Wednesday, June 28, 2006



London Eye, Feb, 2006: I don't generally do photos of me. Too many lovely things to look at in this world, and I'm normally the one behind the lens in our house. Richard took this one - I just told him where to point the camera!
Life in the Wheelybin

Our computer seems to have Alzheimer's. It had trouble with a fan not cutting in, and whilst overheating it lost some of its faculties. Some days it's fine, some days it can't remember where it last put its spectacles. It certainly can't remember the time, so it looks like I do all my blogging / emailing at 4am. Next it will forget the name of the Prime Minister.
This is yet another glitch in the long line of electrical failures in our household. In the 16 years we have been married Richard and I have been through a staggering number of fridges, freezers, washing machines, irons, kettles and alarm clocks. We seem to carry an electrical Bermuda Triangle with us wherever we go.
The new Bristol rubbish collection scheme is taxing me, as well. Whilst I applaud the council for sorting out kerbside recycling collections, there are too many rules and regs for my liking. Food goes in the brown bin, but not garden waste. You have to pay extra for that. Cardboard will be collected, but only if it's loose - no tidying it into bags or boxes or they won't collect it. If it blows all over the road, however, they will pick it up. Wheelybins will be emptied fortnightly, and no sneaking extra bags on top of them. And plastic will be recycled, but only if you drive to a recycling centre with it.
So - our house is the one with the cloud of flies over the brown bin; the pile of garden waste awaiting transfer to the tip cos' we haven't room for a green wheelybin; and the mountain of cardboard, complete with eggboxes blowing down the street. And our car's the one with a bootful of plastic bottles.
The Joy of Scabs

It's conference season in the wonderful world of dermatology nursing. The big conference is in Manchester this year, only I'm avoiding it this time. Reasons not to go:
1. I'd have to present, either as a poster or a 15-minute powerpoint job, which would mean I'd have to do an audit, research or some new initiative. Last time I did this (oral pres on iontophoresis audit, 2003) I nearly wet myself. TMI?
2. It's in Manchester.
3. Organising the family (meals, PE kits, homework, cat feeding etc) is too much like hard work.
4. The welcome drinks event is in fancy dress. Our gang (Bristol secondary and primary care specialist nurses) are dressing in pink with yellow curly wigs, as 'a pride of pustules'. They HAVE no pride...
5. Last time I went my younger daughter refused to speak to me on my return. And then sobbed uncontrollably. It was nice to be missed, though.
6. Did I mention, it's in Manchester?

Instead I have to present a case study on Friday at a 'Skin Club' Bristol is hosting for specialist derm nurses. Not that I'm obsessed, but I'm speaking about iontophoresis again. I seem to be one of the few nurses in the country genuinely interested in electrocuting people who sweat too much. I can't understand why.
Deep Thoughts: an occasional series...

Ever since we moved into our house 11 years ago we have been receiving mail for someone who lived here quite a while before us, who was a Scientologist (or on the wrong mailing list!). Despite our best attempts (ringing the UK office, emailing the US office, taking out a contract on their lives...) we still get an average of one mailshot a week. Mostly it's straight into recycling; sometimes I read it, just to break the monotony. Today's epistle from L. Ron Hubbard reads:
'The first principle on which we operate is that Flag auditing must be absolutely flawless, completely flubless and there are no failed sessions and there are no flubs. And this is not done by strain; this is done by excellent auditing presence and the auditor runs the session and the pc has nothing to do with it except answer the auditing questions and get well. ..There are no different pcs. There aren't any pcs who are good and pcs who are bad and pcs this and pcs that from the auditor's viewpoint.'
Clear?
It made me wonder how the language we use in 'regular' church, such as the Anglican one I am part of, or the 'emerging' church such as Foundation, sounds to someone outside looking in. Surely we don't use that much jargon...do we?
But maybe the impenetrable nature of the language used here is part of the attraction, further confirmation that you're part of the 'in' crowd.
Certainly I can't wait for the opportunity to use the phrase 'completely flubless' in a sentence.
Douglas takes another bath...

As someone who fancies herself as a writer...well, occasionally, but not whilst drinking alcohol and never on a full stomach...I am much cheered by Douglas Adams accounts of dealing with writer's block. Actually most of his strategies seemed to avoid any attempts to write at all, so 'dealing with' is probably too strong a description...most of these strategies took him well away from his keyboard, and often involved bath-taking of epic proportions.
Despite being a pretty well-organised and deadline-focussed person I find that my abilities to avoid actually getting on with writing are becoming ever more creative. All of them are, however, without exception, totally useless and unproductive things to do. If only I could waste time by, say, weeding or ironing or cleaning or any of the other unpromising but necessary tasks...instead I find myself reading blogs, planning holidays that I will probably never take, or researching the best party games for a 9-year-old's birthday party.
At least Douglas was clean, if a long way from published.