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.

Your GP should be your first port of call to discuss your concerns over the lack of sleep.

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.

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