Sometimes it’s not what you know…

I’m involved with Tullamore Men’s Shed. And we have just been interviewed by Midlands 103 FM our local radio station, to be aired next Monday at 7pm.

The reporter Anne Marie Kelly, Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Midlands103/ I think I might have interested her in a blog! We will see.

Website: https://www.midlands103.com/

Here’s stuff about the shed that i took from the blog see http://TullamoreMensShed.com (a site I am working on) which sprang from http://TullamoreMensShed.Wordpress.com

Tullamore Men’s Shed

49 Church Street,  Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ireland

Welcome to Irish Men’s Sheds! A Shed is a space in your community where men can come together to find meaning, purpose, friendship and belonging. Here you can learn more about Men’s Sheds and learn how to start or join a Shed in your local community.

John Evoy, CEO, Irish Men’s Sheds Association

The Idea

A Men’s Shed is a dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting place where men can come together. It’s a place where men can share their skills and knowledge with others, learn new skills or redevelop old skills. Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and an active mind. Becoming a member of a Men’s Shed provides a safe and busy environment where you can find many of these things. Also, importantly, there’s no pressure. Men can just come and have a chat and a cuppa if that’s all they’re looking for.

 

 

Don’t dread old age

Don’t dread old age. I’m 94, and I won’t spend my last years in fear of the Tories

I lived through the 30s and 80s and know the only way to beat the tyranny of austerity is through defiance. As long as you can love, there’s a purpose to life

Sheffield sunset
 ‘I learned a long ago time ago that there was wisdom and beauty that could be mined from the memories of those in the sunset of life.’ Photograph: Billy Richards Photography/Getty Images

Ihave lived a very long time. Tomorrow, it will be exactly 94 years ago that a midwife with a love of harsh gin and rolled cigarettes delivered me into my mother’s tired, working-class arms. Neither the midwife nor my mother would have expected me to live to almost 100 because my ancestors had lived in poverty for as long as there was recorded history in Yorkshire.

Nowadays, when wealth is considered wisdom, too often old age is derided, disrespected or feared, perhaps because it is the last stage in our human journey before death. But in this era of Trump and Brexit, ignoring the assets of knowledge that are acquired over a long life could be as lethal as disregarding a dead canary in a coal mine.

I have been living on borrowed time since my birth in Barnsley all those years ago: I survived both the depression and the second world war. Even in advanced old age, because I walked free of those two events, I feel like a man who beat all the odds in a high-stakes casino. It’s why I’ve embraced each season of my life with both joy and wonderment because I know our time on Earth is a brief interlude between nonexistence.

Still, many people persist in thinking that old age is the end of one’s usefulness or purpose, which could explain why the news that women in South Korea can expect to live into their 90s has been badly received. Some fear the indignity that old age may bring, or the dependence it may cause because of physical or mental impairment. On occasion I too worry that before death sets in on me that it may rob me of the elements that make me who I am. But ultimately, having experienced the profound indignity of extreme poverty during the 1930s and the sheer terror of war in the 1940s, I know that life must be battled until the bitter end.

Eternity is just around the corner for me but I don’t fear my death. I only regret that death will end my dance to the music of time, no matter how slow the waltz has become to allow me keep up. I know that my physical wellbeing and dignity may yet be affected adversely by the government’s self-created social care crisis but I will not spend either my last years or days living in fear of the Tories. I cannot because I have seen their kind before in the 1930s and 1980s and know that the only way we can beat the tyranny of austerity is through our own personal defiance.

People should not look at their approaching golden years with dread or apprehension but as perhaps one of the most significant stages in their development as a human being, even during these turbulent times. For me, old age has been a renaissance despite the tragedies of losing my beloved wife and son. It’s why the greatest error anyone can make is to assume that, because an elderly person is in a wheelchair or speaks with quiet deliberation, they have nothing important to contribute to society. It is equally important to not say to yourself if you are in the bloom of youth: “I’d rather be dead than live like that.” As long as there is sentience and an ability to be loved and show love, there is purpose to existence.

I learned a long ago time ago that there was wisdom and beauty that could be mined from the memories of those in the sunset of life. It is why as a boy I listened in rapt attention to my granddad as he lay dying from cancer and told me about his life both as soldier and miner during the reign of Queen Victoria.

All of you, when young, will make your own history: you will struggle, you will betray some and others will betray you. You will love and lose love. You will feel profound joy and deep sorrow and during all of this you will grow as an individual. That’s why it is your duty when you get old to tell the young about your odyssey across the vast ocean of your life. It is why when death does come for me – even if it mauls me with decrepitude before it takes me – I will not lament either my old age or my faded youth. They were just different times of the day when I stood in the sun and felt the warmth of life.

Age Action

More than 27,000 Irish people have benefited from Age Action’s Getting Started Computer Training program, which provides training in computers, smartphones and the Internet for people over the age of 55 all over Ireland.

LINK HERE!!

I am trying to start a group here in the MidlandsWatch This Space

32 Reasons to Blog

If you are already convinced and want to start a blog, go here!

Blogging is great fun and here are 32 good reasons to blog. I have never earned any money from blogging and I don’t expect to. I blog because it gives me a voice on the Internet. I have over 5k subscribers. It is very creative I design my blog and it pleases me. It is not difficult and provides you with a permanent record. Also it is free. You can be up and running in 30 minutes. Read the 34 reasons. Not all will apply but you have good solid reasons to start a blog.

Here are the first 5 reasons to blog:

1. It helps you learn new things

Blogging is about sharing what you see, or want to see, in the world. It’s about teaching or sharing what you know and what you, too, are learning. When you start a blog, you’ll find yourself always learning new things about your areas of interest so you can keep sharing without running dry of ideas.

Think of it this way: when you set out to wash clothes, your objective is to clean the clothes, not your hands, but it’s your hands which become clean first.

2. It makes you think clearer

The ability to think clearly and generate ideas is one of life’s most critical skills, yet one of the things you don’t get taught in school. Blogging fills that void, helping you grow your thinking muscles exponentially.

You’ll learn to reflect deeply on your life, your relationships and your society; engage with others intellectually, appreciate the strengths in arguments and point out the flaws in them; appreciate the tiny distinctions between what, why and how; the nexus and disparity between excuses and justifications, and so on.

3. It helps you write better

Many things have boosted my writing proficiency over the years: essay contests, tapping from mentors, reading books, etc. But none of them has challenged me so consistently as blogging.

Here’s why: writing mastery comes with constant practice and blogging is just about that. In his epic book, On Writing, Stephen King discusses how once he didn’t write for several weeks due to an accident, and how when he started to write again, his words weren’t flowing well.

That’s how inconsistency weakens your writing muscle, and that’s why blogging, which keeps you writing regularly, helps you write better.

4. It builds your confidence

I used to be a timid introvert. Until I started blogging.

Blogging helps you learn to voice your opinions, dare to be wrong and stop being so scared to make mistakes. With blogging, you learn to recognize and build your strength, and also admit and improve on your weaknesses. With conversations happening on your blog, you learn to hear flattery without being carried away and take criticisms without losing your cool.

5. It helps you speak more coherently

A great speech starts with a sound script. The more you learn and share ideas about your areas of interests on your blog, the more comfortable you get discussing them verbally.

And over time, you grow confidence to face an audience and manage your nervousness on your subjects of interest. Soon, this diffuses to other verbal conversations.

Convinced? And want to start a blog, go here! 

 

World Report on Ageing and Health

If you have come to learn how to blog go to http://OlderCitizens.org and if you need convincing about older citizens blogging go to http://OlderCitizens.WordPress.com

A reference report listed below I will read and get back to you.

“At a time of unpredictable challenges for health, whether from a changing climate, emerging infectious diseases, or the next microbe that develops drug resistance, one trend is certain: the ageing of populations is rapidly accelerating worldwide. For the first time in history, most people can expect to live into their 60s and beyond. The consequences for health, health systems, their workforce and budgets are profound. ”

World Report on Ageing and Health uploaded by Philip Finlay Bryan on Scribd

Going With The Flow

If you have come to learn blogging please go here

The Nile is 6,853 km (4,258 miles) long and thought to be the longest river in the world. It took me nearly 5 months to go from the mouth in Egypt to the source, Lake Victoria, in Kenya. It was 1974.

I am using it here as an analogy.

For the first part of the journey we went by train from Cairo in the north of Egypt to Lake Nasser in the south. We had a couple of choices. We could have got a steamboat to the south, but this was very expensive (see Death On The Nile) and was a round trip. It was impractical and did not suit our purpose. Also, we wanted to stop off at Luxor to see the Valley of The Kings. We stopped there for 2 weeks. We went by train 3rd class which was very very cheap and very cheerful. You met other interesting people on the way and it was the travel of choice of the natives.

In life there are choices about the routes and mode of transport you will use to get somewhere. You may travel first class but in doing so you will be cocooned from many experiences. (Whilst on the train I met a man selling trinkets and the like, I swapped my woolen cardigan for his filthy turban. When I washed it, it was the most beautiful embroidered silver threaded scarf you have ever seen). Taking the peoples choice of transport served me well. I met people and learned much, like the language and customs of the local people.

When we reached the Aswan Dam the Nile came to a pause that could only be navigated by a short bus ride to Lake Nasser and taking a boat across; it took a day and a night. It was very beautiful.

In life there is sometimes only one way to reach your goal and that is the only way. You have no choice. However, you may be pleasantly surprised how beautiful that journey may be. From the still lake we saw desert marvels like caramel cones of desert formations and we saw what looked like Scud missiles pointing to the sky. The stars twinkled in the silence of the desert.

The ferry stopped at the Sudanese border and there was only one way to get to Khartoum and that was by train across the Nubian Desert. For 250 miles there is nothing but vast stretches of sand, relieved only by rocks. Very cheap again and mandatory. No choice.

In the middle of the desert the train broke down and we were stuck, no way forward no way back and again in life you may need help to get where you want to go. We just had to sit and wait until the terminus realized something was wrong and sent a rescue train. We waited about ten hours. No choice. We shared food and water and took comfort from the fact that we were all in the same boat (train).

From Khartoum we got a train to Kosti about two hundred miles south to catch the boat going to Juba in what is now Southern Sudan. It would take ten days on the river. The paddle boats, there were six of them all tied together to the one working boat in the front.

If our engine is broken sometimes we have to tie ourselves to a “working engine” to get where we are going. The Nile goes through the Sudd a vast expanse of swamp made up of papyrus reeds. The river can get lost here with channels opening and closing. At one point the channel became so narrow only one boat could be taken through at a time. So the boats were un-lashed and we waited for our boat to be towed to the wider channel.

Sometimes in a group you have to be separated and let a facilitator lead you to the safe place in order to continue.

We all stripped off and went swimming. We were splashing about and a great cry went up and everyone (we followed them) dashed out of the water in a panic. Crocodiles!!! On closer inspection, they turned out to be logs. We also found some sugar cane which we happily chewed.

You may be stuck somewhere through no fault of your own and are having fun, but there may be dangers just below the surface. Be prepared for any and be warned if others report danger. Also, they may not be crocodiles, but only logs.

In Juba, we were stuck. The Southern Sudan had just ended 20 years of civil war. It was either go back or turn right and go through the Congo a hazardous and long journey or try and head up the Blue Nile to Ethiopia then to Kenya.

My friend I was travelling with headed back to Khartoum. I waited with another guy not knowing what to do. Sometimes if we just wait and are open to suggestion a solution will come. We found out from a friend we had made that a government convoy (two Landrovers and a truck) was heading to the Kenyan border for talks about the road joining the two countries. We asked if we could hitch a lift with them.

Governments can be useful at times.

However the road between the two had been washed away by early rains and the convoy decided to send two tribesman to walk to the Kenyan side to tell them the meeting wouldn’t take place. We crossed the swollen river and walked the 25 miles across the Kenyan border. It was my 25th birthday. Not one I will ever forget.

Sometimes you just have to get out and walk.

We arrived at the police border post and they gave us tea, a meal and a tent to sleep in. They said a mail plane was due in a week or so and maybe they would take us to Nairobi.

We were sitting outside the compound and there was a roar of engines and in a cloud of dust in rolled a white hunter in a Range Rover and two Landrovers. He said he would take us the 600 miles to Nairobi!

Waiting sometimes produces remarkable results even when you don’t know you are doing it.

After more adventures we eventually made it to Lake Victoria and the sky turned pink with Flamingos.

The most important lessons I learned were to go with the flow, never lose sight of your goal and be prepared to wait. Be friendly to all people and remember when you are on a journey, be mindful and open to suggestion. Being dogmatic, often leads to stagnation; getting stuck.

I worked it out it cost £28 sterling in transportation, in 1974 money, for the whole trip.

I hung around in Kenya for three months and then, through some judicious banking, bought a boat ticket from Mombasa to Bombay. Waited there for a couple of years…but that’s another story 🙂

The world is your oyster and you are the pearl.

 

The Uncountable Laughter of The Sea

http://www.theuncountablelaughterofthesea.com is an example of a good domain name that is very long but it trips off the tongue. It is memorable. So too your blog address can be a phrase and generally it is easy to get a phrase. My friend Mick finally is going to create a blog. YIPPEE! So I got to thinking what I could get out of it so I came up with the idea I could get people to ask him questions and he could answer them so naturally enough :

http://AskingMickQuestions.WordPress.com became a reality. For free. AND its a good name. See what I mean. Be imaginative.

NB : Me and my friend Mick  just spent 2 hours on what is below. I would read  the line, he would “guess”  the author and the book. From memory. He had read most of the books. He would then give me anecdotes about  the authors,, we discussed the books (I have read a lot of them) and laughed and thought. It was great. I love you Mick.!

Guernsey 1950 to 1959

If you have reached here to find out about blogging go to http://OlderCitizens.org for tutorials and visit the forum at http://forum.oldercitizens.org

Quick Facts

Guernsey, a British Crown dependency in the English Channel, is one of the Channel Islands. It’s known for beach resorts like Cobo Bay and the scenery of its coastal cliffs. Castle Cornet, a 13th-century harbor fortification in the capital of St. Peter Port, now contains history and military museums. Hauteville House is the lavish former home of French writer Victor Hugo.
 
Its a small island some 3 miles wide and 9 miles long. The capital is St Peter Port where my grandparents lived.
 
 When I was a baby (1949) and up until the age of about four we flew to Guernsey I have the memory of a twin engine plane and having to climb up the central isle which was steep. Once over Guernsey I would break out in hives, they disappeared after a couple of days. I remember bits and pieces but it is mainly from 5 upwards I remember. The house where I lived in the Harrow Road was three story and in it lived my mother and her two sisters, we were one on each floor. The school holidays were 6 weeks, I would spend all of it in Guernsey and the three sisters would take two weeks each because of their husbands jobs, to look after us at my grandparents house.
 
So when flying became too expensive we used to take the boat train. My memory is a bit shaky of course it was a steam train and about a 3 hour (?) train ride from London to Weymouth. The train would stop at the dock and we would walk to the ferry. Then we had a 8 hour (?) boat trip that was fun.
 

My grand parents lived at 48 Mount Durand, St Peter Port where my mother and her brothers (6 I think) and sisters (5) grew up. The house was nearly on top of a hill and it was a steep climb up it. There was a window at the top of the house that I could sit in, read a book and just see the harbor and sea. I used to smoke the odd cigarette there and get dizzy. Magic place.

Living there were :

 
Grandmother : Edith Winterflood Roe 4ft 11 and the boss, called her Nan. I was with her close to the time she died. Dear Nan. The lads used to wind her up something awful. But she would beat them even Uncle Terry who loomed over her.
Grandfather : called him Gogo as I couldn’t say grand dad. Big man too but badly crippled from The Somme up to his chest in water for days. He could still walk but not so well. A good man. He had a back garden that grew loads of vegetables potatoes peas ( I can remember shelling them and how sweet they were), broad beans, tomatoes and lettuce. Digging in the garden was fun. Name of Toms originally from Devon. He was a band leader and we used to go to hear him at old time dances. My mother and father were excellent dancers as were all the family and could float around a dance floor.
One of my earliest memories is the night the white bait came in. I was down on the beach picking up handful’s of these little fish. However following the white bait was a huge shoal of mackerel. People were lowering baskets in the harbor and coming up full of mackerel. They gave me one as long as my arm and I tied a piece of string around its tail and dragged it across town to the dance hall where my Nan was to show her this big fish I caught.
 
My mother needs a whole chapter. She had a wild streak too having once put a rowing boat, her and her friends put this rowing boat in the middle of the High St. They were all a bit wild.
My Dad I’ll talk about him in a separate piece. He was a good cricketer and once took four wickets in four successive bowls. I have the press clippings.
Aunty Daisy and Uncle Stan. Aunty Daisy was a steady person and Uncle Stan worked as an accountant / manager in an office.
Aunty Pat and Uncle George. Uncle George taught me to swear. He would give me a penny for a bad word. “Biddy shit arsehole” was a favourite of mine when I was about 4. Uncle George was a conscientious objector for the second world war which set him apart a bit. He worked in a mattress factory. He had emphesemia and took about ten years to die, getting ahead of myself. Sad.
Uncle Peter bit mad and a risk taker. Peter, Dave and Nigel (adopted Uncle) were all scuba divers. One early morning dive they caught a huge conger eel must have been 8ft long. What they did was drape it over the drying lines in the kitchen. When Nan opened the door she was met with two staring eyes and she screamed. We cracked up. When she was cutting it up that afternoon it moved and freaked both of us out.
Uncle Dave cool guy mad but not as much as Uncle Peter. Dave and Peter both had motorbikes. Uncle Dave wouldn’t take me on the back, said it was too dangerous. Uncle Peter said hop on Phil and I swear we did 90 around the island. WOOT!
Uncle Roy not the brightest spark in the bunch, bit slow.
Uncle Terry was huge like my grandfather 6ft 4ins and broad shouldered had a twinkle in his eye.
Uncle Percy and Aunty Maud didn’t live with us but out in St Samsons. Uncle Percy was a major in the army and was known as “The Major”. Aunty Maud was a gas, a real memsahib. She told one story when the Queen visited Ghana and she rushed to the front shouting “Guernsey Press move round”. She was a beach comber too. Great lady.When Uncle Percy died he had no children so left his money to us kids. I got just over £500. I bought a Kashmir silk carpet.

Aunty Margaret and Uncle Tom were a bit odd. It turned out Uncle Tom was also her brother by marriage was a bit weird.

That was the household. It was a riot sometimes.  They once bounced me from every bedroom in the house from bottom to top. I had hysterics. Guernsey was and probably still is a paradise. We practically lived on the beach. The one closest to us was First Beach but known as “Gabbers” as all the women would go down there to chat. It was stony which was a bit of a turn off but It was handy. The great thing about Guernsey is that where ever a breeze was coming from you could always find a sheltered beach. I remember the bus station where you could get a bus anywhere on the island. The bus driver would often go off route to pick someone up or drop people off at their houses. We had our favourites. Petit Bot was always protected by its high cliffs and you had to walk down hundreds of steps to get to it. At the bottom was a lovely sandy beach but the tide came in very quickly and I had to be rescued once when I was climbing around the rock pools looking for crabs and the tide came in and left me stranded. My mother was a very strong swimmer and had swam to Herm 3 miles away in her youth. Herm was a grand place just a short boat trip away. It had a shell beach and my mother told stories of how beautiful the beach was in her youth.
One of our favourite beaches was Vazon with its shallow sandy beach. When the tide was out they used to hold car races on the sand. I can remember the sea being so clear and the perfect weather, sigh.
 
One of the highlights was loganberry forays we would come home with bags full of them and jam and tarts would be made.
 
Another snippet I remember was the time I was in the house alone and there was a knock at the door. I was in the kitchen and the milk man let himself in put the milk in the fridge went to my Nan’s purse and took out what she owed him said good morning and left. I guess it was a village thing. No one locked their doors in those days. Guernsey cows are famous for their dairy and the full fat milk needed a knife to scrape off the cream.
Occasionally I would get burnt by the sun but generally lived without sunscreen and I had my mothers skin she only had to look at the sun and she would go brown. 
Some of my happiest childhood days were spent in Guernsey. I was blessed…..My relatives there are mostly deceased now. The price of ageing. But we had a good time and fond memories.

Bookends

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you

From Little Acorns

Posts are not organised in correct date order as I want the first three posts to be top. So I have rearranged them. Go to Recent Posts in the sidebar to view posts.

There is a PowerPoint presentation here a video of it is at the end of this page.

From little acorns mighty oaks do grow. There’s talk within the community of older citizens being lonely and isolated. So I thought to myself as you (us, I’m 67) are a great resource in both knowledge and experience I would encourage them to blog. So I have set up OlderCitizens.wordpress.com which contains tutorials for getting started. The overall site (in progress) which I will use as a directory will be http://OlderCitizens.com which seems to be an inoffensive name. Know any older citizens? Get them to get in touch.

Anyway the plan is for me to contact as many older citizen groups that I can, initially in Ireland (I know how to do this) and take it from there. I’ll set up (countryname).OlderCitizens.com so Ireland will be http://Ireland.OlderCitizens.com, that should work , do a map as well. In fact create a network. We can be global.

If you are an older citizen and have a blog please let me know (any country)

Philip@OlderCitizens.com

Or Skype: dude.starship smiles there is only one (Philip Finlay Bryan, Tullamore)

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I’m in Tullamore Co.Offaly, Ireland – Mobile: +353 (0)894297539

Do not go gentle into that good night..

Here is a video of the PowerPoint presentation I am using to promote the site :


And there you have it. Keep coming back as i should be updating soon!

Leave a comment please……