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Saturday 12 December 2009

Home on the Range - North Country Theatre December 2009

Last night Sat Nav, Amy and I went to see North Country Theatre perform Home on the Range in Hunton Village Hall, North Yorkshire.

The play, written and directed by Nobby Dimon, tells the tale of three strong women:
Annis Hawker played by Fiona Paul,
her sister May Buxton played by Vivienne Garnett,
and Annis's daughter Hope played by Amelia Newbould.
The likeness between the girls was uncanny.
This family have their roots here in North Yorkshire, England. They originated from Wensleydale, but emigrated to America because Annis's husband Sam saw a better life for them there.

Although they settled Sam uprooted them again to hit the Oregon Trail. Sadly Sam drowned shortly after they began their arduous journey and the women were left to struggle.
The audience were swept along with the women's emotions and we were all rooting for their success and happiness.
A truly brilliant performance.

The stage and props were incredibly creative; another huge success for North Country Theatre. Congratulations.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Thoughtless Driver

This is similar to what happened to Sat Nav and I yesterday on our way to Ripon; except it was a four-track that came towards us way too fast generating a tidal wave that hit us really hard.
Thoughtless drivers!

Monday 7 December 2009

Masham Music Society Annual Concert December 5th 2009

On Saturday 5th December Masham Sound Hall rang with the sound of music when Masham Musical Society performed their annual concert of Victorian songs and traditional carols to a full house. The conductor Jonathan Heitler invited members of the audience to join in with the carols, and many did.

Jonathan Heitler conducted the choir for the second year, and together they produced another superb concert. The choir has grown in size this year, and they sang beautifully.

There were several excellent individual performances, and Jonathan himself performed a solo from Patience. Caroline Heard played two pieces on the violin, accompanied on the piano by her mother - an outstanding performance. What a talent this twelve year old has. No wonder she has been selected for the Under 13's National Children's Orchestra for the fifth time.

I have heard that the choir will be performing at a fundraising event in June 2010. Saturday's audience were asking where and when they could buy tickets! This reflects the quality of the performance - first class.

Congratulations to my niece Amy on her first major singing performance with the Music Society. And, of course Sat Nav who sang with the choir for the second year. You sang like angels. I'm proud of you both!

Wednesday 2 December 2009

The Backbeat Beatles - Masham Town Hall

You'll love this video of The Backbeat Beatles singing Hey Jude! Sat Nav, myself and Amy went with friends to see them last Saturday night at Masham Town Hall.

We set off for Masham and it was a case of HELP because it was raining so hard we had to travel in a YELLOW SUBMARINE.

SERGEANT PEPPER was waiting at the door to greet us and he said they were going to sing PAPERBACK WRITER especially for me; wasn't that sweet!

The band was formed in 1994 by musician/actor Chris O'Neill after he played George Harrison in the Bafta Award winning film Backbeat which chronicles the early days of The Beatles in Hamburg. And, what a coincidence: the band hail from Liverpool.

The band lineup is:
Chris O'Neill - Paul McCartney
Paul McDonough - John Lennon (an uncanny resemblance!)
David Reilly - Ringo Starr
Gary Harmon - George Harrison

This brilliant band has performed around the world, from Masham to Monaco . . . No kidding!

When I interviewed the band (video to follow later) I asked them how they found Masham. Chris said, 'Sat Nav.' I thought, that's funny, she didn't tell me she'd led the band into Masham :-)

Monday 23 November 2009

Masham Players - Happy Families Autumn 2009

The cast line up for their third encore!

Masham Players Autumn Production of Happy Families by John Godber went down a storm last Thursday night. They played to a full house and had several well deserved curtain calls.

Happy Families follows the life of John, the son of Dot and Vic, from childhood to adulthood. John was brilliantly played by Richard Bailey, and the audience immediately warmed to him.

Other cast members were:
Jenny Bellamy
Jonathan Trenholme
Jill Davis
Brian Howard Gregg
Jacqui Hedley
Susan Smith
Kathryn Carter
Saffron-Skye Headley

Congratulations to the director Julie Prescott who, in my opinion, cast this play perfectly. And to the cast for their hilarious, and poignant performance. I am a big fan of 'The Royle Family' and this play was definitely on a par with them.

I shall never drink Earl Grey again without laughing, and you might guess that in our house it has now become Early Grey!
And, I can remember drinking Rington's Tea during my childhood.

Another great production, however, I was disappointed again that our National Anthem wasn't played prior to the performance. It used to be - why the change?

Saturday 7 November 2009

Sue Who? Book Launch

Sue and I swapping signed copies.

Last night Sat Nav, my niece Amy, and I were guests at the launch of Sue Bulmer's debut novel entitled Sue Who? at The Black Horse, Swainby, North Yorkshire

Sue Who? is based on Sue's own life experiences from her childhood in the East End of London, to becoming a fashion model and successful business woman. Sue describes her book as the 'Life and Loves of a 60's Model'

Back home after the launch I read the introduction; now I can't wait to read the rest.

But . . . I will have to make myself wait until I've finished reading Louise Bagshawe's novel Passion.
Because I know that once I start to read Sue's book I won't be able to put it down.

Friday 6 November 2009

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Masham Music Society - Masham Arts Festival 2009

Can you spot Sat Nav and my niece Amy?
It was Amy's public debut with the Society . . . and I have to say she was brilliant (not that I'm biased, of course!)
Sat Nav was brilliant too!

As part of Masham Arts Festival the Masham Music Society performed in the Home Grown Concert on Sunday night in St Mary's Church.
They sang two songs The Miner's Dream of Home, and Grandfather's Clock. Both songs will be part of their annual performance, which will take place in Masham Town Hall on Saturday 5th December 2009.

All of the singers were in good voice. It was obvious that the audience enjoyed them by their tremendous applause, and compliments.

Can't wait for the full show. Well done!

Friday 16 October 2009

Masham Famous Ales and Fortified Wine

In my latest article for the Ripon edition of Infocus magaizne I wrote about how good it is to help one another out.
I call it being kind.

Last Saturday someone was very kind to me.

I went into the wine shop in Masham to ask if they would display a poster for a friend of mine. While I was in the shop one of the owners (Angela) was talking about a very classy vintage fortified Shiraz from Australia. Apparently this wine is available from only five retail outlets in the UK, Corks and Cases being one of them. She invited me to taste it. I don't drink alcohol (only on very rare occasions because it goes straight to my knees, and I was driving) so I declined.

But, I thought I would write about this wine because I think it is amazing that wine such as this is available in Masham.
It's a bit ironic too, as Masham is renowned for its excellent beer being the home of the legendary Masham Ale 'Old Peculier' from as well as 'Black Sheep Best Bitter' and 'Holy Grail' from

I wanted to take a photo of a bottle of this d'Arenberg tipple and tried several times but couldn't get a decent pic on my mobile phone. I didn't have my camera with me.
But then Elias Moubayed came into the shop, picked up on the conversation and offered to take a photo for me, which he did and promptly sent it straight to my email address. Now that's what I call kindness at it's best. Thanks Elias.

Now for my wine buff friends I've take the following information from the d'Arenberg website. You can find out more from Cheers!

The Characteristics
The wine has a very deep black appearance with a wonderful crimson deep cherry red hue. Intense aromas of ripe, blackberry fruits, liquorice appear first followed by prune-like notes with deep spicy plum pudding characters. As it opens, deeper blackberry mulberry fruits with anise evolve combined with a lifted (and slightly ‘taily’) brandy spirit which is most appealing. The initial attack of primary fruit flavours, combined with the integrated, unwooded brandy spirit ensure the palate is full-flavoured balanced with very fine, almost tea-like tannins and the dry impact of the spirit.
Just wonderful!

With significant bottle age, ‘The Vintage Fortified’ made with Shiraz gains extraordinary complexity. The intense young colour becomes a lighter, more ruby-red initially, then quite amber. Fruit and brandy spirit integrate further, making way for whiffs of roses, chocolate/walnut, coffee and orange/cumquat peel smells. The palate becomes more balanced and develops further complexity with notes of caramelised figs, dark chocolate, malt, coffee and vanilla mixed with tobacco-like flavours with a finish that’s very soft and delicate.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Jervaulx Abbey - North Yorkshire

An afternoon of fun at Jervaulx Abbey. It was peaceful until we arrived ;-)

My niece Amy and I tried to make this little video last week, however, it wouldn't save due to my hard drive being full. So, I went along to Curry's in Ripon on Monday and bought a new external hard drive. The staff in there are very helpful and friendly. They helped me pick the right one for my computer. Isn't technology confusing! Thanks guys.

Wednesday 2 September 2009

How Stean Gorge - North Yorkshire

A fun afternoon at How Stean Gorge The instructor invited me to don a wet suit and abseil down the gorge. Would you?

Tuesday 25 August 2009

My iPod Touch from

This is my new iPod Touch (sorry the light is reflected in the photo) that I won from I completed a survey for them a few weeks ago. I am new to iPods so it will be fun trying to work it out. Engraved on the back of the iPod is a lovely thank you message from, which I thought was a very nice gesture.

Thank you

Monday 24 August 2009

Book Signing Borders Gateshead 23rd August 2009

I had a great time book signing at Borders Gateshead yesterday with fellow author Mark Jackman
I hope you enjoy the uncut video!

Nearly forgot, the chocolate muffins from Starbucks are still as tasty as ever ;-)

Monday 17 August 2009

Supple Joints Part 2 Cetyl M update

This is the promised update regarding the progress of the joint supplement Cetyl M trial on our veteran equine Katie.

Those of you who read the first blog will know that the trial started in May. Under normal circumstance the loading dose of Cetyl M is 2 scoops morning and evening for the first 4 weeks, however, because of Katie's great age Garbriela from Collarways Collarways who distribute Cetyl M and who requested the trial, recommended the loading dose period was extended to 5 weeks.

After 5 weeks Katie was given 2 scoops daily in a very small feed in the evening.

The improvement in her movement and stiffness has continued, and been sustained.

Last weekend Kathy Boyer, Equine Therapist, gave Katie a massage.
Kathy knows Katie's condition very well so is in the perfect position to comment on her improvement. During the session Kathy did a series of stretches with Katie and she was amazed at the result. Kathy's parting shot when she left was, Keep giving her that supplement - it's marvellous stuff!.

This morning we had the second visit from our farrier, Richard Stephenson, since Katie started on the trial. On Richard's previous visit he had confirmed that in his opinion (as well as ours) there was some joint improvement.
Today Richard was amazed at the improvement in Katie's arthritis and how easily she moved. He said it was brilliant because she offered no resistance while he tended to her.

Both Kathy and Richard are willing and able to confirm the huge improvement in Katie.
Kathy can be contacted by email at and Richard on 07976612834.

Monday 10 August 2009

Thornton Watlass Hall - Horse Trials 2009

Yesterday Sat Nav and I took ourselves along to the Thornton Watlass Horse Trials Thornton Watlass Horse Trials at Thornton Watlass Hall Thornton Watlass Hall

The sun shone, and we had a lovely exciting day. We watched some spectacular riders performing dressage, show jumping and finally the cross-country (my fave).

Between us we managed to get some photos of horses and riders in mid-flight.

I had a chance to wander around the craft stalls and met Carl Hierons Carl Hierons Photo Gallery partner ( would you believe I don't know her name?) We chatted about his photographs which are truly mesmerizing, I loved the one he had taken on the beach at Bamburgh, Northumberland where the waves are crashing onto the beach like white horses, and the castle stands proud in the background.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Brian Bond 008

My friend Brian, what can I say!

Brian sent several mysterious texts asking me if I had received a package (he thinks he's James Bond). I replied saying the aliens must have intercepted it, because I hadn't received anything.

Today I receive another text; had the package arrived yet? I replied, no it hadn't. Then when I was putting the milk bottles out I discovered a package beneath my living room window. Thank goodness it was well protected against the torrential rain.

I must say I was a little apprehensive about opening this package!

This was what was in my package. Kit Kats - yum yum my favourite biscuit, and a big hint to put the kettle on! Cheers Brian!

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Model Young Farmer 2009

This is a photo of Jimmy Atkinson, my friends son. Today he won the Young Model Farmer Award 2009. Congratulations, and well done Jimmy!

Monday 6 July 2009

Supermarket Sweep

I'm all for reducing my salt intake, and healthy eating. So, when Sat Nav and I went to Tesco today naturally I looked for food with reduced salt.

We wanted some gravy granules so I picked up some Bisto gravy granules proudly showing a blue and white 'Reduced Salt' banner. Great, I thought as I popped them into the trolley.

But hang on a second!

A Best Seller sticker and price reduction for ordinary Bisto (red lid) gravy granules displayed on the shelf above caught me eye. I was surprised, and somewhat annoyed, to discover that the 'Reduced Salt Bisto' was actually 7 pence more expensive than the ordinary.

So, I have a question for Tesco. Why should customers have to pay extra for gravy granules with reduced salt?

Sunday 5 July 2009

Abba 2 Bjorn Belief in Masham

Look what happened when I waved my magic wand! Yes, Abba 2 Bjorn Belief appeared on stage. They flew into Masham by helicopter from a little place just outside Sweden, called Swansea.

And, even though it was a very hot night, everybody was up on their feet dancing. You performed a brilliant show guys, can't wait for next time. Thank you for my tiara Lorraine, it fits perfectly!

Andy, what can I say, the cakes were absolutely delicious, thank you. Our turn next time 😀

Saturday 4 July 2009

UFO North Yorkshire

I had an unusual experience on Thursday 2nd July 2009. Yes, another one.

I looked out of the window and saw orange lights in the night sky. It was about 11pm.

I thought the lights were helicopters, so went outside for a better look. There was no noise from them at all. It was a quiet still night. I shouted to Sat Nav to come outside and have a look.

We saw seven lights that seemed to be flying in formation, and then after a while another light appeared from nowhere way behind them. We watched them for about ten minutes.

Sat Nav grabbed a camera, but had trouble holding it steady (must have been the excitement) so the pics are not very good. And then the lights disappeared.

I rang the police and the person I spoke to said they had had another report of the same sighting. She informed me it was the RAF at Leeming Bar carrying out an exercise. I believed it at first, now I'm not so sure. I have a friend in LA who said her father used to fly F1-11s at Lakenheath, and I was right to think it was a UFO.

Because our pics aren't so good I googled to see if I could find any that resembled what we saw, and found quite a few that were taken in the UK last month. I have added one of those pics for you to see.

The lights we saw were in a straight line at first, and then seemed to be stacked like traffic lights with gaps between them giving two sets of three lights and one light out on its own. The eighth light that appeared was totally alone.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Building A Business

When you start to build a business - make sure you start with good solid foundations.

Visualize the end result as a castle, grand and solid.

Monday 29 June 2009

EMI Music Site

I checked out the EMI website today, and what a great site it is.

I loved the design. It's free sign up. So easy. It only takes a few seconds, and then you're listening to some great artists. Plus, you can watch videos, although the videos did tend to buffer a little. Maybe it was the time of day when everybody was on the net.

I clicked on Artists, and there were so many I didn't know who to listen to first. I finally chose Pat Benatar.
A list of her albums appeared on the left side of my screen offering me a choice. So, I clicked on the album I wanted, selected a track and that was it. I could click to create my playlist, or just play the song. I played the song.

I even found the Indie group Bat for Lashes, who I hadn't heard of until last night when I watched them on the television performing at Glastonbury.

Next, I clicked on Charts, and discovered a list of the most played videos/audio over the last thirty days.

EMI have thought of everything with this site. A great plus is that they have made it very user friendly. It's a brilliant site, which I'll continue to use. Oh yes, there were a couple of competitions to enter too!

So, if you're a music boff like me then this site is definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Before and after anger management!

Before anger management! Do computers make you want to do this sometimes?

After anger management!

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Butlins Skegness

Morning Campers! (Sorry, couldn't resist)

I last visited a Butlins holiday camp when I was three or fours years old. I have black and white photographs to prove it.

Last weekend I returned to Butlins in Skegness, and dragged Gloria, kicking and screaming, along with me. But she was just overtired, once she got there, she was fine.

I didn't know what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised. Although it is geared for children, there's plenty for adults too.

We stayed in a Gold Star apartment, and ate the good food in the Yacht Club Restaurant.
All of the staff, without exception, were absolutely marvellous, nothing was a trouble to them.
Mark and Cliff, you are stars.

The Red Coats entertained everyone.
Wish I had half of their stamina - they are unbelievable!

We enjoyed a 'chill out' visit to The Spa and had a dip in the Hydrotherapy Pool, but declined the offer of a drenching with freezing water from the Cold Bucket Splash. Can't understand how folks can enjoy that kind of thing.

We ventured to the fairground where we watched (notice I say watched) the scary rides whiz past at the speed of light.

The sun shone so we enjoyed a leisurely walk along the beach. I asked Gloria if she wanted a bucket and spade. She settled for a candy floss.
The security was amazing. Even to go onto the beach we had to show our key card to go out of the complex, and again on return. Children had to be accompanied by an adult.

There is something for the whole family at Butlins
You can be entertained all day, and night. There is a great choice. It's perfect for water babies too. There is an outdoor pool and a great, and very popular, indoor Splash Waterworld.

We spoke to people who returned year after year.
Many regarded it as a safe environment.
Others - including me - loved the entertainment especially the Rock The Country Live Music Show, and Crossfire.

Monday 8 June 2009

Infocus Magazine - Northallerton

The Summer Issue of Infocus Magazine
will be dropping through your letterbox about now. At least it will if you live in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

This quality magazine is brimming with useful information, offers, places to go and people to see. There is something for everyone within its pages. And, there are exciting competitions to enter too.

It's a great publication to advertise your business/service in. Plus, it's delivered by Royal Mail to more than 14,000 residential and business addresses quarterly. A terrific opportunity not to be missed. Contact: Christine Campbell

I am delighted to be a part of this issue. Check out the article on page 12.

Saturday 6 June 2009

Sat Nav dreams about supple joints . . .

Sat Nav dreams about supple joints. Not hers, or mine, but Katie's.

Let me explain.

Katie is our aged horse, a true veteran of the equine species who is fast approaching 30 years of age. Katie enjoys her retirement, but suffers from chronic arthritis - the very thing that forced her into retirement in her mid 20's.

Katie has wintered well, yet as soon as the weather improved she started to show signs of worsening stiffness, and discomfort. Was this the beginning of the end for her?

Quite by chance Gloria (Sat Nav) was offered the opportunity from Gabriela Lerner of Collarways to trial a joint supplement called Cetyl M. After Gloria learned about the positive effects of Cetyl M, she felt very positive about giving it a try with Katie on a trial specifically for the equine veteran.
(I'm thinking about sprinkling some on Sat Nav's cornflakes - shhhhhhhh! Don't tell her ;-)

After a discussion with our vet, we began Katie's trial on 20th May 2009.

Cetyl M is described as palatable - immediately Katie loved it's taste. It is flavoured with molasses and apple, and she eats it readily in her food, or out of our hands.
No problems tempting a fussy eater then!

Within a week we started to see signs of improvement.

Today, day 19, the improvement is remarkable. Her hind leg joints are actually flexible now, not fused, and there is a bounce in her step that hasn't been there for a long time. She is blooming.

Next week we will decrease Katie's intake to the maintenance dose recommendation. Shortly after that I will publish a blog to report on her progress.

Cetyl M is a natural product. It contains 100% plant based cetyl myristoleate derived from the Kombo nut.

For a limited time Collarways are offering a 20% discount off the RRP.

If you are thinking about trying or changing a joint supplement, then please try Cetyl M.

Up to date we have had an excellent result, and recommend it for any equines suffering from joint stiffness regardless of age, but for your golden oldies it's a must!

Sunday 31 May 2009

Beautiful Strangers Book Trailer

The haunts and habits of Hyacinth Dickinson - lead character from my novel Beautiful Strangers.

The revised edition of Beautiful Strangers ISBN 978-0-9559679-1-7 with its brand new cover will be available during June 2009.

It has taken a couple of weeks to make this slideshow, I'm beginning to feel like a virtual recluse. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday 30 May 2009

Friday 22 May 2009

Bonnie Scotland May 2009

Last week while most of England was deluged by rain, we enjoyed a week of sunshine in the Scottish Highlands. It turned out to be a working holiday for me but, nevertheless, I did manage to get out and about.

We had a lovely day out to Findhorn, visited the Findhorn Community Village sat for a while in the sunshine by the beautiful bay, and battled with the elements on the beach. You would not believe the wind - as the photo of Sat Nav shows - but no rain!
I'm stressing the fact that we had no rain because the weather forecast promised 'organized rain' now I ask you what the hell is organized rain? If you know the answer, please tell me.

Most of time was spent on the Rothiemurchus Estate. described by Sir David Attenborough as 'One of the glories of Wild Scotland.'
It's always a joy to visit Loch an Eilein - one of our favourite places, see photo.

Our friend Yvonne took us to visit the Prehistoric cemetery Balnuaran of Clava, near Inverness. These stones were put in place between three and four thousand years ago. A very interesting place, with nice quiet energy - until a coach-load of tourists arrived! Definitely worth a visit.