Futures and consequences

19 May

One idea from the Tories during the recent general election was a 24/7/365 health service. This sounds marvellous. Bring it on!
Oh, but the new arrangements require the agreement of the doctors and nurses and auxiliary staff, who were not consulted. It seems that in order to implement this new policy this already overworked and largely under-remunerated part of society will be required to agree to open-ended changes to their terms of employment. For some reason, these changes are unwelcome. Having a family and social life is incompatible with the wonderful reform.
And so the prospect of public service strikes looms like a hungry vulture over the caring professions. Who could have predicted that?



17 May

There was once a country in which the priests decreed that any male child born on the third day of the month was entitled to wear green shoes. There was no additional money, better food, housing or education, but only those people so defined were entitled to wear green shoes. A thousand years passed and the religion died and the only hint that it it had ever existed was the green shoes rule. One year there was an election and the winning candidate promised to repeal the green shoes rule.
Those entitled to wear green shoes were very angry and they formed a secret society to protect their ancient rights. One member of this society assassinated the new president for daring to suggest that the world could be changed.

Moral of the story: Anyone who sees their position and privilege threatened is willing to kill in order to protect the difference, no matter how notional.

Every change for the better has been opposed by those who think their position is in some way threatened

My baby is having a baby

10 Apr

My younger child, named Catherine but always known as Katie, is due to give birth at the end of May, and she will be 30 on Sunday. All this makes me feel very old in some ways. This will be grandchild number 3. Currently gender unknown and just ‘Bud’ until born.
Here is Katie with husband Tom and ‘Bud’.DSC_2109

The day after

24 Mar

Today is Tuesday and I am sitting here typing away at the computer as usual. Yesterday evening I had my ‘Procedure’. Under the influence of painkillers and a relaxant I was laid down on my left side, wearing nothing but a backless hospital gown and a pair of socks. It was not a pretty sight. Whilst thus arranged I had an endoscope pushed up my bottom. A smallish polyp was located and removed. Within half an hour I was sitting up drinking a cup of tea and munching on a plain cheese sandwich. Rarely can something as boring have tasted so good.

That was all the examination found. The polyp has been sent off for testing and I will be informed of the results, probably within two weeks. I am not too worried, as only one was found, and I am reasonably confident that it won’t prove to be a ‘nasty’.  They had a thorough look round, and I could see what was happening on a monitor by the bed, if only at an acute angle. Afterwards I was complimented on the cleanliness of my colon. After all that laxative and no food it should have been as clean as a proverbial whistle.

One part of the procedure might have been to blow air into the colon to open it up. This did not prove necessary. Not that I wanted this to happen, but because of a probable side effect I was a bit disappointed. How often do you have an opportunity of having the world’s largest fresh air fart?

Today I am not allowed to drive or operate machinery or to sign legal documents. I shall try to get over the disappointment. As it stands, I don’t feel too dull-witted, hardly more than usual. Thanks to all the staff at Hereford Hospital for making it a genuinely painless visit, and for that cheese sandwich.

Sorry about this!

23 Mar

It happened like this. About two weeks ago I went to the doctor having had persistent digestive problems. At least I had problems, but these stopped when I ceased to use wheat products. I was expecting a few tests to confirm or reject my hypothesis, but was sent to the local hospital instead for an inspection of the inside of my fundamental orifice. That happened almost a week ago and I was phoned by someone at the hospital as the registrar who had examined me thought he saw a polyp in my colon. Still no sign of an allergy test.

On Friday I picked up some extra-strength laxative to take before today’s examination. I had the first dose last night, and the second from early this morning.  I have had a few upsets in my life which made me feel that the bottom had dropped out of my world. I now know what it is like to have the world drop out of your bottom. No food until after the procedure this evening. I last ate before 1 pm yesterday. I will be given some kind of painkiller and will be collected by my very understanding wife sometime tonight, after the probing and possible polypectomy. A miniature camera is to be sent up my chocolate starfish.

Sorry for the break, I just had another dash to the water closet because of the effect of the bowel cleanser. Looking at the ingredients on the box the main constituent is a chemical related to car anti-freeze. There are two powders, the large one with the anti-freeze and another, much smaller one, being aspartame (sweetener) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C to you). Mix the powders together, make up to 1 litre with cold water and mix thoroughly for a few minutes. You then drink the litre of gunk within an hour. The effect begins rather more quickly than that. Finishing the last glassful is a bit like that scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Harry force feeds Dumbledore with a poisoned drink. You know what it is going to do, but you still have to force it down.

On the plus side I am losing weight and have got by running shoes out. I can now do ten yards in two seconds (Including removing my pants and doing a half turn). Oddly enough I do not feel particularly hungry. At last, an effective appetite suppressant. It’s a shame about the side effects.

I am not supposed to drive tomorrow, but have to accompany significant other half, Hazel, to the hospital on Wednesday. What that is about will be another entry or ten. It is going to be an interesting week. Apologies for the excessive detail.

The rich get rich and the poor get poorer…

10 Mar

There was a report released today from the Social Market Foundation, (SMF), showing the results of the recession over the last decade.  Using the standard marketing segments and taking into account income and savings, the results produced are startling. The richest segment were 64% richer at the end of the decade while the poorest were 57% worse off in real terms. Moreover, the age ranges also show significant results, in that 26 to 35 year olds are doing much worse than older age groups.

In other words, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (Finance Minister), trumpets economic recovery it is only good news for the richest. Most people are worse off than they were before. The recession started under the government led by New Labour, under Tony Blair, (I cannot bring myself to describe him as a socialist). It is no wonder that the poor are beginning to feel picked on by both major parties and are turning to false Messiahs for some message of hope or to justify putting the blame on some minority.

But what does it matter in the long run. It was ever thus. Politicians always try to make friends with the rich and powerful, and the poor can go to hell in a hand cart. Well, not always, but it needs politicians of conviction who have a genuine empathy with the poor to change things. They should remember that they are put there to be our servants, and not our masters. The happiest societies are those where the gap between richest and poorest is the least wide, which is why ours is so divided and unhappy.

Another study, a couple of weeks ago and from the US found that the theory that if you make the rich even more wealthy, they will spread their wealth around, the so-called trickle-down effect, was a pile of fetid dingoes kidneys. The reverse is true, a sort of trickle-up effect. Laws and taxes are weighed against the poor and those of average income in favour of the rich, who squirrel money away in foreign accounts and find creative ways to avoid paying anything.

Leona Helmsley is reported to have said, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” That came out at her trial for tax evasion. Well, there are a lot more little people than there are big people, and the big people should realise that it is in their own interests to make some contribution to the societies that made them rich. Of course they will kick and scream and prevaricate and dissemble to avoid making a contribution. Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a meritocracy.

It’s the same the whole world over,

Ain’t it all a bloomin’ shame.

It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure,

And the poor wot gets the blame

No sense of humour

14 Jan

I once said that if anyone had an overwhelming desire to be offended they should contact me and I would be happy to oblige. Given what happened at Charlie Ebdo I’m not sure that was a wise statement. Let me start at a very basic statement, killing people is wrong. I can imagine in times of war that killing one person might save many, but we are not at war. There are some situations in peacetime where someone might make a decision to sacrifice their own life to save others.
As for a response to insults, well, sticks and stones might break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Of course, insults do hurt. What is in question here is proportion. An eye for an eye is proportionate, even if it leaves us all blind. To kill twelve people for a perceived insult to an legendary person according to rules invented centuries after that person is supposed to have lived is bizarre and ridiculous and completely disproportionate. The perpetrators of this massacre were looking for an insult because of their political views. Morality and religion do not come into the mix. Just because someone sincerely believes in their religion does not make them right, nor can it justify their actions.
If someone not of your religion chooses to publish a cartoon you disapprove of, get over it. Theses things happen. You are under no moral obligation to react. I’m sure the Prophet would be looking down from heaven, crying at the actions of those who claim to follow him, if he existed.
Not only does it show that extremists have no sense of proportion, they have no sense of humour.