Archive for December, 2007

on the fourth day of Christmas….

December 28, 2007


DVLA sent to Cardiff one white van, two crewmen, and with four cameras on the roof!!  Yes, its true!   Sitting quietly looking out of my window onto the street outside I noticed a white van cruising slowly along, and then making a U turn outside my house.  One the roof were four CCTV cameras, each pointing a little outwards and downwards, and they were filming the cars for road license offences as they drove along.  Big Brother is geting bigger.   Now, this is not strictly a ‘piece’ for a mental health blog, and I am not feeling particularly paranoid, – but then again, is it?   What will it do to the community as this process is linked in to all the others being assembled to ‘watch’ over our ‘safety’?  What the fifth day will bring?  Maybe “five lorries removing” – all the cars they have identified – and if you think I am joking above is a photo taken in November when three lorries turned up and quickly removed three cars.   I will be looking out of the window again tomorrow, with interest! 



addy’s blog has moved…

December 26, 2007

addy has moved his blog to WordPress (how wise!) and this is the new link.  The previous site will still work for another 3 months, but if you are a regular visitor then this is a good time to ‘favourite’ this new link:

Christmas friendship – not there for everyone.

December 24, 2007

As you get older Christmas seems to come around more quickly and more expensively!  By the time I am 80 (I wish) I will be using the wrapping paper I am removing to immediately wrap next year’s present.  It’s been a while since I managed a new ‘post’ and my excuse is the same as most other people’s – run off my feet over the past few weeks.  Now I think I am ‘there’ and in a little while will be off to visit my recently born grandson and his parents so that they can be left to have a quiet day as their own family tomorrow.   That brings back nice memories of our first Christmas with our first born – a Christmas like no other – and our first Christmas as our own family unit – ever!    As far as we are concerned – nothing to beat it.   And that brings back thoughts of other and much lonelier Christmas’s – such as on guard duty in the army in the wilds of wherever – which is where you always seemed to get sent if you were unfortunate to get Christmas duty roster, or when living alone in a large city – full of people but there were few friends – or living in a bed-sit house when everyone else had gone to relatives or friends – or ….well, the list could go on.  I am hoping that anyone reading this will have company for the holiday, and will be happy, but for those who will be alone, or who may suffer ‘bad’nights.  Below I have put in a few links to sites that may help to relieve or divert the unhappiness  until your usual ‘support’ is available again.  

To brighten a dark moment…

December 24, 2007

Here are some links that may help to brighten up a dark moment over Christmas and New Year.   These sites are prettywell ok for most people – but if you find something that you don’t like, then close it – and if you want – let me know the difficulty.  I can’t check everything out but others have also used these sites and not found a problem.

and if you are into photography, then try this:

and if you want to play some games and other stuff, then try :

and don’t forget addy’s blog (under Links) if you want to read somone who truly understands self harm and bi-polar experiences. 

addy also recommends this site – have a look for yourself:

If I can find some more that may help and divert then I will add them here.

…and a useful link about male depression…

and another..

Clean Jokes page

December 4, 2007

Some new jokes have arrived thanks to Daz.

Room 101

December 1, 2007

While generally immersed in matters of public health you may like to know about my visit to my surgery recently.    A little ‘tongue in cheek’ but basically the following is how it went.   The surgery is fine, but maybe public health service employees are a bit overworked?

I arrived at the surgery ten minutes early for my appointment.   Nothing important really; a cholesterol check – but when you haven’t been inside a surgery for nine years you are understandably preoccupied with the anxiety that this will be the termination visit – the one where you are found to be ‘falling apart’ in all bodily functions and advised to go home, finish any outstanding diy, and wait for the inevitable – which would not be long coming.  I wished I had brought a book to occupy myself, and distract me from the rain and wind outside – surely a portent of things to come – when another patient arrived. He brought his bicycle in with him, its’ wet tyres making neat patterns on the worn carpet, and announced to the room that he wasn’t going to ‘bloody well leave it outside for the yobs to take’.  Several heads nodded in understanding and I noticed that the two receptionists were not going to argue.   He then parked his bike across the doors to two adjoining examination rooms and I waited with some excitement to see what happened when those using them came to leave.  But the fun was spoilt when he left as quickly as he had arrived, scraping the waiting room benches as he went and knocking into an elderly woman, who responded by swearing at him.   Not a place for the faint hearted, this surgery, and I made a mental note to practise a fierce expression for the next time I came – if there was to be a next time.   The receptionist informed the room that he had come on the wrong day, and the several heads nodded again.   A potentially difficult situation had been avoided by a mistake in reading an appointment card.  It could happen to anyone, but I was guiltily sad that no-one had tried to leave the consulting rooms before the bike was moved. 

All this, and the interesting sounds of an argument between a bus driver and a jaywalking pedestrian coming in through the open door, distracted me from hearing the unintelligible intercom system that summoned individuals to their place of treatment.  I had noticed, with some apprehension, that at four or five minute intervals a steady procession of men, women and two children were called to Room 5.   What was going on in Room 5?   Obviously not ante-natal, or a bunion clinic, and I didn’t notice them coming back – but that was probably because by now I had found a Maplin brochure in which to lose myself and my anxieties.   Then it was my turn, and also to Room 5!   Perhaps it was where everyone got the ‘bad news’ – but that didn’t seem right.  

I followed the arrowed signs down the corridor, and then to the left.  Immediately I came into a small room with only a nurse in occupation, and not the group session that I had imagined.   Funny, isn’t it, that when you are anxious you tend to make jokes to ease the tension?   Well, I just said that judging by the number of people coming up to Room 5 and not apparently coming back, it should be renamed Room 101.There was a silence.   Then, “I called you a long time back”.  I thought this strange as my appointment was for 10.25 and it was now 10.28 and I had not arrived until 10.15.  Were we all meant to arrive at 9am?   I muttered a sort of apology, saying that I had difficulty in understanding the intercom due to noise in reception, but my attempt at defusing the tension only seemed to make the situation worse, and I could see from the jut of her jaw and piercing stare into my face that I could be in trouble here.  

“Have you kept to the 12 hour water fast?” 

“Uh, err” 

“You HAVE fasted for 12 hours?”.  

“Sorry, I was not told that”. 

She clearly did not believe me and had decided I needed to be put in my place.   

“What did you have for breakfast”  

 “Nothing, except a cup of tea.” 

“What was in the cup?” 

I wanted to say “a tea bag and water” but decided against it. 

“Just tea with milk.  Skimmed milk.” 

“So when did you last eat?”

“Last night.” 

“Yes, but what time last night?”

“Oh, about 6.30pm”. 

“Nothing since?”


“Why don’t you eat breakfast?”

Now that one floored me – I didn’t have an answer – and didn’t see why I should explain myself.   Lack of eating breakfast wasn’t likely to increase my cholesterol and didn’t seem relevant – but another look at that face and I did answer.

“Because I don’t usually eat breakfast.”.

Another silence, and then a curt order “Roll up your sleeve”.

“Which sleeve?”

The needle was hovering and I decided to roll up the nearest sleeve before it was inserted through my shirt.    It was over in seconds.  Two strips of extremely sticky plaster were stuck fiercely over the maximum number of hairs she could find on my arm, which was several thousand.  I stood up to leave.

“One minute.   What is you date of birth?”   I gave it to her.   All was not well.  

“That is not what it says on this form”. 

She tapped her biro on the desk top in a way that reminded me of a long forgotten school teacher.   I stood accused.

“Well, it can’t be changed now or you will not get the correct results”. 

 I was about to say that I had a name as well as a birth date, but the interview was over.   

“Tell Reception that it is wrong and must be changed”. 

This was not a request, not even an M & S request.  The next patient was being called before I left the room, and my ‘Goodbye and thank you’ received no response.  The Receptionist asked “Have we made you older or younger?”


“Right, if it had been younger we wouldn’t have changed it” and there was a smile in her eyes.  Nice to see a smile.  But there again, if I had been sticking needles in people’s arms every five minutes since 8.30am I would probably have been a bit short tempered too.  If the results are OK maybe I won’t have to go back for another ten years.                

World Aids Day update – Friday 30th November.

December 1, 2007

Senydd demo

World Aids Day is officially tomorrow, Saturday 1st December, but then some people have to be away from Cardiff for various reasons.  So, despite the generally terrible weather, this group of ‘braves’ managed to find a weather window around 12.30pm, near to the Senydd, and ‘make’ this picture.  The shape wasn’t quite that of the red ribbon, but then the photographer was high in the air on a Cardiff Fire Service aerial platform.   Wonder what that felt like in the wind!  He was shouting instructions to the group many feet below – so it was hardly surprising if they became difficult to act on.    Still, it is good that a group of people, from different interests and employments came together.  City Councillors were also present and addressing the group – but apparently no-one managed to make it the few hundred yards from the Senydd.   Wonder why that was?  Perhaps they didn’t have anything red to wear, tho’ that shouldn’t have been a problem for the Labour AM’s.   Hey Ho, and to think that Wales has rising numbers of HIV infections for both men and women.   The report of the Health Protection Agency, supported by the National Public Health Service presents the following key findings:


Rates of HIV continuing to increase in Wales

‘Particular concern’ is continuing transmission among men who have sex with men

This group at risk of an overlapping HIV, syphilis and hepatitis epidemic emerging in Europe

Most cases of gonorrhoea and chlamydia occurring in young heterosexuals

Across the UK, heterosexual women account for 35% of new diagnoses of HIV – nearly twice figure in 1996

Heterosexuals represent 54% of new HIV diagnoses, with 85% infections acquired outside UK

Source: Health Protection Agency


Hmm, seems to me that some AM’s should have made the effort to join the awareness raising demonstration to show their concern about these findings.