Monthly Archives: May 2017

More from Bempton Cliffs

Sorry about the short post yesterday, but I was a bit tired by the time we got home. At just over two hours each way it was a longish trip, but worth it because of the quality of the paths and views of the birds.

Even as we travelled up the A1, under almost cloudless blue skies, I could feel the curse of daytime TV lifting from my soul.

The sun was in the wrong position for photography, with much of the cliff being in shadow so I didn’t get many shots. Fortunately the young Gannets were relaxing in the sun and gave me plenty of chances for photography. I’d have preferred a few Puffin shots but you can only take what’s in front of you.

Gannets don’t breed until they are about five years old. The ones in the picture are around that age, as they have just about lost all their adolescent black feathers. Next year they will breed, but this year they are practising their bill fencing and preening. It’s not a bad life.

At the end of the summer they will fly as far south as West Africa.

There were other birds too, but they weren’t as interesting.

That’s a bit unfair really, but I was tired and limping and I can get quite unfair. I can also be quite short with people, as one idiot found when he wandered in front of the car in Bridlington.

We went for fish and chips in Filey and ate them on the seafront. It’s an interesting place, but I didn’t have the energy to take photos. It was a big piece of superbly cooked haddock and took a bit of eating.

There were House Martins nesting under the eaves of the chip shop.

 

Another trip to Bempton Cliffs

We went to Bempton Cliffs today. It was a testing drive after months of being virtually housebound but it has, we thought, the best paths and least walking of all the places we visit.

We only saw a couple of Puffins which flew directly into burrows, so they were probably males on the way back with food.

I cheated on the Featured Image, as the second picture shows.

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Puffin Poster – Bempton Cliffs

More to follow tomorrow but here’s a video of Gannets…

Only When I Laugh

I have now lunched. We had the £6.95 lunch at Frankie and Benny’s (we elected for cheeseburgers, chips and a spoonful of coleslaw). I added strawberry ice cream for £2.50. Julia ate the wafer off my ice cream.  She does that every time.

Total bill was the same as the Harvester but you get a lot of salad at Harvester and not much at F&B (though the music is better at F&B and the toilets are easier to reach).

Now, my morning in hospital…

Rising at 6am I bathed, dressed, packed and gathered my paperwork together. I didn’t have breakfast (because I had to stop eating at midnight) but did have a mug of water and my pills at 6.30, the latest I was allowed to drink.

All went well to start. I spoke with the surgeon, two anaesthetists and some nurses. I was prodded, bled, monitored and documented. Everyone was very pleasant and it was very relaxing.

Then I dressed in a hospital gown, put on my new grip socks and started to watch TV. And more TV. And yet more TV. At that point I was getting a bit concerned about the wait. For one thing, it was a bit long, and for another, I was starting to worry there might be a problem. But there wouldn’t be a problem, would there?

A little later – it was about 10.00 a nurse approached and gave me a cup of water, telling me I could have it as long as I drank it in the next ten minutes as I wouldn’t go through to theatre until at least 12.00.

“Yes,” I said, “I thought the water was bad news.”

From there it was all downhill…

This is how the farcical charade developed.

In December when I was admitted with “the swelling” I was allowed to lie on a normal bed in the first floor male urology ward (known as Harvey 2).

In April – the first part of the surgery – I was allowed to use a normal bed in Harvey 2.

In May, when I was admitted with the abscess I had to have the bariatric bed, in Harvey 2.

Now, I have to have the bariatric bed but am now officially too fat to be allowed upstairs, according to the evacuation protocol. There was no bed on a ground floor ward so after the 12.30 bed conference they cancelled the operation.

I just don’t understand why they keep moving the goalposts.

Now, I’ve never denied being fat, but within a pound or two I’ve been the same weight for years. I haven’t suddenly become too fat for the upper stories.

I’m also happy for them to have protocols. They are a big organisation and they need such things to function. And so their many jobsworths have something to do.

They were surprised when I laughed, but what else can you do? Getting angry won’t help. And being rude to the staff won’t help because it isn’t their fault – they just get left to apologise for the acts of others.

Before I left, they fixed me up with another date.

It’s two weeks away.

But there’s no guarantee of a bed.

Tomorrow I will be more cheerful.

 

 

 

 

Management books and Winston Churchill

After much thought, and sitting up until after midnight, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t concentrate on writing an interesting post. I have therefore settled on throwing a few things together and trusting that it will be OK.

Come to think of it, I may write a business management book based on that premise. Somewhere in the house I have management books based on  Henry V, Attila the Hun and Jean-Luc Picard, so why shouldn’t Just Chuck it Together, It’ll be OK be a success?

I may market it as a breath of fresh air in a world that seems to increasingly demand perfection, effort and planning.

How about Leadership Secrets of Winston Churchill – a quick study of how the man voted the Greatest Briton of all time actually ran things. It strikes me that when he wasn’t being random he was often drunk, but he still managed to win a couple of World Wars and a Nobel Prize. Makes you think, doesn’t it.

In a modern context, by the time we’d planned, done the Prince 2 stuff and explored the Health And Safety implications we’d have had jackboots marching up the Mall and King Edward VIII re-installed in Buckingham Palace. Or, I think, Edward III for those of you in Scotland.

Anyway, I’d better get to bed as I don’t want to be late for hospital.

In the meantime I will try to think of something entertaining to write for Friday.

🙂

 

 

A Quiet Lunch

 

I aimed for a relaxing day today as part of my long term strategy of being nice and relaxed when I pass through the doors of the Urology Centre tomorrow morning.

With this in mind I first went to pick up my prescription from the surgery, then went to the pharmacy (popped into the jeweller whilst waiting), got a phone call to collect Julia and then went to lunch.

It should have been easy, but as usual the day was full of irritation. First, I had a note from the doctor telling me I couldn’t have two sets of pills as records showed I had plenty of them. That was irritating because I had not ordered those pills. You really have to ask about their computerised system…

If I die unexpectedly check my prescriptions!

Parking the car, I found that to get my two hours of free parking I had to walk the length of the car park to get collect the ticket and then walk the length of the car park to put the ticket in the car. Then… well you get the picture. It was a lot of walking with a sore ankle.

Would it be difficult to put the machine in the middle of the car park?

There were several irritating customers in the pharmacy, including one who took advantage of my slow progress to overtake me and then launch into a complicated question. I’m actually immune to this sort of thing now, having experienced it so often, so no problem there.

Lunch was Harvester again, because it was the weather for salad and if I’m to eat salad  it might as well be free of charge. Salad is going to be in short supply over the next two days.

If it seems like we’re spending recklessly on meals out, we probably are, but fun is going to be in short supply over the next few days, so why not?

The only problem was one of the other diners. As he walked past with his family (we were overtaken again!) he plunged his hand down the front of his tracksuit trousers and had a good scratch. I’m not a great one for etiquette but working on the basis of a time and a place for everything, that was neither the time nor the place.

As I said to Julia: “Let’s make sure we get to the salad bar before that bloke.”

Well, you wouldn’t want to handle the serving spoons after he’d been touching them would you?

 

 

Sad Stories of the Death of Kings (Part I)

…let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
Richard II  William Shakespeare

After writing about Charles I and his execution in a previous post I thought I’d write about a few more Kings and their deaths. I’m starting in 1066 and confining myself to Kings of England. To start earlier than that is to invite trouble from a raft of Kings called Ethelsomething and to include the Scots is to open up a story of multiple murders.

So, we will start with Harold Godwinson. He reigned for nine months, fought two big battles, beat the Vikings (and his brother Tostig) at Stamford Bridge and died after being shot in the eye at the Battle of Hastings. Or do we? As usual, someone has come up with a theory that this isn’t true. Nobody has any respect for legends these days. As the new theory draws on contemporary and near-contemporary sources it could well be true. It’s likely that he was cut down by Norman knights (including William) who then put the arrow story about to show that their victory was due to God’s Will rather than force of arms.

As usual, if God did have a view of the matter, he was on the side of the big battalions, as Napoleon didn’t say.

From there we will go to William Rufus, or William II to give him his formal title. He was out hunting in the New Forest one day (2nd August 1100 in fact – sounds like a nice time of year to be out in the woods) when he was killed by an arrow fired carelessly by Walter Tirel. Strangely, his nephew Robert had died in a hunting accident in the same forest in 1099 and his brother Richard in 1075.

It may well have been an accident, or part of a series of accidents. Who can say after this lapse of time? However, it was a very fortunately timed accident for Henry, youngest of the three surviving sons of William the Conqueror. As his brother bled to death Henry wasted no time in securing the treasury in Winchester before he headed off to be crowned in London. Things might have been different if his elder brother Robert had been there, but he was still on his way back from the First Crusade.

As I say, fortunate timing. Henry managed to hang on to England on Robert’s return, took the Duchy of Normandy from him in 1106 and held him prisoner for the next 28 years.

Henry himself died in France in 1135, supposedly from a surfeit of lampreys. Each to his own, I suppose, but they are very unattractive creatures.

We then skip a few kings, and ignore Richard I because I can. Despite his legendary status, Lionheart name and appearance in the Robin Hood legend he hardly spent any time in England, probably around 6 months. Basically he just used the country to finance his many military adventures.

It hardly seems fair that John, his brother, has a bad reputation when he seems to have been better for the country than Richard. John died in Newark Castle in 1216, which may have been the result of poison, a surfeit of peaches (in October? Really?) or dysentery.  Surfeits seem to have been quite fashionable in the Middle Ages. His troops took the body for burial in Worcester Cathedral.

We’ll skip a few kings and get to Edward II, one of the more famous murdered monarchs. He didn’t have a great reign, with trouble from the Barons, the Scots and a famine. He had favourites at court, first Piers Gaveston, then the Despensers, who took advantage of his patronage. As if that wasn’t enough he married a woman nick-named The She-Wolf of France.  Now, I have no way of knowing what she was like as a wife, but I’m guessing the nick-name may be a clue that suggests she wasn’t an easy woman to live with.

She deposed Edward and took up with Roger Mortimer. Edward died whilst imprisoned in Berkeley Castle, and in the years after his death lurid tales about his death started to circulate. These mainly centred on the insertion of a red hot poker into an orifice not normally associated with such things. It may or may not be the most accurate story of how a king died, but it is the one you’re most likely to remember.

The son of Edward II, or Edward III as he was known, eventually seized power back from Mortimer and his mother, capturing them in Nottingham Castle by means of a secret passage known as Mortimer’s Hole.