Is covid wagging the NHS tail?

Yes I feel sorry for all those covid deaths and yes the pictures and footage from hospitals is harrowing, but surely not all NHS facilities and man power is being consumed within the NHS for covid?

I don’t know the breakdown and so therefore this is why I ask.

So meantime what is happening with specialist teams, of surgeons, of referrals, therapists, cancer screening and its treatment and operations for specialist intervention?

Again I don’t know and so therefore this is why i ask the question.

I remember my now deceased wife and I waiting a long time to merely have her ECG a little while before she died, even whilst in with the far too over-talkative nurse I couldn’t help but be perturbed at the waiting room full of overdue appointments whilst this nurse chattered nonsense totally superfluous to the task in hand; in fact holding us back and a dozen folk in the waiting room from getting on with our day. When this happened a couple of years later for myself of a pre-op check-up this time my ire was loaded and I made a formal complaint, again patients kept waiting. A fine example of a) institutionalism and b) lack of effective management. At some other time my own ECG was over and done in about three or four minutes, that particular nurse knew what she was doing in the full sense of the word. great contrasts of light and shade, of competence and incompetence.

And to the point of this, my now clearly stated need of urgent referral to the nearby city Eye Dept as written up on a hand delivered letter to whatever doctor deals with me at my local GP Practice a mile away was not acknowledged until Friday lunchtime from a Tuesday 4pm delivery (damn … wish i got it signed for) the acknowledgement phone call from them clearly mis-stating the information was received Friday morning and as the whoever particular doctor was off until Monday means a near weeks delay for something my optician marked as URGENT. This eye problem and loss of effective vision in one eye is something that came on quickly, could get worse and is BP related so therefore it seems we need to include the GP in the loop. Apparently i need medication to reduce BP and a simple treatment to drain the water from behind the eye.

Time is of the essence I would think.

So why is it covid has such a grip on the NHS?

The bbc radio news tells us the real disaster of covid is the stall-up of near all ongoing NHS activity. Even this week in an easing of restrictions patients are not allowed into our local GP practice, its all phone or nothing. Meanwhile nearby drinkers and socialisers can laugh and shout to their hearts content at an evening at the pub or a club.

I shake my head at the inability of so many people around me.

postscript, when i got my two jabs at the low ceilinged quite small cricket club I was baffled and quite frightened at both visits why there was so little through ventilation …. at the covid jab centre! I actually refused to wait the fifteen minutes post jab to be indoors, no-one else in sight sat on the veranda to check of no adverse reaction before driving home.

Am I the only sane person?

We have a new Chief Exec of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard.

I salute and applaud and wish the greatest good luck, energy and foresight to Amanda Pritchard.

Amanda Pritchard named new head of NHS England | Financial Times (ft.com)

What I cannot believe and FIND UNFATHOMABLE IS THE NEAR-MISS APPOINTMENT OF ‘cock-up-queen’, buffoon extraordinaire Dido Harding which I also read was (that quaint so jarring epiphet ‘Baronness!) so keen to bag that appointment.

A buffoon is someone that does not know how stupid and incompetent they actually are.

I have been at the hands of the incompetence of Tiscali an earlier Dido Harding vehicle of destruction and Great Britain as a whole has been at the hands of the Dido Harding led ‘endless pit of wasted money’ called UK ‘track and trace’. Look at the stats, something like £30k per follow-up was being bandied about, even in error of a factor of ten the costs are stupendous. There needs to be accountability on this.

What is the Dido phenomena that she is ‘fireproof’ ???

Come on UK, get your act together and realise how hopeless and incompetent Dido Harding actually is.

Stuff years of qualifications, all you need is the right school, the right cocktail parties and BINGO you bag the job!

Its schmooze UK !

I think we are looking at a female Dom Cummings, we ask “Why are they here?” Luckily Dido does not hog the limelight … sorry hog the soundbite. Therefore we know little about her, see nothing of merit yet bafflingly see her propelled to a high level. There must be bewilderment and gnashing of teeth at the rise and rise of Dido Harding.

Madness, madness, madness.

Its becoming a Lewis Carrol world …..

E&OE 2021

The news.

The news saddens me, as a collective effort we seem so hopeless. For instance….

Pulling out from Afghanistan is insanity, a tragedy, a betrayal of all the lives lost, work and effort on all sides. Methinks quite what is the agenda, the reason for this?

The UK lockdown with massive financial handouts (and remember some folk got nothing ie black economy workers, the inept, and a dear friend of mine) can only trigger a dreadful inflation, but also the money will be squeezed from elsewhere. As shown on the news in the last few days, nurses are hardly rewarded for all their selfless frontline effort; Priti Patel is most reluctant to loosen the purse strings and the police are to get nothing, in effect to recede in income.

Dominic Cummings lurks in the shadows to occasionally be caught in the limelight flashing his traitors dagger, so clever a man with his 20/20 hindsight yet his own tenure often created little more than discord and change for change sake; to rattle and to provoke needlessly. He thinks he is so clever, few others think likewise.

Herd immunity in the UK has crept in through the back door, Matt Hancock would never have allowed it, makes one wonder if it was engineered he would be got rid of for this purpose. He has my utmost sympathy.

Does anyone talk about transmissability and how the young are letting us all down; ie throngs of excited sub-thirty year olds here in the UK insisting on raves and partying for no purpose other than hedonistic thrill once that whistle blew at midnight. A ridiculous sight of people supposedly going on toward adulthood and right on the cusp of the delta variant taking hold. Madness and a sad indictment of Boris Johnson, when books are written he will not look good. My routine of masks, gloves, keeping distance and hand washing will remain. Already numskulls get too close at the checkout, I can see I will be speaking my mind on this.

UK track and trace is being allowed to run rampant, far more damaging than the thing it is supposed to be stopping. Is this the mark of yet another Dido Harding disaster?

UK death stats covid linked are too crude, of those able-bodied economic contributors what is their real number? There needs to be clear demarcation between the fit and those never able to withstand such a dreaded virus anyway.

Because of covid vast amounts of people are behind schedule for treatments, operations, or their cancer being attended to. Its tragic dedicated professionals and expert teams have not been allowed to get on with what they do best.

And why has the need to cope with climate change seemingly fallen off the page? I read little news of arctic warming, ice loss, of permafrost turning to mush and the ultimate extinction trigger of methane release. Theres a trickle of news re forthcoming COP but little else, very little pressure if any for us to change lifestyle and values. Commutes, SUVs, holidays abroad and burger consumption seemingly all go ahead at full tilt.

Forthcoming COP26 in Glasgow will be another melodrama of fine intentions but of insufficient real action. The frustration among scientists and informed individuals must be horrendous and no doubt sadly the IPCC will again demonstrate how deaf they are and how far they lag behind. Poor Greta, she must be tearing her hair out at how hopeless we all are. I’m wondering, the IPCC appear so slow they would be better classified as a ‘historical society’ that only exists to write up, record and ponder long after the event.

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ps. I nearly forgot, the travesty of cutting aid from the UK to countries most in need. Can the bods in charge not realise or see in their minds eye how vital this money must be? Scandalous!

What kids need …

… and how we can educate them formed the basis of this mornings 0900 BST prog on bbc r4.

BBC Sounds – Rethink, Rethink Education, Is the current exam system fit for purpose?

Amol Rajan did an as usual excellent job as MC and the sage words of Kenneth Baker were the highpoint. The other contributors seemed not able to place rigour or logic upon much of what they said. Sometimes they descended to nonsense, not realising their silliness, throughout all this Amol was a beacon of equanimity.

As usual anything ‘rote’ was ridiculed as un-necessary but how else can we get a body of knowledge into ones noggin, but also a term neglected was of ‘understanding‘ … it is understanding that should be the result of an education, whether it be a day or a decade. Equally derided these last forty year has been a practical hands-on education ie working with materials and to improve skill, Kenneth Baker particularly realising the importance of practical work for the majority of non-academic working class kids. I went to Technical College the first of any of my bloodline and it suited me fine as day release for five years, it was sufficient.

In the bbc r4 prog today why was it that ‘English’ was lauded as such a good thing to age seventeen, at that point I would assume most kids would find it excruciating. Book-learning suits the academically adept but for the ordinary an education needs tweaked to include manual skills and hand-eye co-ordination, practical dexterity and problem solving combined with knowledge acquisition. It may be old fashioned ie ‘the dovetail joint’ but it lays the foundation, the bedrock for more exalted slick and technical activities.

Again, realise with the web kids know less than ever.

Are the Educationalists to blame for all the endless and ultimately pointless ‘re-jigging’ of curriculum?

We have a system here in the UK where the old style wood and metal practical work has been discarded. I personally feel this is outrageous and does a dis-service to those pupils with any inclination to this activity. I remember at our north country Secondary School circa 1969-74 anything ‘sports field’ or gym was lauded with so much kudos, yet my own excellence (and speed) at wood, metal and tech drawing brought near zero standing. How come I never got to shout at anyone that couldn’t do the task or got it wrong? Goodness enough times as freezing cold out of doors this was the only time anyone noticed me, to ridicule. Yet I was master of my craft when indoors and using my hands. But also the practical trades are also about problem solving, building a body of knowledge, of ‘learning’ and each time aiming to do better, to be neater, less flawed. Apart from throwing a clay pot probably the only opportunity to develop minds eye co-ordination, of visualisation. Educationalists have seemed adamant in the last forty years to diminish and throw to the wind such fine attributes. And we wonder why the UK struggles to be a first league manufacturer!

Lets face the truth, for past the age of fourteen is there anything touched upon at school that was of any use to them whatsoever, I mean for ordinary folk? Nope!

Making things watertight …

When I look back over my childhood a major part or at very least a ‘significant’ portion involved making things watertight and in some cases (ie footwear) always failing.

Around age eight to fourteen modelmaking was big with me, things that flew through the air and things that bobbed on water, most usually utilising for the latter the bath in our house. To anyone that has never built a model boat hull they have no appreciation of what it is to make a watertight hull. Typical size would be say an eight inch balsa model of a tug (by Halvor Moorshead?) and easy to make watertight with the ubiquitous late ’60’s crappy made in Hong Kong next to useless motor, to however six years later a thirty inch hull from ply with solid end blocks and not so bad a result either but much more difficult to make watertight.

But as well as model boats another area of water-tighted-ness would be huts, ie dwellings for a day or a weekend built from scrap wood and lots of childhood imagination; hollows in the ground hewn by junior hand imagining I was a soldier or backwoodsman and from my dad a tent of probably unproofed cotton or poplin type material from his beloved Exchange and Mart.

Footwear equally was a battle, always failing to keep waterproof. Somehow efficient waterproof footwear was always beyond my parents income. How I dreaded wet grass! Equally nonsensical was my useless mothers insistence that if I was bought footwear two or three years ago why should I or how could I demand even more money to be spent on me so soon!

My parents seemed singularly unable to clothe me.

The hut we / my dad built for our home workshop in the house we moved to in ’72 was of fresh cut 100% wet planks, result …. wet! And always leaked.

The masterstroke from my Dad was to (from Exchange and Mart or maybe The Sunday Post) buy me a cagoule (slip over, no buttons, no opening) made of rubberised cotton, which I defy anyone to wear longer than sixty seconds and not be enveloped in perspiration. Riding over on the bus with friend KD was like a sauna, our objective as ten year olds to explore the tents housing props for making another film at the local castle. I now realise perhaps, this would be categorised as ‘fetish clothing’.

The worst wetness was one day going back to school at lunchtime say age eight or nine and totally and absolutely being soaked, a 2/3 mile walk that surely my mother could have realised was madness. However, no phone to call a taxi, no umbrella, no change of clothing, no decent coat. My grandmother called me in from across the road, insisted I wear my dads pre-war 1930 corduroy ‘shorts’ homemade of course and I felt like a complete nitwit for the rest of the afternoon. How those village kids would pick up on any small point of being different. Shallow facile shits.

You can see my battle with the ingress of water ….

My evening window …

… is open!

But no moths in two hours whatsoever have entered into my kitchen and this is from a large garden full of established shrubs and including beyond countless various nooks and crannies.

There is something wrong, that is for sure.

But a google search reveals next to nothing of up to the minute (or year) moth decline here in the UK.

Luckily my garden displays maturity, complex planting ie a great jumble of many different things and many many niche environments, all mostly never disturbed by any human ie me.

As per usual after the summer solstice the nights seem to be cutting in quickly. This is not something I revel in, luckily a couple of nights ago I treat myself to a car ride up to where for near twenty years we fed horses and me n whatever pet dog went round on our circular walk of an hour. The place is loaded with memories, I fully realise the value of this ‘extra-curricular activity’ and am moving toward when time permitting to ‘get out more’ to stay in touch with this focus of location from years gone past.

The June shutdown of birdsong seemed early this year, I generally name it as the ‘June 13th shutdown’, but this year things seem a bit off course, earlier. A pigeons nest I suspect rock pigeon, was found destroyed and eggs scattered in my garden this morning. I wonder at the new tenants in the let property next door, very cat orientated but also I suspect against garden birds and their song. Why do I think this …. leylandii next door felled to zilch, I suspect her complaints, a dark woman I suspect wanting her own way, I doubt she’ll have much to do with me. Also obviously ‘very set in their ways’, as if at thirty five going on seventy.

Good news is that both birdboxes on rear of house host bee colonies. My garden provides lots of flowering plants, but I look further afield at neighbouring gardens and its a pathetic spectacle, I look around and all is barren, ignorant nothingness and I reckon the birds, insects and small animals likewise think the same. I think its fair to say they vote with their feet so to speak and most winged things flock to my place.

The trump Presidential Library …

Hailed as ‘Library of all Libraries’ I have a small shoebox here that may may suffice for the factual element, otherwise for all the lies, vested interest, get rich quick kerfuffle, veiled trickery and trumped up nonsense several aircraft hangers will be required.

I am submitting said design of shoebox forthwith.

Doesn’t he appear hopeless, of all the names he can be called ‘politician’ will never be one of them. Nor does he care for the good of America, never did, never will.

Safeguards and limits need to be set in place to stop a yet more capable conman entering the White House, this would pose far greater danger as yet seen with anything trump; remember its the movers and shakers hidden behind the scenes that were the real malevolence and assault on decency. And as many news outlets have commented in the last year, it would be a clever scheming manipulator that the world has to watch out for, someone with an excellent brain that will do the worst damage, not Mr tossed aside Candyfloss himself ie trump, so obviously never up to the job. I feel so sad ordinary people were hoodwinked and also sickened that overly ambitious ‘professional’ axe grinders were so easily able to climb aboard the trumpian cavalcade.

Carbon footprint …

No washer no tv no mobile no fridge … all these things purposely not being used here in this house. Small car too, I still find the obsession with SUVs and second and even God forbid un-needed vanity vehicles to be stupid.

I’ve utterly no need of the above but last nights meal bugged me from the beginning as bound to fall flat and bingo I was in a perverse sense ‘not disappointed’. It was all toms, courgette, sliced pepper and onion in the dreaded supermarket offering, the first three I intentionally try to avoid, not a good idea as being someone prone to aches and pains. However it was the hopeless excessive use of the electricity that really grated on me.

The night previous I behaved out of character, open to the idea of something different in my shopping basket, a tray of pre-prepared so called ‘Mediterranean vegetables’ probable real cost at max 20p at the factory and cost me i dunno £1.40 at the supermarket but what really bugged me was having to roast them in the bench top oven for what seemed 40 mins and add lots of garlic and herbs to get anything with taste and with the cold chicken it was … a disaster; time was at a premium. I ate most of it but it was not the pleasurable experience I had hoped for. Another important lesson was having to run the electric oven for so long and this is quite obscene, intolerable in these days of minimising carbon footprint. The roasting of vegetables will not occur in this household ever again, I much prefer my five year regime of lightly stir fried veg with pre-cooked chicken, ie all in the same pan, needing only a small gas flame to make the complete meal (admittedly using supermarket pre-cooked chicken). Yes I know, its burning gas but at least it eliminates 40mins of oven roasting, that is the point! .

Rough idea of my hopefully low carbon meal …

cubes of swede, cubes of potato, leek, gently fried with a good ext virg olive oil.

sea salt, fgbp, ajiwan seed, black mustard, the latter two must be fried on the bare pan, not just mixed in.

spring onion, sweetcorn, garlic,

dash of curry powder, maybe a little amchur, few drops maple syrup and a new trick of mine a dash of brown sauce on the chicken as it is fried.

… now at this point one can add a stockpot and some white wine and reduce for 5mins (I use presently a Aldi Chardonnay) or you can proceed as a dry meal.

The result is tasty, nuitritious and minimises my carbon requirement. Everything is to hand, its my daily routine and the other main meal is casserole with lots of veg, generally thick sliced swede, potatos, sweetcorn. Sometimes half a can of spinach or quick sauted spring greens / cabbage.

Everything must start at the individual personal level, as with heating in less warm weather, do as the Chinese and the Russians do … put a coat on! I admit in real cold run the central heating but nowadays at the slightest cold draught with many households on goes the heating! We may have lived in the land of plenty here in the west for a century but nature and physics and the vast chemistry set called climate change necessitate a change in how we consume energy.

People knock China but they had the one-child policy and for many years the bicycle was the near universal method of personal transport. That bogey of voluntary population control really needs to addressed.

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How do we teach children?

I know nothing of this but do know that with myself learning has been lifelong. I also do know I’m not impressed with the writhings of the Educationalists, points that still today bug me:-

  • a most terrible choice of set book at thirteen, fourteen and fifteen at our rural Secondary
  • science and history and RE teachers of the either lazy in the former or most uninspiring of the latter
  • a headmaster blind to a childs mental health when he in fact considered himself to be exceptional
  • luckily i’m old enough not to experience the elimination of woodwork and metalwork – excellent for developing hand eye co-ordination and minds eye planning, helps one become ‘a practical man’.
  • sport! … I utterly hated it in all its forms, never knew the point of it, weekly humiliation.
  • music … again badly taught, no explanation of the value of it all, its composition, structure or beauty.

Hearing on the radio (UK bbc r4 morning till 0900) an hour ago how a billion has been secured as funding to help minimise the lag in pupils equates we are told as fifty quid per pupil and is intended as extra tuition. Its this ‘extra tuition’ that sticks in my mind, theres tricks and ways of doing things that I imagine are not being applied. We also heard that kids are having trouble holding a pen or pencil, that their writing is abysmal and that throughout lockdown they never picked up a pen nor formed any writing … surprise surprise. The interviewer was relentlessy aggressive toward I think it was the Education Secretary but hold on …. how many schoolkids in Britain? Ans= 7.25 million which patently undermines the aggressive numbers of the interviewer Nick Robinson! Just goes to show that in life a little reticence is most useful.

7.25 million x£50 per pupil = 362 million …. ha ha ha nowhere near a billion!! Nick Robinson you owe one heck of an apology to that poor man you roasted, in fact needlessly roasted this morning; looks like they get just over £150 each not £50. Apparently one point something billion.

Hint:- when going on air always have a quick list of numbers already worked out, don’t let them have you freeze in the stress of the moment, its called prep.

I occasionally encounter numbers and am a great believer in limiting everything to three significant figures, a sliderule also is invaluable, unlike a calculator it can reveal in real time in front of your eyes and deal with variables, thats before of course the latest graph crunching wonders, which bring with them needless complexity. So the quick mental realisation of what is in the above is seven fives, add a bit, increase by ten (ie 7×50) and call it millions. Or call it seven hundred and half it.

The real point of this post is how I would have children learn, some tricks. Also not enough importance is placed on the development of language, many kids have the burden and handicap of low attainment parents that often themselves have very poor language development. A richness of language hand in hand goes with the ability to visualise, for form views, questions, to enquire, to express, to evaluate text, to see form and style. I finished with a girlfriend a while back, super figure, tiny brain, any utterance or glint of viewpoint from her never led to her forming a question of why it had to be that way or any chance of wondering at remedy or improvement. Nothing followed on, just hung in the air. To her credit she liked to hear me talk, it often seemed so very one sided and its fair to say she will have forgotten most of what I said.

So, as Education Secretary and of course being a big team player, we would do exactly as I say viz :-

  • a series of graded readers or number books in small format low page count, to be carried at all possible times age five to eleven. These could be changed at say each term but must be completed to the back page, would include word lists.
  • an emphasis in pen and paper … NOT screens.
  • dictation
  • comprehension
  • spelling
  • importance placed on legibility, layout and neatness but not to a stultifying extent, speed, sketching skills.
  • add a little competitiveness, post a results table of marks obtained, after all the sports field can be crippling in its hierachy, yet no-one objects in that instance.
  • encourage self made crib notes on recycled card packaging (a real boon) handy for the pocket!
  • for a minutes interval in each lesson depart from the rigid linear chasing of the curriculum, the bane of creative and fun teaching in the UK I think, quickly display something that is ahead of them an object, a graph a chart but not incomprehensible, be sure to use a couple of buzzwords, it will encourage those interested of the gems that lie ahead.
  • in state schools (UK 7.3 million pupils) introduce mention of the origin of words, latin or germanic roots, this surely is interesting, again it is language development. I’m not sure the development of mathematical ability for the average pupil particularly matters after age fourteen but language, reading and comprehension etc is vital, is lifelong.
  • encourage parent tutoring with worksheets, they must become involved.

I’ve always found leafing through a more advanced text to be very useful, words, pictures, diagrams stick in ones mind and spur one on to do better. Sadly bizarrely on the news this week mention was made of a huge new ‘impressive’ Municipal Library built I think in Birmingham, nice idea but library usage has definitely shrunk, you’ll never get them back.

A comic aside, each outgoing President has a Library built and dedicated, maybe housing some valuable collection or focus of study, in trumps case it would be a small disused toilet block, quick whitewash and a small table with one solitary mobile phone on speed dial to a hooker …. The Presidential Library of trump.

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Cars cars and yet more cars …

On this small estate of fifty houses (north east UK) they all appear to be IC engine mad and in the thirty years I’ve been here the cars have doubled in quantity, motorbikes in profusion where once were none and the motor-home has appeared as a must have in the last thirty years… its rampant consumerism!

If were not spending we are not living!

Households now seem to buy ‘vanity vehicles’ that have no basis on practical need … after all one thinks to oneself what the heck else could one do with £30k, never mind the depreciation, fixed and running costs etc! We absolutely must have that soft top open tourer! What easy lives such people lead.

Climate change, impending methane and the need to remodel our lives (low carbon etc) seems not to have occurred to any of these people.

I come from a cautious household, my dad growing up in the 1930’s and once he died in ’76 after a life of hard manual work his wife my dreaded mother did a magic act with his hard earned money, she made it all disappear as in fact she did with herself, moving far far away; eventually hooking up with some clown called Mainprise from Scarborough and all went down the pan covering debt for this nasty waste of space on a doomed to failure taxi business. I met him once, he called to our house at no.67, a day late some bogus reason, my poor wifes cooking i insisted be served from the previous day, he was a shit, domineering, repulsive. Moral drawn, trust no-one, if necessary take your mother to Court, realise your inheritance is exactly that – YOURS – and realise truth can be stranger and possibly more cruel than fiction. Businesses are in operation to make and generate money, anything that does not is beyond laughable and will drag its owner down.

It is idiotic, brainless and offensive to the predicament we now face of having extracted the oil and gas from predominantly (say 70%) of that pet hobby horse of mine ie diatoms that people have so far not engaged with the changes we need to make. Strangely prescient how my fascination with these invisible to the naked eye foundations of the food chain have circled back to bite us on the whatever. Ocean generated DMS and associated weather systems and CO2 conversion equal to all the trees on land are the result of microscopic and near microscopic algae and plankton.

So what do I do … no mobile phone, no washer, no tv, no fridge … all is quiet and my life functions perfectly well, you even develop some muscle in wringing things dry!

okay, winge over!

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