Wednesday, 31 March 2010


I have today changed my shoes. Metaphorically speaking. I completed my journey of 40 years full time work in the NHS & will tomorrow put on another pair of shoes to begin the next leg of my journey. The journey which I will begin tomorrow has no recognised map nor route plan unlike the career I surrendered willingly today with its policies & forms.
I am currently holding & embracing feelings of disbelief. Asking myself "Is that it?" I feel emotionally & physically tired, wondering how I will fell tomorrow.
I went to Mass this evening & gave thanks for the years I have spent & to place my & mine loved ones future in the hands of the creator of the universe. Then I lit a candle to invite Gods light into that future.
I gaze at the many gifts that have been showered upon me from all those I have worked with. I am still in a state of shock, especially when I look at the gifts that my team colleagues gave me. Yet I feel honoured & appreciate the thought(s) expressed in the offerings.
Next week I plan to spend the week in Cornwall with Kathleen.(God alone knows what state the house will be in on our return! (though I can hazard a pretty good guess!!) Hopefully the weather will improve cos its only 2*C outside at the moment.

Here's to the future... with a glass of Jameson!!

Is this for real??!

Saturday, 27 March 2010


I held my last 2 Friday surgeries yesterday & very moving & meaningful they were to.
I was told by someone that my being at 1 surgery marked "a lovely beginning to their weekend". I don't recall anyone saying such a heartfelt compliment as that to me before & I will do my best to allow it to find a place in my heart throughout my years of retirement. Then should I once again ever sink into that the dark place called depression, I will use the sentiment/comment as a instrument to lift me out.

Then, I was genuinely surprised when I went to my final surgery on Friday afternoon. I received cards, a crate of red wine & an expensive designer label watch, speeches of gratitude for my work & offer of a job!
I really didn't think that I was liked or valued so much by anyone, so moved was I that I'm afraid that I cried.
What a day, what milestones.
O...& the job? ....I took it!

Leaving ACGMC

its fragile, those lazy ovals
you're walking
shuffling turmoil within
pacing rhythms
that allow ones entire self
to be absorbed.
once tipped to the left
right at the edge
of indecision and confusion
there's no recollection
of arrivals or departures


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Are they having a laugh!??

I read this item on the BBC web just now & I felt moved to share & comment on it. I'll even post (or try baring in mind my level of technological knowledge!)....

'Nine year' backlog of potholes in West Midlands.....
"Many councils have a pothole "hotline" encouraging drivers to report them
Motorists have been warned it could take councils nine years to mend potholes in the West Midlands, the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) says.
Almost £100m was spent on repairs in England last year but after the severe winter weather, thousands more potholes have appeared.
When temperatures plunge, water that has penetrated the asphalt freezes and expands causing the surface to rupture.

Each pothole costs an average of £99 to fix, the organisation said.

Chancellor Alistair Darling announced in his Budget on Wednesday a £100m fund to repair local roads following the bad weather.

Earlier this year, the AA reported that pothole-related claims had increased by 400%"

Now reading this I wondering where my bloody road tax payment goes??? It certainly ain't filling in the bloody craters in the roads in Kings Heath & the environs.

The rot has begun to set in!!

It has y'know!!
I'm still coughing like an evacuee from the 1st Battle of Ypres,much to the annoyance of the younger & grossly intolerant members of the Woolley family, & I am struggling with trying to (& I believe the term is....)'burn' some John Lee Hooker tracts to a MP3 player that I brought the other day. Yes people it IS rocket science least to me, & lets face it, rocket science is all relative & proportionate to the amount of knowledge that the scientist has.
I'm gonna have to take the mocking & ask the young ones for their help.
Yes,the rot is setting in, the body is failing the brain is slowing & damn it I ain't due to quit work til the 31st March!
Speaking of which, I was given a gift of a 10 yr old bottle of a decent single malt from one of my surgeries today. Very welcome, hey!! Maybe I can open it tonight...purely for medicinal purposes of course!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Anti climax

Nothing to do with sex! But to do with my retirement.
I had the final letter from the NHS pension people today which told me how much my lump sum would be, how much money I'd be receiving each 1st of the month & how much my wife would receive should I die.
So that's it. The sum total(s) of 40 odd years work in the NHS. So many experiences, people, relationships, shifts, injections, forms signed & filed(!) time spent persuading people to do & things think things they didn't want to do or think.
All these things are not stated. Only an envelope with bland 'clincial' words of numerical information.
The emotional 'build up' that I'd felt for the last 18 or so months now feels the one of the biggest anti-climaxes I ever experienced.
The past 40 years of my full time employment is sitting there in a plain white envelope on the arm of the chair.
The next 40 years are shortly to begin.

A post removed

I posted a few thoughts last night, things which trouble me & that got the better of me. Writing them exorcised the demons at least for a while anyway. But in the cold clear light of the morning I thought that what I'd written was a tad histrionic and 'sad'. So I removed them. The feelings are still there, though for the moment not so acute.

James made a kind comment on them, he understood my predicament & I thank him for his time & empathy.
Nevertheless the post is no longer on my blog & I apologise for its removal especially to James.

Incidently, I'm still coughing like a Somme gas attack victim! c1916!!

Thursday, 18 March 2010


“A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”
Abraham J. Heschel

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Men improve with the years

I AM worn out with dreams;
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams;
And all day long I look
Upon this lady's beauty
As though I had found in a book
A pictured beauty,
pleased to have filled the eyes
Or the discerning ears,
Delighted to be but wise,
For men improve with the years;
And yet, and yet,
Is this my dream, or the truth?
O would that we had met
When I had my burning youth!
But I grow old among dreams,
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams.

William Butler Yeats

Friday, 12 March 2010

Welcome to retirement from your friendly GP!

Yeah wot do they know?? All what they know is based on 'available evidence' Based upon drug companies bribing Doctor's with free holidays & curry dinners. Now before any of you launch at me...I have been known to accept (it was a struggle though)a curry lunch payed for by the makes of Prozac or some other similar shite.
So: I go to the docs for a pre-retirement 'MOT', I'm weighed, asked how certain parts of my body are, you know,those which so far have serviced me & others adequately, finally he takes litres of my ruby red blood taken for testing. "Glibly the Doc says "phone up in a week for the results".

Dutifully I call back To be told that I have to see the bugger. Sounds ominous....
Cheerfully he says "your cholesterol is high, your Thyroid isn't working to its full potential & you need a Statin to lower your blood lipid levels" Taking my blood pressure he rolls his eyes, checks & rechecks it & gleefully reports that my Diastolic is 102!
So after going in to see him, believing I was top hole physically my beliefs were shattered-I am in fact on borrowed time, tottering on the brink of a heart attack. Walking the plank of Hypothyroidism & drowning in my own cholesterol!

So now I have to stop eating butter, reduce my cheese intake drastically, watch my alcohol intake and...exercise(!)O & take a Statin tablet daily.

What a wonderful beginning to the next chapter of my life!!

Shite. (LOL!)

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Things which today are pissing me off!

OK, its not funny anymore. Whoever is responsible you've had your laugh, you need your arse kicking, your face slapped or at best to be told off.
I am today fed up totally with the following:
1: The current cold weather. Its not funny anymore. I am sick of it. I have a jumper on as well as a fleece & I sitting in the bloody house!! Fair enough, I've been out attempting to fix the outer front door so that it closes but God's truth its So cold & my nose won't stop running!!

2): The outer front door. Its been sticking & scraping on the quarry tiles in the vestibule for ages now & so I thought that me & my son Chris would take it off & plane a bit off. We did. Bugger! We have discovered that when this house was 'rebuilt' after the last war (with the shortage of materials that they then had)they made 'shortcuts'. In this case. The door wood in the outer door frame is cheap, the step inside the vestibule bangs against the door with the result that it has dislodged the frame from the brickwork outside! Cowboy builders existed in 1948 it seems! Photo attached for your opinion(s)...

3): Kate is away. She has been in Belfast since Wednesday last & I miss her. She's returning today thank God.

4): The bloody cat. He is behaving like 'Jack the bloody feline Lad'. Doing what he wants, sitting where he wants, all former discipline has gone out of the window since Kate (who kept the bugger in check) has gone! You wait matey she'll be back soon & will kick your furry arse into touch!

5): Young people who use dishes, mugs etc & just leave them where ever they wish once they've finished with them. Grrrr!!

Finally...^): Neighbours who, whilst walking past stop, stare at you attempting to fix the door & say ..."having trouble with the door...?" or "fixing the door?" I want to say back..."no I'm having colonic irrigation... what the hell does it look like- prat!"
Thats all I have to moan about at the moment. I know there is lots more but I'll spare the world that...for the time being!!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Growing Old....

Growing Old by Matthew Arnold

What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
Yes, but not for this alone.

Is it to feel our strength -
Not our bloom only, but our strength -decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?

Yes, this, and more! but not,
Ah, 'tis not what in youth we dreamed 'twould be!
'Tis not to have our life
Mellowed and softened as with sunset-glow,
A golden day's decline!

'Tis not to see the world
As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
And heart profoundly stirred;
And weep, and feel the fulness of the past,
The years that are no more!

It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.

It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion -none.

It is -last stage of all -
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves,
To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost
Which blamed the living man.

Matthew Arnold

Sad news

Today I heard the sad news that Micheal Foot had passed away aged 96years old.
It is my belief that he was one of the only two genuine Socialist members of Parliament English politics. The other MP happily still alive is Tony Benn.
Micheal Foot was both a first class writer &a journalist of tremendous knowledge, intelligence, integrity & humility. A first class orator, the British electorate in 1983 were sadly not ready for the 'man in the duffle coat with the CND badge. Choosing instead she who must remain unnamed, but who's legacy lives on throughout every corner of these isles, & I wonder is there any man or woman who now rues the day that they may have voted for her & her party?

I will miss Micheal Foot. I will miss him in the same way that I miss John Peel. The nation is poorer for their absence. Socialism as defined by Engels & the Fabians died when the present Labour Party were elected in 1997 we have Blair et al to thank for that. Today that torch is carried by Tony Benn alone.
The King is dead, Long live the King!

Sleep well Mr Foot.
Rest in Peace.