Friday, 16 December 2011

Call Me Non-Swearing Grandmother Now!

If anyone remembers me, just wanted to share the fact that I am now a Granny! Can't begin to tell you what that feels like, the responsibility of not swearing, learning to make jam, growing the colour out of my hair and smelling of lavender - it's not an easy adjustment I can tell you. My only concession to grannyhood is that I do seem to have developed a sore knee, but that could be because of my stubborn refusal to stop wearing what my husband calls "bad woman" shoes, so it's probably my own fault and I ought to know better at my age.

Actually, apart from the fact that I'm in a permanent "aaaah, isn't he gorgeous" state of mind, physically there's no discernable difference - I guess I was expecting to look and feel different, but apart from all my old maternal feelings coming flooding back with a vengence, being totally besotted by this tiny scrap of humanity and the granny hormones kicking in like you wouldn't believe, Swearing Mother is pretty much the same as always. Just trying not to swear so much, but bloody hell it's hard.

Anyway, just thought I'd drop by, out of the blue as it were, to say a Very Merry Christmas to anyone and everyone who happens to still be in touch with this blog. Can't promise that I'll start it up again, but then again who knows?

Have a good Christmas!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Here We Go Again......

Well hello, long time no post. No particular reason for the deafening silence from moi, I just ran out of steam, lost my writing mojo down the back of the sofa or somewhere, not really sure why the creative juices ran dry, but dry they did indeed run. If dry juices can run, obviously.

The thing is, apart from the general madness of this world we all share, nothing much happened to relight my fire and force me to tongue-lash the guilty, which is uncharacteristically benign of me as I can usually find a foul mouthful for anyone who gets up my nose. Not literally of course, but you know what I mean. I can usually launch a well aimed gobbet of vitriol upon any figure of authority that I deem to have let us down or done us wrong and my blog had become a series of rants, and when I stopped ranting I found I didn't have very much else to say.

I was very nearly tempted out of hiding by the ridiculous story of those police officers getting a serious bollocking for sliding down snowy hillsides on their police issue equipment - my working title for that little gem would have been "'Ello, 'Ello, 'Ello - What's All This Then?" or maybe "What a Riot (Shield)!", or even "All Downhill From Here!" but frankly, in the event, I just let it pass and hoped they'd get away with it.

I wanted to have another go about our greedy politicians, still squealing like stuck pigs because the lid of the expenses trough seems to have been slammed down on their thieving snouts. And then I thought, "what's the point, the rules will change, they'll get their trotters rapped and find another more devious way to rip us off", so I didn't bother, too weary to care.

So I went away to think about what I've done, and what I'll do in the future if there is one for this blog. I remembered a time when it used to be quite funny, and not just me having a poke at parts of "the establishment" that annoyed me. I looked back on my old posts and made myself laugh, (sorry if that sounds a bit arrogant, comedian laughing at his own jokes kind of stuff), and realised that I had become CRABBY, so I decided to stop until my sense of humour returned.

Funny things just seemed to stop happening to me. Quite a few miserable things did and I didn't want to do a Gordon and cry in public, I'm not out to catch votes (was that harsh?), but now I feel it's about time the miserable tide started to turn.....

So this is what I want you to do. Tell me some good heart warming stuff, silly stuff, can-you-believe-what-happened-to-me kind of stuff. Nothing nasty, heavy, sad or doomy.

Let there be light! Get Swearing Mother swearing again!

Or, better still, laughing.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


So get over there and say hi!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Lying Down On The Job?

Oh dearie, dearie me. And tut, tut, tut. Some doctors and nurses from the Accident and Emergency Department at a Swindon hospital are in serious trouble, it seems. The Hospital Management are on their case, big-time. They are facing a Disciplinary Hearing, no less. They've been very bad. Very bad indeed. In fact, it's a scandal.

So what on earth are they guilty of? What have they done? Did they turn up for work drunk, were they so hungover that they fell asleep whilst suturing someone's scalp wound, did they sneak out for a sly fag and set fire to the Plaster Room. Or worse?

Well, I'll tell you. They played a game and had some fun.

Let me explain.

For those of you not in the know or as in-touch as moi, let me fill you in on the latest craze to sweep the nation. Apparently, and you'll know this if you're as down with the kids as I am (joke), or if you read The Times today, there's a thing called The Lying Down Game which consists of lying flat, face down, hands at your side, palms pointed inwards, toes to the floor, in the most humorous, unusual and public place you can manage. You strike your pose and then get yourself photographed and post it on the internet. It's described as "parkour (free-running*) for those who can't be arsed." It all sounds a bit random but I have to say that this new sport really appeals to me. I may well take it up.

To people with a sense of humour like mine, it's bloody funny seeing pictures of people balanced on top of post-boxes, shelves, mountains, horses, fences and shop counters and as far as I can see, no innocent human being has been injured by this activity as yet. It seems a harmless pastime, as opposed to, for instance, the ridculously named "happy" slapping, or child pornography, or dog-fighting, but I guess it won't be long before some bloody idiot proves me spectacularly wrong by impaling themselves trying to balance on a spike, having not been warned that it's sharp. Ah well. That's what you get for ignoring Health and Safety regulations. If you ignore Infection Control regs presumably you can expect your wound to go septic too.

So, picture the scene. On a quiet night shift in A and E, several young doctors and nurses came up with the idea that it would be a bit of a laugh to play the Lying Down Game and take photographs of each other in unusual and amusing places around the Department and post them on Facebook. Unfortunately for them it seems that although they must have had a lot of fun posing for these photos, lying face down on resuscitation trolleys (unoccupied ones, presumably, or that would have been naughty), ward floors and even the hospital heli-pad, some snitch informed Der Management which has taken a dim view of these japes, sighting "infection control" and "health and safety" issues as the reason for the disciplinary action, despite the fact that no patients were involved and patient care was not compromised at all. They are taking this very seriously and heads may roll, apparently.

Bloody hell. Good job they weren't in charge of us back in the 60's when I worked at a large teaching hospital, or the lot of us would have been sent to Alcatraz. Our nightly parties would often culminate in someone's pants waving from the flagpole, or one of the doctors getting plastered, literally, from heel to groin and then left in a wheelchair to sober up in Out Patients. I seem to remember a young SHO getting his genitals painted bright blue with medical dye the night before his wedding (if you're reading this now, Professor, it wasn't me), and tied with his stethoscope to a radiator (that wasn't me either, honestly), a Health and Safety nightmare without a doubt. A cantankerous senior surgeon found a stuffed moose's head on his examination couch, covered by a sheet but left there by some minion he'd been particularly vile to (OK, that was me), an obvious Infection Control issue if ever there was one. Looking back now, I don't know how we got away with any of it, but no one got hurt and the job got always got done, and with good humour.

Ah, happy days.

So, although I wouldn't like to think that this sort of thing goes on with regularity, and with the proviso that the patients would never suffer from it, I expect a little light-hearted fun on the night shift in the A and E Department made a welcome change from being yelled at, spat at, punched, vomited on, bitten and stabbed, and I feel sorry that those medics have got themselves into such trouble for it. It's a shame they can't just have a stiff bollocking from Matron as we used to if she ever caught us out, rather than have this on their employment record for ever.

Anyway, must dash, am taking hubby and the digital camera down to Waitrose so that we can play The Lying Down Game and he can take a pic of me flat out in the fruit and veg aisle, amongst the pak-choi I think. Or maybe the Chanterelle mushrooms?

Watch out for me on Facebook?

*If you don't know what Parkour or free-running is, this must have been the most boring post you've ever read. Would you mind looking it up on Wikipedia? Thanks so much.

Friday, 14 August 2009

NHS In Free For All?

Poor old NHS, a creaking giant born of good intentions, the saviour of many, the tormentor of some. Say what you will, a service where everyone payed in to provide health care for all seemed to be a good idea at the time. Or was it? According to critics both here and in America, the National Health Service of Great Britain is a disgrace. They say we are subjected to governmental control and tyranny in order to access basic health care for which, they say, we wait and wait for no good reason. And what's more we have awful teeth. Nice. How kind of them to mention it.

I've worked in the NHS all my adult life, and quite frankly despite all the negative press I'm proud of what can be achieved, although I'm the first to agree it isn't all good news. That much is obvious. Since 1969 I've seen many changes, many different incentives and initiatives relentlessly pursued only to be abdandoned and tried again years later with the same disappointing results. I've witnessed the rise and rise of superbugs, the lowering of cleaning standards, the out-sourcing of basic services which are often substandard, the ridiculous obsession with producing statistics rather than genuine improvements in patient care. Whole hospital departments exist merely to collect raw and sometimes inaccurate data, mould it into the required good news format to be used in the never ending game of ping-pong politics in which the NHS has become the continually battered ball. Point scoring results can be manipulated to order, depending on who's asking the question and what they want the answer to convey. Legions of career focused hospital managers now spend their time in meetings about finances, targets and cuts whereas at one time they used to know more about patients' needs, the local population, the value of their staff. Sadly, that's all in the past.

Yes, there's plenty to be negative about if we want to look and look and look for it, but whilst we're having such a close look I'd urge anyone who's at all interested in fair play and a balanced argument to take care not to ignore the tremendous good that is also achieved.

In the years I've worked in the health service, I've seen kids who would never have previously survived into adulthood given transplant surgery which has provided them and their families with a future. There are chronically ill people in the UK who are being kept alive by combinations of drugs/therapy/care, all free at point of delivery. What would happen to them if it wasn't for the NHS? Babies smaller than bags of sugar (much smaller, actually) are now routinely cared for in amazingly expensive high-tech units until they're big enough to go home, when the nursing staff joyfully hand the parents a baby, not a bill. Every day we can freely go to our GP's surgery, or take part in some sort of health screening, or be seen by a consultant without taking a credit card with us (although change for the carpark would be handy), but these treatments come at a cost and these costs come from our contributions, and we who contribute do so on behalf of everyone. I think we can be proud of that.

I'll not try to pretend that there isn't massive room for improvement in the NHS and admit that there are very, very many cash-strapped services which are not up to a good enough standard, and yes, our demands for health services outstrip the available supply because there simply isn't enough to do everything everyone wants, so yes, we sometimes have to wait. And sadly, yes, some people have been very badly let down by the NHS for many different reasons. But please don't forget the millions and millions of people who owe their health and wellbeing to it, who have been treated successfully and well and are living proof that when the National Health Service is allowed to work, it works. It may be a long way from perfect, but at least you can rest assured that the first question a patient is asked before treatment in a British A and E Department is never going to be "who will pay?"

For me, the sight of people in the US with no health insurance queueing up before dawn in order to see a doctor, certainly vindicates our NHS warts and all.

And yes, in this country you can get those treated for free too.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

New Balls Please

Well, here we are in the middle of the year - the sun's been shining, Wimbledon's well under way and at last we've got a tennis player in with a chance of winning. We've had several BBQs, already eaten more than enough strawberries and drunk far, far too many jugs of Pimms to be sensible when in charge of a barbecue. At work there's a permanent aroma of fake-tan in the office and we've broken out the fans. Anyone would think we're having a summer at last.

All in the garden should be lovely.

Well, it would be but we haven't booked any holidays yet which probably accounts for the gently gnawing sense of anxiety that I'm feeling right now. It's the same every year. If you've been a reader since this blog began you'll know that I have trouble with holidays because I am a total wuss. Part of me wants to go everywhere/do everything/see the world, and another part of me (the fairly large dithery part, unfortunately) is scared shitless by taking the risk of going into the unknown, even if it's only a few hours Easyjet away. I spend ages on the internet searching for the perfect location for us (is there such a place I ask myself, does it really exist?), get to the point of actually booking it and then, and then.........nothing. I just go off the idea because I read something dodgy about pick-pockets in the area we're thinking of going to, or someone tells me a horror story about the hotel we're booking, or my husband makes a negative comment and/or fails to look, a) interested, b) keen, or c) awake. I slink off defeated, read more travel magazines and worry that we're missing out on the big adventure. Which of course we are.

Annoying isn't it?

What's to be done with me? Last year we threw caution to the wind, went into the travel agent and willingly, although unknowingly, chucked away enough money to pay an MP's food-bill on the holiday from hell. I thought we were being spontaneous, exciting and adventurous by booking at the last minute, packing and leaving the UK all within three days, when it actually turned out that we were just gullible idiots reeled in to fill a travel agent's quota and ended up somewhere which was totally the opposite of what we really wanted.

I asked you all for help in finding a good holiday venue, somewhere not too touristy with nice restaurants, lovely coastline, friendly people, you gave me your suggestions and what did I do? I ignored them all and took a flyer, thinking I was being really brave. Mistake. Big mistake.

This time I'll listen.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Britain's Got Talons

Well, it's been a gripping week. Our government's in melt-down, we've got so cross with some of our less than honourable politicians that several of them have been forced out of office, the Prime Minister could possibly be dusting off his suitcases and ordering the removal van for some time next week, I guess, and the vultures are circling over the Houses of Parliament, barely waiting for the juiciest carcasses to draw their last gasp expenses cheque before tearing them to shreds and speculating upon the new pecking order.


Who'd have thought that "the court of public opinion" would have produced so many hanging judges? Is this what happens when we, the public, dig our claws in? Has our anger really made this happen? It seems that everywhere you go - the hairdressers, supermarket, restaurant or pub, the talk is about one thing and one thing only - the expenses scandal. I don't think I've seen people so stirred up about anything as much as this, ever. And it shows no signs of abating any time soon.

I am quite stunned by it all, to be honest.

So what on earth's going to happen next? What do YOU want to happen next? For the first time in ages, I feel as if we have a say in what happens next, so what shall we ask for?