Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Hello sir, your double pepperoni with extra anchovies will be a little late".

Monday, January 29, 2007

Natural cycle...

'FREE - Your Big Brother pull out section'.

Busy, busy, busy...shops, more bills, sort out No.1's bike at the bike shop, more dialogue with the insurers, walk dog, study OU work for three hours, etc....But I had a moment where one can contemplate life and all of it's various facets. The shiny polished ones, the rough yet-to-be cut and cleaned ones and, the ones always turned to the wall when visitors arrive. My mind turned to the important things in life....What is toilet paper recycled from?
Am I wiping my bottom with an ex-News of the World or someone's previous gas bill? Is this where Tony disposed of the cash for peerages memo which he claims does not exist? All of that Stasi paperwork had to go somewhere and our governamonkeys must do their bit for the environment. I know it is not recycled from old banknotes; they're burnt at a special incinerater. Gods forbid...could it be recycled toilet paper? My mind is boggling at the thought! Who is the poor bugger who has to scoop?
It could be used lottery tickets and old newspapers which would make sense...crap in a previous life and same again this time around. As for the bigger question...maybe the gods recycle us after we have had our innings. At the rate we are killing off the other species there is going to be bugger all choice when my time is up. A rat, cockroach or an ant will be the choices. Yeah right (snort!), clouds, harps, 72 virgins and rose scented gardens....bags I a rat please.

"We're just waiting...our time will come....


Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's that time of the month again.
No, not 'monthlies' or the need to use a mikvah. It's the time when I act as a conduit between work and various agencies to pass money along. I get paid but it doesn't stay long enough to warm itself either in my wallet or bank account.
Having paid out for the guttering to be repaired and the excess to be paid to the insurance company to repair the bath before I even pay the bills....agghh! I think I'll hide under the duvet for a month before they add a tax for the air one breathes...What? They already do that...Bastards.
No.1 has a list of demands for a variety of necessary things for school, etc...
Mrs.C ditto...
Anybody want to buy an orange dog or three delightful moggies? Ho hum, another month without beer for me and lentil curries for a month.

Friday, January 26, 2007

DIYa think I'm sexy?*

I have been a little under the weather today...London Pride and Talisker was extremely enjoyable last night and, despite no questions about Robbie Burns, we came within a whisker of winning the quiz. Hard to believe it was almost a month since I was last within the hallowed walls of The Tap. Several restorative mugs of tea plus water and apple juice have done the trick...I feel almost human.
We have also had our guttering, etc... fixed today so the mutt has been going crazy as the repairs were carried out by a lovely chap. Despite cups of tea and conversation with him, the mutt continued to wander around the place and give out an occasional disconsolate bark in her desire to keep me safe. £150 well spent but I now have no excuses for putting off the redecoration needed for the damaged walls caused by the damp...DIY city for the next several months. I am not a fan of DIY...blessed as I am with two left hands and an innate ability to make even the simplest job twice as hard. But I can paint and I have had some success at papering which will be the main tasks. Flooring, plastering and woodwork are also required so I'll warn the Fire Brigade and the local A&E dept. of my plans for this year...and the AA, aren't they the fourth emergency service? Although the twelve step plan with prayers is not going to grout many tiles.

"A lick of paint and good as new".

And there is still the garden to do although muttley has helped with her hole digging.
* Not with this hangover if I look as rough as I feel...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Scots,Wha Hae...

Phew! I have just completed my first bit of studying for my OU course...three hours worth. Although it does not start until next week I decided to get a head start and to try to maintain that momentum. As opposed to my former approach of 'Christ, it needs to be in tomorrow' and writing essays at 3 a.m. I am organised and it is perhaps indicative of late onset long last. As for the head is spinning. I am off for several days so I plan to get far ahead prior to the actual start.

Holidays are supposed to be relaxing and tomorrow is 'Burns Night'. Despite having Irish roots I do enjoy celebrating Burns night with my fellow Celts and I also love well as whisky.(I believe we brought the distillation of whisky over to Scotland when the Scotti migrated over there from Ireland...ducks down into foxhole and covers head). So tomorrow night I intend to head to my local and enjoy the quiz plus, hopefully some Scots ales as well as some delightful whisky...Tallisker or Lagavulin come to mind. It's also quiz night so perhaps I should brush up my knowledge of all things Scottish as there is likely to be questions about it all.
A couple of excerpts for your pleasure...Tam o'Shanter...

"But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow'r, it's bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white - then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in,
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in."

And appropriately for the season...'Up in the Morning Early'.

"Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,
The drift is driving sairly;
Sae loud and shill's I hear the blast,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a' the hills are cover'd wi' snaw,
I'm sure it is winter fairly.

The birds sit chittering in the thorn,
A' day they fare but sparely;
And lang's the night frae e'en to morn,
I'm sure it's winter fairly."

I'll raise a glass to his enduring memory and poetry tomorrow night .

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The bear is still alive despite canine interest.
We haven't got a name for him yet and the usual 'Bruin', 'Paddington' or 'Ted' have been found wanting. Other names so far suggested were Saddam, Teddy and
We'll have to see how his character develops and name him accordingly.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ain't love sweet...

Picture the scene....
It's 2.30 a.m. I am roused from sleep by noise outside our bedroom window on the street outside. I awake and I can hear the dog growling downstairs. Two people are arguing loudly and as I move into consciousness, no it's not the dream about Patricia Hewitt and plastic explosives for plastic people, this is happening outside.
Bugger! I've left the window open on a Sunday night.
The voices are those of a drunken man and woman. They aren't talking, they are SHOUTING VERY LOUDLY!!!


This continues for several more minutes and far from going to the window to tell them to take it elsewhere, I now want to hear the outcome. The shouting continues as Jane and Ken (names have been acquired) move away in different directions until...

K - (Voice fades in the distance)"You know I love you but you're an alcoholic. I'm off".


I'm now wide awake at 3 a.m. and I was still awake at 5 a.m. Thanks Ken and Jane for the street theatre but next Sunday I will ensure the window is shut. Thank the gods I am off work today.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


A welcome cup of tea to warm a cold bear on a windy day.

Getting to know the bear...he skinned me for a fiver.

"Keep that mutt away from me".

Oops! The wall in our back garden has fallen over, well the top part has with the ivy that topped it.

Bear with me...

It is wild out there...rubbish, chairs and assorted paraphernalia flying past the windows. Even a brown bear sailed past the front window and currently lies in our front garden.It's not gone for the bin ...yet.

The dog has her eye on it and after the carnage of her encounter with Pooh Bear last week....that bear ain't got long for this world.
Oddly enough we had the insurance assessor around to photograph the bath and he is working overtime in this weather. He described a scene of bedlam on the Humber Bridge.
I'm off to rescue a bear...maybe the pooch will mother it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

O U pretty things...

It's arrived!
No, not my lottery winnings (Dream on) or John Prescott for his fish supper. All the gubbins for my OU course....GULP!!...There is a lot of it and I have started to wade my way through it all. The box contained lots of paperwork, audio and visual tapes, etc...This is for the first three modules of 'Critical Practice in Health and Social Care' and there is more to come in May for the last two modules of this course. Having done one OU course before I have some idea where to start but having read their excellent guide it is fairly straightforward. No.1 is much impressed: "It's full of long words Dad and that's just the guide". Thank the gods I have had an extensive if long and winding road of an education. Maybe I can read the long words then...
The course itself will make me a better clinical practitioner and patients will naturally notice the difference because I'll be using those bigger words.On a more serious note it will help my practice but, I also have no desire to discover that students whom I have helped to qualify over the years have moved ahead to become my boss because they have the paper qualifications and look good in interviews. So I have to study just to keep ahead as well as continue with my informed and innovative practice. There are good students and some will go on to do great things, but after 21 years in nursing I have no desire to do the bidding of some blinkered manage by numbers newbie with fresh egg shell behind his ears. Having said that, I wouldn't want you to think I am not open to new and fresh ideas...I am, although I like to maintain my image as a crusty old sod who mutters "Here we go again".
However, back to my renewed status as a student...cold baked beans and grant maintained beer anyone?

p.s. The only grant I'll get a sniff of is one half of the Mitchell brothers on uk gold.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Look, Two posts for the price of one...How is that for service.
(The post from 'yesterday' was actually completed 30 minutes ago....I couldn't be arsed to post as I had no inspiration...the Muse, she deserted me).
So far, apart from a couple of friends who know I write this blog, I have maintained my anonymity.Mainly because of my job in mental health but also because I might write something which could impact upon my work. Any comments I make about mental health or the NHS are my own and I value my anonymity which allows me to comment freely upon anything and everything, including work related issues. Another reason for anonymity is that I can talk, if I want to, about my own problems with depression. As a rule I tend not to because I have little desire to open myself up for inspection nor do I want to bore people with yet another blog of how dark and miserable life can be. Most people who have seen a bit of life know about the dark nights of the soul, and not just when Spurs lose a game they should have won.
The reason for bringing up this subject now is that a fellow blogger is currently struggling with depression and also works in mental health. I think it's quite brave of her to write about this albeit anonymously, considering the attitudes of many of the professionals in MH services. Attitudes are slowly changing despite the media frenzy about mental health when someone is killed as a result of mental illness. It is dreadful when this happens but to then try to change the law to control a few incidents when hundreds more are killed by drunks, twats and idiot drivers...Go to this site for an alternative and more realistic view regarding this. If you don't believe service users try this site although just because someone has episodes of madness does not mean they are mad all the time, stupid or wrong.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Barf night...a right mare.

"The leak's under there somewhere".

It's been a busy old time at work but I now have two days off and I can relax...although I have to contact the insurance company to claim on some damage to my bath. I forsee lots of paperwork and phone calls in my crystal ball; unlike goldenballs' $250 million I forsee a lot less coming to me except hopefully a new bath fitted quickly, efficiently and tidily by some nice workmen. I think that crystal ball fell on my head.
So I phoned the insurers who turned out to be some 'holding company' and I was put through to the genuine insurance company after giving all my details....with a completely different name to that on my documentation. Three hours later and several calls where I was in a queue I finally got through. We discussed everything and I had a new number of the company managing my claim....and another new telephone number. They contacted me relatively quickly and gave me another phone number 'in case of problems'. A man will phone me back later today or possibly tomorrow morning to arrange a time to survey the damage.
So much for relaxing on my day off.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It is blowing a gale out there, which is a shame because she is generally a nice girl. The mutt behaves in a very skittish manner when it is windy and bounces around especially if I stop to talk to people. She's happy tho' having played fetch the stick for half an hour and is now collapsed in a heap at my feet.
I bumped into an old work colleague and we chewed the fat for a while as we watched a couple of youngish wino's consuming cheap sherry...quite sad really. The lead was held firmly because muttly is friendly towards anyone and everyone. This includes muddy paws planted firmly upon the nearest unlucky recipient. She spotted the drinkers and was keen to investigate. The last time this happened I had to explain to a drunken couple who were begging in an aggressive fashion that she will bark if they shout at her and I would do more than bark at them if they didn't remove themselves. I also explained to them that I would release the lead and she is very protective of me. I used shorter, more expressive words than the above. The two today were quieter, sheltering from the wind and looked harmless. They didn't need two muddy paws planted on them as an expression of canine friendship.

Currently listening to Mr Zimmerman's latest offering 'Modern Times' and I noticed that simon cowell (lower case for wankers) criticised Bob's musical talents. are a shit of the first order and should go and boil your inflated head.
I am not the biggest of fans of Bob Dylan because he has recorded some dire stuff over the years, but he has also written and recorded some sublime and insightful music as well. His work will stand the test of time and cowell...the above says it all.
Otherwise I am avoiding the TV because Mrs C. has all sorts of reality shows on and I only end up directing abuse at the box. So I am better off on this box or keeping busy doing other things.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

'Orses for Courses.

I am replete having cooked and just eaten a delicious pork jal fraizi with added coconut goodness. I do so love the scent and taste of coconuts as well as lemons*. Both remind me of holidays abroad, sunshine and beaches. To further enhance my good mood, two days off and I am playing Iron Maiden's latest album 'A Matter of Life and Death'. A moment please as I imagine sitting below a shady coconut palm on a sunny beach.....
Back to reality which was all too real at work today. It's getting busy again and I think an exchange trip to Trinidad to explore their health system would prove very useful. Sadly the managers consigned my suggestion to the reject pile, along with 'Bungee Therapy' and learning to cook Indian foods within the Indian sub-continent so as to pass the skills on to patients. I only asked for six months so as to spend time in the different states. After all, some patients are vegetarian, others are Hindus or Muslims and I thought in order to represent all faiths...six months isn't much to ask for.

Excuse me as I now play the sublime 'False Alarm' by KT Tunstall....aaahh..

We also had a heated discussion about the proposed scrapping of road tax and replacing it with payment per mile. After debates about efficacy, fairness, etc...I suggested we adopt the following transport alongside bicycles. Again, jobs for 'service users' in running stables. I'll stick to the bicycle as they don't bite, you can fit one in the garden shed and they don't frighten me.

*For balance I also like rhubarb which needs a good feeding of horse manure.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Big Bang Band...

He would have been 72 years old today...that's right, The King ...
Stephen Hawking!
Yeah I know, Elvis Presley...Mr Hawking is in fact 65 today. Can you imagine it if Elvis expounded upon his theories about the universe and Mr H (I feel I know him now so a little less formality) rocked the chicks in the aisles...alternate universes where it could be happening now. Nurse, don't take my mushrooms away...

Oddly enough, other birthdays are Shirley Bassey (70) and David bowie (60).

They'll all celebrate in their own inimitable ways...For Mr H......probably already done. Mr David Jones could have one as well, without the following.
Our Shirl is the brightest seren in the valleys already, look you.
Hywl (TTFN).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Call me Bernard...

I found an excellent blog whilst trawling the net yesterday: Impacted Nurse. Although he works as an Emergency Department (A&E) nurse in Australia, much of what he writes applies to the current state of the nhs. So even if you are not a nurse or work in health, pop into his site and read what he has to say.
Reading much of his writings made me sit back and think about my own practice, as well as the current state of mental health services in England. What worries me is the proliferation of policies, statements, regulations, etc..which look good on paper but do not translate well into real life. For example, the DoH wanting greater and speedier access to 'talking therapies' for people with mild/ moderate MH problems. A laudable aim and one to work towards rather than an over reliance upon medication. But the media reports have made it appear innovative, exciting and progressive and the panacea to all ills. This is then reflected in the various approaches within the nhs; targets are set and so many patients with anxiety/depression received CBT within this quarter. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) that was administered via a dvd package or over 6 sessions from a graduate worker who was taught the course herself via three days training. But it ticks the boxes and targets are met... Another cheap short term quickfix approach to providing services to the customer service user poor bugger on the periphery patient.
Where is the human element in this? Engaging with the person, establishing a therapeutic relationship which can be used to address their needs and find ways of working to resolve these issues within the context of the persons life. Six sessions of 'therapy' based on the assumption that the patient will be empowered to address her problems....I didn't know basic CBT involved the use of wands. I have wittered on about this issue previously but we are moving inexorably towards the pick'n'mix off the shelf approach to managing MH problems all based on cost. Financing care is important but the DoH's approach appears to be a 'one size fits all' approach rather than working with and allowing practitioners and patients at the local level to say what will work.
I could go on but I can smell the chicken is ready to come out of the oven and I must attend to the Sunday dinner.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The end is Nigel...

Cheerful listening on 'Listen Again'. That is 'The End is Nigh...Again' (From 31st dec. on Radio 4). All about how and when the world will end. Global warming looms large although pandemics play a big part as does nuclear weapons. The ultimate horror story for a dark winters evening or should we be doing more? I sort out my glass, paper and tins for recycling....but maybe more than that is required. Vote green? Cycle instead of driving the car? Swear once again at George W. and his puppy Blair? Having listened to the programme a sense of fatalism may be engendered as natural and manmade disasters appear stacked up and waiting for the word to go. Is that asteroid still on course for Iowa?
Having thoroughly cheered you up here is a happier picture...

Yep, even the cat is grumpy.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Today I have been mostly sleeping....zzzzzzzzzzz...
Other than a sore throat and a general tendency to doze off, the light headedness isn't too bad until I stand up. The floor is a long way down; I can't remember being that tall.
To top it all Mrs.C is gearing up for 'Celeb' Big Bother tonight...I can't get well enough too soon and escape to work in the real world. We can ban talk of it at work and we'll introduce a fines box for anyone who mentions it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Not again...

Rudeword(....)Rudeword.Insert expletive of choice here. The second day of a new year and I have a sore throat and feel I am fading fast. Manflu, it must be that. I'm poorly...
Today was the first day of a return to a healthy lifestyle after the Xmas frenzy of mince pies and chocolates. I had fruit for breakfast; made a toulouse sausage and veg casserole with red wine for my dinner and had just the one crumpet for lunch. So much for good intentions when I am now struck down by some inconsiderate coughing bastards leurgy. Paracetamol, tea and grumbling is now the order of the day.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007!

It's bright, it's breezy, it's brand new. Welcome 2007. Dog walked, paddled and run ragged. Toulouse snorkers and maple cured bacon plus tomatoes grilled for breakfast. A steaming mug of freshly ground Italian roast coffee in front of me and Bob Marley providing the sounds. Blimey, what more can you ask for. (It's peace, Swedish blondes and an everlasting pint of ale are not included).
Last night was fun, noisy, alcoholic and lots of attractive women...I can look but not touch. Oddly enough I was quite restrained on the beer front hence I feel bloody good today.The disco was LOUD with a mixture of modern and old stuff. Nearly everybody danced in the end.
For 2007 I will hopefully get some travelling in if the necessary DIY doesn't cost too much. Otherwise more of the same: work and studies and life as we know it Jim. That lottery win might happen but it would be nice to get some pictures of foreign parts, and not just Britneys gearbox. No1 is also badgering to go abroad so I'll take him to Yorkshire. I have some ideas but if I mention them to him now he'll drive me nuts with planning and he still needs a passport sorting out.Somewhere safe and tourist friendly for his first trip abroad so that's France ruled out...Scandinavia perhaps for a bit of camping. We'll see...
Otherwise, welcome to the new year and hopefully it'll be a good 'un for all of us.