AS the nights start to draw in and the temperature begins to plummet, so comes the annual question - when to turn the heating on?

Now, some households may be at one on this, and aren’t they the fortunate ones; but in my house it is a source of great conflict, and not just when to turn the heating on, but at what temperature should the thermostat be set? Under 20 degrees, or over? Now, I like a perfectly adequate 18 degrees, but the other person in the house would prefer the ridiculously balmy 24 degrees, or even higher. No one is happy with the ‘compromise’ of 21 degrees, and to prevent tampering, the thermostat is taped up. I can but hope that the increase in the cost of oil will mean efficiencies and a cooler house.

A colleague, who has already shockingly turned the heating on in her house, has a very, very cat. Poppy, pictured below on what looks like her very own seat, is clearly in cat heaven.

IT WAS interesting to follow the route taken by supporters of Cancer Research UK last weekend on the 25 mile ‘Big Hike’ circular from Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

Walkers set off from Horton, skirted around the summit of Penyghent, and joined the Pennine Way, across Fountains Fell to Malham Tarn, Settle and Stainforth, and back to Horton. It was no mean feat, especially with the sudden reappearance of summer, which must have caught a lot of people out.

My route was just a couple of miles less, and for much of it, I was using the same paths, it was interesting to see footprints where there usually are none.

I am pleased to say, I saw little rubbish, only two or three places where people seem to have used the ‘outdoor facilities’ and left bits of paper scattered about. Most amusing of all were the pink and blue portable toilets at the bottom of Fountains Fell - looking splendid in the sun.

A note of caution - don’t put your bank card in your phone cover. It was dark by the time I reached home after my 21 miles, and I was using the torch on my phone - annoyingly, my card had dropped out along the way - I retraced my steps the next day to where I reckoned I started using the torch, but no luck.

SHOPPERS at Morrisons Supermarket in Skipton were recently invited to take a go on a rowing machine or a spin bike, and it was all for a good cause.

Jetts 24 Hour Fitness teamed up with the supermarket for ‘Get Active for SELFA’ to raise money for the Skipton based children’s charity.

Some 45 people, including the supermarket’s own community champion, Clare Reed, each paid £1 to either row 500 metres on the rowing machine, or cycle for two minutes.

Fastest on the bike was John, who did 1.45km in two minutes, and Phil who completed his 500m row in just one minute and 27 seconds - both men were rewarded with a six month membership at Jetts Fitness in Skipton.

Gym owner, Josh White, said: “As we are a community based gym in Skipton, I have always been hearing what a good charity SELFA are and what they are doing for the community.

“When I went into store and noticed all the community work Morrisons were doing, I then wanted to know how we could help as a gym as we just over the road. The event proved to be a success and it was great to encourage the local community to get active and donate to SELFA.”

Clare Reed, Morrisons’ Community Champion, added: “It was so good to see two businesses supporting a Skipton charity. It was a great event that everyone could get involved with - including our staff. I hope that this is the start of a long-term partnership between the three of us and we are already planning the next fundraising event!”

Nathan Smith from SELFA, was also delighted: “It was amazing to have two big organisations supporting SELFA following the pandemic and we hope that this is just the start of big fundraising events in our community as we are always looking for more people to fundraise for SELFA to keep our services running for longer.

“The fundraiser was a great success in increasing SELFA’s profile as well as raising funds for our vital services.”

WHILE on the subject of Morrisons, the supermarket has just launched ‘It’s Good To Grow’ - a campaign that will see gardening equipment donated to schoolchildren in the hope of educating kids about where their food comes from.

The scheme will see customers gain one ‘It’s Good to Grow’ token in their My Morrisons account via the app and website for every £10 that is spent in store or online, which can then be donated to any school to redeem equipment such as gardening tools, composting bins and seeds to get growing.

Morrisons hopes the initiative will help build a connection between kids and healthy food by making school children more aware of the journey of food from field to fork.

Download the My Morrisons app via the App Store and Google Play to start earning ‘It’s Good to Grow’ tokens that can be donated to schools for them to redeem gardening equipment.

PLENTY of people will remember writer Ann E Brockbank, who was born in Skipton and who now lives in Cornwall with her artist partner Robert W Floyd.

Ann has written seven Cornish based novels - five historical and two contemporary – and all are available in paperback and eBook from Amazon. Her stories are full of friendship, love and family secrets with a hint of suspense and shivery intrigue.

Ann says: “My parents were well known in Skipton – my father Thomas Baxter was the proprietor of Cox’s Taxis - at one time the only taxi business in Skipton. My mother, Margaret – Peggy to her friends - was one of Skipton’s first post ladies and a fine seamstress, who made numerous gala queen and attendant dresses and bridal gowns for countless Skipton brides.

“As much as I loved my home town, the surrounding Dales and my Yorkshire roots, Cornwall’s beautiful coastline, beach cafés and relaxed lifestyle beckoned my late husband Peter Brockbank and I down here in 2001.

“We settled on the banks of the River Helford on the Lizard where Daphne du Maurier set her novel Frenchman’s Creek. I too found the river and its surroundings to be a truly inspirational place and began writing my first novel. Sadly, I lost my beloved husband 18 months after moving to Cornwall, but as he always believed in me as a writer, I continued to write my novels.”

Ann has recently finished her seventh book, and the third in the ‘Cornish Chronicle’ series. My Song of the Sea follows on from, ‘A Gift from the Sea’ and ‘Waiting for the Harvest Moon’.

She says: “The Cornish Chronicles are set in and around the Lizard, Cornwall at the turn of the 20th century, and are a powerful romantic series, rich in suspense and period detail with an extraordinary cast of memorable characters - a sort of Downton Abbey by the sea. “

She adds: “I have found writing novels to be the perfect balm during this dreadful pandemic - it certainly kept me sane during lockdown. There is nothing better than to lose yourself in a book which transports you to another time and place - whether you are writing or reading it. Books are something I think we all need at this moment in time.”

Ann, whose other books are set in Yorkshire and in Devon, is currently busy on her eight novel, book four in the Cornish Chronicles. Ann can be found on Facebook at AnnEBrockbank.Author