Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yesterday was a day I experienced that there global warming. I sweltered as I struggled through my hundred mile round trip in tropical temperatures of 0 to -2 degrees C. I managed to avoid hitting any palm trees (coconuts removed to protect visiting presidents) as my car slipped and skittered on sheet iced roads and barely saw the other vehicles through the heat haze of white snow. The journey over a variety of A roads over the Wolds was manageable until on my return, fifteen miles from home, I and other motorists met a police road block. They directed us down a particular road which had been mentioned on the local radio as "impassible due to sheet ice and two jack knifed lorries". Yep.... they had blocked the wrong road and sent us down the road where they should have set up the road block. My little car was easy to slip slide around its pirouette of a u turn and return to the original route. This took a while because of the number of artics, large trucks and cars all wanting to do the same. Sadly, the larger vehicles couldn't do this on the narrow road and traffic backed up for miles. Other roads had accidents and they too became blocked. Happily I escaped early but I felt sorry for those drivers who were stuck until 11 pm in freezing winter conditions. They had some choice diverse Anglo-Saxon language for those police officers! So today is a paperwork catchup day with heating on, various animals snuggled up to radiators and frequent stops for tea. I think Fiat make a little 4x4 which may be more appropriate for the warm, steamy tropical winters we now seem to encounter. With a pollen filter it may well stop the nasty second hand cigarette smoke which appears to be drifting across the steamy paddy fields of Lincolnshire and killing us all. One can't be too careful.
Back to tapping away at the grindstone.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

After a night where the temperature dropped to -8 hereabouts the snow arrived at 10.30, happily after we had completed our shopping. But it provided an excellent opportunity for photographs whilst walking the pooch who loves snow. I'm not sure if that's the Labrador or Cocker Spaniel in her, probably both. It's still snowing three hours later and it certainly looks as though the snow is here to stay.

Needless to say the pooch is very happy and I enjoyed the brisk walk with the crunch of snow below my feet as the world was gradually muffled in it's new white coat. The weather forecast had promised a "light covering of snow with temperatures around zero degrees". Wrong on both counts and tonight I guess it will be well below zero again.

No 1 son at his girlfriends house up at the top of the Lincolnshire Wolds and there is a chance he may be stuck there if the roads are bad. Here we have the heating on and we are all wrapped up warm with the cats squeezed in beside various radiators. I think we'll keep it that way and enjoy the view from the windows.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A quiet evening with an excellent Malt Whiskey, radio on t'internet and surfing the web. I've left the TV and various reality shows to Mrs C. The malt is a Laphroaig Quarter Cask which at 48% is treated with respect... nectar indeed. It is much needed after a lousy week. It started with a bout of food poisoning which finally ended after four days and has ended with me 'putting my back out'. Medical terminology for 'Ow! That hurts'.So the malt was fetched from the cupboard and e'en now it is warming the cockles of my heart. I suspect the lengthy car journeys at work in an uncomfortable car and with the usual light covering of snow causing traffic stupidity may have effected my back. But I am on my days off and can try to relax.
I am following the international and financial news avidly particularly with family in Ireland. Watching the EU slowly implode and wandering which way it will go (here's a good Link) as well as the politics in the USA and the worrying Korean situation. I find it interesting that in the office I can discuss this with one colleague whereas the others all look blank, tell me they are not interested or prefer to discuss X factor. The one colleague is the team secretary who is older than me and had lived in the States for many years. In the other team they are all labour supporters (and social workers) and view my politics with a lot of suspicion. I delight in pointing out that my working class son of migrants credentials should place me squarely in the midst of the labour luvvies party, whereas their middle-class background would be anathema to true labour politics. It does seem impossible for a lefty luvvie to understand that one can be right of centre without eating babies or forcing pensioners to freeze to death on the streets. I guess simple folks require simple slogans. Simple black & white slogans applied to life's various shades of grey always ends in tears. We are living in interesting times and although worrying, it is fascinating. Time for another whiskey and some more surfing. I am hopeful the combination of painkillers and whisky will alleviate the painor at the very least blur the sharp edges.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My response to some royal event planned for next year.

Meanwhile in the real world as Ireland is bought lock, stock and barrel by the EU and other countries are greedily eyed up for the same treatment, the media is full of the above event and the usual TV bread & circuses reality programmes. Time to dust off my Gibbons 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' to see the original blueprint for the collapse of western civilisation.

I have been provisionally accepted for the AMHP training next year so that is next spring and summer accounted for...hard work and studying. It will keep me in employment during these troubled times and will look good on my future C.V. when I look towards Canada in a few years time. Mind you, Mrs C. occasionally reminds me of 'that job' in Nunavut. I'll be out of her hair for three years, earning good money and she'll have free run of the house to decorate to her own tastes! We only have one life and the adventure does appeal but a land with no trees and endless dark winters needs serious consideration. But the adventure...Jack London and all that cold, crisp, clean, fresh wilderness. However, back to placing feet firmly on the ground and an acceptance that such dreams will have to wait at least another two years until my commitments are finally completed. Speaking of which I have the usual chores to attend to on my day off.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

After a week sans alcohol I had a few beers last night. Oh my aching head this morning! I drank 'Directors' now brewed by Wells & Young's although previously brewed by Courage. I haven't drunk this beer for many years so I thought I'd give it a go but I didn't consider the strength of the beer (4.8 %).A brisk walk with the mutt & fresh air to clear my head, plus aspirin and lots of tea has reduced the hammering somewhat. A beautiful sunny day out and I want to make the most of it. So a quick post only...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The following is hopefully a longer answer to Bill's query in yesterday's comments regarding 'sectioning'. Crisis and other teams have to request a MH Act assessment and it is only considered if really required. It is never taken lightly although there are lots of myths about the process.


The above blog makes for interesting reading and will hopefully answer
any questions about AMHP's and the process of assessing people
under the mental health act. I have accompanied AMHP's on their
assessments and every possible avenue is explored with the individual
and family to avoid sectioning unless truly needed. Risk to self and
others as well as the obvious: are they suffering a mental illness?
Oddly enough there are people very keen to be admitted into hospital even to the extent of wanting to be sectioned! We spot most of them but even with genuine referrals we prefer to work with people at home. The majority of our patients have little chance of being sectioned and long may that continue.
I'm back from the wilderness...well, a busy workload and a non-stop demand for my services over the past few weeks kept me from blogging. All work and no play meant I had little to blog about. In both of my jobs I and my colleagues have acquired more work. As the axe is wielded in social services my role as a best interests assessor means training the care homes as well as the NHS staff. Our boss also had a 100 Watt moment and we have been asked to perform a research project. He appears to have forgotten we work part time as well as working in other jobs. More grist to the mill... I have also been 'asked' to train next year as an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP), an ASW in the old parlance. That means I will have the power to section people and detain them in hospital. Not a task I am looking forward to and I freely admit I am not sure I want to do it. Happily, because the crisis team is extremely stretched one lot of management are refusing to release people for AMHP training as it would mean five months seconded away to university and field training with another team. Fingers crossed that I will not be released for the training. Oddly enough I have more responsibility and fewer resources when assessing people in crisis compared to the AMHP work. But AMHP work includes all sorts of headaches which quite frankly I can do without and I prefer to leave it to younger colleagues who still possess bags of energy, enthusiasm and a belief in psychiatry. Given the current management approach to savings i.e. cut front line staff and frighten the other buggers into increasing their workloads, I may have to bite the bullet and do the training. Negotiations have begun and undoubtedly managerial meetings, emails and bickering will ensure my ears burn over the next few weeks.

On the home front life remains much the same with No.1 son settled into his work and college routine. The latter I do find bizarre and it explains the mess UK education is in. My son has a two year City & Guilds course, the first year of which mirrors most of the course he did last year. He is not allowed to count this as previous learning and jump to the second year of the course. Politics and college financing are priotitised, not the student's needs. This means he is bored and fed up with college although he has knuckled down and he attends for the one day per week. Otherwise he is happy and chasing up the badges of adulthood... a driving licence and a passport for a planned holiday abroad next year. He is spending too much of his hard earned money on his girlfriend but it is his money and he'll learn to eventually budget.

Anyway, here's the beginning of the gradual descent into the commercial madness that is Christmas...TTFN.