Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Council meeting.

Last night the missus and I attended the full council meeting for Sandwell Metropolitan Council. I like to attend occasionally for two reasons. I like to keep in touch with what is going on and I like to make my councillors aware that some of their constituents are keeping tabs on their performance. So I always sit directly opposite them in the public gallery.
Acoustics in the gallery are never good but last night was an absolute farce. I know us oldies can have difficulties hearing but last night this was exaggerated to a large extent by the loud speakers in the gallery either being switched off or faulty. Usually there are just a couple of us listening to the debate but last night we had a full house well about a dozen if you discount the parents of the kids who had come along to present their film on climate change.
The security man who watches us was made aware of the problem but nothing was done to correct it. The experience was ruined for us and we left early very disappointed. One of my local councillors made a good contribution concerning our local academy and primary schools I think but couldn’t hear most of it.
I have this morning emailed the leader of the council and I include a copy here. I will publish the reply.
"Dear Cllr. Thomas.
I attended the full council meeting last night with my wife and sat in the public gallery. The loud speakers in the gallery were either turned of or faulty because although we could hear snippets of speech from some speakers others were totally illegible. The film from our young people contained so much background noise that it was irritating to my ears and hence spoiled their contribution. A least three requests were made to the security man but nothing was done. My wife and I left early because of this. Cllr Smith LD made a remark concerning the Cabinet member for community safety which I only heard bits of but it seemed to me to be offensive and rude. Could you please clarify her remark for me and can you in future ensure that the sound system in the building is working properly before the debate. Last nights performance was not good for local democracy.


Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Tick and Take

Or should it be take and tick? As my disease has worsened it has become more complicated to treat and hence the number of drugs required to keep me alive and well has grown. I have drugs to fight the disease and drugs to combat the symptoms and side effects of other drugs.
It can be a very complex situation. Some require to be taken in the morning some with food some at night. I have drugs that fight the disease but keep me awake. I have a drug should I need it to put me to sleep. One drug that is leading the fight at the moment makes me feel sick and of course a drug to counteract the sickness and so it goes on.
I have developed a monthly chart which I fill in daily when I take the pills and to some extent it works quite well. The wife has a weekly pill box which she tops up every Sunday evening and complains to me that I should do the same. I will admit that my system is not perfect; I miss a couple now and then but her pill box isn’t perfect either. When we were in the states a couple of years back I attended a Seniors Convention where of course all the local drug companies were present with a multitude of drug dispensers. I wasn’t taking any drugs then so not so bothered.
Would it be possible for a pharmacy to come up with a system that contained all the drugs needed and dispensed in such a way that only the drugs for that time and that day were available to take with a warning signal if missed?
Development costs would be high I suspect but sales would be enormous and I suggest safety in operation would be of untold benefit to the sick and save the NHS a lot of money. I like the idea of saving rather than what now seems to be the popular line from all political parties of savage cuts. Mustn’t go there or this post will turn into a rant but more on that later perhaps after Browns speech.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Full of Life Festival

October 1st is United Nations International Day for Older People. We celebrate this in Sandwell with an event at THE PUBLIC in West Brom called Full of Life Festival. This is a free event sponsored by Sandwell Council and our Primary Care Trust. Last years event attracted 800 visitors. Anyone over fifty is especially welcome but younger people also attend with a choirs from one of the local schools it is a truly cross generation event.
Bob the Black Country Brummie will be there along with my editor in chief. So if you happen to be around West Brom on Thursday look us up we’ll be delighted to see you.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Compo and some

A couple of my posts recently have raised some discussion from fellow bloggers in the form of comments and from my friends and family who although read the blog don’t often comment. The three items that created the most interest were Aunty Wainwright, Road Hogs and Mouth Wash.
One blogger commented that if tried to be more like Compo I wouldn’t have the problem with Aunty Wainwright. When the wife read this she insisted I did not need to try to look like Compo I was him on most days and then insisted I needed more new cloths. This as meant three shopping trips in one week. Anyone who knows me will realise that I must at least be running a temperature or I’m in a serious state and need to rest.
The Mouth Wash post received one of the funniest comments I’ve ever received when a mate of my wife’s said “she should have gone to Specsavers”. The other side to that story is that the misses left the offending bottle of mouth wash vertical on the built in seat in our corner bath/shower. Now I’m not going to explain my surprise when I came to sit to wash my feet but a few four letter expletives were uttered. I wonder just who had the last laugh.
The road rage post though tops them all and shows what a serious problem there is out there with these drivers. I loved the comment about the bloke who bought an old taxi “so that he could drive like Pratt and get away with it”. My car is silver (which is the preferred colour for Sandwell mini cabs) so I wonder if I stick a yellow badge on the back I can drive like a Pratt and get away with it. Umm now that’s asking for trouble I suspect. It isn’t just immigrant taxi drivers though that are a problem. There is nothing racial about what I’m going to say but I suspect that a lot of immigrant drivers do not speak good English and if they have drivers licences can’t read road signs. I experienced a couple of example of this this week with Asian drivers which made me wonder about their suitability to drive. With frightening figures out this week of the numbers of cars being driven without insurance and drivers who can’t speak English we have a potential major problem.
A fellow blogger who is also a Sandwell Cllr. claimed that a Cllr. who is definitely not on my Christmas card list wanted to introduce a dress code but my blogger friend suggested a f***ing Highway Code would be more appropriate. I definitely agree with the Highway Code bit although the ones I’ve used are generally a scruffy bunch so coming from Compo incarnate perhaps something should be done on that front.
A tightening up of driving skills and more frequent tests seems to me to be appropriate here.
Keep the comments coming folks on the blog on the blower or in person they keep me going especially on those days I’m not feeling 100%.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Clinic campaign supplemental

The political debate that now surrounds the provision of our clinic is an interesting development over here in little old Newton. I can’t remember a time in the last thirty years when people have got angry over something and someone led a protest campaign in the way the clinic campaign has galvanised public opinion. Over the last maybe 15yrs our ward has declined in many ways. The provision of health facilities being only one. Newton is normally a quiet little backwater.
The old miners estate or Durham estate as it is known locally is being revitalised by the work of a few local residents lead by our local labour Cllr. When complete this new estate will be a major improvement to our area. I mention this because we have elected Lib dem Cllrs over the last thirty years and only recently elected a labour Cllr. Against the odds. I wonder out loud if we did not have a labour Cllr. as part of the Newton team whether the labour controlled council would be giving the same kind of support we are now getting for our clinic.
The behaviour of the Lib Dems in our adjoining ward of Great Barr with Yew Tree over the provision of this facility is in my view unacceptable and I cannot understand why the party whip was not applied. The issue is far too important to our area including their ward to be scuppered in the way I feel they are attempting to do. Looking back at the last “protest” at our MP’s surgery the Tories who normally can’t be trusted with the NHS were present to support us but none of the Cllrs from Great Barr with Yew Tree attended. I should have spotted it then.
I will continue to monitor this situation but somebody needs to be telling the electorate. There is a precedent of independent candidates standing on “save our hospital” ticket so perhaps a similar thing might occur over here with Clinics being the major issue. Ummmmmmmmmm?
What really gets me annoyed though is that they have sat on their hands for almost two years accepting what the PCT told them and it wasn’t until the protests became vocal and local political opinion (Newton ward) was galvanised that we managed to start things moving forward. In my opinion they now wish to sabotage this work.
I wonder what the next Focus on Great Barr with Yew Tree newsletter will be claiming. If anyone gets a copy perhaps they’d send it to me please.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Mouth wash

BOB, BOB” the wife is yelling at me from the bathroom upstairs. After being married for the time we have I can tell from the urgency in her voice that something may be wrong. I don’t do rush upstairs anymore in fact I have one pace for getting upstairs which is very slow. I’m huffing and puffing to get there when the yells are repeated. I’m beginning to think this might perhaps be something serious. The ceilings collapsed (I’d have heard that) the worlds ending (unlikely) a spider in the bath (more likely). I’m an out of breath but concerned hubby when I finally get to the bathroom. After the usual formalities of a concerned husband I discover she has taken a mouthful of muscle soak instead of Listerine. I quickly establish she hasn’t swallowed any and fighting back the laughter I suggest she “wash her mouth out”. No harm was done but it could have been a very serious accident. On the labels of a lot of products it says keep out of the reach of children. Perhaps they should add and pensioners.
After this event I was reminded of a friend of mine who a couple of years ago had Haemorrhoids (piles to you and me) he had been using toilet wet wipes to do the clean up job. Unknown to him his wife had left a packet of the larger stronger version in the spot where the toilet wipes were. He unwittingly used one. These things are great for cleaning the loo and associated area but not for those tender parts of the human anatomy. I know it’s cruel but when he was explaining his discomfort we had to force back our smiles.
I read a report recently that claimed that swearing helped you cope with pain. I’ve had plenty of experience with pain and as such I’ve taken the reports findings into account and am known these days to cuss occasionally. So it is usually the wife who is telling me to “wash your mouth out” “Oh b******s”.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Road hogs

I wonder what the female version of one of these is called a road sow? Recently I seemed to have been accosted by a series of road traffic offences. My regular readers will know my feelings on using a hand held mobile phone. I find this offence very irritating because hands free devises are so cheap and easy to fit. This offence seems to be growing over here in Newton I noticed a big increase recently. I wonder if the public could have a telephone number to call so that reg number and time of offence could be recorded.
In Sandwell we have a lot of mini cabs that are licensed by the local authority. Many of these are silver coloured of one shade or another. I think at one time the Council wanted them all silver. These vehicles seem to have a set of rules all of their own. They are not fitted with signal mechanisms or if they are they never use them and they seem to ignore all other road users. I notice a lot of them seem to be immigrant drivers but surely they should and must follow the same road rules as the rest of us. A couple of days ago I was about to overtake one of these mini cabs who was looking at his satnav when suddenly he turned right with no signals. You all know I’m a quiet modest man not known for outbursts of rage but after a long blast on the horn this nutter still did not recognise that he had almost caused a serious accident. Throwing out of fag ends is another activity that annoys me along with folks who empty their ash trays in the road.
The worst offender this week though has to be the young lady who was combing her hair with one hand looking in her driving mirror which was moved so that she could see what she looked like and puffing up her hair with the other hand whilst driving on a duel carriage way at 50mph.
To me there seems to be a campaign to get older drivers off the roads but I’d settle for the lot I described being banned forever.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Aunty Wainwright’s

I was reminded yesterday of Last of the Summer Wine character Cleggy and his fear of Aunty Wainwright and how she always managed to sell him something whether he needed it or not. I have a sort of Aunty Wainwright’s in the form of Edinburgh Woollen Mill or EWM as it is now know. Aunty Wainwright is in the form of my wife who whenever we get near a EWM store insists we go in and I then need new jumpers, coats, socks etc. I know I’ve had it just by entering the store. Resistance is impossible, my arguments are futile. It’s just a matter of damage limitation. I usually try to avoid being near a store but yesterday I fell right into the trap. Apparently I need new jumpers for the winter and my coats are a disgrace. I did really well limiting the damage to one new jumper which I have to say aint bad. In fact I was well pleased with my resistance and my jumper. Or did I really get conned again?

Friday, 18 September 2009

Clinic update & such.

Yesterday was the regular meeting of our local community forum. The meeting is chaired by an old friend of mine who is a well respected ex councillor. Usually these meetings are a very civilised affair with residents and councillors able to have their say in open forum on a variety of local issues. Yesterday a young guy (well anyone under fifty is young to me) came along with a chip on his shoulder larger than a mature oak tree. I’ll call him Mr. Mouth because I don’t know his name. He interrupted, had to have his say on pretty much everything until the chair became exasperated by his attitude and much to the relief of the rest of us, firmly put him in his place. I mention this in passing because at that stage I thought it was the warm up act to when the man from the Primary Care Trust (PCT) came to give his update on our clinic.
My strategy was a listening role and then if things had stalled to rally the campaign troops for the next stage protest. This however may not be necessary. The news appeared to be all good. The PCT are on board, the Council are on board discussions with Doctors have been favourable. The PCT are waiting for a decision from LIFT Co on the building work contracts and a meeting has been set up to run by local councillors the plans. The last bit of that last sentence is the problem. I have mentioned before my concerns that councillors from adjoining wards were attempting to scupper the plans for the benefit of their wards. Well their views came out into the open loud and clear yesterday. I don’t normally mention people directly by name on this blog but in this case I think it is necessary. Cllr. Smith(LD Great Barr with Yew Tree) who I would think must have been a classically trained actress sat there with doleful eyes full of care and concern and complained that because of this development her ward was likely to be neglected. I’ll come back to that in a minute. Her buddy Cllr. Wilson then interjected in support of Cllr. Smith’s argument and claimed the facilities at Tanhouse would not be used much. This statement caused uproar in the room and I thought there was going to be a lynching (give me the rope). When the uproar quietened I was given the opportunity to redress her remarks (bang goes my policy of a watching brief). She then went into a long dialogue trying to justify what she had said which only dug the hole deeper. Their plot was revealed. I happily carried on with my watching brief.
The hypocrisy of their argument though is worth highlighting. Their ward Great Barr with Yew Tree is a long one geographically. In the South they have the Scott Arms which has within about 400yards walk, four doctors surgeries (two of which are group practises) three dentists and a load of other medical stuff. To the North in Yew Tree they have a brand new HEALTH CENTRE which is very poorly utilised. Can I suggest Cllrs that you spend your time more productively helping to get your Health Centre at Yew Tree operating properly and look closely at what you already have? Look at the very poor facilities we have south of the canal and support our Clls to get this facility which is so badly need operational. I have to say I am disappointed at your attitude and your behaviour. To me though it strengthens the argument for Cllrs living in the wards they represent. Our Cllrs who do live in the ward know the problems we face first hand you two cannot possibly understand what is going on in Newton South of the canal. I think the citizens of Newton Ward need to be made aware of this plan. These Cllrs. Are going to be at the meeting to hear the plans and sadly I’m excluded but I will get feed back. Mr. Mouths input to this debate because he had to have one, was to query car parking facilities for our clinic. He had earlier walked in via the car which in its present form is better than any of the other local facilities and adequate for our needs. He had completely missed the real campaign which is going on here.
Oh Lord please give me strength and time to continue with this fight.

I emailed this text to the leader of the Lib Dems for her comments which follow. Thank you Joyce for permission to publish.

"Dear Bob,

Oh what a tangled web we weave!
Locally elected Councillors are expected to fight to obtain services for their respective constituents.
If you were a Councillor in Great Barr Ward you would be thinking would the establishment of a clinic in Hamstead mean the proposed clinic in Great Barr would not go ahead. Could the PCT use the current economic climate to pull the plug?
I'm sure they do not wish to scupper the plans for the clinic at the Tanhouse Centre but are purely protecting the interests of their constituents.
Yes Newton Councillors do understand the problems with poor health services south of the canal but Newton Ward also covers a substantial area to the north of the canal. We have just as much responsibility to ensure services are delivered to them too.
You know the support I have given to the set up of a clinic in Hamstead because besides giving us the services we need it will hopefully attract GPs and keep established ones in the area.
Councillor Mary Wilson was questioning how much notice the PCT would take of the public consultation. The reason she asked was due to her experience of the Yew Tree Healthy Living Centre where residents wishes were ignored. Services were brought in which residents didn't want but the PCT thought should be there. Her question was would residents use the clinic at Tanhouse if the PCT followed the same lines.
Unfortunately I think we were all worse for wear after a long meeting and what was seen as an important item on the agenda should have been heard earlier - we have our young friend to thank for that. However it is good to see younger people there.
You can print my response but please don't be selective!


When you consider the facilities already available for both Newton and Great Barr north of the canal this argument does not stand up. I would agree that they should be campaigning for their wards but not at the expense of the bigger picture and certainly not where there is such an imbalance of services. It’s the politics of greed.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

West Brom

I had to go into West Brom a couple of times last week and on one occasion I sat in the car on the High St for about twenty minutes waiting for my wife who was shopping in M&S for less. I know I could park in Astle Centre car park but when you can park on the High St. for free why pay?
West Brom is quite a cosmopolitan town with a lot of colourful characters. I was parked by the betting shop which appears to be the busiest place in the town! Well certainly in the late afternoon it is. An amusement arcade is a couple of shops away and that seemed to be doing a lot of business. I mention all this because on the face of it nothing much different to any other High St. I suppose. It is the behaviour of the residents that changed things for me. We have a fair mix of Afro Caribbean blacks, Asians and white European. Difficult without asking them their ethnic origins but they all seem have similar bad habits. I was shocked to see how many people still smoked and stubbed out their cigies on the pavement. With the amount of propaganda these days about the dangers of smoking you would think they would know better. The other habit which I found most offensive was spitting. I suspect that some of it was chewing gum judging by the whit blobs stuck to the pavement but a lot of it was just spittle. Not only is this distasteful but I suspect unhealthy for others especially as we are facing a flu pandemic. I was quite frankly ashamed of my fellow citizens. The Victor Meldrew in me was getting near the surface when the wife arrived. Which is perhaps for the better. Could we perhaps have the wardens patrol the High St on a Friday afternoon? That ought to net a few quid in on the spot fines.
The High St. is a pig sty and needs clearing up.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Double standards

I apologise before I start because this is likely to be a bit of a rant. This week saw the publication of a couple of low profile reports that never really caught the press’s attention but nevertheless were very important. A joint report from the Institute of Directors and the Tax Payers Alliance made some rather worrying recommendations on how a Tory government should put right some of the issues with public spending. The two groups are suggesting removal of unproductive items of government spending which include:- Getting rid of free bus passes except for the most needy. Freezing the state pension for one year. Let me point there are thousands of pensioners affected by Pension protection fund and financial assistance schemes that have had their pensions frozen for the last five years. This is a result of the actions of some of their members who allowed their companies to go bust taking pension funds with them. Free TV licenses would be abolished along with child trust fund and child benefit. A spokesperson for the Institute of Directors said something like they are having to make savings so why not everyone else. Another report highlighted by TUC claims top bosses pension pots rose last year by 23% workers were being forced to work longer whilst bosses could retire very comfortably at 60. What utter hypocrisy. I have commented before that I did not want my grandkids to have to pay for the financial cock up which surrounds the Brown government but expecting the poorest and most vulnerable in our society to be making these sacrifices is immoral. These groups are associated with the Tories in fact through CBI help to payroll them so their opinions will in my view eventually become Tory policy. As far as I can see the Tax Payers Alliance represent big business and they seem to be against any tax of any kind. The following is an extract from their web site.
"The TaxPayers' Alliance is Britain's independent grassroots campaign for lower taxes. After years of being ignored by politicians of all parties, the TPA is committed to forcing politicians to listen to ordinary taxpayers.
Taxes keep on rising but there is very little improvement in the quality of schools, hospitals and transport provided by government. Most recently, British workers, employers, consumers, homeowners and pensioners have been hit by higher national insurance contributions, huge council tax increases and higher taxes on pension funds.
To this end, the TaxPayers' Alliance will:
• Oppose all tax rises• Oppose EU tax harmonisation• Seek the abolition of inheritance tax• Criticise all examples of wasteful and unnecessary spending• Champion opportunities for votes on tax and spend"
So there you have it. They certainly don’t represent me and I’m an ordinary tax payer and I don’t want them to. Taxation is an inevitable part of living in a civilised society. It must be one of the important tools used by any government to correct the anomalies that our society creates as people get old and sick and to run our services efficiently. The child trust funds and child benefits help millions of under privileged kids to live half decent lives and to get them out of poverty and give them a better life when they leave school. It is a total disgrace that organisations like these who are over privileged themselves should consider suggesting to government they be shelved. What is needed here is some good old fashioned socialism where the rich are taxed until it hurts starting with Institute of Directors and Tax Payers Alliance. I would agree that public service pensions have got out of hand but so have top paid private sector pensions. Benefits such as free bus passes to these individuals is potty but let’s deal with it by increases to taxation to these groups.
The nasty party is still alive and well. Pensioners have not done well under Brown but it looks like we will do much worse under the Tories. This must act as a wake up call to all those pensioners and families who are feeling sorry for themselves and thinking of voting Tory to start to think again. I know I certainly am.
Brown however is not the solution he is the problem. Labour has to drop him to stand any chance of winning. It is not too late but the eleventh hour approaches.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Bulletin on the railings

His majesty has asked me to pass on the following short statement. Recent blood tests have revealed a slight improvement to his condition. The doctors still have great confidence with the new drug but his condition continues to give the medical team and the family concerns. Statement ends.

The reality. A bloody close shave (pun intended). I would have liked to have seen a 1-0 win to Bob but what we got was a 0-0 draw. The next month will be another cliff hanger.
What we experienced though on this visit to the clinic was the NHS at its worst. The clinic ran two hours late which for me waiting for the news I was waiting for was intolerable. The consultant was on holiday so I saw a registrar who I have no criticism of but the organisation of the clinic was chaos. I knew from the time of arrival that there was going to a delay and asked the sister how long it was going to be. She blatantly lied to me telling me there was no delay. It wasn’t until an hour in that again I requested to know how long it was that we were told an hour which again was incorrect. I accept that at times like these delays will occur but patients should be told the truth. I could have gone home for a couple of hours instead we left the hospital exhausted and very fed up. This was topped by arrival at the car park pay machine where about half a dozen patients were smoking despite a big sign telling them not to. You can’t avoid the stale smoke so it’s time the hospital authorities did something about this filthy practice. The last thing I want after a hospital visit is to breath in somebody else’s stale smoke. Oh, and clean up the entrance to Outpatients it’s a bloody disgrace. Statement ends Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Bring back the ball.

First I have to explain that in our house I am not qualified to load the dish washer or press the buttons on the washing machine. These tasks according to my wife are her territory. One of the biggest complaints I have been getting from the misses these days is over the new design of washing liquid container. Apparently they are to fat in holding position and there are no indents to assist with handling. The sealing panel breaks easily and therefore the container cannot be stored as it was designed. The cap which is placed in the machine is difficult to handle and spillages are frequent. The old design was easier but the previous design of a ball beats both these. I wonder why Proctor and Gamble changed things and what sort of a reference group did they have to check it out before release on the market. Please restore tranquillity in BBCB household and bring back the ball.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Bob’s blog, the international aspects

Since I added flag counter I’ve been surprised by both the number of hits and the international aspects to the hits. The displayed flag counter only shows 15 countries but in fact by clicking on flag counter gives a much different picture. In fact 45 countries have visited the site with over 1200 hits. I thought this was quite amazing until I read today fellow blogger Brownhills Bob ( who is claiming 10,000 hits in roughly the same period of time. Firstly well done Brownhills Bob. I follow this blog along with several others and I find it extremely interesting and informative although the context is not as varied as mine it’s a fascinating idea and well written.
What I find is difficult to understand is that the hit rate for comments is very small to the number of visits and none existent from 44 of the countries outside the UK who have visited. I got one comment from USA about a year ago. Neither blog appears on page one of google search if you enter Brownhills or Black Country you have to add “bob” to the search to get a hit. So what I wonder is going on? I’m still rather pleased with my little blog and amazed that so many are reading the ramblings of a grumpy old man. Like Brownhills Bob I’m having too much fun to pack it in.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Clinic campaign my current thinking and wish list

It’s been a few weeks now since our PCT leadership advised on the strong possibility of actually getting our clinic at the Tanhouse centre. Because of my strong mistrust of the PCT and its motives I’ve been keeping a watching brief on the situation. I have also kept closely in touch with our MP and Newton ward councillors. It would appear that the process of contracts and negotiations for this site are moving forward at a pace. Councillors are being kept up to date with progress and a meeting as been set up with councillors from ours and adjoining wards to “run by them” the plans before publication. This worries me to some extent because I am hearing that councillors from adjoining wards are delaying the process to try to benefit their own wards. The other concern that I have with this is that I have not been invited to any of these meetings on behalf of the Clinic Campaign. The PCT probably have a policy of not talking with pressure groups but to me that is very short sighted because without the campaign getting a full political backing for this clinic we would not be where we are today and the neighbouring councillors would still be contemplating their navels and moaning about lack of action. Shame on them if this is true and I have no reason to believe it is not. I can feel an open letter to the chair of PCT coming on complaining about our treatment on this issue and perhaps bringing to the attention of the local electorate what I believe is happening on our borders. Our local councillors though feel confident enough to feel that although we need to keep the pressure on we should be thinking of a wish list for what services we would like at our clinic. Can this really be happening? I feel like a child at Christmas.
Dear Santa er! PCT manager
Can we have please?
Two Doctors with extended consultancy hours and backed up by an efficient out of hours service,
Well managed appointments system
A walk in facility during opening hours
Full practice nurse back up
Facilities for care in the community (district) nurses
Diabetes clinic
Phlebotomy/warfarin clinic
Mum and baby clinic
Dental facilities
Foot clinic, manned to be able to cover the needs of our ageing population
STD advice and guidance
Mental health/alzheimer’s/memory clinic
Minor x-ray facilities.
Obesity/weight watchers support and services
Benefits/social services advice and guidance.
Day centre for elderly to link with and develop lunch club and support the work of existing older peoples groups operating from these premises.
Café to accommodate extra visitors.
And all in the best facilities in Sandwell
Now wouldn’t that be nice?
Thank you in anticipation. List is not in any particular priority order. We would like it all.

If any of my assumptions concerning the motives of our neighbouring councillors are wrong I apologise and I will be happy to publish your comments.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

“Retirement is the place to be” (or is it?)

Since I started writing poetry I have been asked from time to time to write a poem to celebrate somebody’s retirement. I never gave much thought to how the outcome of these poems was affected by my feelings at the time. No one as yet complained and I have to say some of them have been pretty good. Nothing like a bit of self praise now and again.
A close relative as reached that time in life when she is ready to chuck away the chalk and close the classroom door for the last time.
My wife makes excellent creative cards (available at a modest cost via BBCB) which she did for this event but there was no verse inside, so I wrote one. This little rhyme though does reflect a lot about how I feel about retirement these days and is not the usual Bon Amie associated with retiring. I just wonder if any of you feel it is in bad taste before I send it. :-

“Retirement is the place to be” (or is it?)

From the daily hustle and bustle you’re now free,
the worlds you’re oyster and there’s lots to see.
Feet up and slippers and no more stress,
it’s hobbies and interests you need to address.
Stay in bed when it’s wet and cold,
that’s one good thing about getting old.
You don’t have to rush for train and bus,
life’s a leisurely pace without the fuss.
A pension and bus pass are waiting for you,
then off to the hospital and wait in a queue.
You’ll need a new hip and maybe a knee,
the rest of your treatment we’ll just wait to see.
Instead of the hustle for bus and train,
life starts to go quickly down the drain.
Enjoy your retirement, give it your best,
remember in truth it’s the penultimate test.
There’s one other thing I forgot to mention,
watch out for Gordon he’ll steal your pension!