

I really don’t know what I’m missing, I pretty much know what caused the problem we’re in and realise that it can’t be easy to figure out a simple solution for recovery but why, if we need to encourage growth, do we cut funding to public services? Really – why?  When funding is cut, jobs are lost and the benefits bill increases. This then (the benefits bill), becomes the BIG talking issue.

We hear politicians, especially today’s motley crew, screaming to the press about feckless unemployed as if they, the politicians, had nothing to do with the fact that there is such huge unemployment. But surely (here’s a naivety) if the funding to public services hadn’t been cut (I’m thinking council employees etc.) then there would be less call on the national benefits bill, more taxes paid into the exchequer and more goods and services paid for by more people, which in turn creates work for private industry (manufactured goods and services).

I’m not clear how cutting the numbers of people who CAN spend money (along with increasing prices – 20% VAT, uncontrolled fuel prices etc.) helps.

Just saying.

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Fresh Fruit

Since discussing fresh, free, fruit before (http://bit.ly/r8WPnK and http://bit.ly/qtyNkb), John and I have done quite a bit of fruit scouting on our (usually regular) intermittent Saturday walks. We started ‘clocking’ wild (or at least, in the public domain) fruit trees last autumn and have spent this late summer, checking them out.

We started picking some apples about a month ago around the area where my grandma used to live (now waste ground), on Willow Lane and they are fabulously sweet but quite small. Yesterday we decided to start picking the others!

There’s a beauty down by the Incinerator that’s easy to climb and ripe for picking. There’s another at the end of 15 arches that has tiny but sweet, bright red apples and yet another just by our parking spot on King’s Mill Lane. Furthermore, my grandma’s tree is still full of fruit – so yesterdays’ haul was a big bag of apples each!

Today, I washed and dried all of the unblemished ones and wrapped them in newspaper – they can wait in the garage until I’m ready for them. The damaged and blemished ones have now been peeled and cooked for sauce (and or anything else).

Free food? Fabulous!

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Each year, in early October, we troll up to Marsden for the Jazz Festival. Most years, the weather lets us down and this year was no different. It’s not a ‘big’ issue, as many of the bands are playing indoors, but there are many more outdoor activities that are spoiled by the weather.

However, one regular outdoor activity amused me this weekend.

We’d been joined this year by Martin and Lin (MJF virgins) along with Karen and Dave, old festival hands. On Jazz Weekend Saturday, at 12.00 noon, there is always a Jazz Parade with the Red Rose Brass Band. This begins at the top of Peel Street, where it joins the A62. We all sheltered from the rain inside the New Inn on Manchester Road, and waited for the parade to start. One benefit of this move was that they sell Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, my favourite draught beer.

Anyway, the parade got started just after 12.00 noon and folk started to move around Marsden with the band. They play a New Orleans type Jazz as they mozzie on down, followed by school children all dancing in some kind of synchronised rhythm. Onlookers also follow the parade all the way around the village, including me. The amusing bit came when the band took a wrong turning and instead of heading for the underpass, they headed for the A62.

Now, the A62 (Manchester Road) isn’t what it was before being replaced by the M62 about forty years ago but it is still a busy arterial road between Yorkshire and Lancashire – even on a weekend. After much debate, the young copper charged with traffic control had to step in and stop the traffic from moving along this busy road while the parade passed. It wasn’t planned and was all the more amusing therefore when some of those car drivers stopped (for about five minutes!) chunttered about it.

It took me back to France, where they close down whole towns to allow this type of thing to happen. Just this year, in Montbron, they had decided to have a night market and closed down all of the through roads to allow it to happen. Tough if you didn’t know your way around. As I say – tough.

The rest of the festival has proceeded in its musical, damp way. I’ve just dropped Martin and Lin off in Marsden. I’ll pop back in an hour with John and Carol and watch/listen to Backwater Blues at The Shakespeare Inn on Peel Street! We’re all back here for dinner tonight. 🙂

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Both of my children now blog!

Ben has been an avid blogger for a quite a while and like me, tends to roam around a variety of subjects. See: http://armaitus.wordpress.com/

Now Emma, my beautiful daughter has begun to blog with some intent too. http://willowbabesswim.wordpress.com/ She is the co-owner of Willow Babes, based in Penistone between South and West Yorkshire. Willow Babes http://www.willowbabes.co.uk/provide safe swimming lessons for babies and children.

Swimming plays a huge role in a childs development increasing confidence, physical independence and self-awareness. It promotes a common-sense approach to water, basic life saving techniques and of course sets up a healthy lifestyle for your child’s future. (from Willow Babes web site)

In her latest blog post Emma says:

Being a swim teacher for nearly 4 years now, I have seen the joy that parents and their babies can get from activity in the water.  The bond and health benefits that swimming when taught correctly and sympathetically can bring are immense.
See: http://bit.ly/p2ADwA

Emma’s new blog presents a great deal of advice and guidance for parents considering how and when to teach their children to swim.

Take a look 🙂 http://willowbabesswim.wordpress.com/

Also see:

http://armaitus.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/willow-babes-swim-baby-swimming/

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