"The Awesome Hen"

All about Life in Castle Coop

Skiing in a White-out!

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Castle Coop News | 0 comments

Skiing in a  White-out!




Skiing in a White-out!


Yesterday we were skiing in a massive white-out. In the cloud, we missed the intended blue run (Route A) down from the top of the Saulire peak.

Map showing where we went wrong:

Route map from Saulire

We found ourselves unable to see a thing on red Route B – the cloud was so thick, even a double- decker bus would have been invisible. As none of us could make out any of the piste markers lining the routes, we didn’t know where we were skiing or even whether we were skiing up, down or standing still. It was a very disorientating, peculiar experience. Lady Egality felt terribly sick and I kept falling over; one time it took me about 15 minutes to get up, find all my bits and bobs lying scattered in the snow and get myself sorted ready to go again. In the gaps between my falls, we inched along with absolutely no faith that we were going in the right direction. As you might suppose, morale was not particulary high.


Luckily, Sir Plym came to the rescue with the hip flask and hurrah! – eventually we all made it down in one piece.


On reaching the sanctuary of the Biollay chairlift, we jumped on so that it could whisk us asap up to a little mountain restaurant. There we each had a restorative mug of hot chocolate to make us all feel back in a holiday mood and then I had another one (out of greed rather than need).

Biollay chairlift in a white-out


Yours very relieved to be able to see more than 5 yards ahead again,

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Guess what!

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Castle Coop News | 0 comments

Guess what!


Guess what!


Here is a photograph of blue skies and gorgeous snow. It was taken in the Courcheval ski area of the 3 valleys in France :



skiers in the 3 valleys



It is such a beautiful scene isn’t it?  Or perhaps you are thinking, “Liberty Hen, this is a very pretty picture of some skiers coming down a piste, but so what?

Are you thinking that?


Please look a bit harder… can you see anything special? Do you recognise anyone ?

No? Here is a clue…



A Clue:

Castle Coop skiers in the 3 valleys


Can you believe it –  we’re in The 3 Valleys for a whole week! Hurrah! Hurray! Yay!

Yours, clutching my lift pass,

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Decision Making

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Castle Coop News | 0 comments

Decision Making

Decision Making







Too orange



Certainly not!


Too dull...




Not quite what I had in mind…


Too clompy






















Perhaps if I just shuffle…

Too big





Just right!



yours decisively,

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Captain Frank G. Harvey

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Castle Coop News, World War 1 Centenary | 2 comments

Captain Frank G. Harvey

Captain Frank G. Harvey

In memoriam Bede College, A Co, 8th Battalion DLI…

Part 3

(click here for Part 1 and Part 2)



Just before WLS and his friends, Tutty and Bob H. posed for this photograph at the Army Training Camp in Conway, whilst on their Senior Year summer vacation,

WW1 army training camp group. 1914



Bede College, Durham, had bidden farewell to a long-serving member of the Senior Faculty, Captain Frank G. Harvey.

Harvey was a much admired member of the Bede staff, and greatly respected by the students. When interviewed by Harry Moses in the 1980s, WLS spoke of him with much affection, saying with enthusiastic emphasis,

“…oh, he was a great fellow!’

A Warm Tribute:

The Bede strapline






The frontpage of this June 1914 edition of the Bede College magazine, features a warm tribute to Mr Harvey who was leaving Bede after 14 years to study for a BA at Cambridge.

The Bede tribute to Mr. Harvey



Just 2 months before the outbreak of WW1, Capt. Harvey thought he was going up to Cambridge University in October 1914. He had no idea that his immediate future would actually lie far away from Cambridge’s academic cloisters,  commanding his former students in Front line trenches.



Captain Frank G Harvey – a brief biography:

Frank G. Harvey joined the Bede Staff in 1900, straight from Peterborough Training College. His appointment was as Arts Tutor and Assistant Master in the Model School. In 1902, there is a Sgt. F.G. Harvey in the Bede Company (then part of the 4th Volunteer Battalion D.L.I., later 8 Bn. DLI in 1908). He was a keen tennis player, coach of boats and President of the College soccer club. In 1904, Frank Harvey was appointed the headmaster of Gilesgate Council School in Durham and trainee teachers from Bede (including WLS) used to hone their classroom skills there.

 As all fit students were expected to join the Bede Company on starting college, WLS and his best friends amongst the Junior Year of 1913, Tutty and Bob H  knew Harvey (who had been promoted to Captain in 1909) very well.

Captain Harvey commanded ‘B’ Company (the Bede Lads) until the Territorial units were re-organised shortly after the commencement of the First World War, to reflect the organisation of the regular battalions i.e four companies per Battalion and not eight. When the Durham City Platoons merged with the Bede Company to form the new ‘A’ Company, it was commanded by Frank Harvey.

Thus it was their well-loved Captain Harvey who led the Bede Lads, (including WLS, Tutty and Bob H ) off to fight in WW1.

Wounded in the hip and hand at Gravenstafel in 1915, Captain Harvey was sent back to England then returned to France in 1916 and promoted Major.

A Distinguished Post-war Career:

Frank Harvey finally made it to Cambridge. After WW1 ended, he went to Queen’s College, where he took a degree in History at the age of 42.

He joined the Army Education Corps as a Captain in 1921 and was posted to India.

In 1926 he was appointed M.B.E. In 1928, he was promoted Major. In 1931 he was with London District as Command Education Officer and was presented to King George V. He retired in 1937.

 (All information courtesy of Harry Moses)
It must have been extremely comforting for WLS, Tutty and Bob H, who after all were only just out of their teens when they were suddenly all caught up in WW1, to have the steadying knowledge that they were to be under the command of an extremely fine man whom they already knew, liked and respected.

Yours ever,

The Agent signature



(click here for Part 1 and Part 2)

WW1 Centenary Information Correspondent: The Agent is passionate about barbecues and Manchester Utd. Football Team; he has just returned from a trip to Ypres where he has been researching WLS’s WW1 experiences and is helping to co-ordinate Castle Coop’s WW1 Commemorations.
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#FridayFitness: The Toe-touch

Posted by on Mar 14, 2015 in Castle Coop News, Health & Fitness Efforts | 2 comments

#FridayFitness: The Toe-touch

Castle Coop’s #FridayFitness Class: Exercise of the week:



Today’s #FridayFitness exercise is the Toe-touch


The toe-touch:

According to our fitness instructor, exercising to improve flexibility is just as important as doing cardio or strength exercises.  Toe-touches can help improve your flexibility, stretching your shoulders, back and leg muscles, especially the hamstrings.

Toe-touches are multi-tasking! They work multiple muscle groups in addition to offering flexibility and stretching benefits. Having flexibility in your muscles allows for more movement around the joints and that means:

  • Better posture – no more walking around with a book on your head!
  • Less muscle tension and soreness – save money formerly spent spray-on pain relief!
  • Reduced risk of injury – hmmm… that’s what I was told about the squat
  • More relaxation for the mind and body- perhaps I could toe-touch while lying on the sofa? Hurrah!

Toe-touching exercises are a basic calisthenic form of exercise that provides a number of benefits. This exercise can be performed while standing up or lying down on the floor, and it works multiple muscle groups in addition to offering flexibility and stretching benefits. Toe-touches are also an effective cool down after a cardiovascular workout.

Source: www. livestrong.com

Toe-touching methods:

I have discovered that whether standing up or lying down, there are two more ways in which toe-touching can be performed which exercise manuals and instructors don’t really cover.

Method 1. (recommended):

The most gratifying way to perform the toe-touch is to do it in theory:

In my imagination I am extremely flexible (and graceful). I think nothing of touching my toes while executing the splits and can remain in this position whilst reciting the alphabet backwards.

In theory, I am a skilled practitioner of the toe-touch.

The toe-touch (in theory)


 Method 2. (not recommended):

In my experience, the least rewarding way to perform the toe-touch is to do it in practice:


In reality, my waist doesn’t seem to work as a fulcrum upon which to pivot. This design flaw means my arms are simply too short for flexibility exercises such as toe-touches.

In practice, I have to confess there is a depressing amount of scope for improvement.

The toe-touch (in practice)

Yours inflexibly,

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#FridayFitness: the Squat

Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 in Castle Coop News, Health & Fitness Efforts | 0 comments

#FridayFitness: the Squat





Castle Coop’s #FridayFitness Class: Exercise of the week:



Today’s #FridayFitness exercise is The Squat.


The Squat:

The squat trains the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, quadriceps, hamstrings, as well as strengthening all sorts of other bits of the body such as bones and ligaments. Squats are considered a vital exercise for developing core strength and are supposed to be a thoroughly good thing. 

The squat improves the metabolism and the cardiovascular system and a 2013 review concluded that deep squats performed with proper technique are an effective exercise. To add intensity, one simply adds weights.  I gather that because squats build strength, they decrease the risk of  sustaining an injury in every-day life. Hurrah!

The Squat (to prevent injury)


Yours wondering if the open-toed shoe is a practical look in early March,

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