Health and wellbeing column with Amanda Craven

As we slowly but surely move towards summer, the days are lengthening and the morning sun is peeping through our curtains and waking us perhaps earlier than some of us would like – in some cases long before we have had our ‘statutory’ eight hours sleep.

Businesses on The Shambles, Malton, Howards friend Derek operated from No 7 Antiques.

Howard Croft column: Unsuspected connections of our dear friend, Derek

The name Derek Garrator was I suspect less widely known than the man himself. He it was who sat in the window of his unit in the Shambles (Malton), always in a flat cap, from which he sold antiques. Derek died towards the end of March. About 10 years ago, shortly after we came to live in North Yorkshire, Mrs Croft and I bought from him a delightful Victorian wooden high chair for use by grandchild number one, Archie, who refused to be put into it. Grandchildren numbers two, three and four also refused.

On a whole food diet, two to three portions of fruit per day are recommended.

Donna Peters column: Lose weight without counting the calories...

It’s officially Spring. The nights are getting lighter and the weather (should be) getting warmer, so now is the time to take action if you want to lose a few pounds before summer. There’s 12 weeks until July, which is enough time to sensibly lose 10-14lbs.

The twelve bed Macmillan palliative care facility at Bridlington Hospital is to be replace by care in the commuity.

Howard Croft column: A deplorable levelling down of palliative care

I have over the past few months watched with interest the discussions and speculation in the press about possible changes in healthcare provision in the East Riding. Always with a sinking feeling that the twelve bed Macmillan palliative care (end of life) facility at Bridlington Hospital is doomed, and so it has turned out. It is to be replaced by “care in the community”.

The NHS is littered with patient questionnaires like this one.

Howard Croft column: Patient questionnaires ... good for three-year-olds

A hospital doctor I recently met 
socially made a disparaging remark about the patient questionnaire he and his colleagues are expected to hand out to patients in his hospital, elsewhere in the country. Shortly afterwards I had an appointment at York Hospital for an ultrasound scan where I saw a rack of such a questionnaire; I picked one up to check it out.

Getting the day off to a good start with two olives in a breakfast Martini.

Howard Croft column: Boosted by energy and optimism of the young

A well-known poem attributed to Shakespeare begins “Crabbed age and youth cannot live together” and goes on to list the many supposed incompatibilities of the two states. This is a poem I was obliged to learn by heart by my English master when I was a callow youth; I didn’t agree with Shakespeare’s analysis then, and now that I am a crabby old codger I still don’t.

A proposal has been put forward that all minicab drivers in London should in future submit to written and oral English language tests.

Howard Croft column: What about the aurora borealis then, Mr Cabbie?

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, proposed that all private hire (minicab) drivers in London should in future submit to written and oral English language tests. This, by secondary intention, would reduce the number of minicabs on the road in the city by about 50%; there are currently close to 120,000 of them. The primary intention is to “drive up standards and improve passenger safety”. Uber, the smartphone booking service, which has 30,000 drivers on the streets of London, naturally objected and took the matter to the High Court. Mr Justice Mitting dismissed their objection, including the allegation that the move was racist, naturally.

Plans for Wentworth Street car park were a contentious issue for Ryedale District Council.

Howard Croft column: When all wisdom and counsel are put aside ...

It was interesting to read a press report on the outcome of an external review of the working of Ryedale District Council. Judging from the excerpts printed it was a pretty damning report: meetings described as a circus; the behaviour of some councillors is poor and disruptive; the methods of reaching decisions are demoralising members and officers and not sustainable; members need to concentrate on doing what is best rather than becoming engaged in political game playing.

Is a Jaffa cake a biscuit or a cake?

Howard Croft column: Golden oldie and the world of Jaffa Cakes

Mrs Croft and I were guests at a dinner to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of a couple we first met shortly after we moved to North Yorkshire 10 years ago. Unfortunately, I was allocated the grim role of designated driver so I was unable to enjoy the plentiful supply of wine, unlike Mrs Croft who I noticed was buckling to with honest enjoyment. I say noticed because unlike the common convention that prohibits one from sitting next to one’s spouse or significant other (“bidie-in” as our Scottish friends delightfully have it), which I have never understood on this occasion we were located at different tables.

The  Reform Club, London.

Howard Croft column: Flirtation with clubland has left a lasting memory

I suppose that I am not the first to discover that when you reach the dark side of seventy more time is spent thinking about the past than contemplating the future. This is a time when long forgotten events and people re-emerge with great clarity, providing fresh anecdotes with which to bore one’s friends. As a young man I was constantly surprised that my father, who was a long distance lorry driver, could recollect in great detail the circumstances surrounding a puncture that had inconvenienced him near Scotch Corner several decades earlier, but regularly confused the names of his grandchildren of whom there were only four.

Anti-fracking campsite near Kirby Misperton.

Howard Croft column: Traffic streams as Mrs C heads for the river . . .

Reports last week of two local issues: traffic hazards in Haymarket Road, Malton and concerns about the increasing problem arising from the anti-fracking camp site near Kirby Misperton, also traffic related. The first seems to be a matter for North Yorkshire County Council, the second Ryedale District Council. Both seem to show a greater concern among what Councillor Lindsay Burr calls “the powers that be” for process than for outcome.

A Treasury offical has advised office workers to cut back on cake and sugar-loaded treats in the office.

Howard Croft column: Sticky bun police cook up more ‘well-being’ advice

A story covered in several national newspapers was so ludicrous that I had to check that it was not already 1 April. A “well-being” official at the Treasury has instructed the department’s civil servants to cut back on cake and other sugar-loaded treats in the office. It is a common practice among office workers to celebrate colleagues’ birthdays and other occasions by scoffing cake during their coffee breaks. This is clearly a “public health hazard”, the pen pushers have been advised, and unfair to their weaker brethren who find it difficult to resist “processed treats”.

The dangers of eating burnt or overdone toast hit the national news headlines recently.

Howard Croft column: Stand firm in the fight against toast terrorism

Last week the Food Standards Agency alerted us to the dangers of brown toast and well-done roast potatoes, pretty common constituents of the diets of most of us. Analysis of these foods showed raised levels of acrylamide, a chemical of which I had not previously heard. Animal studies (using mice) “suggest” that acrylamide may cause changes in DNA and cancer in mice. This revelation hit the headlines in most of the national newspapers.

Ryedale District Council are considering a proposal to move Pickerings Monday market.

Howard Croft column: What is it about councils’ obsession with car parks?

We are all familiar with post-Christmas blues and most of us will have devised strategies to cope with them. A couple of weeks skiing in the Alps works for some, especially the minor Royals, others hit the bottle, or lay off it, although the latter seems to me an improbable remedy. Mrs Croft is inclined to go shopping for things we don’t need; this year it is a new dish washing machine, preferably a high-ticket item engineered in Germany.

County Hall,  Northallerton.

Howard Croft column: Was it incompetence and laziness or slippery connivance?

During Christmas week I drove through the redesigned junction in Norton, where Welham Road, Church Street and County Bridge meet. I have always been uneasy when negotiating that spot, largely because of poor road markings and signage, but also because of drivers incorrectly assuming they had right of way and others surrendering their right of way, thus creating uncertainty and unexpected vehicle movements.

The Greyhound, near Henley, where Howard and Mrs Croft are being treated to dinner with their son, Edward and his wife.

Howard Croft column: My dish flops but at least no Des O’Connor records

For many years, it has been our custom for Mrs Croft and I to throw a party in late November as a sort of gateway to Christmas, usually for about 40 or so guests. We have occasionally had to cancel, but only for good reasons: last year, for example, we were nursing our now late dog Rosie following major orthopaedic surgery and a couple of years before that when we were laid low by the dreaded winter vomiting disease, always a worry in November.

The party conversation turned to the excellence of the ice cream from Groovy Moo at Talbot Yard in Malton.

Howard Croft column: You get what you pay for – including ice cream

I attended a very pleasant lunch recently, on the occasion of a friend’s 80th birthday, during which the conversation turned to the excellence of the ice cream on offer from Groovy Moo at Talbot Yard (this was a gathering of deep intellectuals). Judging by the long queues outside their premises, I am not alone in admiring their product and certainly there was plenty of encouraging comment around the lunch table about quality.

Lifestyle 1
Derwent Medical Practice, Malton

Howard Croft column: Unexpected patient in the waiting area

I was first issued with hearing aids almost ten years ago, with a few replacements supplied along the way since then. One was crunched like a raw prawn by the dog, another disappeared during a walk on a cold and windy day, both incidents requiring a bit of creative story-telling at the audiology clinic.

Who is responsible for pensioners staying warm this winter?

Tom Richmond: Whitehall’s cold shoulder to a matter of life and death

ON behalf of those senior citizens who simply can’t afford to heat their homes in order to stay warm this winter, I’ve been trying to find out who is taking responsibility for the issue of ‘fuel poverty’ after it emerged that 24,300 vulnerable pensioners and others died prematurely from hypothermia and related conditions last winter.

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