Shared Moments: Day 99 written by Maureen Kershaw

Dear all,

Day 99 – The weather for eating a ’99’ ice cream here too. Who named it the ’99’? I suppose I should have investigated a long time ago as they seem to have been around for most of my life. Were there 99 flakes to a box at one time? There certainly aren’t now and why is it that the ice cream vendors’ flakes, when added to the cone don’t disintegrate –  yet mine always end up a crumbly mess before reaching the ice cream?

The ’99 Steps’  which ran between Burley Road and Belle Vue Road, I believe, were something I took the locals’ word for in the accuracy of numbering. I hadn’t the desire to walk up or down them but today most of them have disappeared to make way for housing or offices. I wonder if the ’99p’ shops have all disappeared now? There weren’t many around and frankly for the sake of one penny it was more convenient to visit ‘Poundland’ and besides, I doubt whether shops will allow a bag of 1p coins for change in future.

99 days since I went into Lockdown, although the official day stands at 94. Students have been flocking back to the City over the last couple of weeks in readiness for the changeover of rentals on the 1st July. Parties, late night drinking, walking around in large groups and as for the Parks……I cannot begin to imagine the litter which will have been discarded on Woodhouse Moor by last night, judging by the queue for drinks outside the ‘One Stop’ shop. It’s as though nothing has changed which of course is far from the truth as daily life has changed so much, well it has for me.

Yesterday at 3pm the local Community Group “Caring Together” enjoyed  ‘Afternoon Tea’ by Zoom and we dressed accordingly for the occasion! Over hot and cold drinks, scones and cake we chatted and were entertained with a couple of songs; I read one of my stories “A Summer Childhood”, Our Patron Hilary Benn MP joined us from his office at the House of Commons, telling us all how he has dealt with changes since Lockdown. We of course were all in our  living rooms and kitchens. I was sitting in my ‘office’ – the kitchen, but as I was wearing a floaty top with pearl accessories, decided to sit against a plain grey wall rather than the paler shade tiles with a view of the microwave and steamer.

The local  PCSO was outside Little London Community Centre – but suddenly disappeared from our gallery so must have been called into action. Hilary Benn apologised in advance, warning he was waiting to Vote and said he would have to leave upon hearing the bell but – staying with us throughout – there was clearly no urgency to Vote on ‘whatever’. I just hope the Government are not proposing to change the name of the ’99’ ice cream cone.

Thank you Maureen, I have checked the Cadbury’s website and they can’t find a reason behind it either, I wonder if anyone else can? Until next time……


Face Covering Travel Assistance Cards

WIN a Year's Free Travel With First & 3 Days Out | Leeds-List

From June 15, Government guidelines have required people to wear a face covering on public transport, with some exemptions for children, disabled people or people with breathing difficulties.  A full list of exemptions from wearing a face covering can be found here.

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering you can download an assistance card here to help communicate this to staff on bus and rail services in West Yorkshire. You can either print the card off or take a picture of it on your phone to show transport staff.

For further information and updates on local public transport, please see:

Swarthmore Book Club

Is anyone interested in the following collaboration between Swarthmore College and Leeds City Council?

We are excited to announce Swarthmore Book Club! A funded project with Leeds City Council to help those people in isolation. We will be reading 3 books over the next 3 months, every month you will receive a copy of the selected book for FREE, you can then take part in a warm and welcoming book club discussion over Zoom.


This month we will be reading ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ By Stella Gibbons  and the Zoom meet up will take place on the 20th July 2-3.30pm


To take part simply register your interest to Julie Badon by places are limited so register now!”

Online cooking classes from Ministry of Food

If you fancy brushing up your cooking skills while staying at home, Jamie’s Ministry of Food are offering a free, 8 week, online cooking course starting on Tuesday 7th July.  It will be delivered using Zoom and will be a 1 hour session each Tuesday.  There’s an option of 10am or 12noon.

You will need to provide your own ingredients for this.

If you are interested you can call Ministry of Food on 0113 242 5685 or One You Leeds on 0800 169 4219.

Swarthmore Free Online Classes

Swarthmore invite you to join them online, as they are providing Free courses available to all Leeds residents. Each week they will release a range of courses from Art to Health and Well-being to Languages, to take part in these courses fill out the simple enrolment form and they  will contact you soon after to walk you through how to access the courses.

The courses run on Google Classrooms so you will either need to use Google Chrome as your browser or the Google Classroom app on tablets and phones – Swarthmore will help with this.

This week’s courses include, Poetry, Felt Art, Upcycling paper boxes, Somatics (movement for easier breathing), Creative Writing, Sewing, Making a Planter and lots more see Swarthmore website for the full list and all the information you need to enrol.

If you need assistance you can contact Jackie, Student Advisor on: or call 07946761930

For this week’s courses you need to enrol by 4pm on Wed 1st July and then you can access the course up till 4pm on Sunday 5th.  Tutors will be online at specific times – givien in the course details for each subject.

New courses for next week will be on the website for enrolment after 1st July.


‘Cutting edge technology’ written by Oliver Cross

Dear all,
I’ve never been one to go overboard on original research, but once I noticed a vegetable peeler in a hardware store which intrigued me so much I felt obliged, quite against my usual journalistic, practice to make a telephone call.

The peeler, although this was only five or six years ago, struck me as coming from my childhood – the 1950s or 60s maybe. It had a broad, pointed metal blade with a slit in it which did the peeling. The blade was attached, by tightly-wrapped orange string, to a wooden handle.

The peeler, according to the box it came in, was made in the UK and there was a telephone number on it, presumably so I could cope with any technical difficulties or order new peelers for my friends.

So I bought one, for less than £1, and phoned the company to ask why they hadn’t realised that Britain no longer manufactured cheap and useful household goods, leaving that sort of thing to other countries.

I asked to speak to the press department, but the receptionist said she would put me through to the managing director, who answered so quickly that I concluded he  was probably in the same room and possibly on the same phone.

He had a delightful Black Country accent (which sounds like a contradiction, but he was so friendly and enthusiastic that any sort of accent would have won me over) and he explained that ‘metal bashing’ of various sorts had been the family business for decades – the peeler bring a being only one of many example s.

He accepted that the other countries did make a similar-looking product, but the give-away difference was that the orange string was not string at all, but was moulded in plastic as part of the handle.

The Black Country string was real and wrapped around the handle before being secured, without pins, knots or glue by a process which he called ‘sort of doubling back on itself’. He couldn’t do it himself  but one of his workers who was especially deft had been doing it for decades, and he didn’t know what would happen to the peeler side of the business should she become troubled with arthritis, or decide she needed to move on from string-winding.

As the interview with the managing director was winding down, I asked him whether there had been any interesting developments in peeler technology during his time in the peeler industry.

Well, he said, there had been the invention of the left-handed peeler, although he couldn’t say much about that because he had never peeled anything in his life on account of only having one hand. I know, as a journalist, that I should have followed this up in some way but found myself speechless, disability being a difficult area for the over-sensitive.

And all this came back as an unintended consequence of the present lockdown, which causes you to notice things you haven’t noticed in years. I found, during an idle moment, the Black Country peeler at the back of a kitchen drawer and reflected that it had hardly ever been used because, whatever its proud industrial heritage, it’s no more use than any short, sharp knife,

See picture below

Thank you Oliver, I used to have one similar, not seen it for ages, and yes the Midlands accent is a delight…….until next time

The Black Country refers to a region of more than one million people covering most of the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The first trace of the phrase “The Black Country” as an expression dates from the 1840s. The name is believed to come from the soot from the heavy industries that covered the area, although the 30-foot-thick (10-metre) coal seam close to the surface is another possible origin. Back then the population experienced perpetual twilight reigns during the day, and during the night fires on all sides would light up the dark landscape with a fiery glow. Sourced The Black Country Living Museum:

‘Monday Mind Workout’ – Answers from Monday 29th June 2020

Dear all, please find below the answers from yesterday’s workout. How did you do?

  1. Dark Sunday or Saturday? Black Sabbath
  2. Unemployment card – UB40
  3. Champagne and orange – Buck’s Fizz
  4. First book in the bible –Genesis
  5. Lads that run an establishment selling animals –Pet Shop Boys
  6. They gather no moss – Rolling Stones
  7. Refined Association –Culture Club
  8. The direction where it is lovely –Beautiful South
  9. Merlin – Wizard
  10. Nosey feline is dead –Curiosity Killed the Cat
  11. Sinatra is off to make a film – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  12. They need straightening out –The Kinks
  13. B.A., B.Sc. and M.F.A. – Three Degrees 
  14. Cadbury’s very warm – Hot Chocolate
  15. Could be joiners or cabinet makers –The Carpenters 
  16. Sun Casts Them – The Shadows
  17. 7.Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter – Four Seasons
  1. Anne, Mary, Elizabeth or Victoria –Queen 
  2. Stag, Cowboy, Dung and Colorado – Beatles
  3. Late night athlete on deck C – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  4. Throw Small Fruit– Chuck Berry
  5.  22.John Toilet – LuLu
  1. The Legend of the Chocolate Bar– Aerosmith
  2. Best Pal is Prickly Bush –Buddy Holly
  3. Both of You –U2

‘Monday Mind Workout’ – Monday 29th June 2020

Good morning,

Today’s ‘Monday Mind Workout’ is themed around cryptic clues for bands or singers past and present. E.g Enticements = Temptations

  1. Dark Sunday or Saturday?
  2. Unemployment card
  3. Champagne and orange
  4. First book in the bible
  5. Lads that run an establishment selling animals
  6. They gather no moss
  7. Refined Association
  8. The direction where it is lovely
  9. Merlin
  10. Nosey feline is dead
  11. Sinatra is off to make a film
  12. They need straightening out
  13. B.A., B.Sc. and M.F.A.
  14. Cadbury’s very warm
  15. Could be joiners or cabinet makers
  16. Sun Casts Them
  17. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
  18. Anne, Mary, Elizabeth or Victoria
  19. Stag, Cowboy, Dung and Colorado
  1. Late night athlete on deck C
  2. Throw Small Fruit
  3. John Toilet
  4. The Legend of the Chocolate Bar
  5. Best Pal is Prickly Bush
  6. Both of You

Best of luck and let me know how you get on.

Shared Moments: Day 77 ‘Thomas the Tank’ Written by Maureen Kershaw

Day 77 – Rain at last! After a few glorious days and being able to get ‘all dolled up’ in Summer clothing – to visit the supermarket – today is a day for staying at home. To watch the long awaited rain, catch up on household tasks (what are they?) maybe with a catch up of recorded TV progs playing in the background. Find photos to accompany my Lockdown blogs ready for the book. Ironing perchance? Mmm, we’ll see. E-mails to reply to, phone calls to make, the next batch of ‘Memories’ to write, a story for a magazine, prep. my next piece for the Museums & Galleries – the days are not long enough for all that is to be done. Thank goodness I’ve not got into bread-making, it took long enough to download ‘Zoom’ properly.

I promised myself I would read more; many books were started but remain unfinished. They remind me of being halfway through knitting a garment before the novelty wore off and I would start another. In 1984 I started knitting a jumper in a cosy white wool with an occasional cerise and grey fleck. I loved the feel of it until, in pregnancy, I couldn’t bear to touch it and it made me feel ill! The jumper was packed away whilst I knitted babywear with no problem. I never returned to the unfinished  jumper but I loved to knit all manner of knitwear for my young son. The one disaster though was a ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ jumper. I didn’t quite master the art of all those different colours being successfully brought to life and Thomas’s face did not smile but was cross-eyed and looked in excruciating pain. I was too embarrassed to photograph it but Darren wore it with pride. Maybe during Lockdown I could return to knitting? Perhaps not. I have more than enough to occupy my time, in particular this very day……unless I get a better offer.

We are pleased you were able to fit an article in for us too Maureen, thank you, until next time…..