FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH – January 2018, edition No 37

Hello. I hope you have had a good Christmas and are starting the New Year with a sense of optimism. 

I am pleased that the magazine is going from strength to strength but there is a long way to go before it gets to where I want it to be.

Anyone can contribute towards this publication in a non-racist, inoffensive way and you should send your stuff to:   thanks, Dean.

The winners of the short story competition are Helen Somers (£100), Kate Cullen (£50) and Cathy Bryant (£25) – all stories will appear in consecutive editions.



Scorpio 24 Oct – 22 Nov

Now that Christmas is out of the way, you can go back to being your mean, selfish, old self. A nervous man will come into your life this month and astound you with his knowledge of fly fishing. It is a very good time to start to walk with a limp if you are not getting enough attention. A family member will do something which suggests they have changed their ways.

Sagittarius 23 Nov – 21 Dec

A celebrity will do something this month which will make you conclude that they are not that special and have flaws like the rest of us. A change in diet is required if you are to make it through the next few years. You many think you have seen an alien at the bottom of your garden but be careful who you confide in.

Capricorn 22 Dec – 20 Jan

Now is the time to start learning a foreign language as you will have some free time when your partner walks out on you. Someone at work may start staring at you but don’t read too much into this, as they have a lot on their mind – and aren’t that desperate any way. You should cut down on your alcohol intake as it is doing you no good waking up every morning, face down, on the kitchen floor.

Aquarius 21 Jan – 19 Feb

Why not start to wear ribbons in your hair this month. And you must stop being so pretentious and read a newspaper that you understand instead of one that looks impressive to other people. It is a good time to learn a musical instrument – but don’t give up the day job just yet! You may take a fancy to imported pears.

Pisces 20 Feb – 20 Mar

The planets all point to you being financially successful at this time in your life. A chance encounter will make you realise how well off you really are. It would be worth looking for a new home as your marriage is about to disintegrate. Buy some red underwear and be proud of it.

Aries 21 Mar – 20 Apr

This year you will achieve great things and earn lots of money – but do remember who was there for you when you were down and out. A professional astrologist may shock you with his widely inaccurate predictions. A geek with money may try to woo you but remember – once a geek always a geek.

Taurus 21 Apr – 21 May

A beautiful young member of the opposite sex will make you an offer you think you can’t refuse – but you would be wise to do so unless you want to end up broke and in the gutter. You may be thinking about cosmetic surgery in the near future but remember you only have one body so be absolutely sure before you take the plunge. A good time to buy a new toothbrush and invest in some nail clippers.

Gemini 22 May – 21 Jun

If you are feeling that you are frustrated by the lack of creativity in your life, why not join a drama group or take up painting? A man with a huge beard may request you do something you don’t want to do, so stick to your guns and be true to yourself. You are doing well with your exercise regime but you will not lose any weight while you are still eating like a starving pig.

Cancer 22 Jun – 23 Jul

You will let yourself down this month by doing something extremely foolish. Do go ahead and buy the thing you have had your eye on for a while as it will bring you some temporary happiness. If you feel powerless in life, then why not buy a dog that you can boss around. Don’t trust the interesting person you met on the net as they are not genuine.

Leo 24 Jul – 23 Aug

This month you will lose your voice – but don’t worry too much as no one listens to you anyway. Someone you like will give you the green light to proceed – but do so with caution. If death is worrying you then why not have one of your legs amputated so that you have something else to focus on? Try a different cheese.

Virgo 24 Aug – 23 Sep

It is time you put down your technological appliances and started real relationships again. A woman with a big nose may catch your eye and inspire you to open your mouth and talk to her. You are really a nice person and more people are starting to realise this and seek your company. You should start saving two pound coins, for a rainy day, if you get any.

Libra 24 Sep – 23 Oct

If you have teenage children, it really is time you started to think back to when you were their age and what you were like! A woman with patterned wellington boots will make you promises that she will fail to keep. It would be a good time to start wearing denims again. Treasure the good things you have in this short life.


Sharan, can you talk a bit about yourself? I grew up in Bolton and my dad’s from Malaysia and my mother is from Cumbria. My dad’s a Punjabi Sikh.

So are you Sikh? No, I don’t believe in all that. I don’t like it.

Do you agree with organised religion? No. I don’t like it. It’s dangerous. I prefer to stick to my political beliefs.

Do you think there is a supernatural being which people call ‘God’? No. I think there is more complicated phenomenon in the world, in the universe. I quite like the physics approach to things rather than following religious beliefs – but I can see where the two cross over sometimes – but some days I think it’s just me going mad!

I understand you don’t agree with marriage? No, I don’t feel it’s a very healthy institution. I trained in anthropology so I am always interested in people (I have a degree and a master’s degree in it) and though my training makes me see the world through a conceptual lens, I’ve always questioned things since I was small.

I never really understood why people needed to write it down if they loved one another, and why it needed to be institutionalised and why it could be seen to give you benefits. It has many drawbacks to it and the more I’ve read about it as I’ve got older, the more intellectual justification I’ve got for the views that I’ve held since being a child. Women are treated like a form of property and I feel very uncomfortable about this.

Do you think women have equality today? No. In most ways they are not equal and there is still a long way to go in the fight for gender equality – that’s what me and my chosen friends have very strong feelings about.

Do you do anything to express these feelings? I’ve tried to be involved with different groups in the past, but I found them difficult because of the current state of play of identity politics. There’s a lot of competing theories in gender politics which I’m interested in as a theoretician, rather than being an activist, though I do try to mix the two and practice my beliefs in everyday life.

I also question things with my partner because of the way things are. It’s not very healthy how men and women are ascribed gender roles and asked to perform them. It’s quite damaging. We are therefore trying to work through these ideas in our everyday lives in the hope that our relationship will become more equal in the future.

Would you like to have any children in the future? No, I’m not interested in children. I’ve never been interested in children and I find babies repulsive. So I won’t be having any children myself although I recognise that they are a necessary part of life. I don’t think anyone should have children unless they can support them, and I don’t feel I will be at that point because of my mental health problems.

Do you live in Hebden Bridge? Yes.

What do you think of Hebden Bridge? I like it. It’s a nice place but it is fake as it’s a bubble. It’s lots of people who want to feel the same as each other, although there are a lot of tensions amongst that. At times Hebden Bridge is very pretentious and it’s becoming gentrified with all the rich people that are moving in like the BBC media people. It’s changed from what I’m told it used to be like.

But I do like Hebden Bridge and have made friends here. I feel comfortable here.

Are you here for the long haul? No, I plan to move though Hebden Bridge is a place I could come back to. I left this year to go to Portugal but there were wild fires there and we came back here, as I knew I could get work here and that there would be nice people around.

Have you done a lot of travelling? Yes, I’ve been very lucky and been to South East Asia. When we were children we went to Malaysia a lot and I’ve visited countries like Thailand and Borneo – I love these countries but there’s lots of poverty there and some difficult issues.

Where would you like to travel in the future?  South America, Africa. I’d also like to visit more of South East Asia. The world’s a really big place and I enjoy interacting with different people.

What are you hopes for the future? I have a dream to set up a centre which includes organic farming, garden and arts and crafts. I want this place to be for people with various mental health problems because I think this would be very therapeutic for them.

Do you think mental illness is still stigmatised? Yes, definitely. I still struggle to talk about it on a personal level with people I know. I choose my friends carefully as you can’t discuss such issues with everyone.

What do you think happens when you die? I don’t really have any thoughts on that at the moment.

The winner of the recent short story competition:


Written by Helen SomersIt’s funny really, looking back; I should have guessed she was an angel.I first met Ange, or Angela, the day after she moved into number 33 in ‘drug alley’, here in Splott.No-one paid much attention to the tall, slim woman with long blonde hair, most of it scrunched up inside an old floppy hat, but some locks tumbling down her back.  We had seen plenty come into the alley over the last few years, although it had to be said we rarely saw them move out.  That was mostly done during the hours of darkness – moonlight flit and all that.I lived next door and noticed that she didn’t have a great deal of furniture; she had a number of musical instruments though so I wondered if she was in some sort of band.  The removal men struggled up and down the tatty wooden stairs to the little flat on the first floor.My husband was off on one that evening.  Shouting and swearing he was, so I went outside for a fag, a roll-up mind, can’t afford the other sort.  He had run out of tinnies and was pretty miffed, blamed me for spending his beer money on groceries.She, me new neighbour, was arranging, oddly enough, hanging baskets from her little balcony.  The last things hanging from there had been the previous occupant’s smalls, or rather bigs, for she was a size 22 and there was no messing with her, I can tell you.  Even me old man was terrified of her and he’s a regular bare-knuckle fighter for our local Saturday night pub car-park team.So there I was puffing smoke and there she was, cap pulled down low on her head, planting petunias or pansies, or whatever.  She smiled at me and told me her name, Angela.Always one to be friendly, I said “hi Ange I’m Shazza, pleased to meet ya”. ‘The next day I saw her again, at the end of the alley, correcting the spelling on the notice outside the local pub.  ‘Can you believe they spelt Karaoke with a C?’  She complained.  ‘I can’t bear bad spelling.’‘No’ I agreed.  ‘Oh look, you’ve missed the ‘y’ off the end.’  She did give me a bit of a look but I was in a hurry to pick up a benefit form and so didn’t dwell on it.  After all nobody likes to be pulled up on their mistakes, do they?Stan the man, wearing his old blue City shirt, was walking his Rottweiler.  He growled at everyone he met, and the dog was just as unfriendly.  He got to Ange, and, would you believe, the mutt sat down and offered his paw.  She took it gently.  Stan shook his head in disbelief.  That sort of thing didn’t do his macho image a power of good, did it?

Well, I got me form from the unemployment office and couldn’t make head nor tail of it.  Ange, I thought, she seems to know her ‘p’s and ‘q’s, I’ll get her to help.  I knocked on her door, looked through the window and blow me down she was playing a harp.  Yes that’s right, a bleeding harp. I saw that her eyes were closed and this haunting sound floated out from within.  When she opened her eyes (and they struck me how large and brown they were) and saw me she let me in and made a cuppa.  I told her that she wouldn’t get many gigs round here with that thing, more into heavy metal they are.

When we sat down I noticed she had a scar on her forehead which I hadn’t noticed before, presumably ‘coz she’d been wearing something on her head.   When she saw me looking she pulled some of her mop forward to cover it.

She helped me with the form.  Took us bloody ages and, well, I’d best not tell the old man but she got me to tell the truth.  Now I wanted to say that we had his old mother living with us, thought we might get a bit of extra dosh, you know, say she’s disabled, unable to get out of bed, but Ange said ‘No,  be honest.  It pays in the end.’

The old man, he wants paying by the end of the week, can’t see no further than that, but I was good, told no porkies, not even little ones and even declared the money I got as a dinner lady, call me soft but I felt kinda good about that and what’s more I enjoyed the best night’s sleep I’d ‘ad in ages.

The following morning I asked her to help me with reading and writing, she said she’d be delighted, and we made it a regular thing on a Wednesday morning.

A couple of days later, Stan the man was talking to Ange.  I had to hear what they were saying so I sauntered over and, well, she was telling him that the dog needed more exercise and less protein, he was overweight and his health was at risk.  Stan was a bit peeved, ‘I likes me dog,’ he said grumpily.

‘I’m sure you do,’ said Ange.  ‘Have you thought about volunteering at the local dog shelter?  You can help out and they can give you advice on how to best care for…?’  She pointed to the Rottweiler.

‘Johnny Rotten’.

‘Quite.  ‘Well I believe you would get a lot out of it.  As I said, have you ever thought about it?’

‘No.’ well of course he hadn’t.  Stan didn’t do volunteering.  He did nuffink if he didn’t get paid for it, but he took a card off Ange and promised to ring the RSPCA.

‘He’ll never do it’ I told her when Stan and Johnny Rotten padded off together.

‘Yes he will.’

After work I brought the old man home some left-over school dinners.  The rice pudding had coated the roast beef but he didn’t seem to mind.  ‘Goes down the same way,’ he said brightly, licking his fingers.

I was surprised at his good mood; he was never in a good mood, not even when Wales won the rugby.  And then, when I went to chuck away the plastic containers he says to me ‘don’t bin ‘em, recycle’ em.’

‘You what?’

‘Recycle, you know, like I’ve done with me beer cans. ‘And there, in a polythene bag or three were all his empty cans, squashed flat.

‘That mate of yours from next door.  She wants to save the planet.  Mentioned something about polar bears losing their territory.   Little baby bears floating away on ice.’  His voice faltered and he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and sniffed.  ‘Well, I thinks to myself, I ought to do my bit.’ With that he went to the fridge and got himself another beer, he was certainly doing his bit.

One Friday about eleven, just before I was on duty for feeding time at the zoo, or rather St. Cuffberts Primary, I was walking with Ange into town.  We were going to go to the library and I was going to join, you know, take out books from time to time.  Would you fathom it, but two little buggers came up behind us and one grabbed Ange’s handbag and the other her baseball cap.  Now she didn’t mind too much about the handbag but she was pretty miffed about her cap and gave chase.  She ran pretty quickly and the kid panicked and fell over a raised paving stone.   Typical bloody council, don’t worry about this side of town.  The other boy came back and threw her handbag at her.  No money and no ciggies.

Ange snatched her cap and put it back on her head and then three young men got funny with her.  ‘Hey, you old slapper, get out of the way, you’re cramping our style.’

They were buskers.  Not very good.  One sang, one played a tatty guitar which looked like it had at least one string missing and the other did a strange sort of dance which looked like he was being electrocuted.

For a moment Ange stood and stared. Then she got angry. She went a funny colour, twisted her cap to the side of her head, pushed the dancer out of the way and did a really strange thing.

She started to sort of street dance and talk at the same time.

‘My name’s Ange and I’m no slapper
In fact I fink I’m a bit of a rapper
I’ll tell you a tale about my best mate
Who stands like a bouncer at heaven’s gate
He watches us and time will tell
If we’re let into heaven or sent down to hell
And he knows you little bleeders coz he’s no fool
That instead of mugging women you should be at school
So let’s stop messing and when we die
We won’t burn in the fire but will rise up to the sky.’

Now call me old-fashioned but I’d never heard anything like that on ‘Songs of Praise’, but our Ange certainly caught everybody’s attention.  She blushed and bowed.  The three boys stood open-mouthed for a moment and an old lady thrust a fiver in her hand. A couple of men clapped.

Ange smiled sweetly, no longer cross, and gave the money to the buskers who looked sheepishly impressed. It was probably more than they had ever made.

The baseball cap nicking boy who was still sitting down rubbing his knee saw his dad coming towards him.

‘Dad, dad we’ve got a compo claim. Fell over that paving stone.’

His father stood tall, hands on hips surveying the scene; his tattoos glistened in the sunlight.  He turned to his son who had a smug smile on his face.

‘You little skiver, you get your arse back to school this minute or you’ll be for it later.’

We hurried on past a young girl with a spray can defacing the bus shelter. Even Ange struggled to read what she had written in black paint but told her syphilis didn’t have an ‘f’ in it.  The girl huffed and continued spraying.


‘So I think you’re good,’ said Ange looking at the paintwork

The girl walked with us to the library and Ange showed her magazines on art design.  The librarian gave out some college details.  I wasn’t too interested; I was lost in a world I had never visited before, that of books.

Later, having a fag and chatting to my friend who was busy watering her tiny garden, Stan the man walked past. He’d finished his shift at the dog shelter and came back with JR, both looked quite happy. He told Ange he could take the dog to work with him, put him in a spare kennel. There was a nice young girl who worked there too, she had a greyhound.  He coughed into his grubby hanky but I thought I could just catch the word ‘thanks’.

We had to turn up our TV sometimes when trying to watch Corrie ‘coz she gave music lessons and the busking lads came along. She didn’t charge them, I’d bet you, but I saw them arrive once with a box of chocs. I reckoned they had shoplifted, but well it’s the thought that counts.

Summer was slowly losing its grip but the hanging baskets continued blooming outside Ange’s flat when all our other flowers had perished. Stan the man had been offered paid work at the dog shelter. His first job in five years. He was also meeting the greyhound girl next week at The Dog and Duck. Ange looked a little horrified, The Dog and Duck was no place for gentle souls she told me quietly after he had left. I didn’t know about quiet souls but there were a few arseholes there, especially at weekends. He’d evidently gushed that the place allowed dogs in there. There were a few of them on Friday and Saturday nights too I thought.

When I walked to work I saw the graffiti girl, re-painting the bus shelter. Pretty good too, poppies in a cornfield. She recognised me and gave a friendly wave.

‘Tell Ange I’m doing a design for the local playgroup, thought I’d paint nursery rhyme characters along the wall, you know Humpty Dumpty and all that. Actually, better still I’ll tell her myself. I’ll pop in later. I’ve painted her a picture.’

Ange was one of us now. Everyone loved her. We knew she was a bit odd but that just added to her appeal really.

One day in late autumn I got home from work about two and saw that Ange’s baskets had been trashed and her kitchen window was smashed. I ran up the wooden steps and saw her looking at her broken harp; huge tears fell down her pale face. I rushed over to her and hugged her. ‘Bastards,’ I whispered.

Ange came back with me and I made some sweet tea and she nibbled a jammy dodger while the police fingerprinted her place. Me husband offered to do a bit of research himself, he knew people who would make it their business to find the culprits. He was ever so upset.

The buskers turned up for their lesson and within minutes were boarding up her shattered window. Stan the man cleared up the mess from the broken baskets and window boxes. Me old man called a meeting immediately and put a shirt on over the top of his vest.

‘Neighbourhood vigil, that’s what we need,’ he told everyone. ‘This is a respectable area.’  Everyone in the room nodded and two men even put their knives away.

And that night the Cuffbert Watch was formed. ‘We must look after each other, especially the old and the single mothers.’ There were a number of offers to look after the single mothers, not quite so many for the old folk, but me old man was firm and soon everyone had a role. ‘I don’t want this interfering with your day job,’ he told his committee. Everyone told him it wouldn’t. Thinking about it later, nobody really had a day job. But I felt proud.

Next morning I went round to Ange’s to check she was okay. It was strange seeing the hanging basket and window boxes empty of flowers. I couldn’t look through her kitchen window as it had big wooden planks over it but rang the doorbell. No reply. Thinking her bell wasn’t working I knocked on the door – nothing.

I walked to the end of the alley and saw the latest offering from the local pub, ‘Special offer on bar snakes.’ Now I’m no literary expert but well, bar snakes? So I gets me felt pen out of my pocket and corrects it, adding a ‘c’ and crossing out the ‘e.’ Bar Snacks.  Next thing I know I’m grabbed round my waist and the old man is there, looking at my scribble. ‘I’m married to a genius,’ he said, and I think he had moist eyes but they were so bloodshot it was difficult to tell. Cheryl the barmaid was walking to the pub to start her shift.  She asked what the bloody hell I was doing, defacing her poster. I told her I was correcting the spelling. She got a bit shirty but I explained Ange had helped me and I was prepared to help her, if she wanted.

Ange didn’t come back. I got a note a few days later which simply said:

‘My dear Sharon

Thank you for your friendship. I have been honoured to be surrounded by such lovely people but I must move on now. I know, on our journey through life, we will meet again someday.

Until then. May God go with you.


Well blow me I’d never have thought our Ange would do a moonlight flit. Didn’t seem her style really, but as the days went on and the community spirit grew, I found myself thinking about her more, rather than less. Stan the man’s getting married just before Christmas.  Would you believe the two dogs get on like a house on fire?  We’ve been invited to the wedding, the old man and me, and I can’t wait.  Rumour has it that the rotty is best man and the greyhound’s a bridesmaid. We’ve sniggered wondering what would happen if the two of them started breeding. In fact, according to me old man, this was discussed at the stag do last night, but Stan the man says he doesn’t want kids.

I’ve joined a reading group, we meet fortnightly and discuss books, proper books mind, not magazines and ‘What’s on TV’. Love it.

Cheryl, the barmaid and I meet up on Wednesday mornings for an hour’s reading and writing when her kids have gone to school, it’s taken over the slot that me and Ange used to have.

We’ve just been out for our anniversary meal. It wasn’t quite as much fun as previous years ‘coz most the menu was now spelt correctly.  It used to be rather exciting not knowing what we were ordering, and even when we were eating it we weren’t too sure ‘coz the chef’s pretty crap.

Anyway, today me fella bought a Christmas tree. Every year he gets one so big that we have to cut about four foot off to get it in and stand it up, either that or bore a hole in the ceiling.  ‘We don’t live in bloody Windsor Castle,’ I tells him. Well we get it into our lounge and I bring out the box of decorations from the cupboard under the stairs. Tinsel, lights, baubles and then I get out the angel for the top. I have to wipe the tears away from my eyes as I stand with her in my hand. She’s slender with long blonde hair and there is a tiny chip on her forehead.


Brenda, can you tell me what your hopes for 2018 are? I hope everything comes off alright and that we see peace in the world. I hope the magazine continues to prosper and it can start to get in some money instead of just paying out all of the time.

What are your hopes for yourself next year? I hope that I have health and strength to enjoy life.

Are you going to go on holiday anywhere? No as I’m trying to save up and get some money behind me.

Do you think the magazine has made progress this year? Yes, it has and I’m enjoying writing for it – I hope to write more in the future.

How do you think we can improve the magazine? Through having varied content and increasing the readership. Also it would be good to get in some money through donations.

Have you ever written for a publication before? Yes, I wrote some poems for a publication produced by my housing association St. Annes.

Are you well now? I still have aches and pains but I’m plodding on.

Are you hoping to travel when you have saved more money? That’s something I will have to think about. I’m not quite sure.


Dear Editor

Gaming machines should be taken out of public houses where intoxicated people are extremely vulnerable, and likely to gamble away their money. I have no proof but I bet people at the top of society are coining it in at the expense of poorer people. All this about: ‘Stop when the fun stops’ is ridiculous and does not protect someone who is addicted to gambling.

David Roecastle, London

Dear Editor

I live in a small town in England where we have a problem with someone begging in its centre. I don’t think this is very good for the town’s image and our attempts to bring in tourists. If I am correct, begging is illegal in Britain yet the powers that be (who are decimated by the endless cuts) seem to constantly turn a blind eye to this activity. I don’t believe many people who beg are genuinely in need of help otherwise there wouldn’t be a Welfare System.

I know that some people beg to feed their addictions but I am not prepared to directly fund this problem.

Simon Slater, Devon area

Dear Editor

I am an American living in England. Can I just say how embarrassed I am by our President and that there is surely something wrong when someone like him can rise to such an important position.

Jodie Grant, London

Dear Editor

Although I would consider myself to be an animal lover, I don’t think animals should be allowed on public transport and in public houses – I cringe when I see dogs on seats designed for humans on buses and trains and I hate it when there are dogs present when I am having a pub lunch. Animals certainly make the world a better place, but they should not be allowed everywhere, all of the time.

Toni Taylor, Manchester

Dear Editor

I have a very religious friend who promotes the idea that lust is a sin that will be punished at a later date by ‘God’ – even if you just have lustful thoughts!

I think her views are ridiculous and that lust plays a very important role in the reproduction of every species on Earth.

Mandy Cole, Doncaster

Dear Editor
I must say that I like the suggestion of direct taxation being slightly raised to fund all the various charities in the UK. It is a crying shame that many worthwhile causes have to in effect, beg to be able to do the wonderful work that they do like providing free care in hospices.

Alan Broadbent, Colchester

Dear Editor

My family has just had a good Christmas and shown good will to all men and women – but why should we all stop now; why don’t we adopt this attitude all year round and make the world a better place for all?!

Siobhan Murphy, N Ireland

Dear Editor

In this materialistic society in which we live, it’s easy to fall into the trap of measuring success through possessions and wealth.
I think we should measure success by the quality of our relationships and by the amount of love we have in our life. People are more important than money.

Carl Tait, Windermere


Indian Potato and Pea Soup

Ingredients:      2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
8 oz of diced potatoes
1 large chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 pint of vegetable stock
1 chopped red chilli
31/2 oz of frozen peas
4 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
Chopped fresh coriander to garnish
Salt and pepper
Method:           Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the diced potatoes, onion and
garlic. Sauté gently for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.
Add the ground spices and cook for about 1 minute stirring all the time.
Stir in the vegetable stock and chopped red chilli and bring the mixture to
the boil (pour out scum). Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 20
minutes until the potatoes begin to break down. Add the peas and cook for a
further 5 minutes. Stir in the yoghurt and season to taste.
Pour into warmed soup bowls, garnish with chopped coriander and serve with
warm bread. For an authentic Indian dish, serve this soup with warm naan

Sweet Potato and Onion Soup    

Ingredients:    2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2lb of diced sweet potatoes
1 diced carrot
2 sliced onions
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 pint of vegetable stock
½ pint of unsweetened orange juice
8 fl oz of natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander
Coriander to garnish
Salt and pepper
1 orange rind

Method:          Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the diced sweet potatoes, carrot,
sliced onions and garlic. Sauté gently for 5 minutes stirring constantly.
Pour in the vegetable stock and orange juice and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pan and cook the vegetables for 20
minutes or until the sweet potato and carrot cubes are tender. Transfer the
mixture to a food processor or blender in batches and process for 1 minute
until pureed. Return the puree to the rinsed out pan.
Stir in the natural yoghurt and chopped coriander and season to taste. Serve
the soup garnished with coriander sprigs and an orange rind.


Researched by Michael Blackburn
Following the 1939/45 war, the U.S.A. wanted to advance their rocket research. They recognised that the Nazi Scientists were well advanced in their work. Old hostilities were quickly forgotten and both the USA and Russia vied to get the very best German technology by bringing the ‘enemy’ scientists to assist their rocket research.Almost ninety German Rocket Scientists were brought to the USA including Wernher von Braun who was a master of the craft of rocket propulsion. It was later stated that without his knowledge and expertise the USA would not have landed a man on the moon.Bringing the scientists to the USA had to be done in secrecy because some of them, and in particular Braun, should have been on trial at Nuremburg rather than being in the safety of the USA. It was only later that the Americans were told of the presence of the rocket scientists being in the USA.Whilst the military did their best to whitewash the past of the ‘prisoners of peace’, many had serious skeletons in their closets. For instance Braun was not just one of the brains behind the V-2 rocket program, but had intimate knowledge of what was going on in the concentration camps. He personally hand-picked people from the camps to work themselves to the bone building his rockets. In 1995 a French resistance fighter testified that, following a sabotage attempt Braun ordered a prisoner to be flogged.In fairness to Braun it was reported that when he visited the concentration camps he was alarmed by the squalor which he saw. He is said to have approached an SS guard to complain but was told that he should mind his own business. On another occasion it was made clear that if Braun were to protest at the brutality which he witnessed he could have been shot on the spot. So, whilst he was brutal to his ‘concentration camp’ work force, his did show some compassion which he would not dare to voice.To start with the Nazi scientists were put in a camp at Fort Bliss, a large army installation. The ‘visitors’ did not find it ‘bliss’ and Braun made continual complaints including asking for lino on the floor to stop the draft coming through the floor boards. In charge of the camp was a ‘pimply’ 26-year-old Major who treated Braun with contempt and dismissed the complaints.It was the Korean War which led to Braun’s departure from Fort Bliss to Huntsville, Alabama where he worked on rocket development resulting in the Redstone rocket which was used in the first live nuclear ballistic missile test in the USA. In 1955 Braun became a US citizen.Whilst Braun and the others were wasting their time at Fort Bliss, the Russians, who had also taken their share of German Scientists, were using their ‘visitors’ to good effect which was proved, in 1961, by Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space. The USA had been beaten into space and they didn’t like it!It was understandable that after two world wars the US should have concentrated on defence. But after the Russian achievement they moved on to space exploration. That was what Braun wanted. As mentioned in the second paragraph of this article it was recognised that without Braun the US would not have reached the moon. As early as 1950 he was writing articles telling of ‘flights to the moon’. He also worked out preliminary concept for a manned mission to Mars. In doing that he was way ahead of his time. Only now, in 2017, are plans being made for such a mission and that isn’t expected to happen until 2050. So Braun was a hundred years ahead of his time.Braun was now in his element, almost as if this is why he had been born. He used all his amazing knowledge to boost the US Space Programme. He was transferred to NASA and eventually became the centre’s first director. It wasn’t always straight forward; there were some disappointments but that was to be expected when delving into the unknown. One fault occurred when a worker had filed a plug to make it fit with the result that it was too short!Braun’s dream to help mankind set foot on the Moon became a reality on Ju1y 16th, 1969 when a Saturn V rocket launched the crew of Apollo 11 on its historic eight-day mission which four days later, saw the first man walk on the Moon. Over the course or the programme, Saturn V rockets enabled six teams of astronauts to reach the surface of the Moon. After leaving NASA he became Vice President for Engineering and Development at the aerospace Company, Fairchild Industries.Throughout his younger years Braun did not show signs of religious devotion. Nevertheless, in 1946, he reluctantly attended a church service in El Paso, Texas, and underwent a religious conversion to Evangelical Christianity. It has been thought that Braun was moved by a desire to find a new direction for his life after the moral chaos of his services for the Third Reich.

In 1973 he was diagnosed with kidney cancer which could not be controlled with techniques available at that time. He died in July 1977 at the age of 65. At the time of his death he had been awarded the National Medal of Science but was too ill to attend the White House for the presentation.

An extraordinary man and an extraordinary life.

Ref. Wikipedia



It’s My Life    (Bon Jovi) My favourite ever song. Have seen them live – amazing.
(Snow Patrol)
Such a feel good song to me.
I Want To Break Free


A lovely, happy song to dance to.
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

(George Michael)

Very emotional. Just love it.
Love Me Back To Life

(Celine Dion)

An amazing song from an amazing singer.
Woman In Love

(Barbara Streisand)

Another amazing voice and a song to relax to.
Maggie May

(Rod Stewart)

Brings back a ton of school day memories and underage drinking – oops!
Whole Lotta Love

(Led Zeppelin)

Another happy memory.


Luxury Item:   

A solar torch so at least there’s light.


Lee Childs – any Jack Reacher book though as they are always well written and leave you guessing until the end.



(1)  What creature can contain a natural pearl inside it?
(2)  Which Captain did Princess Anne marry in the 1970s?
(3)  By what nickname was Wild West outlaw William Bonney better known?
(4)   Jacques Cousteau is associated with what sort of exploration?
(5)  What country did Cleopatra rule?
(6)  The Gunpowder Plot was an attempt to assassinate whom?
(7)  What is the hardest naturally occurring substance?
(8)  What type of space instrument was named after Edwin Hubble?
(9)  What is calcium carbonate commonly known as?
(10) How many sides does a snowflake have?
(11) How many days are there in 7 weeks?
(12) Brussels sprouts are miniature cabbages – true or false?
(13) Where would you find stalactites and stalagmites?
(14) What is the name of the little yellow bird in the ‘Peanuts’ books?
(15) Who wrote the book ‘The Origin of the Species’?
(16) What does a numismatist study?
(17) Who led ‘the knights of the round table’?
(18) What was the horse in ‘Steptoe and Son’ called?
(19) How many birth signs are there in the Zodiac?
(20) An early version of what machine was called a ‘boneshaker’?Answers:(1) An oyster (2) Mark Phillips (3) Billy the Kid (4) undersea (5) Ancient Egypt (6) King James I (7) diamond (8) a telescope (9) chalk (10) six (11) 49 (12) false (13) in caves (14) Woodstock (15) Charles Darwin (16) coins (17) King Arthur (18) Hercules (19) twelve (20) bicycle


Written by June Charlton

We boarded our plane at Leeds and Bradford airport, which was convenient as we live in the Leeds area. It was a lovely smooth flight and it took us four and a half hours to Fuerteventura.We had a lovely time. We had a lovely room, bathroom and veranda. The complex we were staying in had lots of little villas dotted amongst lovely, well-tended gardens.We sun bathed everyday around one of the pools. There were seven pools in all, so we could take our pick. When it got to the afternoon, we had to keep in the shade because it was too hot – but it was very relaxing. We were all-inclusive so we had breakfast, lunch and dinner and the meals were very nice and we could have drinks when we liked. It was a buffet meal everyday which is a much better idea than a set meal as everybody has more choice.In the evening, we sat in the bar. There was a stage but there wasn’t much entertainment, but even so, it was nice and peaceful sitting having a drink. Some days there was bingo which was appreciated by many people.When we were sat around the pool, there were huts which were used as changing rooms – they were blue and white striped. One of the Animation team took our photo posing with an octopus (not real).The complex reminded us of ‘The Prisoner’ as it was so perfect and pretty.

I would recommend Fuerteventura for a holiday.


Alison, can you tell me a bit more about yourself? My name’s Alison but I won’t tell you my age as like Oscar Wilde said: if a woman will tell you her age, she will tell you anything.

Where are you from? I was born in Manchester. My sister moved over to Todmorden when I was young for her nurse training and I just fell in love with the landscape and the bleakness and said when I was old enough I was going to live there. So my sister helped me find a house in Todmorden.How long ago was that? That was twenty-six years ago.So from this time have you always lived in Todmorden? I lived in Todmorden until my son was born – he was born in 1993 and is now coming up for 25. When he was 2 I moved into the Buddhist centre in Todmorden because the house where I was living was in a terrible state of repair and my husband had left me with a lot of debt.So I moved into the Buddhist centre which was good as it was somewhere safe, steady and I enjoyed working with the Buddhist community. But then there were objections toward my son being brought up in a Buddhist community and action would be taken to remove him.  I obviously didn’t want to be separated from him, so I ended up moving to Greenwich in London when a friend offered to share a place. This was a great opportunity for me to move on from being just a single Mum, and I began a new phase of my life by helping to setup and run an After School Club at my son’s school.What did you do for work in London? Not a lot as I was a single parent on benefits for quite some time. I really enjoyed being a volunteer helping run a local art gallery.Is art your background? Yes. I trained in textiles and fashion at Manchester Polytechnic. I felt I could help promote Art when I realised I couldn’t make a living from being a designer. I applied to do admin and secretarial work at a local art gallery. This quickly developed into a more active gallery role and I ended up being paid for a few hours to co-ordinate exhibitions and to help hang exhibitions and work with local artists.It’s a very addictive lifestyle in London; there is always a new band wagon to jump on! I got caught up in the ‘health kick’ going on and began working in a health shop in Blackheath Standard. I trained in anatomy, physiology and reflexology at Bromley College in south east London and I went onto specialise in nutrition. I just became a bit of a ‘health nut’ and leapt into a raw food vegan lifestyle. It was a mind blowing experience and I was full of so much energy!!However, I realised I was doing too much and also my family were worried about all I was running around doing and my obvious weight loss – they were worried about my health and encouraged me to move back up north so they could look after me and my son. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to move back…but I went on to the internet to look for a flat/house swap in Calderdale. Luckily I was able to house swap with a lady whose sister-in-law was terminally ill in London and I got to swap for her house in Halifax. It felt so good to help her to look after and keep her family together. I still live in that same two-bed-roomed house in Halifax.What were your impressions of London as a northerner? As a northerner, you think you can go down south and talk to everybody on the bus, in the shops etc. – but it doesn’t work like that and I ended up thinking: how can I be in a place where there are so many people who look so sad, lonely and isolated? I remember being on Oxford Road on a bus and looking across at another bus and seeing a sea of blank faces and I thought how can this be a good place for my child to grow up? – People were so disconnected and it didn’t feel like a place to be healthy anymore. Everyone was too busy and stressed with over working to have time to socialise and relax.Are you a lot happier in Halifax? Yes, when I came back to Halifax I felt like someone had retired me, but I knew it was the best thing for me to recover and a better place for my son to grow up.What is Halifax like? It’s a very, very traditional town with traditional people which is good. I also feel a connection to the textile industry that flourished here and I am SO lucky to continue working for the Museum Service reviving traditional crafts like weaving, paper making and felt making at Bankfield Museum.I was encouraged to look at the living history side of the Museum service. It was suggested I do some re-enactment work at Shibden and although I had never done any acting in my life, I thought I would give it a go as I’m good at chatting and interacting with people. It’s been great to be somebody else from the past and I get paid to dress up!

From what period? From the Tudor period right through to the Victorian era.  Halifax has such a remarkable history as does the whole of West Yorkshire.

Do you still work at Bankfield? Yes, but mostly at Shibden Hall.

Where else do you work? I work here at the Square Chapel on the box office.

What is the Square Chapel about? It’s about promoting the performance arts, so there’s a real variety of shows and now it has just developed a fab cinema programme. There are sometimes fifteen film showings a week – it’s a fantastic place to just bob in and see a film.

Is the Square Chapel completely self-funding? No. It’s a trust and does receive grants as well. It also has some famous patrons and when you meet famous people you realise they are just like you and me. I love the fact that we’re part of great culture in a place where it’s constantly evolving. Although I’m not from Halifax, I feel very proud of the place and glad my work helps to promote the town and its diversity and interesting developments.

Do you do any other work? I work for Incredible Edible as a community food inspirer. We encourage people to grow and use local food. I provide people with basic growing and cooking skills and recipes.

Do you cook all types of food? I’m purely a plant based cook, but I accept we’re in a very hilly landscape here in the Calder valley. Animals have always been reared here and I’ve met some people who do, who work hard to look after their animals well. If animals have a well- cared for life and respectful death, then people can have a relationship with the person who produces and kills meat for them to eat. I feel VERY healthy and happy on a plant-based diet and would never eat meat. I just love having SO much variety with the most creative cooking I’ve ever had. I adore veganising – adapting what everybody else eats.

Is it true that you’re a Buddhist? Yes I’ve been a Buddhist for twenty-six years.

What does it mean to be a Buddhist? It’s about cherishing others and being kind and compassionate to others. It is important not to be attached to things as this is the cause of suffering – we get upset when we are forced or have to give things up. We can’t give up attachments for a reason and Buddhism help us to understand that. The true sense of happiness is a peaceful mind. We have to change our mind rather than changing what we have in our lives.

What are your personal hopes for the future? To achieve a peaceful mind. Karma will change things externally but we have the power to create a peaceful happy mind.

Has being a Buddhist taken away your fear of dying? Yes I have absolutely no fear of death – it’s just part of the path we are on.

Do you think you will come back as a human again? You’re very fortunate to be born a human and it’s quite rare to come back as one. We have to get what we’re doing now right so we have the chance of not having to come back – otherwise we will have to do it time and time again and suffer until we get it right!

Thanks Dean for some interesting questions!


​In 2018 we will be rolling out in-line Advertising in the Magazine Monthly Editions.
We will be initiating this as a “pay as you feel” service with Adverts rolling either monthly or for a set period
e.g 3 months, 6 months, 12 months. That means in 3 Editions of FTHM, 6 Editions or 12 Editions
As well as this a permanent AD will be placed on our Advertisers page with a permanent single backlink to a URL of your choice be that your own Home Page on your website or your own Facebook Page or other Social Media pagePlease remember that From The Horse’s Mouth is entirely self-funding when you decide what amount to pay, and in February 2018 Edition we will layout the suggested Amounts for each service.


(1)  Which club did John Terry leave Chelsea F.C. for in 2017?
(2)  What is the French word for ‘bridge’?
(3)  Who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral?
(4)  Where is Valetta situated?
(5)  Who played Siegfried Farnon in the series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’?
(6)  Who played Debra in ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’?
(7)   In what state is Philadelphia?
(8)   What are the official languages spoken in Austria?
(9)   What is the official currency of North Korea?
(10) Who was the Roman prefect who famously washed his hands of Jesus?
(11) What is the fear of spiders called?
(12) What is a monocle?
(13) Who is the lead singer of the band Steeley Dan?
(14) What is a sitar?
(15) The earth is in which galaxy?
(16) What is the capital of Australia?
(17) What is the chemical symbol for alcohol?
(18) Who wrote the book Animal Farm?
(19) What is a ‘Fresher’?
(20) Who played the main female role in ‘Sleepless in Seattle’?Answers:
(1) Aston Villa F.C. (2) pont (3) Sir Christopher Wren (1632 – 1723) (4) Malta (5) Robert Hardy (6) Patricia Helen Heaton (7) Pennsylvania (8) German, Hungarian, Slovenian, Austrian German (9) North Korean won (10) Pontius Pilate (11) Arachnophobia (12) it is used to correct or enhance vision in only one eye (13) Donald Fagen (14) a plucked string instrument originating from India (15) the Milky Way (16) Canberra (17) C2H6O (18) George Orwell (19) British word for a first year student at university (20) Meg Ryan

Editor’s final word: As always I am very grateful to you for taking the trouble to read this publication. If you have any ideas how we can improve the magazine please let us know. You can send all your stuff to: thanks, Dean.