Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Have you TRIED to get to see the doctor lately?

Supposedly our doctor operates to a maximum of 48 hours delay for appointments but in reality it’s at least a week and in the winter months it can be more like two or three weeks. The net effect of that is that a rising number of people (and it’s mainly the elderly) who make a rolling series of appointments “just in case” which, naturally, clogs up the appointment calendar. In fact, one elderly lady seems to make daily appointments as she is always there when we call in.

To get around this clogging up of the appointment system they abandon it altogether at least one day a week and two or three when it’s really bad. What happens then is that they have an “open surgery” which means you need to call them between 9am and 11am when you’re put through to a doctor who decides whether or not you need to be seen. Sounds fine, but in practice we tried to get through on every opportunity for two weeks solid and didn’t manage to get anything but an engaged tone.

But even when you do get through to a doctor they’re clearly massively overworked thanks to that 100% booking of appointments. Thus it’s very much a cursory visit. So, despite us managing to get an appointment a couple of weeks ago and exhibiting all the symptoms of swine flu were just sent home and told to keep taking liquids. That’s the instruction that has managed to kill far too many people. OK, those who aren’t so healthy at the off might well die with a cold never mind flu but you don’t expect healthy people to die of the flu these days, do you?

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Merry Christmas, but take care!

John as Santa in 2010 Christmas playAll being well, you’ll  be just about to start on a brilliant Christmas Day by the time this is published. We try to keep it a no-computer day so as computers need holidays too 🙂 Well, we sure need a break from them anyway.

Take more care with your food intake than I did a few weeks back. A really nice looking German hotdog in the Belfast Christmas market turned out to be something of a breeding ground for salmonella which led me low for a surprising amount of time.If it ain’t 100% cooked, leave it on the plate!

Watch all those nice new Christmas prezzies too. Some drongos trashed the house of one of the nicest old ladies you could meet the day before Christmas Eve. For what though? She certainly doesn’t have a house stuffed full of the latest electronics that they could get shot of easily. Nope, just mindless vandalism.

Pay particular attention to the roads this year too. We’ve finally managed to get a white Christmas alright but boy does that make for some seriously low temperatures and dreadful driving conditions. Worth noting is that the salt that they currently use on UK roads doesn’t work too well below -10C in terms of melting the ice/snow although obviously the grit mixed in with it does help things. Since large chunks of the country have been quite consistently below that, you might not want to be relying too heavily on the assumption that gritted roads = safe roads. Forget all about drinking and driving in conditions like this too.

Finally, why not do something nice for someone in the Christmas spirit? Just yesterday, a nice lady in Marks & Spencers handed us her £5 off voucher when she saw that we’d be able to use it whilst she couldn’t. It’s always nice to return that favour to someone else a la Good Samaritans who I’ve run into a surprising number of times over the years. But what about trying to repay the kindness twice? I’m sure that it wouldn’t take a massively long time before we were all knee deep in acts of kindness if everyone did that. Wouldn’t that be a nice thing to happen?

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

A lost week

I was tootling along quite nicely up to last week.

The web design assignment was coming together nicely with a web site that looked reasonable and only a few hundred words shy of the target for the accompanying report. Another hour or two would complete the medicine course assignment. The reading for the archaeology course was really far ahead of schedule and it was looking like I’d be making a start on the assignment this week. Not only that but I clocked up passes in three courses on the Thursday, particularly welcome in the case of the astronomy course, the exam for which seemed to be a totally dire experience for the majority of people.

Even real life was motoring along quite nicely with all our original set of Christmas cards away getting on for two weeks before Christmas. OK, that might not seem a massive success to you, but believe me, it’s a major achievement for us. We’d managed to see the Christmas play twice and were rolling on downhill towards the kids party, Santa photos, and planned Christmas shopping. Yes, I know, we really should do the Christmas shopping earlier but at least this year we had assembled our shopping list quite early (for us, anyway).

And then I grabbed one of the German hotdogs at the Christmas market which has laid me low with food poisoning for most of the week. And there was the snow and ice which both limited our range and massive increased the time taken to get anywhere. And then there was the flu that one after the other of us managed to pick up.

That lost week has messed up the plan to do “collect at store” for a number of items which is probably no bad thing as one item is available in a thoroughly snowed in area. Supposedly the home delivery is in “two days” which sounds remarkably optimistic but there you go. I think we may need to put off Christmas for a couple of days.

Oh, and there’s the issue that the spot we’ve booked for our Christmas lunch appears to remarkably difficult to get to at the moment.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Does someone you love ever really leave you?

Andrew Stewart in FranceMy Dad would have been 84 today had he lived but, sadly, he didn’t quite make it to even 82.

The photo here was taken on whilst he was over in France with us for John’s first birthday.

That’s the pity really… John was only 3 when he died so for him his Granda left him half a lifetime ago. We were over in France for most of John’s life up to that point whilst James grew up knowing him most of his first couple of years of life.

Interestingly though, both of them continue to mention him every couple of months or so and they haven’t forgotten him as much as I’d thought they would have by now. Sadly, they both have fewer memories of him than I’d hoped they would have had over the years but sometimes they create memories of him in situations where they would have expected him to be. Thus, James mentioned that Granda would have been there on his first day at he new school and that he’d have still been looking after them in what’s still their favourite park.

Of course, in many ways most of their “memories” of him will be of things that they would have expected him to have done over the years but which he didn’t live long enough to do. So he didn’t see them start in their new school, didn’t get to see James in the end of year event nor either of them in the Christmas carol singing. But they carry the memory of what he would have done through their experience of the things that he did do for them.

I think it’s fantastic that they can keep the memory of their Granda alive in that way.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Isn’t Christmas a busy time?

We could do with an extra couple of days added on to the week at the moment.

The kids are busy with their Christmas extravaganza at the moment. I think the school were rather optimistic about the staying power of 4 to 8 year old children as they’re running four performances of it over the course of this week and after just one day our little guys were pretty worn out. It also throws up extra stuff for us to do with a performance to go to later today and needing to pick them up before lunch on Thursday.

Friday will be even busier with Mum to be taken to the performance for the elderly in the morning, the Kip McGrath class just after school, immediately after that John has a party to go to and then just after that we’re off to a BBQ thing at the church. Yeah, I know, it’s not BBQ weather at the moment so we’re not 100% sure about going to that.

Next week is looking quite busy too with our first free slot not coming up until Thursday!

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.