Howard Croft column: Carefree world of our postal voting system

Several years ago, when I realised that I would have to visit the United States at a time when a general election was being held at home, I applied for a postal vote. This was a concession rarely granted, as was widely known, and only for what were regarded as excellent reasons by some sceptical jobsworth . A scheduled holiday would not qualify, nor would being confined to a wheelchair. Business travel was regarded as borderline and my application had to provide such details as departure dates, destination, nature of business, names and addresses of overseas business contacts and evidence that an airline ticket had been purchased. All of this had to be supported in writing by my boss, who of course was easily fixed, who would assert that under no circumstances could the plan be postponed.

The husband and wife African head carvings taken for valuation to the Antiques Roadshow.

Howard Croft column: Antiques Roadshow was head-turning experience

When I lived in Africa I came across a wood carver/sculptor called Job Kekana who had started working in wood when he was a young boy herding his father’s goats. His work, some of which I had seen in the house of a friend, is unusual in that the busts he produced resembled actual people, unlike the rather stylised figures widely produced by African carvers for tourists, usually out of soap stone.

Hot water with lemon encourages bile production which helps the liver excrete toxins.

Health column: Love your liver

The liver is a marvellous piece of kit. Without it on top form, your hormones are going to be totally out of whack, and you’re going to have all kinds of problems with weight gain, cellulite and low energy.

Hull is the 2017 European City of Culture.

Howard Croft column: Only credentials – being someone’s grandfather

We went down South to attend a celebration of my daughter’s birthday. Although not a significant one, the birthday that is, not the daughter, the celebration seems to involve a number of events of which I was lucky enough to be invited to one.

Pedestrian warning light similar to the feature fitted on BMW cars.

Howard Croft column: Not convinced car safety feature is right approach

We are a two car family. I have a 1969 Morris Traveller in British racing green, much admired in my locality, but with little in the way of driver support systems. A fuel gauge that gives vague and unreliable readings and a red light that when lit indicates trouble ahead, also vague. That is it.

The weather forecast with Trevor Appleton.

This week’s weather with Trevor Appleton

This week the forecast is changable with sunny spells and scattered showers.

News 1
Reproduced copy of the 1942 pamphlet issued by the US War Department.

Howard Croft column: War book helped Yanks cope with British way of life

John Elduff, a friend and former colleague from my time working in the United States, recently lost his father, James, at the age of 96. I was invited to a few family occasions, Independence Day parties mainly. It gives you a warm feeling when formerly oppressed colonial slaves invite you to join them in celebrating their escape from under the imperial jackboot.

St Mary's Priory Church, Old Malton captured by reader Nick Fletcher, of Norton.

Howard Croft column: Thorny planning issue of roses in the churchyard

There is in the Church of England a requirement to obtain what is called a “faculty” from the diocese before making any alterations or additions to church buildings or land. It is, in effect, the church’s own planning department and similar in its operation to local authority planning departments.

The Bactrian Camels at Flamingo Land are moulting at the moment.

View from the Zoo column with Michelle Dennis

It’s that time of year when our Bactrian camels are shedding their hair! This natural process happens annually, and makes our camels look very shabby.

FAMILY COLUMN: ‘I’m a mumsy mum - and proud of it’.

FAMILY COLUMN: ‘I’m a mumsy mum - and proud of it’.

Flicking through photos in preparation for our son’s third birthday this week, I was beaming.

Telephone fault led to a lengthy online conversation via a Talk Talk chat room.

Howard Croft column: Analogue man’s struggle with digital technology

I was described recently as “an analogue man floundering in a digital world”. In so far as I was able to attach any meaning to this doubtless clever remark, I did not sense that I had been paid a compliment, probably because it was delivered with a self-satisfied smirk and a top-dressing of contempt.

To deal with Irritable Bowel Syndrome the first step is to find the root cause.

Donna Peters column: Three-step plan for a healthy digestive system

The health of our gut is paramount. If our digestive system isn’t working properly it can have a negative impact upon our overall health. Researchers are saying that keeping our gut healthly and restoring the integrity of the gut lining will be one of the most important factors in supporting our overall health in years to come.

The happy couple  Michael and Chloe Foley pictured on their wedding day.

Howard Croft column: Suited and booted for a magical family occasion

About ten years ago, when I retired, I threw out all my suits except one, declaring it to be my funeral suit. Mrs Croft mistook my intention, which was to dress respectfully on solemn occasions, and believed that it was my wish to be dressed in this outfit when my turn came to be boxed up. Neither of us has viewed this suit in quite the same light since. The result was that I was taken into York to buy, under close supervision, a suit for the wedding of our nephew Michael, whom I tried with a dismal want of success to train how to blow his nose. Luckily, he had mastered this complicated task in time for his interviews for a place at medical school, but it was close. His new wife, Chloe, is also now a doctor. How will that work, I wonder – a household in which no diagnosis goes undisputed?

Belfast City Airport was renamed in honour of football George Best.

Howard Croft column: Re-writing the past in search of Maid Marian

I have always approved of our custom of naming airports and other facilities in a way intended to be of practical value to the public. Other countries, notably the US, tend to name them after people, often while they are still alive. Having lived in America for several years, and before that been a frequent visitor using internal flights, I have a reasonable knowledge of airports, but I have no idea where George Bush Airport is. With Leeds-Bradford you know where you are, even if you might not know where you are going.

Riding two on a bike was once taken very seriously the police.

Howard Croft column: Era when ‘two on a bike’ led to swoop by police

From time to time my twin sister Denise and I get reminiscing about our childhood. Given that we were seldom out of each other’s company from birth – indeed from before birth, of course – until we went to different secondary schools at 11, it is surprising that our early recollections differ so much. For example, as a toddler Denise tore some electrical flex out of a wall and applied the live wires to her wrist, an incident that she claims to recollect. Although present at this dramatic moment, I have no recollection of it. That it happened is not in doubt; my mother, also present but not paying proper attention, occasionally spoke of it and my sister to this day bears the scars of the electrical burn on her wrist.

Lifestyle 1
Action Medical Research is a very worthwhile cause and  local supporters can enjoy lemon drizzle cake.

Howard Croft column: A brilliant cause and not just for the lemon cake

Action Medical Research (AMR) is a small charity that specialises in funding research into uncommon childhood diseases. A local group of determined and effective ladies devote considerable effort to raising money on behalf of Action Medical Research and Mrs Croft is one of them. They have an annual calendar of events – a charity shop, tin waving at a Morrison’s store and such like – a recent one being the Spring Walk.

Applying blood pressure cuff

Howard Croft column: Under doctor’s orders to keep blood pressure low

I was a bit surprised when a consultant at the hospital asked me if I had a blood pressure measuring device at home – a sphygmomanometer he would have said if he had been trying to bamboozle me.

Sir John Walton.

Howard Croft column: Amazon book search turns up a surprise

I recently found that I was able to buy through Amazon copies of Remembering Henry, an affectionate appreciation of the life of Henry Miller, a Newcastle neurologist who rose through the ranks from junior doctor, eventually becoming Vice-Chancellor of the university. This slim volume was published in 1997 by the British Medical Association; the market would have been confined to family, friends and former colleagues of Miller and the print-run would have been correspondingly short. Surprisingly, I was able to acquire copies for no more than £2.50 a go.

Kat Bond, Partner Team Manager at Xero.

The finance column with Kat Bond

In a recent study Xero revealed that 83% of accountants believe understanding technology is just as important to their job as understanding accountancy.

Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal Party in the 1970s on his way to trial.

Howard Croft column: A political scandal that gripped the whole nation

I have only fragments of memories of the notorious Jeremy Thorpe scandal that led to his acquittal at trial on charges of conspiracy to murder and incitement to murder. Now, having read A Very English Scandal, by John Preston (Penguin Viking), I know why; when the events leading up to the trial became public during the trial itself I was working in Africa and largely unaware of what was happening back home in England.

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