Thursday, August 27, 2009

I read this article yesterday but consigned it to a pleasant read and thought no more about it until shopping in Sainsbugs this morning when my eyes beheld a marvellous sight. The new beers were in and the offer of buy 4 for the price of 3 also gladdened my heart. Pay day and new beers in...synchronicity.
So naturally I bought eight bottles including three from Williams Brothers brewery whose beers have always impressed me. Here they are...

I have had 'Woild Moild' on tap in the past, either at Wetherspoons or a beer festival and I enjoyed it. I am a fan of milds, porters, stouts and Scottish ales so I'll see how I get on with these over the next couple of weeks. I can only suggest you get down there and buy some. You'll be supporting these breweries, drinking good beers and Sainsbury's will continue to run this competition and promote good beers.
I did have another entry ready to publish regarding No.1 son but events have taken over. On the positive side he received good results for his GCSE's and he is now signed up for college. Ongoing events regarding Cornwall and long distance love may change this.
I note in the Guardian and other media that the debate regarding public sector pensions has smouldered into flame again. Every time I see a statement regarding protection of front line staff but hitting the 'unnecessary' public sector staff I know it will generally be right wing nuts with a mission to destroy Trotskyites. I have a lot of sympathy with those whose pensions were screwed up by the government/investors/financial advisors. I also agree that there need to be cuts and removal of 'non-jobs'. One particular blog (A good blog by the way) led me to the previously unknown (to me) role of the 'Political Advisor'. I'll let you dear reader google this specific non-job which I do believe can go the way of the Dodo. My first impression was of Political Commisars attached to Red Army units during the still is. Special advisors, quangocrats, assorted bean counters can also go as well. Most of the frothing at the mouth right wingers (see the daily mail, express, etc..) point to 'Lesbian Outreach Workers' but I've yet to come across any of these. Youth outreach workers and mental health assertive outreach workers are known to me. Hell, my title within the Assertive Outreach team was Senior Outreach Worker...nurse to anyone else. It reflected the type of work I performed and the patients I worked with. So if cuts have to be made, and believe me they do have to be made, will they be the broad slash of the mad axe brigade or, will they be the thought out clinically precise surgical cuts to remove the unnecessary fat? I can make a reasonable guess and duck as the axes fly. My secondment comes to an end soon (Thankfully!!) and if management have any sense, from a financially prudent point of view, I would be returned to my very necessary frontline job and rota'd in to perform the best interests job alongside as and when needed. It would save the Trust money, they will get a good return on their investment and it would stop the needless empire building that goes on in the NHS. (I'm talking myself out of a cushy number - it hurts to be honest!). There are certainly a significant number of staff who could go from the NHS but to achieve that the pointless layers of bureaucracy also has to go. Simplify the paperwork and reduce the number of backroom staff. Sadly, what will happen is already happening. Foundation trusts need to save money and when an experienced band six nurse/social worker leaves replace them with a recently qualified band five. When a band five staff member leaves replace them with a band three/four support worker. Simples! It's cheap and a worker is available to assist so long as people are happy with a dumbed down second-rate service which leads to more mistakes and a greater chance of relapsing. But you gets what you pays for. As the Chinese proverb has it we are now living in interesting times.

Monday, August 24, 2009

This is the band we'll be watching on the Sunday bank holiday get together...

It should noisy...and drunken. Here's the earlier version...


Sunday, August 23, 2009

I've been tardy of late in updating the blog. It's summer and other things demand my attention but I guess it is the same for other bloggers. Recently, two blogs I enjoyed reading have stopped. One, a political blog, stopped because he stated he no longer had anything to say which is a shame because I enjoyed his thoughtful and incisive commentary about UK politics. The other wrote a 'story' but I guess she used the blog to try out ideas and as an interesting distraction. I was upset at their demise which is odd because I have never met the bloggers and I am unlikely to ever do so. Blogging is generally ephemeral but there is a community of bloggers out there and it is sad to say goodbye to other bloggers, especially if they are talented and are worth listening to and/or entertaining.
On the home front I am now en vacances..."no tin" as is charmingly stated by Rossetti at frequent intervals in 'Shagging Arty Types', so I am holidaying at home. The dog is walking lots and is very happy and I have a supply of rubbish books in to keep me happy. I am also trawling through the OU courses for the umpteenth time to decide which course to do next year. 'Europe: culture and identities in a contested continent' looks interesting especially with the current debate regarding religions, race, nation and the EU. Something to get my teeth into which isn't strictly work related and to finally complete my degree. The bizarre thing is I have already completed some work towards a Masters degree so everything is topsy turvey. As I stated in an earlier post I am thinking beyond nursing and what I may do as a new career when I retire from nursing in several years time. I now view 57 as too young to fully retire and other possibilities come to mind. Writing and research comes to mind and the OU degrees will help towards that. It also keeps my mind active and man cannot think on sudoku alone. It's the big 50 for me next year and my planned 'mid-life crisis' of a Harley, pony tail and Kerouacing around interesting parts will have to be postponed for a few years. At least until loans and debts are paid off...that'll be a three quarter life crisis then. As tomorrow is a holiday I guess I can treat myself to a late night cup of tea. Life in the fast lane eh?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm off to the pub tonight for it is quiz night. So here's a little philosalcoholophy for you to be getting on with...


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Here's a Swedish video...There, that got your attention didn't it. For an alternative approach to funding and running health care I found the following.

If I carry on like this I could be mistaken for a serious blogger which is certainly not my intention. However, some objective and open debate regarding how to improve the NHS would be useful. I've read some comments elsewhere suggesting Dan Hannan is a traitor and demanding his head on a pike. I prefer sensible debate where he has any sensible ideas but for the rest of his right wing nut views please to point fingers and laugh at the funny man. For a sensible Peruvian alternative exported to these isles Paddington Bear may well have something to say to Mr Brown about the NHS, marmalade sandwiches and marmite.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Regarding the current furore over the right-wing in the USA saying the NHS is the equivalent of Stalin's gulags I'd like to link to this blog.(Read the comments) She sums up the media frenzied lunacy with a personal perspective of both the NHS and US healthcare systems. I agree with her in that systems can be at fault but that the NHS offers universal care which is not dependent upon one's pocket. There is much I would like to see change within the NHS:
Reduce the government interference to a bare mimimum.
Get rid of targets and measure quality properly i.e. success, satisfaction, etc...
Reduce the unnecessary bureaucracy.
Get rid of the management consultants and the internal market.
Give people a proper say in what healthcare they want.
Find an alternative to PFI. I don't sell my house and then pay twice the money for double the time to live in it and I don't expect clueless governments to do the same with our hospitals.
Fewer managers and they should have pertinent knowledge of health and social care.
Health care based upon the knowledge & experience of health care professionals and not central targets.
Local services led by health care professionals.
Slap stupid journalists and politicians with used inco pads until they stop making stupid scaremongering headlines and soundbites.

The last isn't necessary to improve the NHS but it would make me feel better.
As for my view of the NHS: I have lots of praise for a system which at times creaks along, stumbles and drops people but, on the whole is a great achievement. I can be accused of bias because I am employed by the NHS but I have worked in private care as well. The NHS covers everyone and for those who choose to, they can top up or opt for private care. It works and if you want to see what privatisation does just consider what happened to dentistry in the UK when that was opened up to privatisation. Do you really want the same to happen to healthcare? Approach this topic with an open mind. Read other blogs and follow the links for facts and figures. Don't just make your mind up based upon hearsay and personal horror stories, also, do question the agenda of those bloggers, commentators and pundits. For those of an ideological bent who have already made their minds up, well, no amount of the true facts and figures will change your minds. You can believe Hannan and the other right wing ideologues or you can make your own minds up. For those who accuse me of liberal pinko beliefs: Yup, I have left of centre beliefs although I relish voting against the current bunch of tory lite corrupt warmongering clowns. Sadly this may well usher in the Tories but will they be any worse than these interfering social engineers whom I see destroying my country? Probably...what a choice: Greens, Lib Dems, Monster Raving loonies. Sadly, much as I am appalled by New labour and it's coterie of wankers, I might have to vote for them. I've no real desire to vote in Thatcherite wolves in nice fluffy wuffy sheeps clothing. Oops! I'm approaching rant mode so I'll stop there. here's a picture of fluffy animals (not sheep) to soothe those whose minds are troubled by these thoughts of politics...


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That picture of innocence woke me up at 5 am. Thinking to prevent accidents and praising her for pestering me I opened the back door as she made a beeline for her foodbowl. Sod that! Chased out and I returned to bed. Hence I now feel extremely tired and irritable especially since the promised deluge of work referrals hasn't materialised. Commisioners and senior managers will be making their decisions regarding the secondments of my two colleagues and I fairly soon. We are hoping for a commonsense solution i.e. Split half & half between Crisis team and Best Interests. So fingers crossed for a good result.

I have also made recent contact with my cousin in New York after a long gap via the internet. It's good to catch up on family news and hopefully I will see her when she's over in London this autumn. Sadly, when my parents divorced it also split the extended family so people drifted apart and I'm hoping now to try and repair some of those rifts. Ideally I would like to pop over to Ireland but thanks to various financial restrictions...Will Mrs C. still have a job in September?...I have to again put this off until next year. A familiar refrain. It also means a quiet month in with fewer visits to the pub as well as cancelling the opportunity to see Simple Minds live in Sheffield. C'est la vie. I'm still working unlike many others who have lost or will lose their jobs.
A friend asked what I would do if I became redundant. Hopefully I never have to find out because I really am unsure as to what I'd do. As an experienced and highly qualified nurse (Blow that trumpet!!) I would quickly find work but it might be a case of accepting whatever is on offer, wherever and at whatever pay. i.e. agency work in one of the bigger cities with a long commute or, at local care homes for less pay. Given that public sector pensions is one area under the spotlight and whichever bunch of clowns wins the next election will 'deal' with this, I may have to bail out for early retirement just to recoup 25 years of pension (greatly reduced no doubt). With a mortgage, loans and daily living costs I'll have to continue working. Especially since No.1 son starts college this year and there is little chance of work for him. He might not even have the opportunity of an apprenticeship, just more classroom work. He is keen to earn money and may possibly grab whatever job he finds so I wouldn't blame him if an opportunity of work arose. He's desperate to pass his driving test and buy a car. So my immediate response would be to find work although any redundancy money would set me up for a couple of weeks holiday in Ireland at the very least. Who knows what tomorrow brings?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Football is back and as I type Town are one - nil up at Cheltenham. So why have I got BBCi on Radio 5 Live and listening to the test cricket? Why not? I'll give it a go and having just listened to General Richard Danett as a guest on the show discussing the various 'Stans* and current wars, well, you do not get that listening to football.
I still have the residual symptoms of the flu, namely tiredness and the ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. So my weekend will consist of sleeping as well as collecting No.1 son from his camping holiday. There goes the peace and quiet. today was also spent grooming and washing the dog. The lengthy walk beforehand ensured she accepted the bath and the sunshine enabled her to dry out fairly quickly. Brushing her is no hardship because she's a tart for grooming. Shedloads of dog hair in the bin and she now looks gorgeous as she lies sprawled out on the floor, paws in the air.
They are now discussing rugby union as part of the Test commentary. Perhaps that's what I like, the time to discuss life, the universe and cricket over the five days.

Part 2: Son collected, tanned, smelling of woodsmoke and glowing with health after his kayaking holiday. He also handed me the best part of a bottle of Gordon's Gin! Time for the elusive perfect Martini or just a long, cool lemony G&T with lots of ice. Anyhow, time to play mindless games and listen to loud music on spotufy starting with IronMaiden.
Hat tip to Sean who penned a list of fifty bands he has seen live. My memory of bands I have seen is absent or hazy for some years but here goes...

1. The Clash.
2. The Jam
3. The Ramones
4. AC/DC
5. Madness.
6. Gary Glitter
7. Tenpole Tudor
8. Richard Thompson
9. Def Leppard
10. Joe Jackson
11. The Hamsters
12. Lindisfarne
13. Paul Brady
14. Michelle Shocked
15. Christy Moore
16. Van Morrison
17. The Pogues
18. Chris De Burgh
19. Bo Diddley
20. Dick Gaughan
21. Tom Robinson
22. Flaco Jimenez
23. Al Stewart
24. Nanci Griffith
25. Suzanne Vega
26. The Blues Band
27. Iris Dement
28. Loudon Wainwright 111
29. Martha and the Muffins
30. The Who
31. Bruce Springsteen
32. Faith No More
33. Iron Maiden
34. Rainbow
35. The Damned
36. k.d.Lang
37. Elvis Costello
38. Richard Hell & the Voidoids
39. The Stranglers
40. Rezillos
41. UK Subs
42. The Stylistics
43. Candi Staton
44. Blondie
45. Rush
46. Nils Lofgren
47. The Tourists
48. Paul Young
49. UB 40
50. Luther Allison.

They aren't in any particular order and I have missed bands including one Cambridge Folk Festival where I spent four days completely stocious (whisky and Guiness) with a girl whose name I no longer remember. As per Sean's rules I have not included pub bands and I haven't included the classical concerts I attended. I also cannot remember many of the gigs I saw at Dingwalls in London during the late '70's and early '80's.
The ones that stand out are Joe Jackson because he played on acoustically despite a power cut & he was excellent. The Clash and the Ramones I saw several times and they always blew me away. AC/DC I saw with Bon Scott a few weeks before he died. Nils Lofgren for his use of a trampoline during his act! Faith No More when the stage collapsed with scaffolding falling everywhere - they played on after a short break. As for the Stylistics and Candi Staton: the girl I fancied like mad at that time liked them. Chris De Burgh was a birthday present from some friends and he played a blinding gig.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

It has got me...both Mrs C and I have been struck down by swine flu. This will be a short post because I feel wrung out and hung out to dry.Plenty of water and paracetamol plus the obligatory Nightnurse. I'll leave the Tamiflu for those who really need it because the above plus lots of sleep should bring me back to good health....Oh! Music helps as well. Currently listening to Townes Van Zandt.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

A great night last night: excellent music from an acoustic blues-rock trio. The singer, Ashleigh Howard, was fantastic with a strong bluesy voice. Hopefully we will see them again. But the craic was mighty with the pub full, lots of laughter, conversation and general bonhomie. Several people in there whom I hadn't seen for the past year so it really did feel like a home from home. Hence today is a day of rest and recuperation after the skinful of last night and Mrs C. is not very well. She thinks she may have swine flu which puts me in an awkward position. Do I visit the various care homes full of vulnerable oldsters and give them the flu or, do I abide by precepts of nursing and stay at home tomorrow? I could end up trailing a hooded scythe carrying passenger as I enter each home.
Receptionist: "Sign here please"
Me: Del Catto.
R: "Is there a musty cobwebby smell in here?"

I'll make that decision tomorrow morning. It might be made for me as I succumb to the porcine plague of media proportions. Here's a song to cheer us up as weawait the plague of locusts next...


Saturday, August 01, 2009

No matter how much I try I can never get all four of the beasties in the same photograph. I'll try next time at mealtimes when I will have a guaranteed audience of four.

What is a minor niggle which has now grown into a major nuisance is my right shoulder which is stiff and, at times, I do not have full movement in it. This could be part of the aging process, it could be down to my weight although I am not ordinarily given to walking around town on my hands. It be the result of the combination of age, damp weather and numerous activities when I was younger. I was a keen weight lifter, sailor, cyclist and rugby player, with climbing and gymnastics thrown in. Falling out of trees didn't help either, nor did the various cycling accidents over the years. The day my motorcycle played up and I crashed through a bus shelter may also have contributed. Suffice to say that during ones teens and twenties there is a feeling of, not quite indestructibility a la Captain Scarlet, but no sense of the inevitable price to pay for wear and tear in later years.

Rather than whinge about it I am attempting to find solutions. Pain relief as and when, warmth and gentle exercise help. A warm cat securely tied to my shoulder was considered but the inevitable hot water bottle does wonders. That also attracts the cats as a source of warmth. Alcohol occasionally helps although rubbing it in is clearly a waste and deep heat helps. A lottery win and a move to a warmer climate would be beneficial but is unlikely to happen. A couple of pints tonight may do the trick...