New Year’s Day in Hebden Bridge

There were no buses on New Year’s Day but the trains were running. So a quick 20-odd minute train journey from Burnley to Hebden was called for. A deserted station with a Xmas tree greeted me but I hoped for more.p1040187

I’ve got to say that when I walked into town, past a deserted play area, there wasn’t a lot going on with many of the shops closed and some people having the impression that the trains weren’t running either.p1040189p1040190p1040191p1040192

However I had a great meal in the Old Gate pub and restaurant. It wasn’t the quickest service but it was packed and the staff were friendly.

It was also the best burger I’ve had for ages, and the kids meals were enormous.img_0844

So a decent meal before we embarked on our journey from a deserted platform back to Lancashire.p1040194

Not the first visit and it won’t be the last.

 

 

The Bobbins has lost its way. A little bit of Portugal no more – Não mais comida portuguesa

Sad to report that the Bobbins has lost its taste for Portuguese cuisine despite my being told new chef would maintain it on the menu.

Also on my last visit in the afternoon there were no hot dishes – just coffee and cakes. This is sad as it was a unique experience which seems to have lost its way.

Original post from March 2016

A friend had told me about this new restaurant  tucked away in Oakmount Mill on Wiseman Street near the “On the Embankment” canal redevelopment in Burnley.

Called The Bobbin (presumably a reference to the former cotton town’s industrial past) it comprises a restaurant area, decorated with cotton mill  artefacts, and a more relaxed sitting out area with settees – presumably for those patrons who just want a coffee or a glass of wine.P1030392

On its Facebook page (which has more photos) it describes itself as a cafe and mediterranean restaurant but the menu is portuguese influenced with various piri-piri dishes and sea-food. The chef and co-owner David O’Hara learned to cook portuguese food in the Algarve and his wife Beatriz is portuguese so it should be authentic!P1030390

The background music is Fado (plaintive, melancholic folk songs) with Mariza featuring heavily (although as a member of staff said “you can have too much of Mariza”. If you don’t know of her check her out below).

I chose a swordfish steak which was delicious and melted in my mouth and I accompanied it with a glass of white wine. Unfortunately they only had red portuguese wine but that may change.P1030389

They are also only open during the day: 1000 – 1700, but are thinking about opening in the evening.

It’s not a fast food service but worth the wait and the staff are friendly and want to know you have everything you need.

On Saturdays they serve the famous portuguese custard tart (pastel de nata) and they also prepare a Cataplana (Seafood stew) if you book it in advance for 4 people.

And if you want to hear some Fado here is Mariza singing “Ó gente da minha terra” (Oh people of my land).

FYI According to some sources “bobbins” is also old northern slang for something that’s rubbish (appropriated from cockney rhyming slang – bobbins of cotton i.e. rotten). This definitely does not apply in this case. Just the very opposite in fact.

If you really have to make new year resolutions..

Mike the Psych's Blog

here are some sensible ones from Dr Mark Porter who writes for the Times (with my own comments added):looking_in_mirror_1600_wht_5647

  1. Get a tape measure and measure your waist. This should be less than half your height to maintain good health. Body Mass Index (bmi) is so out-of-date as I’ve written before.
  2. Buy a blood pressure monitor as one in three of us develops high blood pressure which often requires lifelong treatment. Taking your BP at home may be more accurate than if taken in a stressful environment such as a hospital or GP’s surgery (the well-known white coat effect).
  3. Buy a petrol car next time as diesel has been proved to be dirtier fuel and unhealthy in built-up areas
  4. Learn what sepsis looks like. Blood poisoning or septicaemia as it was once called kills thousands of people a year. It typically starts with bacterial infections of the chest…

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Denmark’s first dementia village

Mike the Psych's Blog

Denmark has opened a village equipped with a music library, restaurants and shops reserved for dementia sufferers.

Svendborg Demensby on the island of Funen is the first of its kind in Denmark and is modelled on similar villages in Italy, Canada and the Netherlands.

The village of 125 homes was developed on the site of an old brewery which had already been used as a care centre for the elderly. The idea is to give residents the feel of living in a small town and is expected to give dementia sufferers a safer environment and a more fulfilling life in comparison with ordinary sheltered housing. It’s a pilot scheme with plans to open similar projects in Aalborg, Odense and Herning.

The Danish Alzheimer’s Association cautiously welcomed the initiative but voiced worries about the villagers being cut off from the outside world. “It concerns us when special dementia villages are being…

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Don’t buy Kinder eggs

Mike the Psych's Blog

p1ceu1nzkbumc2itd4-czh7lrblwouulhndll_qzbmve5cwdwmlxzvickigkhdbqhsn5-sgs129It turns out that the toys inside the Kinder chocolate eggs are made by child labour in Romania according to an investigation by the Sunnewspaper.

Families in this, one of the poorest of the EU countries are being paid as little as 20p an hour for making the toys at home.

Child exploitation is not new in Romania. It is probably as famous for sending gangs of child pickpockets to the UK as it is for being the home of Vlad the Impaler.

Apart from the child exploitation experts say there is also a risk of food poisoning if the toys have been assembled in unsanitary conditions.

A whistleblower said “Customers would expect products which go inside children’s chocolates to be made in controlled conditions but so many of the toys are being made in peoples homes that effective quality control is impossible”.

Ferrero (the Italian chocolatier that makes…

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Anything you can do, I can do too

Mike the Psych's Blog

Violent offences and sex attacks, increased alcohol consumption and partner abuse, have all increased dramatically for women.

Gone are the days of ladylike behaviour. Increasingly women are copying the worst behaviours of men. They are just as likely as men to troll partners online; they are swearing more than men (who have cut down); and drinking more than ever before.

Teenage girls in the UK are twice more likely than boys to get drunk than almost anywhere else in Europe where it is the other way round. They are also more likely to be drink-driving than men from the age of 30 with a doubling of the number of women convicted for it since 1998.

figure_behind_bars_anim_500_wht_3524There are currently almost a hundred women in prison for violent behaviour, up a third, and over a hundred serving time for serious sexual offences, three times the number, compared to ten years ago.

One…

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Don’t leave a phone in your child’s bedroom

Mike the Psych's Blog

talking_with_your_followers_1600_wht_9116Just the presence of a smartphone or device is enough to disturb children’s sleep patterns as they anticipate the possibility of getting a message and can’t relax.

Using devices  at any point in the 90 minutes before bedtime more than doubles the risk of a poor night’s sleep. Even leaving it charging in the corner can have a detrimental effect, possibly because children are subconsciously engaged with them if they know they are within earshot.

Researchers ta Kings College London examined the digital behaviour of 125,000 children across four continents. It’s known from previous studies that around three-quarters of children and adolescents have at least one device in their bedroom at night.

Screen-based media may adversely affect sleep in different ways: psychologically stimulating the brain, delaying or interrupting sleep time, and affecting sleep cycles, physiology and alertness. They effect both the quality and the duration of sleep.

Sleep is undervalued but…

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Day of the Dead

Mike the Psych's Blog

In Mexico and parts of South America they celebrate “Dia de Muertos” on 1 and 2 November which coincides with the christian festivals of All Souls or All Saints days.

Christian missionaries often repurposed pagan festivals for their own purposes but the people in these regions still combine older beliefs, which may go back to the Aztec’s Lady of the Dead,  who looked after the bones of the deceased, with the catholic church events.

They believe that, starting at midnight on 31 October, the spirits of dead children come through the gates of heaven to be reunited wit their families for 24 hours.

Altars are stacked with flowers, food including special bread “pan de puerto“, and drink with toys and candles for the angelitos. Folk-art skeletons and sugar skulls provide the final touches.000013-2

On the 2 November the spirits of adult relatives join them and…

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Facebook is for losers

A while since I posted this but the evidence all suggests that using social media can make you feel inadequate by comparing yourself with artificially inflated/enhanced profiles & pictures or number of people who like you.

Mike the Psych's Blog

figure_bed_computer_1600_wht_14033Most people who use Facebook do so to add positive updates but generally people who use Facebook tend to be more frustrated, angry and lonely.

This might be because positive updates from their “friends” make them feel inadequate.

Now researchers at Ohio University have discovered that people in a bad mood turn to social network sites and look up people less attractive or less successful than themselves rather than those more attractive and more successful.

Given a choice of profiles to look at on a new social networking link called SocialLink participants who had been put in a negative state of mind – by being given poor feedback on a test – spent more time looking at the profiles of people who were less attractive and less successful.

The message is if you’re feeling bad look for someone who’s feeling even worse and regain your emotional superiority.

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It’s…

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Dumbing down that smartphone

icon_flow_smart_phone_loop_500_wht_9550Have we reached smartphone-peak?

Have we finally realised we need to unplug ourselves from endless apps and social media connections? No more anxiety from FOMO or FOBO?

The NoPhone might have been a prank by two Canadian entrepreneurs having a dig at the latest smartphone upgrade but now there is a real alternative: the Light Phone.

It’s the size of a credit card and can make calls and store 10 numbers and that’s it. Retro or what?

It will be launched in the US by two friends, Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang, who used to design Motorola phones (I loved my flip-top Motorola) but grew jaded with the constant pressure to come up with increasingly addictive and life-consuming apps.

If you believe the statistics – and I find these figures unbelievable and not sure of their source – we tap our phones on average 2,617 times a day with almost 90% of us unable to resist checking our devises at leat once between midnight and 5.00 am. I am clearly an outlier in these statistics and in my usage despite blogging and using several twitter accounts.

Another survey from Deloitte however seems to confirm this trend with users aged 18-24 the worst offenders in that they are the ones most likely to use their phones in the middle of the night. These people are truly addicted and as Paul Lee, who led the research at Deloitte says “Consumers will need to learn how to run their lives with smartphones, as opposed to having their lives run by their devices.

Another trend is that of using video calls and social networks rather than standard voice calls which are declining. (Perhaps people like the idea of free calls and encryption?) A third of the respondents in the survey said they hadn’t made a voice call in the previous week.

Deloitte’s Key findings:

  • One in three UK adults has argued with their partner about using their mobile phone too much, according to Deloitte.
  • The rows were most common among 25-34 year olds the report found, while 11% of over 65s admitted arguments about overusing phones.
  • About a tenth of respondents admitted using their handsets “always” or “very often” while eating at home or in restaurants.
  • A third said they regularly used their devices while with friends or watching television.
  • One in three UK adults – and half of 18-24 year olds – said they checked their phones in the middle of the night, with instant messaging and social media the most popular activities.
  • One in 10 smartphone owners admitted reaching for their phone as soon as they woke up – with a third grabbing the device within five minutes of waking.

However it’s also been reported that a few famous showbiz people have said they are giving up social media and doing a digital detox but I’ll believe that when I see it. They are too narcissistic to be away from their digital followers for long.

nokia-n70 150px-nokia_3310_blueThere is however a market for old Nokia phones, such as the 3310 and N70, which are selling for hundreds of dollars online (I never liked Nokia phones with their fiddly keyboards but for a time they ruled the world).

But back to the Light Phone. It will sell for $100 in America and should be available in the UK by the end of the year. It shares the same number as your regular phone forwarding calls to it. It’s called “going light” – no emails , games or apps. Perfect when you’re out for a meal or enjoying some quiet time in the countryside.

One of the inventors said  he was constantly checking what other people were doing on social media and it was chipping away at his own contentment. (See post about social media and depression which proves his point).

I found I was getting lost in these scroll holes. I would come out not necessarily feeling good about myself. My smartphone was sucking me in. As soon as I stepped away – I call it breaking through the fomo threshold, getting over the fear of missing out, I felt free“.

He said he realised he was happier in those disconnected moments “when I can watch a sunset, appreciate my friends. We want to make a product that helps people appreciate their lives, not control their lives”.

The Light Phone is not a substitute for a smartphone but a supplement, but if it allows you to get away from all the social media intrusion. “Even just 20 minutes for a coffee“. He doesn’t see it as a retro regressive step but as asking the question about what we actually want from technology.

images-1It reminds me that I’ve got a simple Motorola W220 phone I bought in Lithuania 10 years ago to use on my regular trips out there.

No camera, less than £50, on a “pay as you go” contract. But it’s a flip top. It  might be so retro it’s trendy!