Tag Archives: queue

The Day So Far

Summary: Started well but tailed off towards mid-day.

Rose at 6.30, dressed, had cereal for breakfast, drove to City Hospital, found car parking was still free, found a space.

7.15 – took ticket number 16 in Phlebotomy, hummed a few bars of a well known show tune of my youth, and waited. And waited.

13 came out, 14 went in. 14 came out. 15 went in. 16, of course, waited. There was a sound of chatter from the room. A member of staff went in, came out, went back in with a phone, came out, the chatter continued…

I have noticed this tendency for them to introduce random pauses into the system before.

Was finally admitted into the room, which had three staff, five bays, room for ten people (according to the sign on the door) and no patients. Number 17 was allowed in seconds after me, as they had plenty of space.

I was punctured efficiently, donated the required tubeful and left.

Picked Julia up and took her to work, then went to see my jeweller friends for the first time in just over four months. Moaned about business, drank tea.

Went across the road to collect something from the pharmacy. Involved in a disorderly queue which included a deaf man and a wiry-haired dog of indeterminate breed but great character. Had trouble re-crossing the road due to traffic until a young woman in a Nissan Micra stopped to let me cross. Since when have I become an avuncular recipient of charity from young women drivers?

Got home, plotted world domination, thought of my sandwich options for lunch.

Booked the car in for MOT next Wednesday. If my MOT date had been two weeks earlier I would have qualified for the six month extension, but I don’t. Typical of my luck.

Tried to arrange a repeat prescription on-line. Didn’t work. It didn’t work last month either. Rang the surgery who told me to email it, just like last month. Enquired as to why it constantly refuses to work and was told to email a photo in so they can check my identity. Was verging on sarcastic as I pointed out that it would just be the same photo ID that I used when proving my ID last time. Can’t believe it is this difficult to get 100 Warfarin tablets. It would be easier to buy rat poison,

Screwfix sell one ready made into blocks with “culinary-grade wheat flour, chopped grain, soft lard and synthetic peanut butter flavouring”. I’m not known as a gastronome, but that sounds delicious.

I’m still thinking about that sandwich. Maybe toasted cheese…

This afternoon I will write, before picking Julia up from work.

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Yes, it’s actually my writing, though even I can’t read it…

The Curmudgeon Chronicles (Pick a Number)

I had a text from the pharmacy ate 12.25 pm. I had tried to ring them in the morning but they were permanently engaged.

By 2.00 there was a queue of about twenty people. Or maybe ten, on reflection, but it felt like twenty. So I went to TESCO to use the cash machine. Two have been shut down due to social distancing, and the third wasn’t working. Next I tried Sainsbury’s, again the only working machine wasn’t working. If that makes sense you have, like me, been in lockdown too long.

Back to the pharmacy…

The queue was down to one person, with two in the shop. They only allow two in the shop at one time, presumably because the previous restriction of three was too efficient. At that time it was actually three in the queue and two sitting waiting, Today they actually had two sitting waiting and nobody being served. Not the best use of the four staff they had in the shop.

I waited outside for 25 minutes. I timed it especially for this post. The lady in front of me was finally admitted. I waited another ten minutes. They allowed me in. Then they made me wait again. The lady in front of me was told she would have to wait ten minutes for her prescription. Mine, when I was served, was ready for me as arranged. I heard the sound of celestial trumpets and felt warm rays of light fall upon my head.

Because I have learned from experience I checked the bag.

My Warfarin were missing. Another five minutes passed before they waved a slip of paper to prove I didn’t have a prescription for it. If only they’d been as keen to contact the doctor and sort it.

I had to walk five yards and press doorbell to contact reception. I did this and waited. They were busy and it took a few minutes. They refused to discuss it with me as there were “people about” and they didn’t want me to have to discuss it with people listening. I don’t actually feel the need to hide the fact I have atrial fibrillation. If I’d contracted it in a brothel, or had to take my trousers off to explain it, I might feel a bit embarrassed, but I didn’t, and I don’t. I could actually have sorted it in five minutes but no, I had to ring.

So they sent me away with instructions to sort it out by ringing them.

After sorting a number of other things out, and calming myself down, I was able to ring the surgery and establish that they had missed the Warfarin off the prescription. As usual there is no explanation, no apology and, seemingly, no concern that they have cocked up yet again.

As a result, my careful planning has come to nothing. My exposure to the virus has been doubled by the need for a second visit. My attempt to avoid exposing pharmacy workers to the virus has been negated. Sometimes I wonder why I bother trying.

Other, more interesting things also happened, but they would merely cloud the issue.

bunch of white oval medication tablets and white medication capsules

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Queue

Sorry, I had to repeat the header picture again. I was going to take more photos today, but didn’t do any in the end.

We went to the pharmacy this afternoon. Julia needed more medication and we had ordered mine at the same time to cut down on the number of times we risked contact, both for us and the pharmacy staff.

They open at 2am. We went down at 2.15 and found a queue of approximately 18 people. We decided to have a drive round and come back later when the rush was over. At 2.50 we returned and found the queue had reduced to 17, though most of them were different people. Several of the people who had been at the back of the original queue had still not reached the shop.

Reluctantly, we joined the queue. As I said to Julia, it was a good thing she had arranged to pick her prescription up in advance, or we’d have ended up in a massive slow queue.

She told me to shut up. Apparently sarcasm does not make queues go faster. An hour later, I found myself agreeing with her. I nearly said: “At least it isn’t raining.”

If I’d said that, I’m sure it would have done. So I restrained myself.

The woman in front of us had her son with her. He was about 12 or 14 and about the same size as her. He had learning difficulties, which originally took the form of engaging in a game of pointing at me and laughing whilst saying “man” and “giant”. He also said “hello” a lot, asked our names and named our hair colours – in my case this was “blonde” so I can forgive him a lot. As they queued, and he became bored, he started wrestling with his mother. She was impressively strong, and very patient. I’m guessing that the lockdown is harder for her than it is for many of us.

As we got to the door of the shop, the woman in front let them take her place, which was pretty good considering it had taken us an hour by that time.

Julia went in before me. I went in a couple of minutes later. She got hers in five minutes, as it was already organised. It was to take me another half hour. I gave them the barcode the surgery had texted me. It didn’t work.

So much for technology.

I had to go across to the surgery. Biosecurity was not as tight as last week, and I was able to walk straight in. Strange, I thought. What was even stranger was the way they had piled up furniture and tape as a barrier. And the fact there was nobody there.

I double checked the notices – there were many prohibitions (this situation is heaven-sent for people who like giving orders) including telling me not to enter if I had an appointment, but there was nothing telling me not to just drift in from the street. Strange…

Eventually someone found me, issued a paper prescription and, after checking my identity on my driving license, gave me a password for the website, which should mean I can just order online in future. In theory. I’ll believe it when I see it.

And that was…

No, that wasn’t quite it.

They were short of Warfarin and had no pain-killing gel. The gel will be in on Monday and the Warfarin on Tuesday. I am, it seems, welcome to queue for an hour any time next week to pick the extras up. I can even queue twice, once on Monday and once on Tuesday, if I want.

This, as I pointed out, rather works against the whole point of self-isolation.

 

 

Sorry – Not the Post I Promised

I haven’t quite written the post about the Gibraltar £20 coin I promised yesterday as it’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated. Instead, I’m going to ramble on a bit and, having fulfilled my self-imposed requirement to post every day, I’m going to slink away.

The morning was quite bright and pleasant, and we had quite a few parcels to do. The proprietor had been in on Sunday to pack some, which made life easier, though we still  had nine parcels to pack, including several with multiple contents.

One of the orders came with a set of packing instructions. I hate it when people do that. Do they really think we aren’t going to pack things properly? I often think of writing back to point out that I’m grateful for their note as the idea of proper packing had never occurred to me…

At the Post Office someone drew up in his Mercedes and parked so close to the shop that he nearly blocked the door. I deduced a number of things from this, including that he probably had parcels to post. So I put a spurt on, got to the door before him and ensured he couldn’t get past me before I got to the counter.

A queue quickly built up and he muttered to the next man in the line. By the time I’d finished there was a queue of seven, all muttering. Tough, I thought.  I’d rather be the one at the front being hated by everyone behind me, than the one at the back waiting. Post Offices, when you have bags of parcels, encourage a certain hardness of outlook.

We had sweet potato and peanut curry tonight, cooked by Number One Son. It was very good and I may add it to my repertoire.

Julia has bought some sprouts in batter, with Camembert dip, for our traditional Christmas Eve buffet. She said they sounded so bad she couldn’t resist trying them. I can understand that. Apparently not many other people felt the same way as there were still stacks of them left in the shop.

I’ll let you know how things go.

 

 

Quick Post

We got stuck in traffic this morning and Number Two Son texted to say he’d seen us from the bus while he was on his way back from the night shift. Great use of technology!

Fourteen parcels to pack and a long slow queue at the post office. There was some light relief but I have no time to describe it.

A reasonable afternoon and some cooking.

A good talk at the Numismatic Society.

Chicken stew for tea. (Cooked earlier – good planning).

A fight with the new editor, which keeps throwing me out of the photographs.

Taking Number Two Son to work in the next few minutes.

I’m going to see what pictures it lets me use.

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Crocuses

In which I nearly use a Bad Word

I really don’t know where to start today. Rose at 6.30 (unwillingly). To hospital by 7.16 (I had a slow creaky start to the morning) and found myself 9th in the queue. 

I didn’t have to wait too long and only read four pages of my “waiting book” before being called. It’s taking a long time to read because I keep it in the back of the car and only read it while I’m waiting for something.

It was a three tube day. The needle went in fine and the blood flowed like… whatever blood flows like.   She looked at the first tube a little too long for my liking but I was soon done. I then nipped to the toilet and filled my tube for the urine sample. Returning to the car park, I was allowed out free of charge (I’m beginning to think the timer may be broken) and took the sample to the surgery.

Could it all have been so easy? Seemingly so…

Only one thing of note happened in the shop today. A lady came in to sell some coins and asked for a seat. When given one, she asked if we had a lower one. Fortunately we did have a lower one. She was, it seems, suffering from frailty and old age. 

In conversation afterwards my ungallant co-worker referred to her as a “little old lady”. I protested, not through gallantry, but because, in the conversation, she had told us she was born in 1958. 

Hot on the heels of the elderly retired gent we’d seen last week (born 1960), I’m beginning to feel quite youthful. Some people seem to look and act old despite still being quite young. 

I, on the other hand, having been born in 1958, still feel I’m quite young. Julia sort of agrees, though she did use the word “immature”, which isn’t quite the same as “young”. 

Later in the day I had a phone call – the blood test had not been satisfactory and I have to have a fresh test tomorrow.

It’s not a health problem, I’ve had this before. If they don’t fill the tube properly the laboratory refuses the sample. And if the blood tester looks at the sample for too long after testing it usually means they aren’t convinced they’ve filled the tube.

That means another early start and another half hour wait. 

I can’t help feeling cheated – I did everything they asked and I’m being punished for it.

I was so annoyed I came close to using a Bad Word.

More Blood…

Blood test again, and I went down for 8.20 this time, to avoid the queue.

It started going wrong when I was prevented from entering the car park by a man shouting at the machine in a haughty and peremptory manner (which immediately made me assume he was a doctor).

“I’m at the car park in front of Maternity and the barrier won’t lift!” he said.

They raised it for him. When I pulled up at the barrier I found that he’d neglected to take the ticket from the slot, which would have raised the barrier. It worked for me.

By the time I’d parked, he was walking into Maternity with an expensive leather bag over one shoulder. If he has such trouble extracting a ticket from a slot I can’t imagine he’s much of a gynaecologist.

As I walked across to the blood-letting department it started to rain – small, sharp, freezing droplets.

It got worse when I entered the waiting area and took a ticket. I was 11th in the queue. Not only that, but after doing ten people the service seemed to stop. even the people behind me noticed it, and they weren’t next in the queue or  in a hurry to get out and have breakfast with their wife before going to work.

I had “the trainee” again. She’s making progress because, after two multiple failures she nailed it first time. They now use a piece of arm which hurts more than usual, but if it works I suppose it’s better than multiple stab wounds.

As I walked back to the car it rained. This time the drops were bigger and less icy. They were still cold though. The roof of the shelter over the ticket machine, I noticed, is just the right size to channel drips of cold water onto your head as you feed your money into the machine. For an extra £20 in materials they could probably have built a shelter that kept people dry as they paid.

It occurs to me that the NHS is missing a trick. Charles Saatchi once owned a frozen sculpture made from the blood of the artist Marc Quinn. Despite it nearly defrosting in a builder-related incident, he managed to resell it for £1.5 million.

Clearly, as the NHS has plenty of blood going spare, there’s an opening here for an enterprising artist, an Arts Council Grant and one of those marketing companies that knocks out limited editions via the colour supplement on Sundays.

You can do 150 heart valve operations for the cost of one frozen blood sculpture. Or 1,500 cataract operations

I’m not saying that it’s the solution to NHS funding problems but it might help.

 

 

Lots of Errands and a Traffic Jam

Big day today. Off to the letter office where five parcels were waiting for me. There was no queue today and I parked in a disabled space as my knee was killing me. I know it’s not a good thing to do, but there were three others left empty and I was having to use my stick.

It turned out there were six parcels, which was a bonus. While I’ve been at work the postmen have been taking them back to the letter office. The trouble is that everyone wants them to be signed for. There’s no trust in the world anymore and everyone wants proof. I posted over 2,000 parcels when I was dealing by mail order and I only ever lost one.

In general I like to believe that people are honest, and the proliferation of distrust on ebay tells you a lot about the way modern society is going. I also have my suspicions that ebay and Royal Mail are in league to take as much money as possible from us. Remember that ebay also charges commission on postage costs. I was happy with my purchases, but you’ll have to take my word for it as I haven’t photographed them yet.

After that we had breakfast and set off for Newark market where, noting the lack of customers, I did the old show business joke. It basically hinges round the phrase “there’s no business (pause for effect) like show business”. It tends to amuse us, though we don’t have high standards.

Then things took a turn for the worse. We stopped at Grantham for a toilet break and a drink. Julia’s coffee, in a paper cup, cost £2.75. We’re going to have to start taking a flask.

Forestry land in Brazil costs as little as $50 an acre – about eighteen cups of coffee. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

After that we joined a queue on the A1. The traffic spent ten minutes travelling fitfully then ground to a halt. In the next two hours we listened to a Terry Pratchett talking book, chatted, watched red kites and fell asleep. Well, one of us did. The other one recorded me snoring and sent an audio file to my sister.

It seems that a trailer had become unhitched from a car and emptied itself on the road. Nobody was hurt, which is good.

Finally we arrived in Peterborough just in time to miss a low key but photogenic sunset, visited my father for a couple of hours, wished him a happy 89th birthday for later in the week and returned home without incident.

All in all, quite a worthwhile day, with the bonus of a relaxing snooze in the afternoon. I know it’s generally frowned on to sleep on major roads, but I think it’s OK if everyone has stopped.

 

Breakfast Review – Sainsbury’s

This review relates to breakfast at Sainsbury’s Arnold store, just outside Nottingham. As luck would have it, they also had a decent cook on today and we had a good, enjoyable meal. If a proper reviewer had been on the job, you would probably have had a photograph too. But I didn’t take my camera and I left my phone in the car.

I’m not really a fan of the current Sainsbury’s set up as the coffee set-up slows things down and, as a tea drinker, I don’t see why I should stand in a queue for 10 or 15 minutes as people are served, at great length, with coffee. In the good old days, when British establishments served a choice of tea or instant coffee I didn’t mind coffee drinker,s but now I have to stand round while they decide on which of the eight coffees to have I find them quite irritating.

However, today there was no queue, and we soon ordered (two Big Breakfasts and two teas) and sat down at one of the few remaining tables. It was filthy – covered in rings from cups, with a selection of crumbs and some horrible sticky patches with fluff in them.

Breakfast arrived swiftly and was excellently cooked and presented. This is not always the case.

The fried egg looked good, the sausages and bacon were both excellent (for taste and presentation). The hash brown was particularly good today, the toast was also good and so were the beans. Even the half tomato was reasonable, though a half tomato always looks a bit miserly to me.

So, that’s it. When the system is working well it is capable of producing an excellent breakfast. To be fair, it isn’t always as quick, well cooked and nicely presented as this – the last few visits here have included crusty beans and congealed eggs that seem to have been flung randomly at the plate.

In terms of a star rating – if the tables had been clean today’s breakfast would have been 5 stars. On an average day, with a queue and a breakfast that’s been flung at the plate it’s probably a 4 – good but could be better.

At £11.40 it’s not as good as the Little Chef Olympic Breakfast, but it’s almost half the price.

I’m going to try to persuade Julia to make breakfast reviews a regular feature of the blog. Wish me luck!