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Sunday, 18 February 2018

Radio Silence - Again

It never rains but it pours.

Last Thursday afternoon I confined myself to bed, suffering from excruciating (in male terms) abdominal pain.   Pat got me an emergency appointment with the Settle GP who correctly (as it turned out) diagnosed a blocked intestine and referred me straight to hospital as an emergency, offering us Airedale or Lancaster.   We drove to Airedale rather than call an ambulance as it would be quicker (the joys of country living).

Nice private room on surgical ward 14 where I spent the evening being violently but rather unproductively sick to compliment the pain.   Intravenous painkillers and anti-sickness drips sorted that.  It had to be operated on immediately BUT I am on blood thinning drug Clopidogrel so two bags of blood platelets were brought by motor cycle from the Bradford Royal Infirmary and then off to theatre at 2130.   Back on ward at 0130, having had my small intestines put back where they should be.

Surgeon this time was on-call consultant Tarig Ahmed.   No photo as he is shy but what a guy.   In the face of a doubting diagnosis from a registrar who had advised that I should re-commence eating and go home(!) he was in no doubt and ordered a CT scan.   Then he, and a team of course, burnt the midnight oil and operated, despite which he was doing his ward rounds at 0800 that morning, when I was awake enough to shake his hand and thank him.

It is now Sunday and I am back home, feeling like a new man.   That was my fourth admission to Airedale in three years or so.   I am becoming a life member of the Theatre Four Anaesthetic Room Appreciation Society.

We read so much about the NHS these days.   On my experience the system must be the best in the World.

I like to include relevant pictures in these postings but I am stumped with this one.  So here goes:

Monday, 12 February 2018

Little Darling Grandson Ben

Our darling grandson Ben (9) is staying with us for half term.   Here he is, in the Land of Nod, sweetness personified:

At lunchtime yesterday the conversation got a bit giddy and jokes were exchanged.

Darling Ben, anxious to be very grown up posed this question to a shocked family:

" What starts with F and ends in uck ?"

Answer below














Fire truck.

(Copyright Gerrards Cross Church of England Primary School)

Meanwhile darling grandson James (13) is skiing in  Austria:

Sent from his iPhone on top of a mountain.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Once in a Blue Moon

Awoke at 0500 this morning with light streaming through a bedroom window.   It was the Blue Moon phenomenon.

The Ribblehead web camera cught this amazing image as the first train of the day had just crossed the Ribblehead Viaduct:

click to enlarge

The snow covered Whernside at that moment is lit by both sunlight and moonlight.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Meet Gerald

Pat is mad keen on garden birds.   We have an elaborate bird feeder, right outside the kitchen window, at eye level.   Even I am fascinated by the comings and goings.   Last weekend it was the RSPB's Great British Birdwatch and in one hour Pat counted 53 individual birds of 17 varieties - and one vole, who lives in the dry stone wall by the feeder and is getting really quite fat on the left-overs.

In recent weeks we have been thrilled by the presence of our very own cock pheasant:

This isn't actually him, but a look-alike.

Ours is called Gerald and he is getting unnervingly tame.   His efforts at flying are noisy and comical.   He is altogether a pleasant pheasant.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Weather and the First Steam Train of the Year

Settle and the area surrounding it - The Yorkshire Dales no less - is a place of contrasts and variety.

Seven days span these first two things.   We are in an Atlantic warm airstream just now and most of the snow has gone but this was on the top of Whernside a week ago :

click to enlarge

And at 1642 yesterday twilight (sound on):

Fireman was Settle's Martyn Soames.   Listen for his tribute to his father Derek as they pass Settle churchyard after they come into view round the bend.   They were a couple of minutes late and 'cracking on' as they say round here.   See the crowd stand back on the up platform - me included!

And then the Lord stepped in with this:

Well done station supervisor Lisa Smith.

Meanwhile in the FoSCL workshop at Settle station, more magnificent craftsmanship is in evidence - the S-E-T-T-L-E capital letters for the station running-in boards and an exterior door for the trolley kitchen are almost complete:

Now, that is competition for 10 Downing Street I reckon.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Another Good Pic

Found this on Instagram -

click to enlarge and enjoy

I don't know what sort of phot editing it has had but its seems just right for the subject here.  It is quite recent because it shows our new public waiting shelter bottom left

Radio Silence Explanation

I hope some followers have noticed an absence of recent postings.   I have been back in Airedale hospital for another operation which took place a week ago tomorrow.   It was for a left (for those who need to know about these things) inguinal hernia.   I am now at home but under instructions not to drive, climb stairs or lift anything heavy for a week or six.

The need for the op was only discovered following a scheduled CT scan as part of the monitoring of my health after my big C op in 2015 - which consistently shows 'all clear', mercifully.   The report on the latest CT scan , whilst declaring that no C was detected, mentioned in passing that I had the hernia.   Surgeon Chris Newman:

wrote to me and said he would fix it if it was troubling me.   I replied 'Yes please' and within a month I was under the knife.   So much for all those horror news stories about a NHS at breaking point and elective operations being cancelled.

Once again, the whole experience was most impressive and really quite enjoyable all things considered.  The care and consideration at Airedale Hospital were beyond the slightest criticism.

One is bound to reflect on the state of the NHS - seemingly doomed to constant attack from whoever is not in government and a hungry media.   Seems to me there are inherent factors which put incredible, and almost unaffordable pressures on the 1948 model NHS.   Medical advances, and the resultant ageing and increasing population are two strong ones, among many others.

The sheer scale of the NHS is another thing, well illustrated in this area.   This was the local general hospital - Keighley Victoria:

Pat used to work there as a radiographer.

By contrast, here is its replacement - Airedale General Hospital:

Vast, and getting bigger almost by the day.   Vast, but not impersonal though.   When the anaesthetist paid his pre-op visit he was grinning from ear to ear.   "I've just seen your address" he said.  "Saw that on TV and I'm really envious".   That was nice.