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DURHAM & TEES VALLEY JUNE - AUGUST 2013 EDITION 17

The world according

to Joan Hairy Bikers

Delicious Summer dishes

Dental Holiday in Budapest Reader Offer Inside

THE LOCAL MAGAZINE FOR THE OVER 50s

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SO MUCH CHOICE F BENEFITS OF HEALTH & FITNESS We tend to assume the benefits of exercise and fitness are only for younger people, but think again. The rewards of improved fitness later in life can be great –both for your health and social life. Regular activity is especially important as you age because it has beneficial effects on conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and helps you maintain bone density, mobility and mental well-being and, consequently, your independence. The health benefits are the same as younger people, if not more effective as you will have more time to commit to your health and well being.

Examples Include... • Exercising makes you feel more energetic, while sitting around not doing much makes you feel sluggish and unable to do anything. • Improved sleep - your body and mind feel as though they’ve done something and are ready for rest at night • You can maintain a stable weight through regular exercise. • Improves your general circulation and lowers blood pressure. • Delays ageing - keeping active strengthens your muscles, joints and bones as well as helping with mobility and balance, important as it helps to prevent falls and serious injuries. The key to exercise is finding something you enjoy, so whether you want to dance yourself trim, swim your way to fitness or work through a dedicated programme, here at Activ8 we have it all.

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Linda Barron, age 58, member at Thornaby Pavilion: “I joined Activ8 health and fitness because of the wide selection of exercise classes for the more mature adult. I was impressed by the variety of classes from Zumba Gold to Aquafit and felt there was lots I could get involved in without feeling intimidated. I like to mix my fitness routine up, as well as attending fitness classes I also attend the lunch time swimming sessions three times a week and visit the gym regularly. I have got so much out of my Activ8 membership, I look and feel better, I now have more energy than I have done in years, it really has given me a new lease of life. Most surprisingly though is the amount of friends I have made through Activ8. I look forward to my visits because of the social side, especially in the classes. We often have a catch up over a cup of tea in the Pavilion café after our workout and regularly meet up away from the gym for lunch and entertainment. I would recommend Activ8 health and fitness to people of all ages because everyone is so friendly and welcoming.”

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It’s a dirty job that you just hate doing and without the correct professional equipment cannot get to look like new as we can with our patented oven rack cleaning tank and our specialised non-toxic oven cleaning chemicals, pastes and detergents.

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“I just want to thank you for the great clean you have completed on my hob and oven. It really looks like new! I was a bit embarrassed about the state it was in and it really did need a good clean. Can you thank Nigel for me for the thorough job he has done the inside of the oven is like new. I will be letting all my friends and relatives know what a great job you do. Many thanks again.”

inside... TRAVEL & LEISURE 2-3

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Travels around Tuscany... Fabulous scenery and breathtaking drives

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INTERVIEW 10-11 The World According to Joan ... Joan Collins strolls through the highlights of her life. 18-19 Suggs - My Life Story.

HEALTH 8-9

Live Life to the Full ... With Spire Washington Hospital

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Road Safety Tips ... Keeping you safe on the road.

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Graham Smith... TWITTERING ON Twittering Pope I could of course make some very irreverent remark about the fact that the Pope has opened a Twitter account. But he’s got something going for him for he picked up over 300,000 followers in the first 24 hours of tweeting putting Stephen Fry and others in the shade. I have a sneaking admiration for any 85-year-old who takes up social media but note that he has a new media department who will doubtless be handling his tweets before publication. It remains to be seen if congregations dwindle in the light of this innovation or whether many turn over in bed on Sunday morning and reach for their lap top!

The self-titled “bacontrepreneur” has also come up with other pork inspired products such as bacon roses, bacon lip balm and bacon baby formula. And, for those “who love bacon to death”, he has created a £2,000 bacon-wrapped coffin. Mr Esch added: “Bacon is delicious, people get excited when they smell it. When you walk into a room don’t you want people to be excited to see you?” I told you they weren’t all locked up.

Coffin therapy Next time you fancy a lie down try a little coffin therapy! A Ukrainian man is encouraging people to lie down for 15 minutes in one of his coffins to “prepare for the afterlife”. Now why would I want to do that? The coffin maker has been in business for ten years and says the feeling is just like being in a bed. It’s the same sheets and pillows with its own special aura. You can choose from one of ten coffins in a special room with birdsong, falling water and he says you go home in a completely different mood. Err, no thanks

Little lit up donkey! Hundreds of donkeys are to be fitted with glow-in-the-dark ear tags in Botswana to stop accidents on rural roads at night. About 500 of the animals will be fitted with the reflective tags in the north of the country where one in ten crashes is donkey-related. I think it’s a wonderful idea and also recommend the tags for those barmy joggers who tear around in pitch blackness. The UK-based Society For The Protection Of Animals Abroad is paying for the Maun Animal Welfare Society, in Botswana, to carry out the project.

Is your man a pig? A US company has created a gift for the man who has everything - bacon flavoured shaving scream. J&D’s new product is described as “high end, luxurious bacon-scented shaving cream” and is on sale for about £9. Inventor Justin Esch said: “There is nothing more powerful than the smell of bacon, nothing. Bacon is the smell of champions. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and bacon is the best part of breakfast. Why not smell like it and be the best?”

Laura Higham, outreach veterinary advisor for SPANA, said: “The people that own working donkeys are some of the very poorest in Botswana’s society and often have no choice other than to let their animals roam freely in search of food in the sparse desert environment. “This practice is essential, but obviously makes the donkeys vulnerable to accidents and we hope that this simple solution will help reduce the number of collisions caused by the animals every year.” The charities hope the project will be adopted in other parts of the country, and will be the first step towards making reflective tags a legal requirement for freely roaming livestock. Isn’t science wonderful?

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50 Plus Travel

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SAY ‘ALOHA’ TO HAWAII By Sally Dowling from Silver Travel Advisor

Kauai © (HTA/Tor Johnson)

Palm trees swaying in the gentle trade winds of the Pacific Ocean, endless stretches of sandy coastline, volcanoes, rainforests and more – the Hawaiian Islands are the ultimate dream destination. The journey to Hawaii is not to be underestimated – it is a long way. So when you finally get there you need to make the most of this incredible group of diverse and beautiful islands strung out like pearls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There are countless itineraries and combinations with each island offering a different holiday experience and its own individual charm. Arriving into Honolulu on the island of Oahu immediately gives you a sense of anticipation. The warm air greets you as it wafts through the mainly open buildings and the atmosphere is laid back and relaxed. Honolulu is the centre of business and culture and the capital of Hawaii. It is a bustling city with a strong Polynesian influence and is home to museums, galleries and elegant public gardens all steeped in the history of the islands.

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The world famous resort of Waikiki Beach is just a few miles along the coast. At first glance not quite the tranquil tropical resort you would expect but this is a town that welcomes a huge number of tourists each day. Modern skyscraper hotels front the pristine beach set against the magnificent backdrop of Diamond Head volcanic crater. At night Waikiki comes alive with Sunset Hula shows, street performers, lively bars and restaurants. A velvet breeze wafts in from the ocean, mixes with the soft sound of the Hawaiian guitar and beckons the crowds to linger amongst designer boutiques and street markets. As soon as dawn breaks the surfers take to the water to catch the waves that roll in throughout the year. Sit on the beach and be amazed by their prowess or take a lesson and have a go yourself, there are plenty of beach boys happy to give surfing classes and surfboards can be easily rented. When it is time to move on to another island, a great contrast to Oahu is Maui, known as the Magic Isle. Although it appears at first glance to be flat and uninteresting, travel away from the airport and you will find the dormant volcano of Haleakala Crater with its lunar landscape, or take the scenic road to the town of Hana through rainforest and waterfalls. The picturesque town of Lahaina was once the heart of the Hawaiian Islands where the whaling ships docked. Today the town attracts the tourists with quaint shops, galleries and restaurants housed in the old wooden shop fronts that were once the

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saloons and brothels of times gone by. Set along a pretty coastline with a dramatic mountainous backdrop and with spectacular sunsets over the small offshore island of Lana’i - the town is picture postcard perfect. If it is adventure you are after then the island of Kuau’i beckons visitors with a host of exciting activities, watersports, 4x4 land tours, mountain tubing and zip line tours to name just a few. Take a helicopter tour to appreciate the awesome interior of Kaua’i. The imposing Waimea Canyon is more than 3,000 feet deep and known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. The Waimea River flows through the canyon and is fed by cascading waterfalls swollen by the almost daily rainfall. When the sun shines through shimmering rainbows appear giving the area a truly magical feel. Hold onto your seat because the experienced pilots know how to get really up close and personal to some of the highest waterfalls and deepest valleys.

Hawaii Island © (HTA/Tor Johnson)

Maui © (HTA/Tor Johnson)

In common with the other islands, Kauai has its fair share of stunning beaches. Holiday makers flock to the eastern and western shores but only intrepid hikers or sailors can access the secluded hidden coves, nestling beneath the dramatic cliffs along the Na Pali Coast on the western side. With its lush, rainforest interior and above average rainfall Kaua’i is aptly named the Garden Isle and has been the setting for many famous movie locations over the years. The largest island is confusingly named Hawaii – or Big Island. You could easily spend your entire holiday here as it has an amazing diversity in geography and climate. Take a drive around the island and you will pass through tropical rain forests, lava fields, volcanic mountains and rolling hills. At Kona on the west coast and

you will be amazed by huge expanses of black lava stretching into the sea. The area is famed for diving and snorkelling and a visit to Kealakekua State Park is a must. Further along the coast the land is dotted with coffee plantations, each producing the world famous Kona Coffee and most are happy to give tours to visitors and sell the freshly roasted beans. The active volcanoes for which the island is so well known can be explored at fairly close quarters from the Volcanoes National Park. Check current conditions with the park rangers at the Kilauea Visitor Centre where you can also pick up maps and guides to the area. The island capital is Hilo, situated along the crescent shaped Hilo Bay on the East Coast where frequent and heavy rainfall has created a tropical environment of lush valleys and gushing waterfalls. Hilo is a commercial centre but does have an attractive ‘old town’ area full of shops, galleries and restaurants as well as museums, parks a cultural centre and a great programme of seasonal festivals and events. It makes a great base for exploring the Volcanoes National Park and the beaches along the coast.

So pick one or pick ‘em all, whichever islands you choose to visit, I guarantee you will want to return to see the rest. For more information on the Hawaiian Islands contact Hawaii Tourism Europe website www.gohawaii.com or call 44 (0)207 6446 127. © (HTA/Tor Johnson)

Silver Travel Advisor is a travel review, information and advice website exclusively for over 50’s, packed with articles, suggestions, tips and ideas. For free and independent travel advice as well as reviews about holidays, hotels, restaurants and days out, please visit www.silvertraveladvisor.com or email service@silvertraveladvisor.com. It’s free to register as a member of Silver Travel Advisor, and you could win a fabulous holiday prize.

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LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL Many people say that your fifties are the new thirties with lots of opportunities for those who like to live life to the full. Here at Spire Washington Hospital we recognise this and have developed a wide range of healthcare services for our patients to access so they can look good and feel fit for the future. You may even have recently seen our TV advert reinforcing this very message. As you might expect, some of our most popular services relate to cosmetic surgery and we also treat a large number of patients for degenerative back pain. With that in mind, we’ve written this article to outline some of the options that could be available to you through either our pay-as-you-go service or private medical insurance and a doctor’s referral. If turning back the hands of time is something that interests, facial rejuvenation is one way to achieve this. We asked our consultant Mr Ahmed Ali-Khan about what procedures are available when the ageing process has started in earnest and he told us options can include

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facelifts, which improve certain areas of the face and neck, or neck lifts which are more specialised. Unlike in the past where the trend was for slightly over tightening the skin to provide longevity - but made it obvious work had been done - today’s procedures prioritise safety and deliver natural looking results. As Mr Ali-Khan says: “One of my preferred procedures is the MACS Lift, a technique that addresses the cheek and neck in most patients. The fact it has a fairly short recovery time, provides noticeable and sustained results, is slightly less invasive than a traditional facelift and has a shorter scar means it is quite popular.

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H E A LT H “With the MACS lift, patients have a minimum of an overnight stay and the procedure is performed under general anaesthetic. The scar is left as short and discreet as possible, usually hidden in the hair of the temple down to the lower part of the ear. The face looks and feels a little tight on the day but this soon eases off and the final results can be seen within about 7-14 days, as any bruising and swelling fades. Patients appreciate the look because it is fresh and subtle.” Of course one of the things that many older women in particular worry about is the neck but this problem area can also be dealt with, as our consultant explains: “If there is an isolated problem, we can look at liposuction to take the weight out of the neck. Sometimes the neck muscle needs repositioning slightly or muscle relaxing injections may be used to achieve the desired result. It all depends on the individual requirements. “Interestingly enough, we are starting to see an increase in neck lift enquiries from men. As the tissues can be much heavier, a different, slightly more aggressive approach may be required. Fortunately men are more likely to tolerate a discreet scar on the neck (only really visible from directly below) and following a traditional neck tightening this is positioned no lower than the Adam’s apple, up the midline of the neck.

painkillers but the aim is to stay active and mobile because bed rest can be counterproductive. If it doesn’t ease and as long as there is no pain radiating down the legs, physio can also help. “Where after six months mechanical back pain is still a problem and the person really can’t live with it any longer, there are procedures we can carry out, including injection therapy and rhizolysis, which effectively involves burning the nerve ending to take the pain away. With the latter, the pain is removed for up to 3 years in over 80% of cases and this option may be relevant to anyone who has benefited from two injections beforehand. “In the very worst case scenarios, we can resort to surgery which can involve a disc replacement or fusion. We try to avoid this if we can however unless it looks like the only way to improve the individual’s quality of life for various reasons. “Back pain caused by an underlying trauma needs a totally different approach. Issues like infections or osteoporosis can be treated with medication and there are a number of spinal procedures that can be selected according to the problem. There are also times when people need to seek specialist advice quickly. For example, any numbness in the saddle area needs urgent attention and anything affecting the urinary flow should be seen within 24-48 hours.”

“Of course no cosmetic surgery should ever be taken lightly and the options vary from patient to patient but if you’d like to know more, it’s no problem at all to set up an initial consultation.” Although useful, please bear in mind this is only a brief introduction to the cosmetic options available, so please feel free to browse our website for more details, where there is also plenty of information for those suffering from degenerative back pain. For an overview on this, we turned to one of our leading back pain specialists, Mr Lakshmanan, who told us that back pain is a natural progression for older people due to wear and tear and therefore the likelihood of this increases over the years. As such, it may not surprise you to learn that 40%-60% of patients aged 40-60 years present with it. When patients come into clinic, one of the first jobs for our consultants is to establish what type of pain it is – mechanical or caused by a trauma. As Mr Lakshmanan explains: “We do a number of tests to allow us to make a diagnosis and where it is mechanical back pain, the good news is that this should eventually settle on its own. If the pain is acute, patients can take

As you can see, we have top consultants who are highly experienced in their fields and very focused on doing what’s right for you. You are able to attend at the hospital or appointments are available at our Newcastle Clinic in Jesmond. Equally, initial ten minute one-to-ones with a cosmetic specialist can be booked at our clinic in Sunderland. Whether you’re interested in a minor procedure or major surgery, we’re here to serve the North East and our patients always come first.

For more information, please visit www.spirewashington.com or call

0191 418 8627.

We look forward to hearing from you. www.50plusmagazine.co.uk

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The World according to Joan

Joan Collins returned to the UK in April with her her sell-out show “One Night With Joan” and this stroll through the highlights of her life brings a touch of genuine glamour into our humdrum lives writes Angela Kelly. The British actress, writer and columnist who famously turned down Richard Burton and bested Joan Crawford may unbelievably now be 79 but - being Joan - she never misses an opportunity to show real Hollywood glitz at its best and most enduring. As she insists in her down-toearth way: “I’ve often been accused of over-egging the pudding in the costume and make-up department, but that’s one of the illusions that form a part of what this person called Joan Collins is all about.” To discover the real Joan Collins, though, it’s necessary to go back to her roots and trace her rise to fame and fortune. She was born in May, 1933 in London, to a former 10

nightclub hostess and a successful talent agent. She was one of three children – her sister Jackie is a successful novelist whose books have sold more than 400 million copies. Joan was a very pretty child and grew up into an attractive dark-haired beauty. She had her first theatre appearance at the age of nine and obviously developed a taste for acting through her teenage years. She became a Rank starlet and appeared in a host of relatively forgettable films, occasional TV appearances and pin-up shoots but, to improve her budding career, she moved to Hollywood in the 1950s. Her first film role was in 1951 in B-movie “Lady Godiva Rides Again.” For the next three decades, she became a Hollywood fixture, driving her signature pink Thunderbird and keeping the gossip columnists happy with a reported succession of high-profile liaisons with famous men including Dennis Hopper and Warren Beatty. She impressed, however, in the films “The Stud” and “The Bitch” which were both adapted from sister Jackie’s

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INTERVIEW best-selling novels. In 1978 she published her first memoir, “Past Imperfect” about her life – unsurprisingly, also a best-seller. In 1981, she went for an audition for struggling primetime drama “Dynasty”, for a part that Sophia Loren had already turned down. Alexis Carrington Colby was the vicious, vengeful ex-wife of family patriarch Blake Carrington, played by John Forsythe. Joan got the part, and was absolutely brilliant in the role. Ratings immediately started to rise. As the show’s creator Aaron Spelling insisted: “We didn’t write Joan Collins. She played Joan Collins. We wrote a character, but the character could have been played by 50 people and 49 of them would have failed. She made it work.” In fact, she made it work so well that Alexis - with her seductive glamour, gorgeous clothes and make-up and great storylines - became the character with whom Joan has become enduringly associated. She was nominated six times for a Golden Globe before finally winning one in 1983. “Dynasty” ended its run in 1989 but Joan appeared as Alexis in the 1991 mini-series “Dynasty: The Reunion.” The original series, though, remains warm and familiar in the minds of the public and there are regularly calls for its revival. Speaking on TV’s “Loose Women” programme just recently, British actress Stephanie Beacham - who also went into the series - said she and Joan had been talking about just such a revival, and regular TV watchers know it’s “never say never” when it comes to bringing back successful soaps.

research, and remains a true celebrity in a sea of passing wannabes. She has always looked after her figure and continues to be as glamorous as ever, taking her own advice on everything from eating meals from a smaller plate to keep her weight down to avoiding sunshine on her face to protect her looks. Her outspoken and witty pronouncements on various subjects have helped keep her in the public eye and she has had a variety of regular opinion columns in newspapers and magazines. In her 2011 book “The World According to Joan”, she admits that she has “always been extremely frank, perhaps too much so. Often friends say to me sarcastically ‘Oh why don’t you say what you mean, Joanie!’ Well, I’m afraid I usually do which is why I have been called opinionated, stubborn, obdurate, headstrong, prejudiced and politically incorrect. “Perhaps I am, but I have now reached an age and a stage when I basically do what I like as much as I can, without trying to hurt anyone.” While being Joan Collins is much about a life lived in the spotlight, it’s plain that not only is she a clever actress and a genuine icon but that she’s discovered the secret of longevity when it comes to engaging with the public.

And audiences from Manchester’s Lowry to London’s Leicester Square Theatre discovered that “One Night With Joan” is also a unique and memorable experience.

Of course, much of Joan Collins’ fame has come from her life away from the film and TV cameras. She married her first husband, Irish actor Maxwell Reed, in 1952 and divorced him three years later. She married British actor Anthony Newley in 1963 and they had two children before she divorced him in 1970. Joan was married for 11 years to Apple Records’ president Ron Kass, with whom she had daughter Katy. Her fourth marriage was to Swedish pop singer Peter Holm, which ended after just 13 months with a messy divorce. Then in 2003 she married her fifth husband, theatre company manager Percy Gibson, who is 32 years her junior. Here, finally, Joan seems to have found her soul-mate and the couple renewed their marriage vows in 2009. She says that today’s “metrosexual-looking” actors don’t compare with the stars of yesteryear although she believes that Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jude Law are “wonderful actors.” Joan makes the exception “on the macho front” for George Clooney and she also likes Bradley Cooper and Robert Downey Jr. Her all-time sexiest star, though, is Marlon Brando – “unforgettable” is her verdict. After “Dynasty” helped give Joan the highest profile of her career, she continued to act and write both romance novels and self-help beauty and lifestyle books. She’s become involved in a variety of charity work, mostly linked to children with disabilities and aiding breast cancer

For more information on Joan Collins’ go to www.joancollins.net www.50plusmagazine.co.uk

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Top Ten Tips for Safer Driving 1. Read the road:

6. Look behind – and to the side:

The further ahead you look, the more time you have to recognise and respond to hazards. Always be able to stop your vehicle in the distance you can see to be clear.

Use mirrors regularly so you have a 360 degree understanding of what’s going on around you. Use shoulder checks before you move out to solve blind spot problems.

2. Anticipate: Having looked further ahead use that knowledge to anticipate the problems that might come up and plan for them well in advance to avoid needing to take last minute action.

3. Use the two second rule: Spot a marker ahead, such as a bridge or a lamppost and wait until the vehicle ahead of you goes past it. Then say to yourself “only a fool breaks the two second rule”. If you are at the marker before you have finished, you are too close. Double it if the road is wet.

4. Concentrate: At 70 mph your stopping distance is the length of a football pitch. Looking away at a crucial moment can be fatal.

5. Assume the worst: Never assume that another motorist has seen you or will react as you expect – and don’t rely on somebody else’s reactions to keep you safe.

7. Manage your personal space: If you keep space around your vehicle, you’ll have more time and room to deal with hazards.

8. Stay fresh: driver fatigue is a major factor in many crashes. Take at least a 15 minute break after two hours at the wheel and never drive tired

9. No sudden movements: If you have scanned all around you and used that information to predict what may happen, you should never be surprised by another vehicle’s movements.

10. Learn from your mistakes: near misses happen to everybody. Afterwards, think how you could have avoided getting into that situation, even if you think it was the other driver’s fault.

Are you taking any of these? If yes, did you know that • 24% of all victims in fatal road accidents had drugs in their system • some prescription drugs and over 100 over-the-counter remedies i.e. cough mixtures, pain killers and allergy treatments can cause drowsiness, affect your concentration, reduce your reaction times and impair your overall driving ability • if you drive under the influence of drugs or medicine, legal or illegal, you will be breaking the law and will be liable for prosecution.

Always check with your pharmacist or doctor to ensure that your medication will not adversely affect your driving. For further information about any of these issues and other road safety matters please contact your own road safety section at your local council.

www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/contacts/north-east.html

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Remember your grandchildren are precious so:

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

Care for them; Care for where they play; Protect them; Use reins; Hold their hands; Protect them in the car; Set a good example For further information about any of these issues and other road safety matters please contact your own road safety section at your local council. www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/contacts/north-east.html


Would you help make a difference? Our life expectancy has increased. It’s official. Research has shown that the average man of sixty-five today can expect to live to at least eighty-one, and a woman can expect to live beyond 84. Further research has shown that more than any other factor, the level of activity people maintain during their retirement is a key factor in their happiness and continuing good health during their retirement years. Of course it’s good to take a special holiday on retirement, and because we have better health for longer, today’s retirees can enjoy their newfound leisure to the full. And of course it’s wonderful to be able to pursue your own special hobbies and interests, but looking beyond that, what about all those skills you developed during your working years. The teachers, the doctors, the cooks, the nurses, the plumbers and electricians. Will all that expertise now be put on the back burner, or can you continue to use them in a voluntary capacity, and help the broader community in the process. Everyone has something to offer as a volunteer, with a valuable contribution to make. Many of my retired friends have continued to use their skills. One helps in a charity shop, an ex teacher sits on the school’s governing body; a former doctor helps at a hospice; a former cook takes an active role in the local hospital’s snack bar, where relatives of patients take a break and much needed refreshment, and yet another friend, who maintains she has no skills whatever, walks the dog for an elderly neighbour. This friend is a wonderful listener, and not only does she give the beloved pet the exercise it needs, she provides companionship to a lonely old lady. One single factor binds these people together. The feeling that life has been good to them, and they need to put something back. If volunteering for a good cause is something you would consider then World Child Cancer is one of many charities looking for experienced people to help them with their work. The charity is devoted to helping children with cancer around the world and they are launching a Volunteer’s Speakers Network, seeking confident public speakers to join them, delivering talks about the work of the charity in their local area and giving a voice to children suffering with cancer around the world. And these children do need a voice – whilst in the UK survival rates for child cancers are around 80%, in some developing countries they can be as low as 10%. It is estimated that at least 100,000 children die unnecessarily each year from curable cancers because of a lack of diagnosis and basic treatment. Worse still is the fact that many of these children are dying without effective pain relief. If you were a confident speaker in your professional life (or even if you just have the gift of the gab!) and feel passionately about helping children with cancer around the world, World Child Cancer would love to hear from you. By volunteering as little as a few hours a month, you could spread the message of the charity in your local area and help to change the chances for children with cancer across the world. Are you interested in becoming a Volunteer Speaker? This role is great opportunity for anybody looking to re-invest 14

their skills, undergo a new challenge and make a difference. You do not need to be an expert in public speaking: training and resources will be provided. For more information please contact Lydia on 020 3176 7892 or Lydia.spencer@ worldchildcancer.org or visit www.worldchildcancer.org. So whether you’re a confident speaker and could help World Child Cancer, or are a doctor, a chef or a great listener, there are people out there who could benefit from your skills. Make their day, enrich your life and get that feelgood factor you only get when you’re helping others. It only takes a phone call, and you could make all the difference.

Speak Up! Are you looking for a new challenge? Are you a confident public speaker? Could you become a Volunteer Speaker for World Child Cancer and be a voice for children with cancer around the world?

Interested?

For more information contact Lydia at lydia.spencer@worldchildcancer.org or on 020 3176 7892 or visit www.worldchildcancer.org Registered UK charity no. 1120321

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HOW TO LOVE FOOD AND LOSE WEIGHT

delicious summer dishes

MUSHROOM, FETA AND TOMATO BAKED PEPPERS It’s always important for food to look good, whether you’re dieting or not, and these peppers are a delight to the eye as well as the tastebuds. A great vegetarian recipe, this has lots of strong flavours that come together in a beautifully colouful and well-balanced dish.

SERVES 2 4 sun-dried tomato pieces in oil, drained well 2 tsp sunflower oil 175g chestnut mushrooms, wiped and diced 20g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed 50g dry white breadcrumbs 1/2 small bunch of parsley, leaves finely chopped 1 tsp dried chilli flakes 100g feta or soft goat’s cheese, drained 2 smallish peppers, red or yellow freshly ground black pepper 401 calories per portion Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and stir-fry the mushrooms over a high heat for 4 minutes. Add the roughly chopped hazelnuts and fry for a further minute until the nuts are lightly toasted. Season with a good grind of black pepper and remove from the heat. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley and chilli flakes until thoroughly combined. Break the cheese into small chunks and toss them through the stuffing lightly. Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom and carefully remove the seeds and membrane. Place the peppers in a small foil-lined roasting tin, cut side up, and fill each half with the mushroom and feta stuffing. Cover the surface of the stuffing with a small piece of foil. Bake for 35 minutes until tender, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of the cooking time. Serve warm with a lightly dressed mixed salad. www.50plusmagazine.co.uk

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MAKES 8 KEBABS 700g lean lamb leg (or leg steaks) 2 small yellow peppers 2 small red peppers 2 small red onions 150m1 low-fat natural yoghurt 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint or 1 tsp mint sauce 6 pitta breads 1 romaine lettuce heart, shredded 1 medium carrot, finely grated 3 ripe vine tomatoes, sliced 15cm piece of cucumber, thinly sliced flaked sea salt freshly ground black pepper lemon wedges and hot chilli sauce, to serve Marinade 2 tsp cumin seeds 2 tsp coriander seeds 203 calories per portion 381 calories per portion (with pitta)

1 tsp fennel seeds 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

LEMONY LAMB KEBABS There’s nothing better than the scent of lemony, herby lamb cooking on the barbecue. It’s a healthy way of cooking too, as much of the fat drips away. We like to eat these kebabs tucked into warm pitta bread, but you can also enjoy them with just a side salad or some vegetables.

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp fine sea salt freshly ground black pepper

To make the marinade, put the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar and pound to a coarse powder. You can use 11/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander if you prefer, but the flavour won’t be quite as good as freshly ground spices. Add the thyme leaves and crush them into the spices for a few seconds. Tip the spices and thyme into a large non-metallic bowl and stir in the lemon zest and juice, garlic, oil, salt and lots of black pepper. Trim as much fat as possible off the lamb, then cut the meat into rough 3cm chunks — you should have about 40 chunks. Add the lamb to the marinade and toss until well coated. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before cooking. While the lamb is marinating, prepare the vegetables for the kebabs. Deseed the peppers and cut them into 3cm chunks. Cut each onion into 8 wedges with the root intact. Remove the lamb from the fridge and thread the meat on to 8 metal skewers — these should be about 25cm long — alternating with the pieces of pepper and onion. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Cook over a hot barbecue or under a preheated hot grill (close to the element) for 6-8 minutes. Turn once or twice until the lamb and vegetables are lightly charred — the meat should be pink in the middle. Mix the yoghurt, garlic and chopped mint or mint sauce together in a small bowl to make the yoghurt sauce. Warm the pitta bread on the barbecue, in the toaster or under a grill and carefully cut down one side with a sharp knife. Pull the bread open and stuff with shredded lettuce leaves, grated carrot, tomatoes and cucumber. Slide the meat and vegetables off the skewers and into the pittas using a fork. Drizzle a little of the minty yoghurt sauce and serve with some chilli sauce and lemon wedges too if you fancy.

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BEACHSIDE PAELLA We cooked this on a beach in Northumberland and some said it was the best paella they’d ever tasted — dieting or not. You know what? We have to agree. Heat the oil in a 38cm paella pan — ideally non-stick. A paella pan is best, but if you don’t have one, use a very wide, shallow non-stick saucepan, flameproof casserole dish or saute pan. Place the pan over a medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and black pepper and fry them for about 5 minutes, turning every now and then until lightly coloured. Add the chorizo and cook for 30 seconds more, turning once. Transfer the chicken and chorizo to a large heatproof bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the onions to the pan and fry gently for 4-5 minutes until softened and very lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and green beans to the onions and cook for 2 minutes until they are beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic, smoked paprika, saffron, bay leaf and rice and cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice is glistening all over. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan, along with any juices. Stir well, then pour in the chicken stock and season with black pepper. Stir once or twice and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tip the mussels into the partly cooked rice mixture and stir once more, making sure they are well tucked into the hot rice and steaming liquid. Return to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until most of the mussels have opened, stirring occasionally. Scatter the squid and prawns over the top of the paella and stir well. Continue cooking for 4-5 minutes until the squid and prawns are cooked, the rice is tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed. The prawns should be completely pink when cooked. It’s important not to keep stirring after the squid and prawns are added — you want the rice to become lightly browned and a bit sticky at the sides of the pan as this adds flavour. Keep an eye on the heat though, as you don’t want the rice to burn. Add a splash more water if the paella begins to look very dry before the rice is ready. Pick out any mussels that haven’t opened by the end of the cooking time and chuck them away. Serve hot with lemon wedges for squeezing.

SERVES 6

358 calories per portion

I tbsp olive oil 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half 75g chorizo (we like picante) skinned and cut into 5mm slices 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped 1 red pepper, quartered, deseeded and sliced 1 yellow pepper, quartered, deseeded and sliced 150g green beans, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 2 tsp smoked paprika 2 good pinches of saffron threads 1 bay leaf 175g paella rice (medium-grain rice) 1 litre hot chicken stock, made with 1 chicken stock cube 500g live mussels, well scrubbed and beards removed 1 medium squid, cleaned and sliced into rings or 225g prepared squid rings 12 raw king prawns, peeled or shells on, thawed if frozen flaked sea salt freshly ground black pepper lemon wedges, for squeezing

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SUGGS - MY LIFE STORY I’VE JUST TURNED 50, THE KIDS HAVE LEFT HOME, AND MY CAT JUST DIED Suggs – still best known as the legendary frontman of feelgood band Madness – was 50 last January. He was lying in the bath on his birthday, nursing an epic hangover from the celebrations the night before when there was the most almighty crash. ‘I jumped out of the water,’ he says, ‘and there, lying amid shards of broken glass, was our four-year-old cat, a British blue called Mamba. I’d put up the glass shelf myself and it must have given way. I knew he was dead from the strange angle of his body. I couldn’t believe it. I loved that cat. ‘I was 50. My kids had recently left home and now the cat was dead. I was really upset. It triggered a deluge of emotion, an event that somehow tipped me over the edge. I began to consider my own mortality and, out of that, the idea for exploring my own past somehow crystallised.’ The result was a fantastic stage show that delighted audiences up and down the UK. Speaking before the show launched, Suggs says ‘It’s a memoir, It’s not stand-up. It’s not An Evening With… I toyed with calling it Mad-Life

Crisis. In the end, though, having gone all round the houses, I’ve called it My Life Story which won’t win any prizes for originality but does at least tell you what you can expect, the good bits and the darker moments.’ It turns out there have been plenty of both. Born Graham McPherson in Hastings, he’s the only child of a jazz singer called Edith and a father, William – but everyone called him Mac – who worked for a photographic developers but whose life was increasingly overtaken by drugs. ‘Dad left home when I was about three. I have no recollection of him and he never featured in my life. My mum later told me she’d come home and found him with needles sticking out of his hands. Heroin was his drug of choice and it’s a one-way street that takes you further and further away from real life. In the end, it did for the marriage.’ Mother and son then moved to Liverpool where Edith sang in the clubs, winning the accolade of Melody Maker’s Jazz Newcomer of the Year in the mid-60s. She performed regularly at the Blue Angel to where The Beatles and Cilla Black would repair after sessions at The Cavern. Moving south to London, Suggs’ life was unstructured, to say the least. Soho was his mother’s stomping ground where she both sang and worked in bars for extra money. They lived in a succession of rented rooms, the young lad trailing around after her when she went drinking in famous watering holes like the Colony. ‘I’ll never forget it,’ says Suggs. ‘You’d walk up this rickety green staircase and enter a room full of artists and actors and various hangers-on, all drinking and smoking. But, amid all the booze, it was a creative hotbed. Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, George Melly, Jeffrey Bernard – they were all regulars. ‘Was it an unsuitable place for a young child? Absolutely. I clearly remember staring up through the thick fog of tobacco smoke, the occasional hand ruffling my hair or giving me a florin, sometimes even a ten bob note. I couldn’t really understand what was going on at an adult level which was probably all for the best. But there was a feeling of community and I was never in any danger.’ Even so, in time Edith decided that her son would do better living out of London in Pembrokeshire with her sister, Diana, and her three children. ‘It was nice to have other kids around but I missed Mum. She was doing what she thought was the right thing. She was finding it difficult to find the two of us somewhere stable to live so she thought I’d be better off in Haverfordwest.’ Three years later, Suggs was back in London, living with Edith, and about to go to secondary in Swiss Cottage. It’s where he acquired his nickname. ‘The other kids used to call me Gray or Mac and I wanted something a bit more

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INTERVIEW distinctive. I was looking through a book of my mum’s about jazz musicians. ‘I took a pin and, eyes closed, stuck it into the middle of a page. It went through the name Peter which didn’t seem especially memorable and then I noticed his second name was Suggs which somehow resonated with me. He was the drummer in an obscure jazz band in Kentucky. Graffiti was becoming popular and people had these amazing names – or tags, as they were called. Now I had mine.’ Had he known it, this was the moment when his estranged father was on the point of bowing it. ‘I didn’t find this out until many years later when I was researching the new show. It’s a tragic story. My father started injecting himself with paraffin and was then sectioned under the Mental Health Act. ‘When he was eventually released, he moved to Birmingham where he married again. He died aged 40 from a whole variety of drug-related conditions, his wife following him, probably from a drug overdose, a year later. So just as I was getting together with the band that became Madness, my father’s time was up. I’ve always found that rather poignant.’ These revelations prompted him recently to ask his mother about his father. ‘She told me he was a very nice man. “Just like you,” she said. That was the most shocking thing she could have said in many ways. I’d had him down in my mind as some sort of wayward old wastrel who’d just pushed off. The fact that he was really nice upset me. But then heroin is an unforgiving mistress.’

Given his colourful upbringing, it is perhaps not too surprising that Suggs married young. By 21, he had a wife, a baby daughter and a mews house in Camden bought with the money he’d made from Madness’s regular appearances in the Top 10. ‘To some extent, I think it’s true to say that I deliberately created Fortress Suggs to give my life a bit of structure. Having said that, I’d fallen in love with Anne. I wanted to be married to her.’ A professional singer who works under the name Bette Bright, the two are still together three decades later. They have two daughters – Scarlett, 29 and Viva, 25 – who now sing as a duo under their own names. ‘My mother, my wife, my daughters – I’m surrounded by women who sing,’ says Suggs. Nor has he hung up his own microphone. ‘2012 was an extraordinary year for us. You wouldn’t have anticipated the Queen was going to invite us on her roof to play or that we were going to play at the Olympic closing ceremony. Like any human being we were insecure but we realise now we’re pretty good.’ The band have just release their tenth album Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da and have planned a series of gigs in the UK this summer. ‘Madness have always been about accentuating the positive,’ says Suggs. ‘It’s no accident our songs are still played, still enjoyed 30 years down the line. They’re upbeat, timeless, a clear-eyed celebration of life as it’s lived. And we’re still together, still making music. For me, the band has always been a bit like a surrogate family. We’re all a bit dysfunctional, all a bit stronger for being together.’

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OUT & ABOUT

SummerTyne Americana Festival 2013 Friday 19th – Sunday 21st July 2013. SAGE GATESHEAD

South Tyneside Summer Festival Rick Astley, Liberty X, Toploader and The South to play Summer Festival The first of three free concerts will take place on Sunday 14 July at Bents Park on South Shields seafront and will feature Liberty X and 90’s pop group The Honeyz*. They’ll be joined in the festival line up by Toploader and The South, featuring ex members of The Beautiful South, who perform a free concert on Sunday 21 July. And Rick Astley who will perform a free concert on Sunday 28 July with The Christians. The South Tyneside Summer Festival is now here with a programme of free live music, open air concerts, parades, street theatre, children’s entertainment and lots more! Key dates for your diary include: • Thursday and Saturday nights in June - Live music at the Amphitheatre • Saturday 6 July - The Summer Festival Parade • Sunday 7 July - Family Fun Day • Sunday 14 July - Free concert with Liberty X plus The Honeyz* • Sunday 21 July - Free concert with Toploader and The South • Sunday 28 July - Free concert with Rick Astley and The Christians • Tuesdays and Thursdays in August (until 22 August) Tommy the Trumpeters final summer at Tommy’s Parties. Other events to book in your diary now include Foghorn Requiem on Saturday 22 June and the Armed Forces Day Parade & Badlanders Fun Day on Sunday 23 June. And new for 2013 and not to be missed is Sound Waves 2013 at Bents Park on Sunday 25 August . This huge music event will feature headline act McFly who are joined alongside Joe McElderry and more big name acts. * Please note: Pop band, Blue, were originally scheduled in the line up for this event. Unfortunately they are unable to attend due to scheduling problems, however we hope to see them in South Tyneside soon. Customer Contact Centre Town Hall & Civic Offices, Westoe Road South Shields, Tyne & Wear NE33 2RL 0191 427 7000 customerhelp@southtyneside.gov.uk

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SummerTyne Americana Festival is pleased to announce this year’s festival highlights include The Mavericks, Martha Wainwright supported by Sam Amidon, and the newest, most exciting, horn-laden blues powerhouse The Heritage Blues Orchestra on an electrifying bill with Mud Morganfield. We celebrate some of the finest women in country music with concerts by Patty Griffin and Larkin Poe but also a specially commissioned concert called, ‘Honky Tonk Angels,’ featuring current Nashville country star Elizabeth Cook, Opry legend Jan Howard, Yolanda Quartey and a host of other special guests. We have New York singer-songwriter, Willy Mason and opening for Matthew E. White will be Nashville’s finest gospel group The McCrary Sisters.

British Science Festival Between 7th and 12th September 2013, Newcastle will host the British Science Festival - Europe’s largest and longest running science event. Organised annually by the British Science Association, the Festival brings together hundreds of the UK’s top scientists, science presenters, journalists and tens of thousands of members of the public. The Festival attracts more than 50,000 people each year and caters to audiences of all ages and interests. Events range from lectures and debates, to handson activities for schools and families, as well as live music and comedy performances, theatre and exhibitions. As a Science City, Newcastle is recognised as being at the forefront of scientific and technological advancement and the presence of the British Science Festival will offer a unique opportunity for the region to showcase its science and technology credentials to people in the UK and around the world. Newcastle University has launched a regional campaign: Ideas Take Flight, to help gather ideas, thoughts and questions from the public to shape the Festival in 2013. Get in Touch To register for Festival updates, www.britishscienceassociation.org/user/ register#main-content You can also get in touch: Rose Wu Science Festival and Engagement Coordinator Kings Gate Level 5, Newcastle University NE1 7RU rose.wu@ncl.ac.uk

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Durham Information Guide (DIG) is an online database which allows you to search for information on adult social care services, health groups and other community information on a countywide, regional and national basis.

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Durham issue 17  

Local magazine of the over 50s

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