Friday, 31 July 2015

Friday, with a bit of ranting - so almost back to normal

Stayed at home again - really lovely sunny day but aside from the dog walking, couldn't face going out - had a long sleep tis afternoon but I am waking up at the right time now. I have appointments on Monday so I need to be back up and running.

Sad news, a friend's dog died yesterday - she was exactly the same age and breed as one of mine (The Bedlington Whippet) and a really lovely little soul. I fell out with her owner and have no interest in rekindling the friendship whatsoever - we have people I common but sometimes it's healthier to give someone a wide berth, Their dog was their single redeeming feature and I'm sure she had a long and happy life.  This coupled with a close friend's terminal diagnosis and my own 'adventures' with near death have been quite challenging. A lot to think about. I'm increasingly glad that I have no memory whatsoever of the accident, and I hope I never recall anything. I've put off dealing with choosing a new bike until the weekend - but I do need to start going forward.

On Monday I have to help someone create artwork for a hoarding for a building site in Muswell Hill... the glamour! My brother is coming down on Tuesday to see me and staying overnight. Hopefully we will have decent weather.

I wish my arms felt better - I want to do some gardening this weekend, but it's looking like I'll give it a miss again. Small dog has been digging up plants again.

Perversely - there are a number of negative letters in the local papers about bicycles and an article about a woman trying to stop a scheme to create a dedicated cycle path in our local park.

This is an old town with narrow winding streets and no line of sight - greater pedestrianization would be ideal - shared space between cyclists and vehicles is actually quite difficult and I avoid it - but more dedicated cycle tracks really help. The seafront is also clearly marked as shared space - the results are that all car drivers treat cyclists with contempt and often put their lives at risk - and many pedestrians deliberately block the shared space - or just don't think - extending dog leads are the bane of my life and really dangerous. Often on the dedicated cycle tracks people walking will deliberately block the path when a cyclist is coming and claim 'ownership' or shout abuse at you. I absolutly agree that there are a very small number od irresponsible cyclists who are an annoyance and an irritation for everyone, but making absurd claims and demanding that cyclists be banned is stupid. Car drivers - in the safety of their vehicles - seem to have no idea how dangerous and threatening they can be when they drive badly - a bump won't hurt anything other than their pride and paintwork - but can be fatal for me. The outside of schools is the worst - there are quite a few small schools locally and they are a no-go area during parts of the day when parents double and treble park - open doors without thinking or walk into the roads. The large Victorian park in Hastings is a very specific shape and really long - creating a cycle path would mean that cyclists will be able to cross the whole of Hastings without needing to go onto a road or pass a vehicle - from the seafront to the very top - it will make cycling locally a much safer activity for everyone. I've ever understood that mentality that demands you ban something rather than use your head to make it work better.

One of the local doctors surgeries has been closed down by the Quality Control Commission - that's the 2nd one recently - it's an almost brand new place in the  centre of town - I have no idea what's going on there. Anecdotally I've been told that they just can't cope with demand.

I've been a bit wooly over the last few weeks and have missed a few things I'd normally pay attention to. One of my frustrations has been trying to gain some purchase on the Labour Leadership issue. I've already said that I support Andy Burnham for a lot of reasons that I may or may not have fully articulated. I don't think that there are any bad candidates, but I think that he is by far the best - for me. I've been waiting for someone to actually say something 'new' in this campaign - it's all either been a return to Blairism or a re-hash of the past and a bit of a gloss over the present, but this week I actually did hear something important that hasn't really been highlighted enough. It was Andy Burnham's commitment to bringing the NHS and social care closer together - it's inevitable that both need to expand and both are at breaking point - things are only going to get worse with an ageing population. My own experience of dealing with the fragile interface between clinical and psychiatric care with my mother - and then social care, was chilling. What I think he's said that is so important is not to whittle away and break up our services, nor to revise, tinker, re-manage and restructure - but to grown then and be creative - look at the problems and find solutions that suit rather than try to keep papering over the cracks and accept that the old are going to be with us a long time and must not be seen a burden. This month - for the first time in my life - I really needed the NHS, not just one part of it - but a whole, integrated system from the emergency services, acute care, technology, transport, assorted clinics at different hospitals and my own GP and pharmacist, and you know what - they all worked together REALLY FUCKING WELL, but they look like they are at breaking point. So, if out idiot prime minister wants to have another 'big conversation' - it should be about the real future of health - not seagulls. We are all going to need it more and more as we get older, and part of me is beginning to wonder if it's still there.

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