Nice visit from a couple of friends on their way south from a few days on vacation.  Was really nice seeing them both even if I had to be rude and half-work while they were here.  They seem to have brought a change in weather with them – was overcast until they arrived and now it’s sunny and hot!

Can’t complain – fingers crossed it lasts the weekend we might get some more garden stuff done.

And Sunday arrived in that usual Sunday arriving style

In which every paragraph is a segway.

Lovely fresh November morning.  No rain yet although it looks like we might be in for some later.  I’m not sure how it works but during October it’s always too cold to have the patio doors open, where-as in November there’s nothing better than sitting in the computer room with the door open enough for the crisp clean air to sneak in.

Because spending 7 hours at a craft exhibition wasn’t enough, the girls are all going to Hobbycraft in a bit, maybe it’s considered a suitable ‘warm down’ after the full on exhibition.

A friend of mine found a screen callibration bit on a THX DVD and mentioned it to me, so I may spend the time they’re out seeing if I can tune our screen any more.  I’m quite happy with how it looks but there’s always that vague concern that you’ve picked some weird settings and pink skin is looking orange but you never noticed.  Sunday’s just the kind of day for doing lazy LCD screen tuning I think.

John Scalzi wrote up a Quantum of Solace review, which I totally agree with.  Despite the fact that I still don’t really know who John is (I just stalk his blog) I feel at least now I could share a pint of beer with him and have one topic to chat about that we agreed on 🙂  That’s the internet, bringing together people who don’t know each other and fooling them into thinking they do.

Mark wrote a blog update, which I really enjoyed, despite his implication that he shouldn’t write them too often.  How am I supposed to live vicariously through other people if they don’t tell me what they’re doing?

We watched a comedy show on ITV last night, in honour of Prince Charles’ 60th birthday and some of the acts were really funny.  One guy stood out, I’ve seen him before and really enjoyed his stuff.  He’s Omid Djalili and you can check out his web site over here.  He manages to poke fun at a lot of racial issues and particularly racial accents and still stay on the right side of the line (in my view) and is pretty funny.  There’s some videos of him on the site, check them out.

Sodding cold

Still coughing, still getting annoyed by it.  Have another headache today from the coughing.  Feel as though the cold is coming back which would be an officially bad thing[tm].

Grete had her dentist checkup today – and has passed with flying colours.  It’s the first time she’s had a checkup in five years and she was pretty worried.  On top of being worried about visiting the dentist anyway obviously.  So she was pretty relieved to find out she doesn’t need any work.  My wallet was equally pleased she didn’t need any work.  So just the £180 for me next week, and then probably another £100 or so when I can find the time and energy to go back.

We’ve got guests this weekend so we’re tidying (extra-tidying honest) the house – which means basically Grete is tidying the house and I’m blogging about it, but it’s like a shared experience.  Friday we have Tracey and her mum who are here until Sunday.  On Saturday they’re going with Grete to a craft fair in Birmingham and meeting Grete’s mum and aunt there, who’ll be coming back on Saturday late afternoon.  Lynda’s going with them, so she’ll be here Saturday morning.

The BBC news site has a story which strikes a chord with me and my NHS experiences.  The comments are well worth reading (even though they didn’t publish mine yet). Here’s a (long) quote from the article,

Last year a friend of mine had an appointment with her doctor. Her local bus route was disrupted by road works. So, she left half an hour before she really needed to so as to make sure she got to the surgery on time.

As it turned out, there were no delays so she went to the reception desk prior to intending to sit down with a magazine to await her turn to see the doctor.

When the receptionist spoke to her, this was her loud greeting: “You’re early. You don’t expect to be seen early do you?”

In front of a waiting room full of strangers, my friend told me that she felt embarrassed and belittled.

In a health service that treats thousands of serious illnesses every day and has been a foundation stone of our society for 60 years, this was no life or death matter.

Yet, it is highly unlikely that a member of staff in a store such as John Lewis would address someone in this way. The people served there are customers. The people served by the NHS are patients.

It’s worth reading the whole thing and the comments.  I can’t say enough how I agree with the general points made, and in the comments section many people agree with me that it’s not usually the medical staff that are the issue, it’s the administrative staff in the way.

Of course, sometimes it can be the medical staff, like the GP who told me to eat less cake and stop taking sugar in my tea (neither of which I did at the time) because I was now diabetic.  You shouldn’t have to fight both your illness and the establishment to get good treatment.

I could rant for hours about the terrible treatment Grete has had over the years with her depression and associated issues in the hands of the NHS.  I think the idea of a national health service is fantastic, and I wouldn’t want it to go away, but the processes and people around it need to understand more clearly that their role is to get people help, and that those people are already vulnerable, scared and in need of assistance.