Friday, 22 April 2016


If there is one thing guaranteed indubitally and speedily to evoke my green ink reaction  it is what I perceive as the deterioration of manners. Once a week I staff the patients' enquiry desk at the out-patients' clinics in my local hospital. The clinics are busy and the flow of queries constant. I will have been at my desk only four minutes and be in process of answering a where-is-it query when another enquirer will cut across the extant exchange and demand information about something else. Without fail, each session, a young Doctor will stop at the desk, put her/his papers down, pick up the internal phone and make a call. That concluded, she/he will pick up that which was dumped down and move on. After several years of this I have recently taken to calling " you are welcome" after the offender. I have no way of knowing if this registers or not and, so far, I have received no complaints from Management.

Walking down the street close to any passing wall, inevitably, some strong young person will overtake on the wall side and then shoot in front of me in to a passing  shop. The other day I went for a simple procedure to a well-known London hospital. I was collected by a porter who was to take me upstairs to the day-patient unit. While waiting for the lift we were joined by a young man speaking on his telephone. When the lift arrived, he strode right passed me and straight in to the lift. I glared, well you would wouldn't you? Did he apologise? No, he did not. In revenge I placed myself in the middle of the lift so that it would be impossible for him to get out before me. Two young school girls were seated in the ' less able to stand' reserved seats on a crowded 'bus. They left a heavily pregnant and a rather old lady standing. As I reached my stop I asked them what school they went to. Dear Reader, I wrote to the Head Mistress and suggested there may a better way to promote her school. In reply came a postcard which more or less dismissed me as out of touch with reality. The examples are endless. Two little boys were rushing about with wooden swords in the waiting area of  my GP practice. The Mother was reading the paper. Eventually, the tried and tested Receptionist leaned out of her box and told them to sit down and keep quiet, this was not a playground. the Mother continued to read the paper. How did this all come about? I am by no means the only one to have noticed this phenomenon. What is it about current life that permits us to treat one another contemptuously and without considerstion? Why is it that my friends and acquaintances of all ages do agree that manners have just about ceased to exist and yet there is no sign of amelioration? Perhaps it is a subliminal fear that the world, as it is, may come to an end and us with it so 'self'  must be preserved and put first regardless. It would be good to know what you think. In the meantime, I must make sure what it is I have actually touched with my foot before I apologise to my black handbag thinking it is my black  cat. Bore da

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Little Things

Have you noticed how, when lives are seriously busy, it is only too easy to neglect the chore of putting small things to rights? It is a long time since I was that busy but I have not lost the habit of leaving in the 'to do' list anything which doesn't immediately risk a conflagration or, worse, the departure of my unfed cat.  (Nonsense|: he gets fed a great deal more regularly than I do. I was just looking for dramtic effect).

I have had to close my eyes for some time, now, against the chaos on my desk. One of the contributing factors to this mess was the disappearance of my stapler. Since this old lady does very little online there is inevitably  much paper necessary to cover my way of being in the world.  Yesterday, I gave in and bought a new one. When pitched against spinal injections and various anti-pain remedies, a stapler can't possibly represent much significance. Dear reader, it does. In next to no time half the chaos had been sorted and it was only my stomach's capacity for this particularly dreary task that stopped me sorting the half of the desk where there are papers and so on of less pressing urgency. If you are of a squeamish disposition please jump a few lines now. Ready?  My cat has been known to use a bidet for certain essential natural matters. Easy: turn the water on and rinse it out. Not so easy: for too long the water failed to drain efficiently from the bowl.  My 'one of these days' was turning in to rather a nasty state of affairs. All I had to organise myself to do was to go downstairs, fetch the Drain Busting lotion and pour it and some boiling water down the plughole. Hey Presto, clean bidet. Mind you, Himself was offended by the unfamiliar smell and wandered off to find a more congenial venue. Don't ask: I haven't located it yet. I suspect cat hair, since he is Persian and has rather a lot of it. The small hand held screw and bottle top openers I bought after months of waiting for a nurse or someone else likely to have cleanish hands to open my water bottle as I staffed the Out Patients Enquiry desk at the local hospital have changed my life. There is one in my hand-bag and one in my go-to-work bag.  The little thing in this case being the purchase of the second one so that one alone would never be in the place where I was not.  (I may have told you this before: senior moment). But best of all, I have brought up to my room, where I usually live when on my own, a shaker of sea salt   so I can adjust the flavour of the supper I have brought up on a tray without the drag of tackling the stairs or eating food which is blander than suits. Not quite best: I have  also bought a car with automatic gears. This is rather a bigger than littler adjustment to life but, having trained my left foot to keep quiet and learnt what its incessant beeps are trying to tell me - the car, not my foot - I am now drifting around this crowded city with cramp in the right foot and boredom in the left. Bore da