An Inspirational Couple

In Raw, near Whitby in North Yorkshire, there is a couple who have an inspirational story to tell.

Dennis and Norma Carrick spend their retirement caring and rescuing abandoned and injured animals, whether they are wild or pets.

The couple have been helping abandoned and injured animals for 16 years and they never have a day off.

Mrs Carrick, 73, said: “We started at Whitby Dog Rescue and we have been here for 16 years now and every animal here is rescued.”

Dennis, 80, was the second coxswain on the lifeboat in Whitby and took Norma on a tour across the world.

In order to feed all the animals, the couple spend roughly around £60 to £100 a week on food alone but receive no financial help except for donations.

“We do hold some events in order to raise money including through jumble sales,” Mrs Carrick said.

The 73-year-old even went so far as to do a parachute jump and raised around £2400.

“I gave some of the money to other charities as well but never got a thank you or anything,” she said.

Across the six acres of land there are a whole host of different breeds on animals, from geese to sheep and goats to cats, all of which were rescued by the inspirational couple.

They do not breed any of the animals as that is not what the rescue centre is for but instead they look to re-home some of the animals (depending on age) and never put them down until they are too old.

Compared to other charities who charge around £100 for a dog, Raw Animal Rescue Centre give them for free.

Mrs Carrick said: “People ring up to tell about abandoned or animals that are going to be put done.

“We rescued sheep who were supposed to be put down when they were three but have lived until they are 13.”

As well as local residents getting in touch, the police are also frequently engaging with them and brought to their attention the nine puppies that were scattered around Whitby.

Mrs Carrick said: “Social services got in touch with us about a cat whose owner had to go into hospital.

“When we got it, it was so malnourished and skinny we don’t think it had been fed for a while so we put her in the attic and now she is called the cat in the attic.”

Some of the animals were obviously injured including a goat with one horn and ducks with Angel Wing (who are easy targets for foxes).

“We do get a lot of fox attacks especially this time of the year when they are breeding,” Mrs Carrick said.

As well as the inspirational couple, there is also a team of volunteers who take time to help with the caring and cleaning of the animals.

“Volunteers throughout the week but the workload is continuous and there are always jobs to be done,” Mrs Carrick said.

Despite the help of the volunteers, they are always looking for help around the farm and there is continuous DIY/manual labour work.

As said, their weekly spend of food alone is costly but they are always in need of appliances, equipment and materials to keep the farm up dated and secure.

After fifteen years of having no trouble, in September 2014 there was an incident that caused the couple to install CCTV.

Mr Carrick said: “We had an issue with the fox hunters who came onto our land and disturbed the animals resulting in having to put a sheep down.

“I was accused of firing a gun but the case was dismissed but since then a whole host of trouble has occurred.”

What happened after this incident was truly shocking to hear.

These included the tail and mane cut off a pony, the gate was lifted off its crooks and left open, intruders were on top of the stable and a sitting goose was disturbed which resulted in her leaving her eggs and as a result there were 13 dead goslings.

As well, there have been a few disagreements with the local vets who are called out to help the injured animals.

“If we find an animal injured during non-surgery hours, the vets we have dealt with the in past would refuse to come out and therefore we would have to put the animal down ourselves,” Mrs Carrick said.

The couple now have a vet that will come and check on the animals but they used to deal with Cleveland Vets but no more.

“I am sure vets have an obligation to treat wild animals as well as pets,” Mrs Carrick said.

This truly inspirational couple are always looking for and in need of any help and donations from people and businesses.

‘We regret to inform you that you have not been successful for this job vacancy’

These words are becoming all too regular in my day-to-day life and it is these words that have caused me, on many occasions, to really think about my potential career choice.

I have been writing for a long time and have always enjoyed it and, please correct me if I am wrong, but I am not bad at it.

Therefore, constantly reading these words is slightly degrading to someone who has aspirations as I do.

People keep telling me ‘it will come’ and ‘there will be other jobs’ and despite as much as I agree with them it is becoming tougher and tougher to get up the nerve to apply for more jobs.

I am currently doing so and it is tedious writing cover letters after cover letters but I am doing it and I know that one day, eventually, I will be a working writer.

The one thing that bothers me more is when a potential job states ‘unfortunately due to the high number of applications, we are unable to give feedback’… This should be mandatory by law.

How can someone improve their cover letter, CV and develop their skills if no one tells them how they could have been better suited for the position?

I apply for jobs that I am qualified for. Nothing that I cannot possibly produce good work but I feel that, especially in this current climate and the current government, there should be a push for more feedback on applications.

In addition, I am someone who works better under pressure and I find that I produce work better when I have been given a chance to write. Even my local newspaper are not letting people go in for work experience.

It does not make sense in my eyes. The government seem to be pushing for internships which are all well and good if you have the money to live in London on the minimum wage but there are some people who cannot afford this.

People need to give others more of a chance to prove that they are the right candidate.

I have also had experiences where jobs will not hire someone who doesn’t live in the area. I understand that it must be difficult for a publication to wait one week for a person to know the area but why then advertise the job on a national scale?

By doing so, people will apply only to be rejected.

If you want someone who knows the area, narrow down your search and only ask for people who can work in that specific place.

There is nothing more down-hearting when you know you can be great at a job and all you get are those words that just don’t mean anything.

What is worse, is when publications just don’t reply at all. That is just plain rude! I would prefer the generic lines than nothing at all.

Rudeness is vile and there is no call for it.

This is just a little rant about the ridiculous society that expects a fully trained, needing no advice or help candidate who will fit into the role without a second hesitation. But what about those who bring character to a role?

We get left behind.

Whatever happened to good old fashioned keys?

So, I have recently moved into a new flat and the excitement was building up in me for days before.

I arrived at my building, parked my car and made my way to get my key.

Now, being a traditionalist, I have never been fond of electronic key devices and what do I have now. Yes an electronic key!

When I got it, I felt a distaste running through me. It was not what I was hoping for.

This feeling grew and grew as the day went on.

When I got to my flat, it was roughly around 6pm. Luckily the weather was nice so the good vibes were circulating the area.

It wasn’t until 8pm that I had managed to get into my room. An electrician was obviously not available at such a late hour, so I had to move rooms for one night.

Not sure how they did it but they did.

So when the morning came, I made my way to get my actual key but to find that the replacement key was also not working.

What ever happened to a good old fashioned key?

I would never have had this problem if I was given a key that I could just open.

I agree that technology has benefited the world but this was ridiculous.

After another six attempts with new keys I finally managed to get my key working and get access to my room.

My day started great and ended on a poor poor note.

Why anime is great to watch

Ever since I first saw Pokémon back in 1997, I was immediately hooked.

The vibrant colours, the powerful creatures and the character’s and their adventures were just some of the reasons why I loved the programme.

However, I could not really appreciate the full meaning behind some of the episodes until I grew with a respect and appreciation for nature and the environment.

This love of Pokémon must have had an impact on my life as my desire to expand my knowledge of anime grew and grew as I did.

Watching Studio Ghibli films such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle, I now am an avid anime fan.

Their concerns with nature and the balance of the world is something that everyone could appreciate and value.

As someone who is concerned with these issues, I would highly recommend watching some Anime. They will really show you how people impact on the world, for good and bad.

It is not just Studio Ghibli films that should be watched but even America caught on to the concerns of the environment in series such as Avatar: The Last Airbender and it will have you hooked from start to finish.

It is obvious that some people believe anime to be targeted towards children and yes, I agree that as a cartoon adults would not want to sit and watch them.

But they deal with more issues than an average cartoon. Children are oblivious to the impacts that people have on the environment and I truly believe that anime is actually targeted towards the more mature who can appreciate the themes.

The bright colouring and the creatures within all anime series and films are what attract children to them. But if you strip them to the bare minimum, deeper underlining meanings begin to emerge.

Everyone should watch some anime at some point. Whether it’s for the colours, the storyline, and the creatures or just to watch a film, these are full of meanings that only those with a love and desire to protect the environment would truly be moved by.

The struggle of a die hard Game of Thrones fan

Since the beginning of Games of Thrones back in 2011, fans worldwide have been on the edge of their seat wondering what will happen next and ultimately, which character will be next to die.

Each season, you find yourself drawn to a certain character and as soon as the words ‘they are my favourite character’ comes out, you can more or less guarantee that they will be brutally killed by the end of the season.

Never mind the constant ‘edge of the seat’ feeling when watching the latest episode, the worst part is not being able to see it when everyone else does. If you’re an avid social media user, the hardest part of a Tuesday, for UK audiences and no doubt a Monday for the US, is avoiding any spoilers that Facebook and Twitter like to bombard you with.

Not only does social media add to the potential spoiler alerts but there will always be that someone, somewhere whether it be a relative or a friend who says just a bit too much and ruins the entire episode.

My advice would be to avoid any communication with anyone until you have sat down, brew in hand and watch in awe as the scenes unfold.

An Evening of Folk Tales and Music

What a unique and different evening I had at Tales and Ballads.

The evening consisted of live performances from Bridget Cousins on her harp, Morwenna and others, who read favourite poems, sang beautiful tunes and told old folk tales.

At first I did feel a little out of place. I am not a performer but a writer and I knew that I do not have the confidence to perform.

However, watching the rest of the small, intimate group I felt an overwhelming desire to read out a favourite poem of mine. But I was still not confident enough.

After being entranced by Bridget on her harp, I completely lost track of the time and unfortunately had to leave early despite my desire to stay.

The friendly atmosphere followed me after I left and a sense of calm and tranquillity overcame me. It was an evening of pure talent.

You did not have to be a skilled performer but was a place to read, sing and tell stories from known literary greats or self-written work.

As the performances continued, I felt myself staring in awe at the array of talents around the room.

Based at the Scarborough Youth Hostel, somewhere I have never been before, it was the perfect setting for this evening.

Surrounded by trees with the Scalby beck running alongside the hostel, there was no better place to sit and enjoy the harmonious tunes from the harp and laugh along to the poems and stories being told.

The evening was the first one of these to come to the town and it was clear that there was a demand for it and I hope that they will continue and I will attend and who knows perhaps perform.

Old St Stephen’s Church: Rugged Individualism

On the hilltop of Fylingdales sits a beautiful and unique building overlooking the seaside town of Robin Hood’s Bay. This building is Old St Stephen’s Church and it has an interesting history.

The church was probably founded in the 11th Century and in the early 18th Century a west gallery was introduced together with box pews. Then in 1816, when the church was in poor condition and was too dark and small, the arrival of a Mr Barry donated £150 from The Incorporated Church Building Society. This allowed a new church to be built and opened in 1822. This is the current church we see today.

As soon as you enter the building, a feeling of uniqueness will overcome you. The Georgian-style windows and Tuscan pillars are something to see in themselves. The pillars were built using Navy surplus that was left over after the Napoleon wars and has a similar feel and design to that of St Mary’s in Whitby.

The first thing that will capture your eye though, is the dominate three-decker pulpit. With the clerk’s desk at the front and the reading desk behind, the pulpit is complimented by a semi-octagonal tester to increase the volume of the speaker’s voice. However, what is unusual is the positioning of the pulpit. During the time of the construction of the church, a law was passed by the government at the time which agreed that the pulpit cannot obstruct the altar.

In Old St Stephen’s, the pulpit does not obstruct the altar on the eastern end but instead dominates the south wall. This is not unusual in itself, what caused some controversy at the time was how the pews are positioned. As I sat with the pulpit to my right, Deb Gillanders, one of the friends of the church, sat in the pew in front of me. The shock was Deb did not face the altar like an average church but instead faced me. Face-to-face. The church does abide by the law and it could be seen as a middle finger-up to the hierarchy of the church at the time. No doubt, many devote Christians will find this church off-putting but what a story it has to tell.

Not only does the church have an interesting story regarding the pews and pulpit, but the church has hanging original Maiden’s Garland. A Maiden’s Garland is a crown-shaped garland used as a funeral memento for female virgins. These were hung from the chancel ceiling and were carried at the funeral procession of a maiden. These garlands date from the 19th Century. Not only are there garlands in the church but also an interesting list. This list shows all the single women buried in the church graveyard.

With the fantastic views spanning the countryside through to the coast of Robin Hood’s Bay with the new St Stephen’s steeple in view, two graves caught my eye. Looking like the King and Queen of a chessboard, these graves are just two of the dozen interesting graves this church has. These are the resting place for Richard Knightley Smith, who moved from London and married into the local Storm family.

He wanted to be buried in the south west corner but there was no room. But that didn’t stop him. He made sure he was buried there and he built a circular part of the wall similar to the method of flattening out a garden and there he was buried.

As well, the church has roughly around 150 women who never married buried there as well as the same amount of men who died at sea. According to Deb, that is roughly around 100 families that never happened. This is a shocking number of people for a town the size of Robin Hood’s Bay.

The church is full of unique and different things to see from the block of text on the wall that is not attached to anything else through to bell that was brought to this church during the eviction of the monks from Whitby Abbey during the reign of Henry VIII.

The rugged individualism of the church is a brilliant site to see. With no electricity and some of the original 1822 float glass, it seems that the church has a personality all of its own and according to Deb ‘everything is the same but changing at the same time.’

Old St Stephen’s was replaced in1870 by the new St Stephen’s nearer to Robin Hood’s Bay as you cannot have two parish churches in the same parish. This caused uproar from the church warden, who married into the Farsyde family, who found the church to be locked on a Sunday. His letter to the paper can be seen to the left. It still served as a mortuary chapel for many years the church was repaired and services were resumed in 1917. After a big storm in the 1980s, a decision was made to vest the old church in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust in 1986.

The church now holds regular music festivals as the acoustics are great including the 40th year festival of the traditional folk band, The Wilson Family, who will be playing in the church on June 6.

Profile of the Artistic Director of the Everyman Theatre: Nick Bagnall

There is a clear sense of snobbery in the arts industry, in particular with live art such as theatre, yet the associate director of the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool is just an average man finding his way, through the work he produces. As I sat and waited in the Everyman Theatre bar I thought how this interview would go. Would he be a snobby, ‘theatre is for the elite’ type? I mulled this over my latte and then in comes a man. The man I’m here to see. Nick Bagnall. Dressed in a black coat, zipped to the very top and a navy and red bobble hat, I was initially drawn back. Perhaps I was expecting a little more ‘oomph’ from such a prolific figure in the arts industry. But as soon as he made his way through the bar, he was being constantly recognised by those enjoying a meal. It felt like royalty had just entered the building. Murmurs circulated throughout the room as he walked over to me, smiling and nodding to people in every direction. “Drink?” He asked as he approached. “It’s midnight somewhere. How about some wine?” He then ordered a bottle of Isla Negra Seashore Merlot and sat down, unzipped his coat and poured two large glasses of wine.

“How did I get into theatre?” He pondered my question as he sipped his wine. “I suppose I always had an interest and it was when I was acting at the YMCA in Scarborough as a child that cemented my passion for theatre.”

Being born and bred in Scarborough, Yorkshire, there was a clear Yorkshire accent present in his dialogue, yet strangely a Liverpool twang emerged in certain words.

“I then started directing and have worked on a variety of projects including workshops for the Royal Shakespeare Company.”

Nick started as an actor and was advised to persue a career in directing.

“It was actually Imelda Staunton, you know her right? She told me to get into directing after I helped out in a play she was in,” he said as he took a sip of wine. Staunton was not the only celebrity name that he dropped into conversation. The likes of Andrew Lincoln from The Walking Dead fame was dropped in and without fully understanding the context of why he was mentioned, I just continued to nod along, take notes and sip my wine.

But his tone suddenly changed. “I would, though, cut off my own arm before going back into acting,” he said with a serious look in his deep blue eyes. “I work with actors now and I know the pressure they go through and it’s difficult. I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

With Nick as the associate director, the Everyman has just finished a run of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a particular favourite of his. This was his first Shakespeare since he took the reins of the little-performed Henry VI trilogy for London’s Globe – including four open air performances on the actual battlefields which form the real-life historical backdrop to the plays.

“The Henry plays were such a triumph and a risk,” he laughed as his poured another glass of wine. “I swear there was some health and safety issues.

“One time it was so rainy and muddy I could see the scaffolding sinking into the mud but the actors kept going which was great… they made it a success and I admire them for it.”

The run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was contemporised by Nick and, as he described, it was a sort of ‘post-apocalyptic version involving carnival, vaudeville and circus.’

“There’s not a ruff or a fairy wing in sight,” he laughs. “Or a pair of tights.”

The conversation then steered away from his career and took a detour towards his personal life. He explained his relationship with his brother. It became clear that the relationship was, in a word, struggling. His fists started to clench and his face seemed to turn a pale shade of red, although that could have been the lighting.

“I haven’t been back to Scarborough for years. I’ve had some memories there that I sort of want to forget but know I can’t,” he stared at the table. He lifted the empty bottle of wine and asked “fancy another?” and he was soon up at the bar ordering the second bottle. The room was already spinning from the first bottle but we had just started on something juicy… What would anyone else have done? He came back with another bottle and poured two glasses again of the same exact amount.

“What were we talking about again?” He asked, his voice becoming more Liverpudlian with more and more alcohol. Bad memories of Scarborough I reminded him. “Oh yeah… So when I was in my twenties, about your age actually, I was out on a night out with this girl. She was so beautiful but we were young and, well, stupid.” He couldn’t look me in the eye but I couldn’t stop staring.

“We both took coke that night and she kept saying she could fly. We were walking home along Valley Bridge,” he paused. Valley Bridge in Scarborough is renowned for people committing suicide by jumping off. I feared where this story was going. “Well, you kinda get the gist. She thought she could fly and well she isn’t here now. Let’s put it that way.”

It became quiet. Despite the murmuring and clashing of glasses behind the bar, something strange had happened. It sort of felt he hadn’t spoken about this incident for years. The tension could, as the cliché goes, be cut with a knife. It was time to wrap things up. It was dusk when we left the bar. The red sun was setting across the River Mersey. We shook hands as he zipped his coat and made his way back home. He was not was I was expecting. He wasn’t an arty-farty type but your average, down to Earth man.

The Breakfast Club: A Triumph of the 80s

When growing up, I was lucky enough to never have to spend a Saturday in detention, something after watching this definitive 80s teen movie I would give my right arm for.

This is consider to be one of the greatest high school films, as well as one of Hughes’ most memorable and recognisable works and it is undeniably true.

There is nothing within this film that shouldn’t be and everything works perfectly together and in turn produces an outstanding viewing.

Each character has their own reason why they are having to spend their Saturday in detention and all are revealed by each character as they grow to know and enjoy each other’s company.

One of the most emotional scenes in this film is when the ‘Brain’ explains why he is there and you can’t help but be hooked and even, some may shed a tear.

I have to admit that when re-watching The Breakfast Club for the fifth time, I couldn’t help but wonder how a remake in modern day would work and from ideas that were spinning around my head, I’m glad that there isn’t one in the making.

This film is one hundred percent perfect.

This is not to say that there are some scenes that are just unbearable to watch, in particular, when the students smoke weed and dance around the library.

Every time I watch this film that is the one scene that I just cannot watch.

Besides that one scene, there is nothing else about the film that isn’t out of place. It will constantly have you asking questions including the one I couldn’t get out of my head ‘Which character would I be?’ (Unfortunately for me, it would be the Brain).

As well as the acting and the script of the film, the soundtrack is unbelievably catchy.

With the brilliant Simple Minds having their infamous track ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ as the end sequence track is one of the most suited songs to be added to a film.

The fact that the song is entitled ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ is perfect for the ending of the film as you never find out how they treat each other when school begins on Monday.

This iconic film will have you wondering just what will happen to each of these characters once the film has ended. Do they stay friends at school on Monday? Do they go back to their normal friends?

This film takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There are parts that will make you belt out laughter and parts that will have you on the brink of crying.

The Hobbit Triology: What a waste of time

First of all, I would like to state straight away that I am a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and a fan of Peter Jackson in general, however after seeing The Hobbit, I felt unsatisfied with what I saw on screen.

I remember reading The Hobbit when I was in Primary School and I was immediately a fan of Middle Earth and everything to do with it. So when I heard that The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) was being made into feature length films, my love immediately grew and after watching the trilogy on numerous occasions (even to the extent that I could sit and recite every word) I was extremely excited when I heard about The Hobbit being made into, at first, two films.

I then heard the news that the, in my opinion, small book was to be made into three films, something happened and I felt that Jackson was merely creating three films for a commercial purpose as he managed to make the LOTR novel trilogy into three films. This straight away had an impact on what I would feel after seeing the film.

Nevertheless, I picked myself up and went to see the long awaited first of three films. As I sat in the small cinema in my home town of Scarborough, the immediate ambiance of the cinema made me not want to be there in the first place. People loudly talking, eating popcorn and slurping their drinks just made me want to get up and leave. “No. It is The Hobbit.” I kept saying to myself. I will state here and now that I am not a fan of 3D (which is another discussion for another time) therefore I went to a cinema that isn’t equipped with the 3D technology. But my hatred for 3D will bring up multiple reasons about why I felt unsatisfied with the film.

So the film began, my excitement was at a minimal level but nevertheless I was excited to see another masterpiece by Jackson. Then I heard the infamous score by Howard Shore which, after studying the composer, built up my tension and excitement as it brought back feelings that I have whenever I watch LOTR.

I thoroughly enjoyed how Jackson came up with the idea that The Hobbit begins at the beginning of LOTR with Bilbo beginning his book. I thought this was an unique and interesting way for the story to begin as I was curious to see how it would begin. The film then goes back in time to the beginning of The Hobbit novel.

As the film got into full swing, I started to drift back into my Middle Earth love and began to agree with every critic that had written about the film. However, things started to change when Bilbo leaves The Shire and goes on his adventure.

The main problem that I had with The Hobbit, is that it relied so much on CGI and it really irritated me. Everything and anything was CGI and perhaps because I was in a 2D cinema I couldn’t experience the fullness of the film. But the LOTR films use a fair bit of CGI but this was something else.

I watched some interviews with the cast and crew before I saw the film and Sir Ian Mckellen stated that they couldn’t have produced The Hobbit without the introduction of CGI and the developing technology. OK, I agree that for a film full of mythical creatures needs a large amount of CGI in order to create a more (despite hating this word) ‘realistic’ world. But for me there is an extent and The Hobbit uses a lot of CGI and for what purpose? To create a cinematic experience? Or for the commercial revenue?

It seemed to me that Jackson just used CGI whenever he could in order to show the world that he is now a renowned and well established film director. Don’t get me wrong, the visuals were, as always, excellent but I seemed to be paying more attention to the scenery rather than the narrative.

There was a sort of realistic-fiction in Lord Of The Rings but that wasn’t brought to the forefront in The Hobbit triology.