Friday, 23 August 2013

Hospital-acquired Insanity :(

Continuing our run of excellent luck, I found myself being ambulanced to Dorchester's Emergency Medical Unit on Tues a.m., following chest pains etc. After two sleepless nights in insane, oven-like, noisy wards , with so many needles stuck into me and copious drugs administered ( they woke me up at 3 a.m. to take blood !) .... ....I declined the angiogram planned for Thurs a.m. and escaped back to the real world. Many different drugs to take and on the waiting list for a non-invasive CAT scan of heart ( much better). They achieve much in E.M.U. I saw several 80+ yr old guys, who arrived in a terrible state, much improved in a few hours after tests and treatment. The nurses are on their knees, working 12 hour shifts. Met some really kind nurses/doctors and had long chats with old guys who had lived amazing lives. One guy sailing from port to port, all over the world, flying the flag for the empire in post-war 'Youth Service' . .aged just 14! Another guy left his home near Heathrow, still a teen, and went to Scotland to be a dairy farmer ! He told how living with the Blitz had given him a dreadful stutter and how the Scottish girl he married helped him to conquer it! I am happy to report that the hospital food was excellent and the system for linking it with patients . .quite remarkable! Upon discharge, one has to wait for a few hours in the discharge lounge whilst the pharmacy makes up drugs packs .... and somehow the food you ordered the previous day finds its way to you! When I got home, I was babbling like a loon for a while. I guess it was just a mild case of hospital-acquired insanity ;)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

ON THE PASSING OF THATCHER . . . I've just heard former former Tory Party Deputy Chairman and ex jail-bird, Jeffrey Archer, on Sky News . . . quoting Shakespeare in elegiac praise of his former boss. I didn't catch it in it's entirety but it ended with " . . . unparalleled ". I assume that it was: " Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies A lass unparalleled." from 'Antony & Cleopatra'. " Unparalleled " in what way, one might ask? Well, she was certainly unparalleled when it came to the destruction of nationalised industries, the abandonment of 'One Nation' Conservatism, the brutal attacks on the miners and all unions, with the resultant rolling-back of workers' rights - and the introduction of 'paramilitary-style' policing, only previously seen in the South American dictatorships; turning the British police into State 'enforcers' and destroying, forever, the proud tradition of consensual policing in the U.K. Yes, all of that was unparalleled. Equally 'unparalleled' was her short-sightedness in selling off the nation's stock of Council Houses which has led, with logical inevitability, to the hated 'bedroom tax'. Yeah . .thanks for that one, Maggie ! Also 'unparalleled' was her hectoring & rather 'nannying' condescension; latterly combined with delusions of grandeur and her use of the Royal 'we', normally reserved for the Monarch. When she finally left office, after 12 long years, I felt a great sense of relief that she would no longer be appearing on T.V., 'telling us all off', the whole time ! I have friends who have always promised a 'Party' to celebrate Thatcher's passing. She has actually out-lived at least one of them, so I guess she has the last laugh on that score! Personally, I am completely disinterested in her passing and I shall not be wasting any of my time watching her totally uncalled-for 'State' funeral. I extend my sympathies, of course, to her family and to those who knew Lady Thatcher as a friend. She certainly was a 'mixed-bag' (no pun intended) but - at the very least - she was occasionally witty, she spoke engagingly at P.M.Q.s, and she looked and acted 'statesman-like', when representing us abroad; qualities I have yet to witness during 'Head Boy' Cameron's tenure at No. 10. In closing, perhaps I might proffer a rather different Shakesperian quote which comes to mind. " Proper deformity shows not in the fiend, so horrid as in woman. " - Shakespeare, King Lear. I don't wish to be unkind but let's just reflect on the 'whole' person, and the ripples she sent out into our nation, before 'spin' and 'sentimentality' irrevocably muddy the waters.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

LIKE A DUCK ! ( read in Jim Carrey voice )

I was about to get out of bed, this a.m., when - still lying flat on my back - I decided to break wind . Whilst this was happening, I lifted my right leg and moved it across my body . . . in order to exit on the left side of the bed. This strange contortion caused my ass to 'quack like a duck' - a 'first', even for me :)

Friday, 29 June 2012


Today we received a letter from the local Council, addressed to Ms S.Fretwell. We assumed it was for our daughter, who shares the same initial. When she came home from College & opened it, she discovered that it was an invite to a Memorial Service, in September. It didn't say whom it was for. It had the Crem's Tel No. , so I gave them a ring. Turns out it is a 'general' memorial service that they hold once a year. Anyone who has arranged a funeral in the last 12 months gets an invite. Wife, Sandra's, name was on file, cos we arranged her Aunt's funeral, on behalf of her absent Oz cousin', in March. They don't send to 'Mrs', so that's why it was just to 'Ms' I said that it was a nice idea, but I expressed the thought that maybe it should say on the invite, just 'who' the memorial was for - to avoid confusion. " We can't do that ! " replied the Crem' guy, quite impatiently, " It's not for ANYONE, in particular " Is it just me?

Thursday, 7 June 2012


I don't know about you, but I reflect on my life a lot nowadays and I just think: " Wasn't that interesting " So many surprising and unusual things happen to all of us as we live-out our allotted term. When I was 10 or 11. . . we made friends with an A.A.F. family from Alconbury. Just 'that' was completely intriguing. The difference in the way they lived was extraordinary ! They took us on-base from time to time. The N.C.O.s club was like something from Vegas! Some crooner sang - " I left My Heart In San Fransisco", there were people playing on 'slots', mum drank 'sloe-gin fizz' in a tall glass. We had baked potato, steaks cooked over charcoal and corn on the cob. I'd never eaten corn-on-the-cob before. I burnt my mouth. There was also a gun-club . .with another bar . . and a huge PX stuffed-full of strange American food-stuffs. It was as if I'd walked into the world inhabited by Superman and the other weird characters in the comics I read. Unlike my experience of life up-until that point, it seemed that Americans were actually allowed to ENJOY themselves - NOT something which seemed to be allowed in the U.K. until the mid 60's ! Back home, they had microwave ovens . . way back then . . . and cars with fins on, like spaceships, with RED upholstery ! Wow! Heady days, indeed :]

Friday, 1 June 2012


As I get older, I sometimes think of the newly qualified female French teacher I had when I was 17/18. There was a history of eye-cancer in her family and she seemed to me ( as a callow youth) to be totally obsessed by doom & gloom! I remember her saying to us, " You all see life as a long road, who's end is not even in sight. I see it as a tightrope, from which I could fall to my death at any time " Happily, so far as I know, she had no serious eye problems . . . she had a long and successful teaching career . . . and is now happily retired. For our own peace of mind, we all choose to forget that life IS a 'tightrope' and that any one of us might lose our footing, at any moment. As we get older we may sometimes experience this, first hand, when we are challenged by unexpected health problems. I'm confident and hopeful that - like my teacher - most of us will 'live long & prosper '. When we're ill, it's not a time to 'give-up' . . . but just to take a breather & regain our strength. Our interests, passions and beliefs, our partners, friends and contacts will, I'm sure, give us the focus we all need to quickly regain our 'balance' if we should occasionally lose our footing.

Monday, 14 May 2012


Do you have days like this? I had to go shopping, drawing-out cash and paying bills with wife, Sandra, in the p*ssing rain, this a.m. !! We started at Asda. When Sandra was just 3 items into her shop she turned to me with a baleful face and said, " This is RIDICULOUS . .everything's SO expensive. Let's go to Aldi ! " We replaced our three items and off we went. Sure enough . . . everything we'd had in our basket was 50% of the price, at Aldi. However . .and this is a BIG HOWEVER . . . . for some reason best known to themselves, Aldi had stopped selling de-caff instant coffee. Madness! I also wanted some pp3 batts for the smoke alarms . Went to the 99p shop expecting to get 3 or 4 for that money. NO . . bloody 'NO' ! They wanted 99p EACH ! So . . now even 'Pound Shop' is too expensive for me ( although I was amazed by a jar of large hot-dog saussies for 99p . . that ain't bad =p ) Back home, I checked the E-bay price. Just as I expected, I can buy Duracell PP3s for 80p a pop on there ( Unlike Boots The Chemist's £4.20 each !!! ) The High Street deserves to die. They are just taking the mickey. To cap it all off, we went to the town's main Post Office - they have a euthenasia booth for customers who just can't take it. Un-manned positions, snail's-pace queue, depressing ambience, you get the picture . . . And then . . . . the cost of posting an A4 card-backed envelope, u.k. address, 2nd class ? £1.10 !!!! How appallingly useless the whole British High Street experience is :( Reminds me of the Monty Python 'Cheese Shop' sketch ;/