Bradford’s Best Kept Secret is Unearthed

What links Bradford born Kiki Dee, with Winston Churchill, the Moody Blues, Rod Stewart and Bradford street cleaners? Read on…

November time and I found myself in cold, wet Bradford, West Yorkshire. Her Outdoors and myself visit Bradford every year, taking the opportunity to visit friends and family. But we usually go in the summer time, when the temperature is higher. Just a  few degrees, but it makes a difference. Anyway, this visit I did by myself, hence my idea to explore the new(ish)  city centre developments. Bradford has being trying to re-build an image that is constantly being tarnished. The city is trying to generate tourism to bring much needed income into the area, but also to draw locals back into the city centre for their shopping and entertainment needs.

Eleven years in the making…

A major new shopping mall development was started in 2004 but was halted due to the recession, only completing in 2015. The Broadway is an extensive new shopping mall that Bradford really (?)  needed as they only had one city centre shopping mall, the Kirkgate Arndale Centre… that’s if you don’t count the Foster Square Retail Centre which is less than a mile away…. The city has an history of planning controversies but The Broadway was a huge embarrassment for the city, particularly as what was left for many years was an enormous hole in the ground.

Recently however, a local business man and developer has used a different hole in the ground to created an amazing new development, Sunbridge Wells. Billed as ‘Bradford’s best kept secret’, it’s a subterranean delight for beer and gin lovers, cave dwellers (errr… any out there?) and those that enjoy tradition, history and something different.

Check out the video to find the links!

ALGARVE ENTERTAINMENT, CULTURE & … BARBERSHOP

Like any country, Portugal, and particularly the Algarve region, offers a real mix of cultural festas (Festivals), traditions and events. These traditions are a result of Portugal’s historical influences over many centuries. Festivals include the Paderne Mediaeval Festival and Loulé Festival

What of Portugal’s more recent history, from post revolution 1976 to the joining of the EU and to the present day.  The influx of expats from many of the EU countries is having a profound effect on the present day cultural scene, at least for expats. There are clubs for: gardening, language learning, culture, various hobbies and miscellaneous entertainments. Many of the clubs and societies actively seek new members and offer a warm welcome.

There are a number of choirs in the region and I have a French friend who has tried to recruit me for a Barbershop choir she sings with in Portugal. “Barbershop in Portugal?” I hear you cry. If you look around you’ll find most things to do in the Algarve, but Barbershop is not the top of the list for most people. However, I have had a very entertaining time recently producing music videos for Bella a Cappella, the Algarve’s only Barbershop Choir. Check them out!

Health, Fitness & Ketogenic Lifestyle – The Result!

Well the Algarve Walking Football Cup tournament has come and gone and so I’ve got a chance to update the results of my change to a ketogenic lifestyle. The bad news is that my new found figure and fitness regime did not result in scoring any goals in the tournament, but I did reach my weight goal of losing 2 stone 2 pounds (13.6 kilos), albeit 2 days after.

Clearly it has been a success, evidenced not just by the figures, but also by a couple of teammates now embarking on their own regimes. I believe the success has been down to the following factors;

  • Planning the best time to start the regime (better term than diet!) For me it was at the start of a period when we didn’t have any social events planned.
  • Coming to realise that I could distract myself from feeling hungry (I was occasionally!) by doing things rather than focussing on the hunger. I also realised that it’s good to be a little hungry before you eat. Too often I was in the habit of eating, just because it was the usual time.
  • Realising how I was eating was not healthy and that I don’t need the sugary treats I was indulging in.
  • Best of all, having a knowledgeable wife guiding, supporting, monitoring and cajoling! And serving up some tasty new low carb recipes.

So, here’s the pictorial evidence – but be warned, it’s still not a pretty sight…

I think it’s a whole lot better without all that flab. I do seem to have more energy these days (I don’t fall asleep watching movies!) , my mood is better and more relaxed (mostly), I sleep better and I really enjoy meals.

I now need to work at firming things up, but from here I intend to start introducing some carbs back into my diet and also cut back on some of the beers and treats I used to indulge in… mostly.

ALGARVE WALKING FOOTBALL CUP 2018

32 Teams, 200+ players, one congested pitch!
Brown’s Players. Note: The location is just a figment of the author’s imagination…

Brown’s Sports & Leisure Club in Vilamoura hosted the Algarve Walking Football Cup in October 2018. Thirty two teams took part, sixteen in both the over 50’s and over 60’s categories. Brown’s had three teams; Brown’s 1 were entered in the over 60’s  category, Brown’s 2 & 3 were entered in the over 50’s.

Brown’s 1 take on Ormskirk North in the Saturday knockout stage of the over 60’s category. Managed by the mighty Ron, they won a penalty shoot out courtesy of some fine shots, but also three saves from “H”‘.

Blog author Sundance (no. 5, aka ‘The Sprinkler’), player, blogger, and videographer sporting his sleek new look in Brown 2’s first  group game against Sheffield Wednesday CP1. The result was 3-2 to Brown’s.

Manager, captain and all round good guy Rodders et al show off their prowess in a hard fought group game against Sáo Bras. Apologies for poor sound quality due to wind noise.

 

More to follow when time allows…

Health, Fitness & Ketogenic Diet – Week III

Well the good news is that after a further blood test, my liver function appears to be returning to normal. What I shouldn’t admit to (on the hugely infinitesimal chance that my doctor reads this blog) is that the reduction in liver enzymes was possibly due to not taking the methotrexate medication. The reason I stopped taking it was because I was feeling a bit nauseous so held of taking the medication, fearing that the nausea would get worse. By not taking it, I was risking a return to the intense arthritic pain I had. Fortunately, the pain didn’t return.

What did happen though, was that I’ve had a lot of weird and vivid dreams which apparently are a facet of a low carb diet. I won’t bore you with all the details of the dreams, but the two most memorable ones involved arranging a drama performance for a funeral (mine) and a hole appearing in a football pitch I was playing on, followed by a bigger hole that uncovered an open top bus. The first one could be explained by my background in amateur dramatics and concern about my health. The second is either just weird or a reference to the latest football term of ‘parking the bus’, albeit in a strange place!

On the weight loss front, a further loss of 4 pounds was encouraging enough for me to continue. Along with all the lovely new meals I’m getting from Her Outdoors. She’s a star!

Health, Fitness & Ketogenic Diet – Week II

I survived the first week with comfort, but the second week has been harder, with nausea, tiredness and digestive problems. Not to mention the medical problems and a call from the Doctor. But there were some positives, notably a weight loss of 16 lbs by the end of week 2!

As I’ve wrote earlier, I suffer from psoriatic arthritis which is an auto immune disease. To control the condition I take methotrexate medication which can cause a range of side effects, including nausea and possible liver disease. Because of that, I need regular blood tests to monitor my blood and liver condition. My last two tests have shown an increase in liver enzymes. The very last one was taken 10 days into the diet and was much higher. Hence  call from my Doctor. His advice: stop the keto diet for now.

Mediterranean Salad

Her Outdoors however, was convinced that the problem could be resolved with ‘tweaking’ the diet by reducing the protein level and increasing the amount of fresh vegetables. I wasn’t too sure about ignoring medical advice, bu the Doctor was not knowledgable about a Ketogenic diet and he did admit that he wasn’t certain what to do. Her Outdoors though, presented a good argument for tweaking the diet.

So I stuck to the diet, hoping that the next blood test would reverse the trend. Watch this space, or subscribe to get future blogs!

Health, Fitness & Ketogenic Diet Part II

KETOGENIC DIET – WEEK 1 TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS

One week into a keto diet with intermittent fasting (17/7 – first meal at 12.00, last one at 7pm). My aim was to start with with 3 meals per day but then reducing to 2 per day.

Her Outdoors warns that starting a keto diet does entail some extra financial investement at the beginning. (https://ketosource.co.uk/keto-shopping-list-uk/) But how about the emotional cost?

What can I say after one week? Well it can’t have been that bad, as I’m still on the diet! Not only that, but I think I’ve got off to a flying start. Weight is down from 13 stone 2lb to 12 stone 4lb (largely water rather than fat, which is normal). Visually, the flab is still there, although the tape measure has reduced by one inch, down from 41” to 40”.

Mealtimes have been even more of a pleasure than usual, as I’ve really enjoyed the fresh food and salads. Her Outdoors has excelled herself in serving up some exciting new recipes. Clearly, she has spent more time indoors than outdoors, partly due to us being in the UK this week.

The physical lowlights of the last 7 days have included waking up with headaches, a mild craving for sweet treats, more use of
mouthwash to counteract bad breath and several visits to the w.c. The physical highlight of the week was having bacon and eggs for breakfast and a glass of wine with a meal when friends came for dinner. How can you complain about a diet that allows you bacon, fried eggs and wine. Not together of course, that would be gross.

Food Porn – Look but don’t eat!

What I wasn’t prepared for, was the mental torture. A friend came round for coffee and we put out some chocolate wafer bars and he ate one! Boldly! Right in front of me! With a look of satisfaction on his face! The problem was, they were sitting there like a belisha beacon, flashing at me! “Eat me!” they taunted, “I’ll be good for you”. I resisted and was awarded later with Brownie points by Her Outdoors. Whilst you can eat Brownies, the points are not edible! (Actually watching him eat wasn’t that hard, I’m just trying to entertain here…)

How to torture someone on a diet!

The torture didn’t end there. A day later we had a family picnic planned for the weekend and Her Outdoors decided to make a carrot cake. She makes a very tasty carrot cake, which contains carrots, which are vegetables. Which should be allowable. “Wow” methinks, I will still get some treats. Wrong! “It’s not for us, it contains flour” says Her Outdoors, crushing my excitement and taking all the joy out of my world. What was worse was not getting to clean the mixing bowl out. It got even worse when watching the family eating the cake and became unbearable when my brother-in-law smiled broadly, when accepting a second piece.

But the craving has gone. More later… if I survive.

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