Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Four Yorkshiremen? One's enough if you're Three Peaking

Called into the Coop garage and store in Ingleton this morning for some diesel on my way to Sedbergh for a day's walking. The man behind the counter was giving a masterclass in pure Yorkshire tyke upmanship, regaling a young couple with tales of his Three Peaks exploits.
Not only had he climbed Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent just last weekend, breaking off to bring a friend back who'd come down with sunstroke, but he was planning to do the route back-to-back, a double three peaker, towards the end of September.
The couple left, expressing their amazement at his prowess, while I was left pondering how - if the other three had turned up - they'd have told how they completed the whole thing half an hour before they'd set off...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A cardiac non-event, thankfully

Quiet weekend? Mine was, until about 3.15 on Saturday afternoon when the chest pain started. Nothing to worry about, I thought at first. Then it spread to my back and up towards the right side of my jaw. That's when we phoned 111. And after a very short conversation with the call handler, he said the words 'the ambulance is on its way'. Enter the freelance paramedics The arrival of male and female, green-clad, machine-bearing wonderbeings made me start to feel better (Brexiters look away now: one was Irish, the other had an indeterminate Spanish/Italian accent - both were utterly incredible). Getting rigged up to the ECG machine took minutes, and the print-out was clear, so I was assured. This first bit of good news was followed by blood pressure check and a once over with a stethoscope. I was then presented with a choice; go to hospital for a blood check to search out an enzyme that usually lives in the heart but tends to leach out if you've had a heart attack (cardiac event, in medical-speak - which I was rapidly becoming fluent in) or stay at home and avoid the late afternoon queue in A&E. No brainer, I thought; then I was put on to the paramedics' controller, who very efficiently scared the 'bejeezus' out of me, according to the Irish paramedic (not being stereotypical: that's really what she said!). In the ambulance, I learned that my paramedics were self-employed contractors working for Falck, a rather strange concept and one that - although grateful for at the time - does make me wonder, yet again, about the extent of privatisation in the NHS. A&E bound So, were away to A&E with my wife following on behind. At A&E, the service was so swift I'd had blood taken and been chest x-rayed before my wife had parked the car and found the cubicle. The chest x-ray was delivered to the supervising medics virtually instantaneously, but the blood test result took a little over two hours. But an all-clear, accompanied by the instruction to see my GP as soon as possible after the holiday weekend was worth the wait.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Playing doctors at the chemist

'Could I have some of those one-a-night sleep tablets, please?' 'You mean the sleep aid?' replied the assistant in the Tesco Pharmacy. I agreed that was the product I wanted, only to be then asked when I'd last taken them. Having said it was a few months ago - the annoying fact of insomnia strikes from time-to-time. The assistant scanned the pack and then finished by reminding me 'not to take them before driving'. 'No', I replied: 'I tend not to do that when I'm getting into bed' - like it says on the front of the pack.

Return to the stone age

The new neighbours are having some work done. Not sure what the end result is intended to be, but it seems to involve a lot of stone cutting. They've engaged a firm of stonemasons, who seem to favour full throttle petrol-driven cutters and shouted instructions/banter. It was never like this with Fred and Barney. Yabba, dabbo, don't...

Friday, August 19, 2016

UK Passports - a beta work in progress

Remember Farage getting rather over-excited about the return of the dark blue UK passport during the referendum campaign? Strange to relate, but the UK government's application site is now a beta test version, which could suggest that Nige's dream could be about to be turned into internet reality. It that's so, it's to be hoped the pointy heads sort out the print function, as it just made my printer churn out 30-odd pages of unprinted, still pristine white paper, as opposed to the promised declaration form. All in all, the experience left me feeling that, once again, Brexit is going to be a lot harder to deliver in reality (whatever form that might eventually take) than the over-hyped, truth-free version promised to use by the Leavers during the campaign.

Monday, August 15, 2016

I'm a nursing algorithm

Strange things can happen when you register with online work/employment agencies, particularly those whose web presence is driven by poorly constructed algorithms. For example, having registered for editorial work with I've been sent a rash of NHS/nursing vacancies (and unsubscribing doesn't seem to stop them). Now, while I can very quickly and painlessly remove an unneccessary apostrophe you probably wouldn't want me to try the same trick with your ingrowing toenail or bunion. Not that the algorithm seems to mind...

Monday, August 01, 2016

Marsh Barton

First drove through Exeter 30-odd years ago and got lost at Marsh Barton due to poor road signing. Today, in pouring rain, got stuck at MB again. Exeter has park and ride now, but nearest location to where we're staying turned out to be the dreaded Marsh Barton and it was full when we arrived. Extricating the car from there took nearly half an hour of bumper to bumper queuing.
Great city - shame about the roads.