Blood Testing Blues

I went down to the hospital early and was rewarded with a choice of parking spaces. This was good.

Little did I realise it was to be the high point of my morning.

My first clue to trouble ahead was the crowd by the door of the Phlebotomy Room. The second was my ticket number – I was ticket A134. The first ticket called after I sat down was A119. (Yes, it’s run like a supermarket deli counter).

Fortunately I had a book with me. It’s not as interesting as it may seem, as my forthcoming review may mention. For now I’m keeping an open mind. I had nearly an hour of open-mindedness to devote to it this morning.

Little did I realise etc….

It took three attempts in the right arm, and one in the left (including one with an old-fashioned syringe used with a stab it and hope approach). If we’d been fighting a duel honour would have been well and truly satisfied by all that blood and wounding. At that point she called in help.

It seems that I may have some scar tissue in the arm from the number of blood tests I’ve had, and this is causing some problems in drilling for fresh blood. If I live to be ninety I expect I’ll have arms like sacks of walnuts and they’ll be using power tools.

The reinforcement didn’t mess about. One swift jab with a massive needle and the blood was drawn.

It’s a shame she couldn’t have done it sooner as it would have saved me from having to pay £4 for car parking.

It normally only costs me £2  but it went over the hour so it cost £2 extra. Next time I’ll take a flask and sandwiches and have a picnic until the time is up. I like to get value for money.

I took these pictures of flowers at the Mencap garden on Monday when I took Julia down to water the polytunnel. They have a close-down week this week, when they just shut up shop and all have a holiday. Of course, this was all decided by people who don’t have a garden to run.

In the shop we didn’t have as many parcels to pack as yesterday, just a mere five today. I sorted five lots of American coins for eBay, added to my numismatic knowledge via Google (after all, you need to know something to write about them properly), served a couple of customers looking for postcards, answered the phone, polished the counters and cleaned 24 silver ingots in the shape of postage stamps. They will be going on eBay by the end of the week.

Finally, someone brought a medal in to part exchange.


It’s the South African campaign medal with the bar for 1879 – the year of the Zulu War. It was originally instituted in 1854, and the date 1853 was placed was at the bottom of the reverse (or “the exergue” if you want to be technical). It  was awarded in a back-dated fashion for campaigns dating back to 1835. In 1879 they decided to re-issue it with Zulu shields in the exergue and a set of date bars relating to wars in 1877-79. The date 1879 is for troops who served in the Zulu War of that year – the one that saw British troops with rifles and artillery severely mauled by Zulus with spears.

It wasn’t all plain sailing in the days of the Empire.

Although it’s a great bit of history, it has been spoiled as a collectable because it’s been re-named. This means that the original name has been removed from the edge and another name has been added. Unfortunately, though this was clearly done in Victorian times, it ruins it for collectors.

Soldiers, you see, would often sell or pawn their medals when short of cash and, when posted away at short notice, be unable to get the medals back. Rather than admit to the military offence of selling or pawning their medals they would merely buy one from the pawn shop and have their name put on them. But that is a subject for a different day.

17 thoughts on “Blood Testing Blues

  1. tootlepedal

    Bad luck about the blood testing. That would try the patience of a saint as they say.

    I liked your remark that: “It wasn’t all plain sailing in the days of the Empire.”

    Very true, especially for the natives of the country we were so kindly visiting.

  2. beatingthebounds

    In some ways you could argue that the renaming makes the medal more interesting not less. Shame it spoils the value. I’m reassured by the fact that there were 5 parcels and not 14. In the classic ‘Ascent of Rum Doodle’ W.E.Bowman brilliantly spoofs the stiff-upper-lip accounts of early 20th Century mountaineers. The relevance here is that he repeatedly reuses the number 153 for no apparent reason whatsoever. I’m less concerned now that you are doing the same thing with 14. Perhaps only a mathematician could obsess pointlessly about the numbers appearing in a blog? 🙂

  3. jfwknifton

    Did you know that Gonville Bromhead was educated at Magnus Grammar School in Newark-on-Trent? Chard was from the Plymouth area, as I have just looked up.

  4. Clare Pooley

    I had to wait 45 minutes for my blood test on Thursday. Fortunately, our nurse is very good and despite my scarring and ‘floating’ veins she always finds a good vein straight away. Beautiful photos from the garden.

  5. arlingwoman

    Well, having watched an incompetent jab my father a number of times, and experienced it myself, I now suggest fairly quickly that perhaps someone else might be better. Ugh. I know they have to train people, but they ought to train on each other. That aside, I had no idea soldiers sold their medals. Yeesh. Sassoon threw his in the river, but selling them and then buying them so nobody would know? That is an interesting piece of historical ephemera. Wow.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Sassoon only threw his medal ribbon in the river – the medal (a Military Cross) turned up in a family attic a few years ago and his campaign medals, which he never claimed in his lifetime, were claimed by a family member and sold at auction. I’ll see if I can find the links. It’s a story of history, family feud and greed… 🙂


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