The English Patience

It always seems disingenuous to have a moan at the N.H.S in Great Britain, as so many people work so hard on what some would consider little pay to give us the care that they trained for many years to provide. The truth is that they are governed by poor management and weak budgets, a combination that could ultimately cost lives and probably has.

Many of us have to wait in excess of 2 weeks to be able to see their G.P., once of coarse you have bypassed the stereotypical matriarchal receptionist who will ask what  your problem is and make an medical assessment based on experience gained watching “Holby City” last week, and depending on the system your surgery uses, “your” Doctor invariably has nothing available any time soon.

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Once in, you have between 8-10 minutes to make your case that will justify your time of this professionals busy day, and in my case it would seem it did, by being ordered directly to hospital to undergo 27 hours of tests, some of which were quite “invasive” (no, not that invasive) leaving me feeling that perhaps my wait was impeding any recovery that I was about to endure.

Happily however, although life changing, my diagnosis was not life threatening, and every precaution was taken to ensure my good health whilst within the hospital walls. My care was taken seriously by the friendly and informative staff that surrounded me on every busy shift they completed. The building itself, which is 50 years older than the National Health service, was tired but fundamentally clean.

My latest experience of this struggling system has highlighted to me the flaws that have to be approached vigorously, in order to safeguard its future and success in this country of growing population and increasing elderly residents.

Bob’s Stage Fright

I have been lucky enough to receive tickets for Bob Dylan’s UK tour and as it is very local to me, I’m understandably excited, but I wonder if Mr Robert Zimmerman (Dylan) is prepared for what lays ahead?, given the location.

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As I was reminded by my friends at the Eastleigh News, it is not uncommon for big names to visit Southampton, either when they are famous or as up and coming unrecognised stars of the future, and indeed, the City can boast it’s fair share of stars that have passed through on the road to stardom, some even have their roots within our streets.

For a man that has played to crowds of thousands, is our little civic building perhaps a touch too intimate? Dylan’s most recent UK tour is to stop at places such as The Royal Albert Hall (cap 5,ooo), 02 Apollo (cap 3.500) and the Motorpoint Arena (5.000 plus), So I am concerned that the great man himself at the tender age of 72 will feel a little underwhelmed in our Guildhall that has the capacity of a large living room (cap 1,749).

Either way, it is with great gusto that I eagerly await my appointment with this historic icon, at a venue within minutes of where I live, with my companion for the evening in the shape of my eldest son. And of course, I will be sharing my experiences for those who wish to read them.

Something For Nothing

It was my great pleasure to meet two individuals, both from “backstreet” businesses, who were a massive help to me this weekend, providing realistic and free advice on a problem with my car. Although unable to help me practically, it was refreshing to see and perhaps a little humbling, and I have no doubt that their multi million pound competition would have charged for such a privilege.

mecTransversely, I had a similar experience with a sales assistant, but with a cruder effect. Do not misunderstand me, she was neither impolite or disrespectful, but her whole manner and sentence delivery came directly from the corporate training manual (verbatim). And quite apart from thinking that my money was well spent, I came away feeling as though I had inconvenienced the next victim of the “Headmistress” waiting behind me in the checkout queue, but really had no real cause to complain about my sturdy patroniser.

baqSo while my faith in humanity is momentarily restored by professional courtesy of tradesmen, I wonder that perhaps humility should have a box to be ticked on the B&Q training check list?

 

Connecting With Newton’s Theory

After a successful morning clearing the garden of bulky waste and then returning the hire van, I was home by midday on a lovely sunny spring day. Although the lions share of jobs were done, there was plenty of time to “potter”, what a plan, or so I thought.

Returning from the top half of our two tier garden with tools in both hands, I misjudged the steps that I had approached a thousand times before, and indeed, I had actually built. Missing a step halfway down, I was heading for the ground rapidly and there was little I could do about it, fortuitously my inverted foot broke the fall before the rest of my middle-aged body came crashing down behind it.

Laying face up at a blue sky as my body was performing a systems check, few thoughts entered my mind, least of all how I was about to get up or even if I would be able to, dragging my body to an almost vertical position, I realised that my foot was sending out a mayday for attention. The pain was tolerable and walking was just about possible, well initially, for as time passed, I became aware of some slight swelling on the side of my foot that had bore the weight of a grown man, and ultimately this would cause me to rest my injury for the next three days.

Limping into the house, I discovered both our dogs dozing on the lounge sofa, and hardly raised their heads as I waddled in. So much for man’s best friend I thought and hardly the loyalty that I had grown up watching a certain rough collie had shown, but still they had no need to bark for help I suppose.

The rescue team

The rescue team

Wait Watchers Soup

How are you coping with the daily diet of politics at breakfast, dinner and for tea? If you have managed to avoid it then I applaud you, but alas most of us mortals are living in a snow cone of blinding false facts and untruths, these of course used to be called lies, as with everything, did not meet the criteria of our hopeful candidates.

polWatching these events constantly are the world media, producing a full menu of flowcharts, graphs and polls, and we are slowly becoming numb to any revelations in this mudslinging to and thro banquet of hypocrisy, when the reality is we have already made up our minds regardless of any new titbits that is revealed to us among the feeding frenzy for the top job.

Our only saving grace is that we have not long to go, and although they are bound for the final push, our thresholds will soon be safe from that smiling, baby kissing and reassuring member of parliament, who undoubtedly you will not see for another half decade.

In The Long Run

The Grand National is a sporting date that has been followed by many for decades, whether you love it, hate it or believe it to be cruel, you can’t get away from the attention it is given every year. And this event often inspires people that hardly ever gamble to take a punt, and that adds to the excitement of this multi horse race.

rrWe are not talking thousands of pounds and few annul gamblers place the rent money on an outsider, but hopefully only what they can afford to lose, which unfortunately invariably you will. The bookmakers environment, although has changed over the years, does still daunt some when entering. A far reach from the smoke filled cramped rooms of yesteryear, the modern turf accountant premises gives you a bright welcoming area in which to “buy” their products, easy to read instructions and normally helpful staff who undoubtedly can spot the once yearly customer in a heartbeat.

Not everyone enjoys the atmosphere or thrill of the “sport of Kings” and over the years it has had it’s share of controversy over alleged cruelty and false starts, but rest assured the biggest winners of the day are bookies, because I’ve never seen one riding a bicycle.

Feeding National Pride

Food banks are becoming more and more common in the UK, helping struggling families to meet a basic standard of living, and I am embarrassed that we should need them. These charities are kept running by either a sterling donation or one of food directly, with support from the public, some supermarkets and local churches, and quite apart from fixing the problem, politicians are more than happy to pose for the camera supporting their great work.

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In order to qualify for this support, generally, you have to be referred by an agency or such like, social services, Doctors and in some cases the Church. On arrival you are given up to 5 days of food stuffs in relation to the size of family in question, in some cases clothes and footwear are offered, which have also been donated. We are reminded daily by media puppets and their parliament string pullers, of the benefits culture, but some of these families are just low wage earners, who are quite literally working themselves into poverty.

Historically governments have treated the poor and the reliant with an appalling attitude, entire families in workhouses, orphans shipped off to countries in need of labour, and asylums locking away the mentally fragile, and yes, all this in the 20th century. Hopefully the mistakes of the past will not be repeated in this century and to provide help where it is needed domestically before outpouring our resources to the rest of the planet.

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