Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Charlie the Cat

I love my little cat you know. He makes me smile, I shake my head sometimes wondering just what the hell he's thinking- (now don't any of you say that that cats are stupid cos they have, relatively speaking, a bigger brain than a dolphin & in research tests have shown that they have a longer memory than dogs)- & I think he has the right way of living-

-He finds the warmest place & dozes, muses as he watches the world go by, eats then goes for a nap, has a bit of fun with the odd rat (sometimes bring me a dead one as a gift), flirts with the street lady cats &, more power to him, stands no crap from any other tom who comes onto our back garden.

But for the moment his activities & style has be barred by approx' 10cm of snow. He did try & lick the icicle I put in front of him but he looked at me as if to say "you wot mate?" "Are you totally mad?" He refuses to go out except for a brief stroll around the estate & a pee first thing in the morning. When I return home after being out shopping, struggle out of the layers of clothes I'm wearing & finally remove my big boots, he looks at me as if I'm a sandwich short of a picnic.

So Chas' spends his days dozing, watching the cars slide up & down the street & listening to my Memphis Slim CD, or to Classic FM. Though he did leave the room when I put on Gorecki's symphony of Sorrowful Songs CD. ( I must ask the wife to interpret that bit of behaviour!)

As I type now he lies supine on the bean bag my friend John left me. Unconscious in sleep & attitude(s) to the stresses of the world next to the central heating radiator. Though I suspect he has a notion that the temperature outside is -8C.

So come on God, this weather ain't funny anymore. Its cold, wet & Charlie's style is cramped. And I want to make some Blackberry & Vanilla jam but am unable to get to the shed to retrieve my jam jars cos of the snow.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Christmas Presents

I had my first Christmas present today. Yes, I know it was early, but it came in a Christmas card & to be honest it was the kind of present I hate with a passion & can well do without.
Now, before you all shout "Bah Humbug!" or "Bloody Scrooge!" Let me tell you what the gift was:
It came attached to a Christmas card from a relative & it was..."The gift of light". What it is, is that this person has made a donation on my behalf to a charity that supposedly will provide a solar light to some poor family in the Third World somewhere thereby enabling them to get rid of a kerosene lamp. ( I am assuming that the person or family want to get rid of their prized kerosene lamp.)

To be honest ( & I do give to charity) this type of gift pisses me off big time.
It shows a complete lack of imagination, the person has assumed that I want to donate a 'gift of light' & it is , I believe, a lazy way of buying someone a present. And what guarantee is there, that the family will receive the donation & that its not just going to give some fat cat at the charity a bloody good Christmas this year?!
Last year the same person brought me a bloody goat!! Well, not me, but for some bugger in Somalia! God knows but the bloody animal is probably long dead by now!
I'd love a real goat-I'd milk it, make cheese, & use it to cut my back lawn as well as it providing a nice little earner for me by me hiring it out to cut the neighbours grass, & me selling the cheese & milk-brilliant!
But it was not to be.- Instead it went to Somalia. I never received a letter from it signed with a little x or better still an inky hoof print. Nothing. Bugger all. I never even knew its name, let alone whether it was a Billy or a Nanny Goat. For now then lets call it 'My Mogadishu goat'.

But to be serious, if I wanted to buy or give a goat, sheep or a solar light to someone in the Third World or down the street for that matter I'd bloody well go & do it! So stop donating on my behalf. I'll give to charity where, when & to whom I want, not when you think I should.

I have a free will you know, give something from & by yourself.

The Shortest Day.....

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died

And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world

Came people singing, dancing,

To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;

They hung their homes with evergreen;

They burned beseeching fires all night long

To keep the year alive.

And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake

They shouted, revelling.

Through all the frosty ages you can hear them

Echoing behind us - listen!

All the long echoes, sing the same delight,

This Shortest Day,

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

And now so do we, here, now,

This year and every year.


Monday, 20 December 2010

Recent experiences of working in the NHS

I returned to work part time recently-nothing too strenuous you understand. Two days weekly at a local rehab & recovery residence for those suffering from mental health problems who are preparing to once again live in the chaos we call call 'society'.

Bear in mind that I last worked in 'Secondary Care approx' 15 yrs ago-the time in between spent working for the NHS in 'Primary Care'.But what changes! And none as far as I can see are for the better.

The National Health Service has a new 'patient'...Its called paper work. This 'patient' demands that nurses have to devote the maxiumum of their time too under pain of being disciplined by their mangers & /or the 'system' if they do not, thus removing them from the Real Patient. Nursing staff are so tied up with the 'new patient that the majority of them spend their on duty time in the office thus the 'real patient' has little or no time spent in therapy. Psychiatric hospitals have once again become 'lunatic asylums' where staff only respond to crisis. Paper work is pill ed upon them by a top heavy system of managers who have no direct 'real patient contact' & have therefore no experience of what its like to suffer mental ill health.

Doors are locked on the wards. Thereby keeping 'informal' (or voluntary) patients prisoner. Patients are checked every hour or so & a register signed to ensure their whereabouts.

I have to say though that in my place of employment nursing staff are relaxed, caring, spend maximum time with the patient & therapy of sorts goes on.

Nor do I think that the above sorry state of affairs is unique to psychiatric hospitals. General hospital nurses have little or no time to carry out basic nursing care. The care for which my generation of nurses were trained to do-caring in the true & complete sense of the word. Patients unless they make them themselves a nuisance are for the main ignored & the elderly & infirm are left without food water etc-it being left at the end of the bed.

So this is health care in the 21st Century? It would appear so.

When I trained patients were called patients. Now the patient is called 'The Client'. Bollocks.

That for me, indicates & proves, that the title 'patient' has firmly been moved to the 'new patient'- the paper work. The CPA, Grist, & the myriad of other bits of paper who's names I refuse to allow into my dictionary of patient care. Neither will I call the patients 'the client'. I refuse. Hairdressers, prostitutes & British Rail have clients not nurses.

Heaven help us. Heaven help us.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The tat man

Those of you as old as (or perhaps a tiny bit younger) me will remember the 'Rag & Bone Man'. For those of you who don't he was a guy who used to arrive in your street in a battered van/small truck & shout out something like "Rages & old bones, Rags & old bones..." Then magically people would flock to where he'd parked the van clutching piles of old clothes. The majority of people were children who'd crowd around his van to see what cheap goodies he had on offer in return for their unwanted clothes.

OK, so once in a while I took clothes from the ironing basket or from the washing line but believe me it was worth me committing what I knew was a 'Mortal Sin'. Why so?? Well, in return for rags you you could get a balloon on a stick, a cheap plastic toy (that usually broke within 3 minutes) a balsa wood glider plane or... a goldfish in a plastic bag!!

Sadly the Rag & Bone Man is no more. However we have his modern day equivalent-The Tat man. He drives around twice daily either sounding a trumpet looking for any scrap metal-washing machines, fridges, old bikes, metal buckets etc etc. He then takes them to the scrap yard & gets cash for them.
The other day I successfully haggled for a new fridge/freezer & left the old one outside on the street waiting for the City Council (yes....) to remove it. BUT: withing 20 minutes the thing had gone!! Taken by the Tat Man!1 Wonderful!! This is what I call recycling par excellence!
Bring em on baby!!
I would like a balsa wood glider plane though....

Thursday, 9 December 2010


Leaving out some food for the birds this afternoon I heard the Chinook. Its unmistakable. A steady "thump, thump thump" sound in the distance. I stood still & bowed my head.
For the cry of the Chinook comes from the south west. From the direction of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital & it foretells the transport of young men maimed & shell shocked from Afghanistan to that Hospital where they, the healers, will attempt to put the young men back together.

Perhaps if we all stood still when we heard the cry of the Chinook & cried out NO! NO MORE! The Chinook might fly away & the killing might stop, the young men would be allowed to come home.

End the war now.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Youth & Age

MUCH did I rage when young,

Being by the world oppressed,

But now with flattering tongue

It speeds the parting guest.

William Butler Yeats

However, I'm still raging & moreover, ranting!

Monday, 6 December 2010

November 6th 2010

As I usually do at this time of day I have lit the candles to say goodbye to the daylight & welcome the evening shadows. Its now 1547hrs & the sun is leaving me until (I hope!) it returns at 0803am tomorrow.
But today I have a feeling of melancholia hanging over me.
Its so cold at the moment everyone I've seen today is (sensibly) wrapped up in layers of clothes. Its impossible to distinguish between the sexes, the anonymity of each person is accentuated by the cold. Even fewer people spend time in idle chat for fear of either catching a chill or experiencing the biting cold permeating to their marrow. People seem 'neckless', their heads sunk deep into their shoulders. And now the sun begins to say goodbye again, leaving us with the biting cold, the frosty, icy pavements as a legacy.

Returning home from the shops today saw 2 police cars & a coroners office ambulance outside a house up the street. The house was occupied by a reclusive elderly lady who has avoided everyone for as long as I've lived in the street. She appeared to have suffered from a degree of Obsessional Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as I've seen the lady after closing her door (from the outside), stand & pull & push the door for a great number of times to check (presumably) that it was locked. I won't bore you with the psycho dynamics of her behaviour but the lady was clearly crippled by her affliction. But now she is dead.
No more will she check her door, no more will she be troubled by her compulsive anxiety. Her lonely demise & subsequent death was discovered by her neighbour who called the police not having sen the lady for some time. Its sad. Her house is now closed tight shut. The door unchecked. The rooms as cold as the lady herself in the city morgue.

What is her story? Is there anyone out there in in the cold who will miss her? Or will her memory be as cold as the weather, as the ice on the pavements near her front gate. Rest in Peace OCD lady, I'm sorry that is how I remember you. Nut tonight I will say a prayer for your soul.

My candles burn bright now. The sun is all but gone. The only light outside is from the luminous frost on the paths & roofs & the orange street lights.
The winter has come early this year, the memory of the summer seems an age ago. The last of the summer plants are now all dead & wilted. Its hard to accept that life outside is not completely dead but only dormant. Asleep, humming mutely, waiting to sing again when the sun returns.

Friday, 3 December 2010

The World Cup

So Russia are going to host the World Cup finals in 2018. So what!?!
To be honest I don't give a toss. However it seems that a larger percentage of the country are upset at England's failure to win the bid. So much so that a large number of people gathered in Birmingham city centre in temperatures more akin to those in Moscow waving flags, chanting & made up with St George flags.

God Almighty!! Have they nothing better to do with their time? Especially in the weather we're currently having? Then when the result of the ballot was known they burst into tears!!

So wtf!! Get a life people....if you have time on your pathetic hands then use it constructively-go & clear the snow outside your houses.

While I'm at it I wonder if someone would tell the petrol delivering companies that there are such things as 'snow chains'. These are chains (used to great effect in Scandinavia I understand) that are attached to the wheels of cars/trucks which increase grip in snowy conditions. If these were used I reckon then the likes of BP, Esso, Shell et al would be able (perhaps?) to deliver supplies of Petrol. So put 'em on & stop winging about the snow!