Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Futures Great, The Futures Orange

Well, maybe not Orange ( certainly not DD Orange) but maybe, just maybe its full of Electric Vehicles...

EV "may" be the way forward for cheap motoring for the masses - but not without  a metric f**ckload of changing people's perceptions about car ownership.

Formost people 95 - 99% of the time the car is used with one or two people and maybe some shopping. So why the hell does Mrs MILF drive her Audi A3 or Nissan Cashcow? Mainly as a status symbol and mainly for the occasional trip with more than one person or to iKea. Now of course that isnt going to suit everyone, there are people who will be transporting more items/people about but investment in public transport infrastructure and subsidy making its use cheaper than owning a car might just persuade some people to get the train / bus than driving to work in a Cashcow and clogging up the road & parking. 

I took the bus to work for the first time in years the other day - got me to work about as quick as going in the car, no parking issues and I could listen to some music and answer emails/fart about on the internet on my way in. The downside a 12 mile return journey cost over £8 as opposed to about half that in the car.

Weird, but funky & easy to park

Small dual/quad seat EV's with a reasonable range would suit the majority of people the majority of the time for commuting duties and shopping, school runs - but can you persuade Mrs MILF to buy one? Its going to have to become about as socially acceptable as smoking (or farting loudly) in a lift is now, to own a large hydrocarbon fueled vehicle and use it for the school run with only one or two kids, or going to work on your own before people move towards small EV's like the Twizzy for a daily commute. There will also need to be a financial incentive to use an EV [why should I trade in my fully functioning, battered, mechanically sound 14 year old Nissan for a new EV?], the vehicles need to be made of lighter materials so that battery range is improved and the issues with battery production & the pollution caused by that need to be addressed. 
Battered, old, fully functioning & owes me nothing. Contributes 130g/KM of CO2

Longevity of the vehicle need to be looked at - trying to move people away from this "replace every 3 years" mentality - great for the sales industry - bloody lousy for the world in general. Keep a car for 10+ years and maybe, just maybe you start to break even with its impact on the environment when made new. Perhaps if cars could be easily refreshed or personalized ( Smart touched upon this idea with their removable body panels) people will keep their mode of transport longer. We do need a mental gear change though when it comes to what is socially acceptable to drive - dont laugh at some one in an unconventional mode of transport when they are contributing less to the global impact than you are in your diesel "sports" car.

Small can be sexy

Is there an answer? I honestly dont know - but if smoking in public can be made socially unacceptable from being the norm 20 to 30 years ago, maybe fossil fuel vehicle ownership, or more specifically owning a vehicle unsuited to your needs ( Chelsea Tractor driving ladies wot lunch Im looking at you here) can become the new social leprosy and people will drive smaller less polluting vehicles. Perhaps a different mentality of vehicle ownership is needed - renting what you need as you need it ( a bit like Boris Bikes) as augmented tech becomes more developed it might be just as easy to tie your smart device to a rented car and all your music, heating and travel preferences are instantly uploaded - you use the vehicle for the intended need then leave it at your destination and go on to a different more suited vehicle - imagine only using a 4x4 when you need to tow a caravan - all the rest of the time you have something Ford Ka sized to run about in. I actually hope that one day the hydrocarbon powered car becomes just like a horse - something that is owned and enjoyed for fun, cherished & looked after but not relied upon to "pop to the shops". There isnt a "one size fits all" solution - hell, I have three kids myself - at any one time there may be 7 of us in the car if the in law comes along for a ride too.  But 90% of the time there is only one of two people in a car the size of  a small village in Wales. Do I have several cars? Or do we embrace the "rent something as its needed" ideology? Do we invest in better public transport infrastructure and the thought of owning my own car becomes laughable?

Part of me hopes Dyson does have a crack at the EV market - I think ( like most of his designs) it will be innovative and different (and mind bogglingly expensive). It may make other manufactures venture away from convention. I can only hope he doesnt make another C5

C5 - Social Leprosy in Plastic

In other news... Shower Mixer Tap Repair at the ABI Summer Breeze....

Most showers in the more modern statics have this type of mixer tap - and since we got ours its been increasingly more difficult to shut off. Anyway - they are quite easy to repair if you have a couple of tools - you need a DEEP 17mm socket - get the straight edged type rather than the 12 point type as the latter can round the tap fixing due to not being able to grip fully the face of the insert ( see photo).

Rounding caused by inadequate grip

Not really visible on this photo - but the issue seems to be some deformation of the brass washer housing on the original item. Replacement insert £3.40 from Wickes.

Small screwdriver and deep 17mm socket needed ( this is actually a plug socket with the rubber inner removed).

Quite a lot more use out of the caravan this year - I've added more under floor insulation and think next year we may replace the built in sofa with a free standing (better quality) item. In other news more motorbikes have passed through my hands this year too including the £50 ex field bike moped that once again has an MOT and has been pressed into service for local runs. Not fast and clearly choked somewhere ( I suspect CDI or variator) to an indicated 32mph, but cheap and easy to park and small enough to filter through the tightest of gaps when traffic is standing on West Strand in an evening. Oh, and just under 100MPG.

Saturday, 16 April 2016


So after the leg nearly dropped off life is more or less settling down to normal. I say more or less because I went back to work and resumed my studies at Uni and LO: the world started to drop out of my bottom.

Being a nurse I figured that nearly three months on antibiotics had probably done for my natural gut flora and upset things in there, initially I did the sensible thing and ignored the symptoms for a while, then I sent a sample off for culture and sensitivity still thinking that it was likely to be bacterial - that came back negative so then I decided to visit the GP....

More bloods to check for obvious things like coeliac and to see if my Hb count had dropped or white cells were up and another poo sample for calprotectin.... Bloods were fine and the calprotectin (inflammatory markers) came back somewhere in the stratosphere.
Given that my symptoms had now been dragging on for three months and that I had weight loss too ( albeit intentional I've been doing Slimming World since last September and lost 5 stones so far) I got referred on a two week rule for a colonoscopy.... Let me tell you about a colonoscopy...

Well what can I say, this possibly ranks amongst the three most unpleasant experiences of my life right up there with having blisters peeled off my whistle and flute in Preston Royal whilst every student nurse in the hospital watched and having root canal treatment without any novocaine.

So - Thursday - I ate the final meal of a condemned man, knowing I would be unable to have anything other than clear fluids for the next 24 hours and then finished work - at 7pm I reconstituted sachet A with Sachet B and a litre of water and drank - OMFG - it felt like 3-in 1 oil and tasted just as good - Three full glasses of this I had to neck, so bo*****s to the drinking slowly over an hour I just necked the lot and tried not to barf.

Well I waited and waited and nothing happend... I waited a bit more and still nothing happened then at 11pm the world flopped out of my arse and continued to do so until 12:45am....

I got to a point where I thought that there was nothing else possibly left to sh*t and went to bed, arse stinging and glowing like a cherry.

3am I woke thinking, thats a bit damp to discover that I had sharted in my sleep. Then I shat a bit more (in the WC this time).

7am I was woken by one Mk1 p****d off wife who I had woken up at 1am coming to bed and again at 3am and then she supposedly hadnt got back to sleep again whereas I was doing an impression of a stunned asthmatic warthog in my sleep. I was supposed to have drunk all my morning dose of Moviprep by 7am so showered quickly, applied some vaseline to my ringpiece and went downstairs to be met by Sachet A and Sachet B, sniggering at me.

I decided to add some orange cordial into the mix to see if it made it more palatable - no is the answer, no it didnt.
Imagine drinking Swarfega Orange and that was what it felt and tasted like. This time it started to work almost straight away and I was greeted with ever lighter shades of watery poo.

11am - I sneezed and needed another change of pants. FFS - I havent been like this since I was 18 months old.

1pm - I arrive at my designated time at the Endoscopy suite, somehow I have an ear worm of the Waterboys "Whole of the Moon" going around in my head. I make several more trips ( rather noisy) to the toilet rather inconveniently situated next to the waiting room so everyone now knows that Im there for a hosepipe up the arse session.

2pm, I finally get called into the suite and go through my consent - to whit "Colonoscopy +/- Biopsies and +/- Polypectomies" Amusingly the consent form states that I will let them know of any loose dental work - I ask "how F*****g far up are you going with this thing????" I have opted to use entonox only rather than fentanyl and midazolam as I dont want to be off my face.

Then.... I get to strip to the waist ( bottom half) and get issued with a pair of enormous paper pantaloons with an amusing flap in the back. I walk to the theatre trolley and pass a HUGE dog turd mountain of lubricating jelly perched on top of the tray where the 'scope lies. The chap who has the lovely job of dealing with my back end introduces himself, asks me to lie on my left and then applies lubricant which has clearly been kept just above absolute zero to my chocolate starfish - then the screen which has up to this point been showing some sort of 60's lava lamp style bubbly image suddenly shows the room and my arse crack comes into view nearer and nearer - two thoughts strike me

1) My arse is incredibly hairy

2) I have a spot on my right arse cheek

Then - the screen goes momentarily black and my eyes nearly pop out as the scope is pushed into my brown eye showing me the inside of my ( now squeaky clean) rectum....

So, as a medical nursey type person I know that the correct position is to my left with knees drawn up to my ears - that may have been so for about 10 minutes and possibly 2 feet but then I had to adopt a range of positions, on my right, on my back with nurse pushing belly, on my left again, then on all fours with arse in the air and bol***s swaying in the breeze.

As anyone who has had these will be aware in order to see your bowel properly they inflate you with air - a metric shedload to about 40PSi , this is uncomfortable to say the least, but worryingly when they draw the scope back and it fizzles out of your arse you cant help feeling that you are sh****g yourself and your arse plays musical tunes - well, something resembling Freaks by Timmy Trumpet if Timmy was a bronchial elephant playing a squashed trombone.

Anyay, an hour, a whole hour of my life I lay this way and that way watching the TV screen and occasionally getting a little spaced out on the Entonox when it got too uncomfortable. before he decided to take twelve ( count em) biopsies and then lasso two nasty looking polyps he had spied. Oddly it didnt seem to hurt taking the biopsies but by Jehova on a moped I felt battered and bruised the next day, and the next and the next....

When all this was over and they had pulled the last of the scope out of my arse I was wheeled into the recovery lounge where I said to the nice nurse that I absolutely had to go to the bog, she ummed and ahhed a bit thinking I was likely to be groggy but I assured her that I had just had the gas and lied that I not had a whiff of it for 10 minutes or so, I swung my legs off the bed and stood up - sadly my pressurised bowels decided to test my ring of fire and my sphincter just wasnt man enough to withhold the pressurised liquid squit now residing in my gut - I stood and squirted a jet of white hot feeling yellow sh** over the bed and up the curtain. I apologised and John Inmaned to the toilet where for 10 full minutes a cacophony of sound and the remnants of Sh**e were fire off down the pan. I hadn't ever thought it was possible to fart for ten whole minutes but I managed it. Later I had heard that people in Iceland thought that a volcano had gone up again. 

I returned to my bed to discover that the sheet had been changed but the curtains still bore the yellow stains, though someone had wiped the worst of it off - I had a mouthful of coffee and the BANG was off to the bog again playing the broken elephantrombone. 

Eventually they discharged me and Mrs Marty drove me home as my belly was still engorged and the most comfortable position was led flat with the seat fully reclined.

I spent the evening making frequent trips to the bog as each and every voracious trump was accompanied by a little present.

Results back today and its as I feared - surgery beckons rather soon - and sadly more Sachet A and Sachet B fun to clear out my innards.

Gents (and ladies) Dont let my tale put you off - if your doctor says you need 6 feet of twisty telescope putting up your bottom, then get it done. There are things wrong with my innards but with a bit of luck its been caught early enough to fixorate it by lopping a bit out and joining the ends together. Worst case scenario I get a bum transplant.
But ignore it completely then I could have been looking at a selection of pine overcoats down the purple Co-Op.

Back to the caravan then - I fitted a Sky dish as the piped TV signal was constantly getting buggered up and failing and then managed to balls this up this week by plumbing in a cable to my sons bedroom and blowing the LNB - don't ask me how Im assuming I shorted it when screwing the new cable in ( still had power going to it from the receiver in the lounge) so Ive had to order £3.99 of new LNB - running the cable front to back wasn't a huge job and is now in place under the van - I need to cable tie it in a couple of places to secure it out of the way.
The field of trees in front of the van has been cleared supposedly to make way fro some landscaping - call me cynical but the site owner wouldn't have spent thousands on buying a patch of land if he wasnt going to make money from it so I expect to see vans on this in the near future..

Nice to see ABI have reviewed the Summer Breeze for 2016 with slightly better seating and sockets in useful places rather than by the door in the bedrooms. Not sure if they have been listening to feedback or just decided that its a more sensible move to have the one single socket in a bedroom by the bed rather than above a radiator by the door.

Parking in the local area seems to be an issue with some residents too...

Ditched the Sym Dismally, which was not only dismal but knackered too and bought a Suzuki Burgman instead - its not pretty or perfect and has had a piston replacement and engine rebuild, I also think it uses a little more oil than it should so either the rings are not bedded in or there is some scoring to the bore, but its cheap and free to park in most places. 

Its a little underpowered (12hp) for its size if you want to take it on the motorway ( which I have) but will sit at 65 happily. Whether I swap it for a bigger one or whether I sell it if the Uni course ends I dont know. The wife hates me having a bike, but it is very useful at times. I do however have a 4x4 itch that I tried scratching a couple of years ago with a Maverick ( Terrano II) but the car was a heap and horrible to drive, it was also incredibly small inside for my bulky frame. So I might just get another 4x4 to play with - and the kayak will sit nicely on the roof.

Saturday, 16 January 2016


Well, the World of Twist didn't get updated in September, October or indeed the rest of 2015 due to being rather ill.

Quite suddenly and without any build up I collapsed a couple of hours after skipping out of work ( I was on holiday from 6pm and by 8pm I was fighting for breath in A&E) and came down with a nasty case of Strep G septicemia. Then, to add insult to injury it gave me cellulitis in my leg and scalded all the flesh off my shin.

So the caravan was shut up early and has remained dormant for the Winter months.

The TV signal at the van remains poor and at times nonexistent so I have decided that I would like to install FreeSat, that might actually act as a precursor to installing satellite broadband too, but given the cost of this for monthly use, that is something that won't happen unless the price drops significantly.

I'd rather not drill into the van, and now that some trees in front of us have been cleared I may actually fit a dish to the decking or one of the rear uprights of the decking - certainly it will be strong enough to take a dish pole and dish.
As the weather has taken a turn for the worse, that is defo a job for Spring. It's drained down ( well a soft drain down at any rate) and antifreeze down the toilets and waste pipes for now with the water shut off.

The Picasso bit the dust when the gearbox failed, and the Micra needed far too much welding to get it back on the road so another car was purchased - I now have an Almera and despite being "an old man's car" according to the other half, I rather like it.

The Almera feels nice to drive and is quiet - only the heater controls induce a nose bleed....

However after a forced hiatus from study I am now back at University a day and a half every week, this means trying to get into the city centre and park - impossible or expensive. My last motorcycle was some 8 years or so ago, and I had kept dropping hints to my wife about another one - she wasn't keen as the last one I had, I had a bad crash and ended up with rather a lot of metal in my left arm and several weeks eating through a tube. But being a biker I had to get back onto two wheels eventually so I have now bought a moped.  I hate it, its slow, its got tiny tiny wheels that feel skittish and it has a worn carb so it floods for the hell of it when cold.  
Still, £250 of Sym Dismally and I'm back cutting my commute time to Uni, not only that its free parking too - and the cunning plan is in September when the MOT is due - I take it to the dealer, and trade it on for a nice 500 or 600cc tourer and tell the missus that it failed dismally and they gave me a great trade-in price on another bike....
Balls, plank, nailed to springs to mind but it will be worth it.

Currently carrying on with the health kick and lost three and a bit stones so far - with this I have got myself a kayak... Its a bit pink though, but was cheap.
Snow- Just the weather to don my shorts and go paddling.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

What happened to August?

Wow, so the whole of August has passed without a blog post.
Why? Well I was quite simply spending time with my family. Part of it was recovering from the knee surgery ( not a great success, I have stage three arthritis of the knee and a busted medial meniscus) its a little better than it was pre-op, so I suppose that makes the surgery worthwhile.
But for the most part, August was simply a time spent with the family - still I have issues with bits of trim on the ABI van and still this falls on deaf ears with ABI. I have to say their aftermarket warranty support is in my eyes frankly shite.

Apart from that though the van has been used a lot by the family and generally been a place for relaxing and enjoying time as a family unit which often the trappings of everyday life get in the way of.
Its rare when at home we share a family meal. My shifts mean that I work late and eat late and Mrs Shed eats with me so the kids eat early in the evening, its nice to eat as a family and to converse and catch up. Something so simple means such a great thing to me.

If you are in Cumbria and have kids you could choose worse places to go than Wray Castle at Hawkeshead, Belonging to the National Trust its not a typical NT house with very little in the way of furnishings. The house has been rented out to various organisations over the years and as such has been knocked about quite a bit inside. To this end they have a rather good dressing up and role playing facility upstairs and adventure playground outside as well as a nice stroll down to the lake ( where on my last visit in March I ruptured my meniscal lining of the right knee and tumbled into a rather ungraceful flabby heap). It is however rather nice that as well as being able to see and touch some of the history of the house that children can have fun without being told not to touch.

Lancaster and the Lakeside railway also appeared on the visit list for the break. Surprisingly quite a lot to see and do and the kids rather enjoy it too ( it wont last I suppose as they get older, but enjoy it whilst it lasts)

August also brought with it some incredible rain showers which tested the local surface water drains and resulted in some local flooding - this despite LCC/North West water replacing rather a lot of drains round about in 2011 and the £114M construction of the Ribble Storm Tunnel to hold gallons of water

 And its as a result of being generally far too large that having spoken to the ortho consultant ( who agrees that my knee will last longer if I shed a few stones) that I have decided to paddle again. Ie not been in a canoe since 1990 so its a bit of a trepidatious step for me. The main thing is finding a boat that will take my weight without becoming unstable, or worse sitting too low in the waterline and flooding... Ive picked up one for Number 1 Son who says he will boat with me, but presently Im looking at a two-seater open/sit on to get the capacity. Whilst I really would like a Necky Vector or Manitou 14, but sadly even these won't haul my sorry arse so for now Im looking at Perception 2 seaters ( Kiwi 2 and Prodigy 2 are the main favourites here) so expect tales of dampness in the future.

Other things we did in the August holidays were to do the touristy thing at the old Granada TV studios and walk down Coronation Street...

My wife and I went here in the early 1990's when the Granada Studios Tour was open. Its changed a lot and there isn't nearly as much to see as there used to be, but still nice to have a look around before it gets flattened forever and redeveloped into more trendy Manc apartment buildings and wine bars. Its been nearly 20 years since I lived in Manchester and the place has changed beyond recognition to me, a lot of it for the better though. I still miss going for a curry down Rusholme and even the Hacienda before it shut for good and then got bulldozed and new apartments built... Hmm I m sensing a theme here.

The Fanny Magnet continues to run and run and run, though I fear the gearbox may be on its last legs of course due to its "bowl of lumpy porridge" feeling when trying to select a gear. Unfortunately,  its days are numbered as I already have a replacement on the horizon in the form of my late fathers Polo. Im a bit ambivalent about the Polo. I kind of don't really need a car as big as the FM ( we have one big car in the family why have two?) and the Polo is very very cheap, and very very low miles with almost free road tax and getting nearly 70MPG. But I will miss FM when it goes. I'll miss the fact that its like an old denim jacket that you can spill beer down and throw into the corner at a party, yet its the kind of thing that goes with anything and you can take anywhere.  Its also quite rapid thanks to the previous owner putting a stage one tuning remap on it and a few other tweaks, and I can lob canoes on the roof easily. Talking of mad cars, this has to be one of the better Delorian copies going:

So that takes me through August really I missed this years Freck Fettlers, but have been spending time fettling with a friend on his old cars, and got to take in a couple of cla$$ic car shows on the way.
Maybe next year.... 

And on with September.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Photography Vs Hunting

I am, I have to say, a bit bewildered by the number of people hunting animals, and by animals Im not referring to people who hunt for food, because they have to, but to what's commonly known as big game such as Cecil the lion, tigers, giraffes even.
I really dont "get" what pleasure people get out of it at all.

But then, I dont get drugs either. Mind you my own experiences of drugs ( Fentanyl used in surgery and a couple of puffs on a bong back in my student days) haven't really been that great - made me feel a bit giddy, little bit like being drunk, then incredibly ill - in fact in the case of the cannabis I had the screaming blue meanies of paranoia. So utterly no desire ever to repeat that ever again. Ever.

But I imagine hunting might be like being a heroin addict - there is the chase, seeking that elusive goal, finding the money to purchase it knowing that it is naughty, then finally getting some and taking it - afterwards there is the come down from the euphoria and the knowledge that most of society think you are scum and would gladly kick you in the nadgers.

Now I have a similar hit. I like photography. I'm not very good at it and because I work full time and shifts then when I'm not at work I'm expected to do my bit for the family I don't get to spend a lot of time doing it - but when I do its that trying to get the perfect shot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it all comes together and the "high" you get from a fellow photographer or anyone else saying "that's a good pic Marty" is wonderful, it spurs you on to look for the next great shot. Of course with the advent of digital photography its getting easier to take better pictures and post-photography editing means that you can tweak things to improve them. Even so, all the photoshop in the world won't take a photo to begin with so you have to decide what you want to photograph and get out there and track it down.

Me, I like architecture and industrial landscapes. Not everyone's cup of Bovril, but I like it and thats all that matters to me. Now obviously buildings dont tend to move about much, unless you happen to be in an earthquake zone during a period of tectonic plate excitement but its getting a view of the building or bit of industrial landscape that is different to the norm. Like this picture of the skylights at Preston Market taken one bright winter morning which involved some jiggery to get past the large iron bars that screen this view off to  the general public.

So why not do something similar with animals if that's your bag? If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, go to it, buy a decent D-SLR or even a decent bridge camera and lens and set to, chase the Lion, and hunt it to get that perfect shot. Then...CLICK. There. Job done, you can go home and sit back with your picture - email it to friends, share it on social media and have people say "wow, that's fab, how exciting" rather than "what a dick". Obviously this is only my viewpoint and there are probably those who feel that game hunting can actually help wildlife by injecting large sums of cash into areas that wouldnt otherwise get any. But then tourism helps, and if there are animals to be seen in their natural environment. Try it, for less than the cost of a new Winchester you can get a very good camera.

If you really really feel the need to shoot something then go clay pigeon shooting or better still paintballing with your mates.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The NHS is Poorly, Send For The Relatives & Make Some Tea…

As a veteran of the NHS for some 25 plus years now I've been at my fair share of death beds. You instinctively get a feeling when someone is slipping away and you do what you can to make them comfortable and surrounded by friends and family, who will be propped up with that British stalwart of a cup of tea – personally I hate the stuff, a mug of lukewarm coffee will do me and that’s another thing working in the NHS conditions you to – cold brews and cold food often eaten on the go. Even now, I'm typing this in what passes for my lunch break. I have a pile of prescriptions to one side that Ive just signed and a half eaten sandwich to the other side.

So, aside from the pay rise debacle (actually I earn what I feel is a reasonable wage, but then mentally I seem stuck some 20 years ago where P registration cars are still considered new to me) where most nurses get 1% if they are lucky over the next 4 years and MP’s (who earn on average double what I do) get 10% - Austerity? Were all in it together are we Mr Cameron – my backside we are. Billy Connolly  had it right when he said the desire to be a politician should ban you for life from ever being one. So aside from that, and the lovely Mr Hunt’s desire to introduce “ a 7 day service” to the NHS ( for gods sake don’t tell my wife, she thinks I have been at work every other weekend for the last 25 years…) The 1% pay rise is coupled with a reduction in unsocial hours pay. Basically if I work before 7am or after 8pm I get an extra 33% pay. Same goes for the weekends and bank holidays like Christmas Day. 2004 was the last FULL Christmas day I had with my family, where I wasn't off to work. Again, Im not bitter – I love my job. I wouldn't do it if I didn’t. People don’t stop being ill because its Good Friday, and I don’t stop working either. A FULL 7 day service though will mean employing another 30% of staff assuming you want exactly the same level of people working all 7 days as work Monday to Friday ( clerical, administrative, physiotherapy, phlebotomy, occupational therapy, CSSD, XRay, USS, MRI radiographers, dental and so on). That’s fine, but we already have a shortage of GP’s in the community, where I work we cant recruit staff nurses for love nor money (we have tried both), and I already work one weekend in two, evenings, nights (on a rota basis) and bank holidays, I cant physically work anymore without majorly breeching the EU working time directive and quite possibly putting myself in a hospital bed with nervous exhaustion.

The NHS though is poorly. I’d even go so far as to say its terminal and we should be phoning for the relatives to sit quietly by the bedside whilst I pop the kettle on and turn the morphine drip up. When Nye Bevan conceived the idea of the health service the country was a simpler place. Technology wasn't as advanced as it is now, neither was the medicine on offer. The cost of providing these advances in life preserving treatments has of course increased and that cost has been borne by the public with their taxes and NI contributions. It is however a huge strain on the public purse, especially when the ministers have two houses to pay for and 10% pay rises to find.
Previous solutions seem to have revolved around “employing managers” to run the NHS as a business, and they command luxuriant salaries but seem to make bugger all difference to how the health service is run or indeed how costs can be cut, apart from “lets not employ our own domestic staff, lets outsource this to a firm of Mexican Bandits who charge 50% less but do 25% of the work to 5% of the standard it was before when it was all in house”.
Oh, and we can do the same with other services now that we have seen how much money that has saved* us…

Back when I started with the NHS there was a general manager (usually an old consultant or senior nurse) then there were Matrons (or Nursing Officers) ward sisters and finally the staff. Matron knew everything that was going on in her little empire, right down to the cost and number of bandages used. She didn’t go to meetings, she had tea with the manager and hell, if there was a need she got on the word and she looked after patients – Oh the memories of Miss Mortimer and her coming to run the ward one morning after a bout of D&V wiped out a load of staff, there was a woman who wielded a bed pan like a rod of iron. Yet everything worked, patients were cared for and there didn’t seem to be any major headaches about budgets and the need to cut costs, of course back then we had Crown Immunity and people didn't sue the NHS for failing to provide them with aspirin that they could buy down the chemist, and thus causing them mental torment for having to pay 30p for something that they could get for free on a prescription. But then, when I started in the NHS the ambulance service was just a "scoop em up and ship em on" service, there was no paramedic, no real first line care - occasionally hospital staff went out to the scene of an incident, but otherwise you had to hope that the driver got you to the hospital before you expired.

Since those days of course we have had Modern Matrons (spend lots of time going to meetings, possibly know what a patient looks like) – new managers who have a degree in business management and often worked in prestigious institutions like Top Man and  Athena, and of course the ever increasing cost of medications, equipment and treatments – not to mention the increased diversity of treatments on offer within the NHS ( drug addiction? Step this way please… Mind the revolving door)
So the poor NHS creaks and groans, no matter how much money the Gov throw at it it will gobble it up – consultancy fees, managers fees, pharmacology fees, new equipment costing zillions, out of court settlement costs for medical neglect claims and so on. What do we do to help the poor thing or do we simply turn up the morphine and wait till it drifts peacefully off? Well it wont happen with the NHS, it will die kicking and screaming sadly, its death will not be pleasant and peaceful, it will be horrible and it will hurt many of those around it.

Can we prevent it? Probably not if we carry on as we are doing. Would you want to go back to a health care system of even 25 years ago with the advances in medicine that have been made? Should we adopt a two tier system of basic care on the NHS and specialised care being available privately? Do you want a system where “Breaking Bad” becomes possible in the UK? I honestly have no idea what we can do for the poor NHS. Im not high enough up the food chain to be able to suggest these things. I do know it isnt a business, it wont ever make a profit and we need to prevent supply companies charging through the nose because they know the NHS will pay whatever they ask. We need to stay true to what Nye Bevan said. No society can call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of a lack of means. 
With that the NHS will last as long as there are people left to fight for it.

Fight for YOUR health service.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Public Footpaths, More Creosote & Splashbacks...

Another weekend away, this weekend I mourned the almost unremarked passing of the Public Footpath sign with information in favour of the generic sign. Once upon my youth the sign, not only pointed down an overgrown bramble and giant hogweed strewn path (I remember being warned about it in the 70's and I think there was a huge cull back then because it seemed to vanish), but the sign
would tell you where the path led and how far it was before you got there... 
These days however the information is missing from almost all of them and you have no idea unless you have a map where the path leads and how far (or how long) it will take to get there.
I actually think its all a conspiracy to try and reduce the number of people using footpaths. Years ago unscrupulous landowners would try and stop up paths, letting them become overgrown and impassable, now they simply put up a generic sign giving bog all information about where the path leads... A forest, a castle into a slurry pit, who knows?

I finished off the balustrade at the Static this week, though that was fraught with tension as I hunted every "The Range" store locally for the light Creocoat at £5.99 - I found one bottle left. Not enough to paint the boards as well, and despite trying to be careful I managed to splash more of the deck - a string of expletives ushered forth from my mouth when I dropped my bucket with creosote in it whilst painting the gate - much hot soapy water later and you can still see the stain clearly. 
Still, the deck looks better now from the other side... Popped under and stapled some tarpaulin to the underside where the kids stash their toys - might keep the rainwater off, then again it might be a really stupid idea and turn into an impromptu water storage point.
Whilst under I added some of the spare poppy bubble foil backed insulation stuff to the Kiaflex already lagging the pipes from the factory, the stuff might not be that great, but I figured a quad layer of that round the pipes as well will help repel the winter frost.
I think I will add a splashback to the kitchen sink - this are keeps getting wet, and I can't imagine the wall covering is designed to take it. I feel a sheet of 2mm stainless steel bonded into place and sealed at the edges with silicone will look OK and do the job.