Saturday, 28 July 2012

NHS rant


If you refer back a year ago, you will find a similar story.  I didn't bother with December's episode, which had the same farrago of nonsense, but the latest one is spectacular.

Do not read if you are bored with this:
  1. Make appt in good term to get blood tests done for medicine review, told need new appointment, but that I can order repeat prescriptions.
  2. Order repeats; do not notice short-changed one item (there are a lot of them)
  3. Have second blood test appointment,
  4. Have Doctor's appt for review,
  5. Run out of anti-oedema tablets; go without for two days.
  6. Get emergency prescription for enough to synch with the remaining meds. Request count not decreased.
  7. Pick up meds, count is decreased, write letter to Doctor explaining the situation
  8. Put in request for repeat items ten days later...
  9. Not only has the count not been rectified, they tell me I have enough to last me when I very shortly run out.
  10. Writing stinking letter to all and sundry, expect it to go where all the other stinking letters go.
This is simply asinine stupidity. I pointed out over a year ago that this fault in the system would ensure that everyone using this Internet system would suffer this intensely annoying kind of problem, so I have to write another letter, go into the surgery to explain this, get an appointment with someone to hear my complaint, get a repeat for the missing item and what's worse: THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW IT UP AGAIN. I know they are busy, but this idiocy in both staff and system is costing them as well as me time and effort to correct. There will have been five additional appointments + a further two letters + 3 emails, this time round with four car journeys for me.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A Visit to Green Grandad, or a Fish Supper in ...


The old man is sitting down to a fish supper: fish and chips, a saveloy, three gherkins and a pickled onion; with a cup of sergeant major tea. The fish supper is still on its newspaper - yesterday's Evening Standard. The tea is well, you know, a half pint tin mug full of a milky amber liquid and a spoon in it, that surfaces every so often like a diver rising for air... because the amount of sugar in it has changed it to a viscous solid. it's on a paper doily. By the side of the tin mug is an open tin, full of Old Holborn Ready Rub and a packet of Rizla papers in a natty little compartment. The lid has a rolling machine with one in the slot; the battered old prewar enamel ashtray has a half-smoked cigarette in it, brought in from a quiet puff in the outside khazi*, listening to the bees in the loganberry trellis. Besides this is a an older silver sixpenny piece.

*This was a strange place where wartime habits still survived, he had a special toilet roll he would hand visitors. It was an Izal... a special one impregnated with disinfectant and made from shiny paper. It was completely unabsorbent. I used to use some of granddad's carefully torn up Evening Standards** (thrifty, that's what he was, thrifty). They might leave week old news on my bottom, but at least they were marginally absorbent. The smell was incredible; in the height of Summer a machete would have been useful to fight your way in through the miasma and the runners from the loganberries. ("I grew those from canes sent all the way from Scotland; Logan's a Scottish name, boy") Once in there, the many layered olfactory experience was devastating for a young boy. I reckon if we'd lived closer and visited more often I would have ended up with the lung capacity of a Pacific island pearl diver. Breath in there? Are you kidding? It would be as easy as breathing on Venus...

**When green grandad died (so named after the colour of his front door - it is now blue [Thanks Google Earth] but next door's is still pink and you can guess that that was my maternal 'pink' grandfather's house...)  Ah, where was I? When he died, I had this idea that his body would be left to the Evening Standard, his body mummified and his backside peeled with one of those cheese slicers. Old staffers would gather round the thin layers, formaldehyde dripping from them, reminiscing over old stories..

***This post has been brought to you at the request of Destry54 blame him!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Concert - Storyvillette


A sad tale from my tweenies (20-29):  Well, I had got involved with this lass from Yorkshire... she was so, so pretty. Not sexy, but delicately pretty, the sort of looks where she was so fragile looking, like a fine china vase... She was living on a farm in the dales with a guy who beat her. I kid you not. I was not happy, we gradually got closer whilst I tried to provide advice. You might have gathered by now that my natural inclination is to help people. And when they're very pretty, well...

I offered to come and intercede with the guy, but apparently she was frightened he'd shoot me (he had a 12-bore shotgun), I said I was scared, but what he was doing was unspeakable and I was happy to remonstrate with him. But even so I was careful to try not to get too involved, but her letters got, frankly much more interested than they should have been. So I moved out of my house share (she couldn't bear to be with other house-sharers) and into a flat I could barely afford. But the lass had various commitments which she couldn't... like her horses, you guessed... I was a romantic fool, Galahad to the rescue...

She had always loved Bob Dylan, so I booked a room in the Wembley Hilton for two nights, a reservation in the resto there and bought tickets to the Bob Dylan concert at Wembley Stadium. I was not particularly a fan but Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds were one of the support acts (and they were awesome). What I hadn't realised was that the door opened at 11.00 a.m. with the supports and that it was 8 before Saint Bob turned up. There were no seats, just the concrete of the stands...   The guys on the terraces above having been drinking and god knows what else above us, decided it would be cool to relieve themselves on the steps before them and watch it trickle down past and through those sitting down on the concrete levels nearer the pitch... that was not the best day of my life... made worse by the fact that the racket from the people around overwhelmed the sound system, and it was substandard anyway.  With the screaming, we could not. hear. a. single. word. Dylan. sang. At this point, having missed our dinner reservation... I said we had to leave.

When we got back to the hotel room, the pain in my bottom (and hers) from the concrete and the hours of miserable sitting had left it's mark; even her shapely bottom had bruises, I had massive black bruises on my buttocks. No nooky, no romance, just physical pain and despair. In her case of a wasted weekend and mine, for the lack of maturity for not saying earlier, this is a waste of time. Oh. And it was two months disposable income... Even now it makes me wince; the thick end of £500.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Piquant peppers

Normally I'd do a full ingredients breakdown, but it's not really necessary as this is a really simply recipe.  You'll need a medium-small flat roasting pan.  Slice a large onion (enough to layer a single layer on the floor of the pan), sprinkle a tbsp of Olive Oil, then 1/2 tsp of ground Cumin, 1/2 tsp of ground Coriander.

Take 3 bell peppers, de-seed them and cut them into thin lengthwise strips and lay them evenly on the onion.  Then sprinkle a tsp of Balsamic vinegar, a tsp of Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce and a tbsp of Olive Oil on that, grind a goodly amount of black pepper over this.  Then put a couple of layers of foil across the pan so that it is effectively sealed.  Put this into the middle of an oven on it's lowest setting.  On mine it's called Miser...  No comments, please! for about 3 hours.  Then after that loosen the foil (make sure the roasting tray is on a bigger tray), put the trays on the top shelf and turn the gas up to GM8 for about 20-30 minutes.

You can serve it hot or put the contents into an air-tight jar and use it effectively as a condiment or pickle.  I love this; minimum of effort but a really versatile result.