Friday, 28 December 2007
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
I don’t expect that anyone is even remotely interested to hear about my buttocks.
However, my buttocks are very much on my mind today because they are hurting me. I stepped into the shower this morning, slipped and my buttocks splat hard down on to the door runner of the shower unit. I now have a horizontal striped bruise that stretches across both cheeks.
Oh well, a glass of good red wine should soothe the pain.
Saturday, 15 December 2007
Thursday, 29 November 2007
The objective of this workshop is to help people look at change from a different perspective; seeing change through others’ eyes. In brief, the scenario is that there are proposals for 3 GP surgeries to close and be replaced by one large, modern health centre on the edge of town. The press have published the story before patients or surgery staff have been advised of the changes. The handling of the project has been a shambles, caused through a lack of communication. It is a realistic scenario.
To date we have facilitated 18 of these workshops to more than 1000 delegates. At the end of the workshop we ask participants to complete a short evaluation form; ticking boxes to give their opinion of the workshop - very poor, poor, average, good or very good. We ask them the best part of the workshop and also what could be improved. In our previous 17 workshops, I think there has only been one ‘poor’ a handful of ‘average’ and an abundance of ‘good’ or ‘very good’ ticks.
Monday told a different story. Out of the 48 evaluation forms returned we received 5 ‘very poor’, 6 ‘poor’, 11 ‘average’, 12 ‘good’ and 14 ‘very good’. 72 participants did not fill in their forms.
Trevor and I invite criticism but we are disappointed by Monday’s response. From the ‘very poor’ forms, participants wrote that our workshop was set at too low a level, ie. for staff low down in the NHS tree, not for staff of senior level. The workshop was ‘juvenile’ and we weren’t telling them anything they didn’t already know. One person wrote that if she wanted to become an actor, she would have enrolled at RADA instead of finding employment at the NHS!
As a little girl, I never ever dreamed of being an NHS role-player and facilitator, just as probably most managers in the NHS never dreamed of being chief executives or patient and public involvement managers. Sometimes our jobs occur by accident rather than by choice but we either muddle on blindly or we develop a conscience and strive to be the best we can possibly be.
Trevor and I are committed Christians and have speculated the idea of advancing our bible study at a theological college. When we moved to a new village in July, we decided to join an Alpha course at our local church. Alpha is designed as an introduction to the Christian faith and I was uncertain that this was the right course for us. After all, there is no hesitation about our commitment and we attended an Alpha course a couple of years ago. I couldn’t see the point in taking a step backwards. Trevor was keen to do it again so we joined and I am so pleased for his better judgement. We are ‘back to basics’ and learning things we missed last time in addition to sharing our faith with others. This is merely an analogy and I am not writing this as a bible basher or trying to convert anyone [honestly]. The point I’m making is that these NHS managers might like to think about going ‘back to basics’. The workshop is an opportunity to engage with other staff of ‘lower levels’ (to use this person’s language). Sometimes, workshops and conferences are not just about what we can learn but about what we can give. Perhaps these NHS high-level people who feel that our workshop is set at too low a level for them, would consider following Sir Richard Branson’s example. He frequently returns to the shop floor – and I suspect that he learns and gives every time.
Our workshop was never designed to find solutions to NHS improvement. The answers are already within the minds of the staff and patients.
Friday, 23 November 2007
My blood was boiling earlier today, despite the icy temperatures.
I was deeply saddened to hear about the abuse hurled at injured servicemen, during their hydro-physiotherapy treatment at Leatherhead Leisure Centre. Many of the soldiers had lost limbs or suffered burns and the weekly swim was to boost their rehabilitation.
"One woman, believed to be in her 30s, was so incensed that the soldiers - many of them amputees having returned from conflicts in the Middle East and Asia - were using the pool that she told them that they did not deserve to be there. It is alleged that she told the men that she pays to swim there and they do not. According to witnesses she was so abusive that the soldiers' instructor pulled the groups out of the water to avoid further embarrassment," it was reported on Surrey Online
There has got to be a compromise here. I understand that some people might recoil at the horrors of physical disabilities. On the radio today I heard it reported that one mother said that it was upsetting for her children to witness amputees and victims of burns.
I should like to respond to her....
"What about these brave men who have suffered to give freedom to others? It may be upsetting for your children, but this is the reality of war!"
I don't mean to sound harsh or judgmental, but I feel so disappointed at this abuse. I wonder how this woman would feel, God forbid, if she or her children became disabled or lost limbs? How would she feel if people treated them like lepers?
Where is the compromise? To segregate injured soldiers from the general public? To build a purpose-built pool for the disabled? To allow the disfigured to swim with adults only? I don't know the answer, and call me an old fool if you want, but I just want these wonderful people to be loved and treated with respect, equality and gratitude.
See here for Daily Mirror report.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
I'd forgotten how funny this plotless series is with it's wobbly scenery, lack of continuity and hilarious acting! Here's a sample of the dialogue between Babs (owner of Acorns Antiques) and Mrs Overall (the tea lady)
Babs: Here I am blabbing away about my own troubles and I never asked you about your husband's car crash.
Mrs O: Oh he's dead Miss Babs. In fact I was going to ask you if I could have a couple of hours off on Thursday for the funeral.
Babs: Of Course. Just pop back at five for the hoovering. What happened?
Mrs O: His heart stopped beating.
Babs: Oh no.
Mrs O: Yes, well, sometimes that's God's way of telling you you're dead. Not to worry, Bingo tonight.
Hehe - a few titters certainly help ease the winter blues! I've yet to see the musical version, though I do have a copy on DVD. Can't wait!
What has made YOU laugh lately?
Thursday, 15 November 2007
Friday, 9 November 2007
We went through vigorous security checks, lasting for more than an hour. We each took 2 forms of ID, we went through an infra-red machine, were searched thoroughly and Trevor had his thumb-print photographed (required for male visitors only as it was a prison for men). We had our mouths inspected on 3 separate occasions and were checked by sniffer dogs for drugs. Our hands were brushed with some kind of invisible liquid, which showed up on an ultraviolet machine, which served as a permit to exit the prison after our visit. Trevor also had his thumb-print verified on 4 occasions. We had a book, a mouth spray and some tissue temporarily confiscated as NOTHING was allowed in.
All this security and no-one happened to notice the large safety pin I was wearing to attach a poppy to my jacket. It makes you think doesn't it? It's a stringent procedure to prevent drugs entering the prison, which I'm totally in favour of, but sharp dangerous objects? I must admit, I didn't even give it a thought until we were leaving the prison and obviously neither did anyone else.
Safety pins aside, this was our first prison visit and the staff were commendable. They were helpful and efficient and we were impressed.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
This is probably the worst rendition of The Witches Chant from Macbeth you will have ever seen. You can tell there was no rehearsal! Trevor does well as my assistant witch, but then he didn't have to do much, other than stir up a few body parts. TURN THE VOLUME DOWN (or even OFF) - I was too close to the mic.
Shakespeare is probably turning in his grave.
Have a hideous Halloween.
Thursday, 25 October 2007
I realise, with dismay, that I seem to have lost my passion for blogging. I hope that it is only a temporary condition. A year ago, I used to post mindless stuff frequently, but now I only feel the urge to post mindless stuff once in a blue moon. Possibly it is because Facebook has taken over my entire social life. Help, is there such a thing as Sweet FA (Facebook Anonymous) ? I want to sign up immediately!
Right, what's been happening this week? Well, today was rather good if truth be told. Trevor and I provided a 'TRUST ME I'M A PATIENT' workshop at the Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust (East London). No doubt you are dying to know all about our workshops. Probably not, but I'll tell you anyway. The workshop is designed to help people within the NHS to deal with change and to look at it from another perspective. It involves roleplay and delegates of our workshop are presented with a scenario and given characters to play, ie. patients, doctors, receptionists, nurses, finance directors, chief executives, councillors, dentists, pharmacists... oh the list goes on.
Providing the 'acting' element to the workshop, I get the ball rolling by playing a disgrunted GP Practice Receptionist, followed by an 85-year-old patient and then an arrogant GP. I am always on stand-by to play any one of the 120 characters that we have created, in case our delegates are a little shy to role-play.
Today's workshop was as smooth as a Swish curtain rail; every delegate gave a good performance and hopefully learnt something. Trevor was brilliant, as always, as the facilitator of the event.
........and now something completely different. Have you seen the film, "Arsenic and Old Lace" filmed in 1941 and starring Cary Grant? I watched it on Sky the other day and howled at Cary Grant's comic part. Loved it!
Sunday, 14 October 2007
Our wedding photos can be viewed by clicking here
Earlier today Trevor and I participated in a 10K (6.2 miles) run at Althorp, Northamptonshire. We surprised ourselves by running with ease and completed the course in 1 hour 9 minutes. OK it wasn't a world record but for a couple of middle-aged, overweight, ex-smokers, we could have done a lot worse!
What have YOU been up to recently? I'd love to hear your news.
Friday, 14 September 2007
Sunday, 5 August 2007
Trevor and Lucy assemble the barbecue...... for use by left-handed people I expect. Ah, well. I'm not complaining... Trev's welcome to the position of Head Chef.
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Sunday, 22 July 2007
"Heil Hitler!" yells Eric. "Well, would you believe it?" asks Trevor, "He isn't dead after all, he's been hiding in the loft all these years!"
"Don't be daft," says the logical university student behind Eric, "the house was only built 18 months ago"
Thursday, 21 June 2007
So far, I have raised £135.00 ($270 approx) but would be very happy to add to that total. My fundraising page will be open for donations for another 13 days!
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Friday, 15 June 2007
Sorry to repeat this picture, taken in 1963, of me and my cousin David. He was cremated today and I thought it would be appropriate to publish the photo again with captions. David would have really laughed at this! Just click on the arrow to activate the Bubblesnap.
He was a member of the Herefordshire Headway, an organisation for brain injured adults. See 3rd June post below.
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Monday, 14 May 2007
Tuesday, 8 May 2007
We're the adventurous type, travelling as far afield as the city of Birmingham. Gosh, it's at least 7 miles from our home in Solihull!
Here's me in Victoria Square, with the immortialised Queen Victoria watching the hustle and bustle of this great city. The building behind is the newly restored Town Hall. A few years ago, it was a crumbling danger-zone.
This photo of the Town Hall was taken from Birmingham's Central Library in Chamberlain Square. It's magnificent don't you think? I can't help thinking that the huge TV screen doesn't quite match the architecture!
Just a short walk away is Brindley Place - this is the heart of Birmingham. Did you know that there are more canals here than in Venice? Here is Trevor, eager to get to the Handmade Burger Co. on the other side of the canal. DON'T STEP BACK TREVOR!
Monday, 30 April 2007
Here's me hanging around outside Buckingham Palace. We had hoped that the Queen would invite us in for tea and cucumber sandwiches, but she was out with her corgis. The weather was glorious - phew! - that guard must have sweated buckets.
Alisan Lapper was born without arms and shortened legs. Click here to enter her website. She is my ex-husband's girlfriend's sister, though I've never met Alison.
We met up with an old friend of mine, Dee, who is a professional, very talented actress and wonderful singer. We worked together once in a production of 'Aladdin' a hundred years ago. She was the Slave of the Ring and I was So Shy, handmaiden to the Princess Jasmine. Those were the days ......
Note the poster of Dame Maggie Smith in the background - it is an advert for 'The Lady From Dubuque'
My daughter's show was fantastic and I left London a very proud mum.....
Saturday, 28 April 2007
Tuesday, 24 April 2007
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
Can someone please confirm that this is a Red Admiral? The colour indicates that it is but I'm not sure about the markings.
Friday 20th April: It is a PEACOCK butterfly... see comments. Thanks Andrew!