Saturday, March 28, 2009

The morning I heard of Jade Goody's death brought out an odd reaction in me. I was shocked at the news, despite so many months of the media frenzy and, I was genuinely saddened by the news. I admit to being one of those who either ignored Jade or expressed disgust with her antics and the media hyperbole. But I have thought over the past week about my reaction and I couldn't really articulate how or why I felt unsettled by her death. This article sums up much of what I felt that day and still feel since then. I do not hold with the comparisons with 'Princess Di' which I believe are the middle class and educated media's snobbery regarding ordinary people. I also did not give a monkeys about Diana then nor do I care about her now. The loss of a parent is awful and dreadful for children, whether princesses or paupers yet I never warmed to her. I now recognise that some of my emotions regarding Jade Goodys death could be summed up under a sense of shame. That I presumed to judge Jade Goody and others like her. I still dislike Max Clifford and regard him with loathing and revulsion. Dante would place him and others of his ilk in an extra circle of hell. I am not not entirely sure why I am posting this. I guess it smacks of liberal hand wringing and wearing the hair shirt in public but publish and be damned.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Check this out....

It's been an interesting couple of days thus far in the new job with a hell of a lot of mileage done and a lot more to come: we'll be working county wide. It is too early to say whether it's good or not and the real work begins on April 1st when the referrals come through. But for now, lots of meeting/greeting and liaison work with some informal teaching thrown in. We are also putting together the paperwork and ensuring systems, processes, etc are all ready for the start day. At the moment I feel like a fish out of water because I am seconded to the corporate & legal department as well as being immersed in the waters of social work. I have a history of involvement with pilot schemes and new services in the nhs so once again it's guinea pigs-r-us.
Exciting times but also a change from my usual work and a welcome one because my focus will be upon very different client groups. More importantly, six months without shift working, oncalls and weekends off. My shredded nerves can mend after four and a half years of frontline working with others' crises. I popped in today and awaiting assessment were a variety of alcohol & overdose referrals plus a colleague showing frayed edges as he juggled several balls in the air....and breathe...Just maybe, fingers crossed, these six months will lengthen into twelve months or even a permanent job. We'll see...
Time for a Genesis fix so here ya go. Enjoy.


Friday, March 20, 2009


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Via a Radcliffe and Maconie interview with this intrepid young woman: please do have a look in, wish her luck and if you have any bunce left after red nose please do donate. Sarah Outen.
Bloody mad but kudos to her.

Oh and....why not. Enjoy...

Although I am working over the coming weekend, today was my last working day with some of my crisis colleagues until next October. It feels extremely odd to realise that my world has changed although it still looks the same.

Cliche alert!! One door closes and another one opens.

I am demob happy and I struggled today to keep up my usual professional facade. Happily, the younger and still enthusiastic staff manned the firesteps as I dealt with a variety of other agencies who were attempting to abdicate their responsibilities and dump upon us. Crisis teams operate 24/7, can do all sorts and are easily accessible. With some people that means 'It's a crisis and you need to sort it out'. Deep breath, count to ten... and repeat...remind them what the crisis team remit is and tell them to go away and attend to the persons needs instead of slopey shoulders posture they are currently adopting. I have warned my boss to expect complaints. But hey ho, I'll be elsewhere from Monday although frying pan and fire comes to mind.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A day spent potting up and preparing for the hopeful abundance of peppers, chillis, salad leaves, etc... Also spent keeping an eye on the undercover cops / benefit fraud people parked across the road who in no way stuck out like pork butchers at a bar mitzvah. Large men & fit blonde women sat in nearly new vectras whilst using video cams is great camouflage...several neighbours joined us as we watched and discussed their antics.
However, whilst trawling the net for future plans I came across this. Northway IPA is a particular favourite of mine and the opportunity to brew my own. However, commonsense will rule the day and I'll stick with a brew kit for my next brew. It works out at approximately forty pence a pint if I brew 40 pints and, apart from a busy couple of hours on day one plus a few weeks brewing and then the bottling, not too much effort. The rewards can be heavenly...

Mrs C. stays out of my way because it can be a bit messy with pots on the boil, ingredients and the dog getting in the way. Maybe I need a shed with running water, electricity and comfy chairs so I can stay out of the way. A permanent brew kit could be installed...although having looked at what's needed and the space involved, perhaps not. My basic kit will have to do...

Finally, out walking the pooch yesterday and I photographed this denizen of the deep lurking as it awaited its next meal.

Not a clear photo but it was a quick snap before the pike swam away and whilst I stopped the mutt from plunging into the water. I definitely need a decent camera with a manual and digital lens.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunshine with a genuine warmth in the sun brought out the need to open windows and spring clean. Mrs C. tackled number one sons' room and I hoovered various rooms. Old books were bagged up for the charity shop and rubbish chucked out. The garden tidied up and the mutt brushed & polished. Oddly enough, this was started yesterday because I had to search out old records following a bizarre telephone conversation with the mortgage company. They have discovered I owe them £114 from six years ago. How this was overlooked for that length of time is a mystery to both them and me. Sadly it is correct (I found the paperwork) and I await written confirmation from them before I make any payments.
From searching for documentation to clearing out crap and old papers from ten years ago led to the spring clean. I keep all financial documents from the last several years having learned the hard way that the tax people / banks /council tax bastards produce unwelcome surprises. I also took the opportunity to use the filing box supplied by Mrs C. to tidy things up. Carrier bags provided my old filing 'system'...not conducive to easy access. Mrs C. was dissuaded from photographing me bagging up the old books. I become attached to things: books, clothes, etc... especially books. Some I will never throw away because I re-read them time and again (Collected stories of Sherlock Holmes - comfort reading). Old maps and atlas' are particular favourites...possible hints of obsessive behaviour there. The amount of junk we accumulate never fails to amaze me. Computer cables...tons of them and where on earth did they come from? Leaflets advertising shows, exhibitions, events...some from the late nineties! I think this clearout could last a couple of weeks and I will have to be tough. If we ain't using it, bin it or to the charity shop. I certainly believe in recycling old stuff.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I spent yesterday evening watching Red Nose comic relief. I don't usually watch it although I do give money to charidee...Sally Army, Age Concern, Cats Protection and NSPCC are my choices. However, I decided to watch despite my antipathy towards generally dull comics and lame sketches...sometimes it is worth challenging preconceptions. I enjoyed most of the comic skits and I was moved by the various stories. Alan Carr generally makes me laugh and David Tennant was good fun although he didn't play West End Girls. I even tolerated Davina without shouting my usual abuse at her (talentless). Bloody hell, I even laughed at French & Saunders...I'd had a couple of beers by then.

I must be getting soft in my old age.
Today I made up for it by watching rugby for a number of hours as I shouted and generally let off steam. Mind you, tomorrow England v France so cue lots of swearing and shouty goodness. Sunday evening has become my weekly TV experience and tomorrow I'll have the rugby, Time Team and Lark Rise to entertain me. Mrs C. has the TV the rest of the time for her home sales/improvement programmes/ antiques / soaps/ murder / cops / 'reality' shows. I watch documentaries, comedies, movies and historical stuff....Lark Rise creeps under the radar for the latter as does Poldark. Demelza did something to adolescent groins in the seventies. I can't really complain about Mrs.C's TV choices as it really is each to their own. I might enjoy watching the battle of Stalingrad for the umpteenth time whilst others switch off 5 minutes before it even starts.
I'll stop now because I appear to be afflicted with a vowel disorder...I keep missing out the vowels. Wht ds ths lk lk wtht th vwls? Bzrr...t mst b th br.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unlike the above picture I have grown used to the lack of expectant visitors to my blog. I write it for my own pleasure and as a conceit in my middle age. It also conveniently reminds me of what was happening on a certain day...highly edited of course. I read a variety of blogs and sadly, some of them cease and others, I lose interest in them. What strikes me about some blogs is that people mistake them for the real world rather than one reflection or interpretation of the external world.
Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc...all compete for the internet audience but I do prefer blogging. I can gather my thoughts, create the blog entry, edit and do this at my own pace. I can also post trite pictures of cats and dogs. Oddly enough I only know one other person who blogs although I have become acquainted with several in the blogging world. Whether their blogs reflect the real person or not I don't know, having never met any of them. It might be better to not meet and try to maintain the illusions. In real life I tend to be quiet, steady (as described by my boss!) and dependable...a.k.a. boring. I quite like that because having known rather too much excitement years ago I prefer the quiet life. Brewing beer, growing veg, dog walking, reading books and listening to music with the occasional bit of night life thrown in will do for me.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A glass of my favourite Spanish brandy; replete from a wonderful Sunday roast courtesy of Mrs C.; two hours of wonderful music dispensed by Genevieve Tudor after having enjoyed the sanitised pastoral delights of "Lark Rise..etc". Just for a few hours all is well with my world as it revolves smoothly around its axis.
Just what the doctor ordered given the busy day I had at work and the sadness, loneliness and occasionally madness that fills our working days ( and nights!).


Saturday, March 07, 2009

I feel hungover and extremely rough which is very surprising. I haven't had any alcohol since a bottle of beer on Thursday. It could be stress given current familial dynamics, old age or my body saying "Need fruit, vegetables...not cheese pasties". Mind you, the low grade cold which has been plaguing me over the past three weeks might be the culprit.


It's just over two weeks to the start of my secondment to the new job. A mixture of alternating apprehension and excitement co-exist at the prospect of my new role. It's also reflected in my current work because I am increasingly demob happy.I am physically present but my mind is increasingly elsewhere. I now realise that come October and the end of the secondment I will be better off employed elsewhere. I've outgrown my present job and I'm bored with it. The chance of extending the secondment is one possibility but I won't know that until a few months into the job. I do feel the desire to return to my roots of working with people who have severe and enduring mental illness. However, that's for another time and work beckons.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Winter has returned with frost and fog this morning. So much for spring waiting around the corner....

MOT done this afternoon and Suki has come through job down and just the road tax at the end of the month. I don't mind paying taxes but it certainly ain't being spent on maintaining the roads. The potholes have acquired lives of their own as they have grown ever bigger and deeper. I have added a new blog to my sidebar, certainly pertinent for me as a nurse: hard science as well as psychology and social approaches. Much as I like the wibble of parapsychology, hauntings and UFO's, I do like proper science. I enjoyed physics and chemistry at school although it's such a shame I was shite at both. There was one physics teacher who looked like a cross between Uncle Fester and Alfred Hitchcock. He put the fear of god into us but we learnt as he smoked his cigars whilst teaching us. How times have changed. There was a rumour that he was one of the first British soldiers into Belsen and he had no fear of or illusions about humanity following that experience. Our other physics teacher was accident prone and the experiments usually went awry. Always aomething to look forward to. Another teacher, chemistry this time, taught us how to distil alcohol, make wine and explosives. I cannot imagine teachers of today being allowed to teach these experiments. They were unique and happily free from the interference of central government diktats. We learnt from the cockups, the attempts to try out the 'unusual' and, from the enthusiasm of the teachers themselves. I do feel sorry for the youth of, edukasion, edukashon....

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It's started.

I don't smoke but I did not support the blanket smoking ban in pubs. I believe that people are responsible for themselves and smoking is a choice that people make. The same goes for drinking, eating and dangerous sports. The health busybodies have moved on to alcohol and this will be the thin edge of the wedge. As a nurse, I and my colleagues have to encourage patients to express their views and we have to respect those views. There is a rain forest load of literature telling us what to do, the rights of the patient and how they can complain about disrespectful staff. Mind you, there is an equally sizeable amount of literature telling staff to encourage patients to manage their diet, stop smoking, drink less, exercise, etc...So when are the bastards that supposedly run mismanage the country going to listen to us, the voters? Probably never until elections hove to on the horizon when promises are made whilst fingers are crossed.
There is a problem with easy access to very cheap, strong alcohol in this country. How to address this: by allowing pubs to sell alcohol to adults without unnecessary red tape; with a reduction in taxes on alcohol sold in licenced premises; with supermarkets and shops ensuring alcohol sold at market price without special offers as loss leaders and paying full tax on them; lower tax on tasty, low % alcohol beers brewed locally (Jobs!). I'd rather see 18 year olds drinking in pubs where there is some control, either from expected standards of behaviour by other customers and vested self interest of the publican who does not want the police having to intervene. The former want a good night out and the latter has a licence and livelihood to consider. Pubs employ people and are often the local focal point for many people. In a sense, the loss of the local pub whilst pubco's ran large, noisy drinking barns with cheap drink promotions and bouncers on the doors, is symptomatic of what has gone wrong with society in general. Conversation, seating, good manners and civilized behaviour promoted as boring and from a bygone age, therefore irrelevant to young people. But large, noisy barns without seating which maximise sales and therefore profits have been encouraged without any consideration given to the social consequences.
People should be free to make choices and there is nothing wrong with making profits, especially when there is a demand for supplying that choice. But copious amounts of cheap, strong alcohol in a short period of time supplied to lots of young adults with few restrictions is likely to result in falling over and kebab munching at best, violence, sexual assaults and death at worse. People making choices in sensibly run local pubs with a wide age range is preferable. Profits can still be made, misbehaviour can be nipped in the bud (shite American rice beer) and the majority of people have a good time. It doesn't stop someone becoming addicted to alcohol but I would argue that addiction is only a small part of the problem. The problem is binge drinking and the social consequences. I have seen alcohol addiction cut right across the social class system; from cheap superstrength cider to expensive wines and spirits. But in a recession with high unemployment and debt on top of rapid unsettling social change, more people will turn to drink. Mind you, if the government price the poor out of buying legal cheap alcohol, illegal booze and drugs will fill the gap for many. The alternative is a sober, angry underclass joining with an increasingly angry and disenfranchised middle class. Rioting is free....they could apply a riot tax plus VAT.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spring is in the air with the birds singing, sun (weakly) shining and people wearing t shirts during daylight hours (clubbers in winter don't count). I've been planting seeds ready for the year ahead. Chillis, basil, peppers, marigolds today with the rest to be planted in little pots later this week.

The plan is to grow tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and chillis, with a variety of flowers. Having discovered yesterday that marigolds and basil can help protect the above plants from green and black fly I have bought plenty of those as well. I've also bought some large plastic tubs to go in the gardens and to plant in them. I also intend to order some hop plants and give them a try out. I also want to try my hand at herbs but I'll look out for plants rather than seeds. I suggested we plant some potatoes but Mrs C. doesn't believe we have enough space. However, I'd heard about planting in a large pot or even in a compost bag. Searching the internet I found this...

"For the ultimate lazy, but effective, way of growing potatoes: get a bag of compost and stand on end firmly. Cut holes in the sides about 20cm apart. Push a seed potato in to each hole and cover. Water from above ensuring excess water can drain out of the bottom. Ensure shoots emerge through each planting hole from side of bag."
I've got to give it a go just to see whether I can succeed.

I'm also researching the net for plants that will keep the mozzies and other biting critters away. Rosemary, ageratum, lemongrass, peppermint, catnip and marigolds appear to be favourites whilst burning citronella candles in the evenings may also help. As an optimist I'm assuming we will have a hot summer!