Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Poirot's Place

Photo: Evelyn Simak
Just in the nick of time before I collapsed in a big fat heat, a week’s leave has come around.  Phew!   It may have been sensible to use the time to decorate but I’m not one for staying at home when it’s holiday time.  A healthy thread of wanderlust steeps through my soul.  It's too strong to be ignored.  So yesterday I drove and drove and drove, the first time ever that I’ve filled a car’s petrol tank twice in a day.  Three hundred and seventy miles later which included a slight detour to Bristol IKEA,  I  arrived at my brother’s new Norfolk home.

Wow!  It’s a historic house with beams in the gorgeous Reepham. I didn't have time to take photographs last night. The light was fading. So I've nicked this one from Wikipedia and also found out that a Poirot episode was filmed here, hence today's title.  No doubt I'll discover more on my wanderings around the area in the next few days.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Fifty to Find

Image: The Daily Mail

My regular readers might know that I love a bit of puzzling. Daily little teasers to keep the brain ticking over. Given that I'm clumsy with dodgy sight, it's best that I'm not competitive at all in the sporting arena. In the cerebral zone it's different.  I like to trash the nuts off an opponent...if they've got any that is!  

On Saturday night I helped out at the Scout annual quiz night. Lou and I used hard sell tactics to improve on last year's raffle ticket sales.   It's got to be done.  After all there's tents to replace that got blown away in a storm at summer camp. Even though I wasn't in a team I had a go at some of the questions myself when I wasn't folding tickets or washing up.  The 'Name that Chocolate Flavour'  with various tasting samples had to be the best round.  Yum! This clever picture quiz came a close second.   Hidden in the scene are fifty film titles.  I got about forty. Not bad considering that I was multi-tasking.  I thought I'd share it as some of you might like to have a go during a coffee break.  The answers are here.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Optimistic Art

Image: Nicky Stevenson Gallery
When nothing else is planned a pretty satisfactory little routine has been established for the alternate Saturdays when Louis stays here. We get up late-ish, have a leisurely breakfast of bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon and then wander down the rickety steps to Brixham town centre. It's no more than ten minutes away.

You can get pretty much everything you need here.   Yesterday the  kitchenware shop came up trumps and I'm now the proud owner of a sugar thermometer that will increase our fudge repertoire. There are proper greengrocers, butchers and bakeries,  a couple of fascinating hardware joints and a reasonably priced electrical store with helpful staff.  Local  independent shops selling the everyday items that are on my shopping list.   After an exuberant flurry of spending the other week  I found I'd   bitten off way more than I could chew.  I failed in my attempt to lug an oil filled radiator and two bulging string bags all the way back up the hill.  They has to be abandoned halfway up with Louis on guard whilst I headed off home to fetch the car!

Image: Nicky Stevenson Gallery
Because this is a tourist haunt the town has more than its fair share of shops that sell pretty things. We like those too.  They inspire us even though we can't afford to buy at the moment.  One day........

Yesterday we discovered the colourful world  of the Nicky Stevenson Gallery, a friendly and welcoming place, and both immediately fell in love with this artist's work.  I love the vibrancy of the colours she uses and the fact that the pictures seem so textural. They look like intricately embroidered applique on silky fabric.   I almost wanted to stroke them!  Lou likes the fact that they are cartoon-y. High praise indeed from a twelve year old boy.

Image: Nicky Stevenson Gallery
I've now visited Nicky's website and  can relate to some of the stories that inspire her art.  I think the one behind 'Flamingos Wait Patiently For Lunch' might be my favourite.  Nicky believes that we have a moral duty to 'remain optimistic'.  What a life affirming thought!

I'd love to be able to show you my favourite painting that Nicky revealed from under a protective pile of paper.  It's too 'hot off the press' and doesn't feature on her website yet.    Her latest work is an intricate picture of our new home town and Louis was delighted that she hadn't forgotten to include his favourite harbourside sweetie shop. This painstakingly detailed piece took eighty hours to produce and will be available to buy in the gallery. Bah! I don't think that my budget stretches to the original.  There's the exterior of the house to paint, a bathroom to refit and a shed to erect.  The limited edition prints are much more affordable and Christmas often brings a little windfall.  Maybe I can buy one of those.  It'll be just the job to grace the walls of our Brixham pad.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Subconscious Sabotage

I bit the bullet and went for a different job the other day.  It's a managerial one that steered me away from the clinical work that I love.  However,  after eleven years sitting at the same desk, drowning in paperwork, of a metaphorical variety in these technological days, it's definitely time to blow some cobwebs away.   I wasn't sure that I wanted the post or the very different responsibilities to those I've got now but prepared my piece and gave it a shot.  And what do you know?  My normal chatty demeanour deserted me, I was  a visible bag of nerves and I fluffed it.  It was if my subversive inner self undermined the whole process.  'You don't want that!!!!!!'  it screamed.   It has done this before. I went for a psychological therapies post which would have found me shut in a room in a GP surgery with depressed or anxious people all day rather than driving around the beautiful South Hams.  Again I've come away relieved.

So what now?  As a sensible rational person that mixes a bit of hocus pocus with a healthy dose of scepticism I turned to my 'evidenced based' angel cards as the very doubting Mr Metrosexual calls them.   I was expecting, maybe even hoping, for  a random reading that I could dismiss out of hand.  I got this.

Friday, 20 November 2015

..... For A Very Important Date!

Picture: QZ.com
This post was crying out for a white rabbit to illustrate it but then I came across this.  It's from a rather interesting article on the mistakes that people make when choosing a life partner.  I think that I was drawn to it because it nicely sums up my emotional state within relationships.

But this isn't  about that search for 'the one' who can climb  that metaphorical staircase with me. There's  no time for that. I'm far too busy  doing loads of free work for the NHS to stop it sinking.  I do actually give a damn you see. Sometimes it feels that I'm trying to bale out the hull  of health's mothership with a thimble. The effect has taken its toll.   Exhaustion has set in.

What I'm really writing about today is how I've banished  obsessive time keeping.  The idea for it occurred to me the other day when I had to go on a joint visit with a colleague who will remain nameless.  They refused a lift in my nippy little green number preferring to drive themself.  That journey to Kingsbridge from Totnes takes half an hour.  I know  because I've regularly followed that route for eleven years.  They left a full twenty minutes ahead of me....just in case.  'Just in case of what?!' I asked.  There was some lame ideas, the rain, tractors, blah, blah, blah! I've given up building in this wriggle time. Until of course I'm catching a plane, train or being operated upon.  Most of the time it works out.  But occasionally things go tits up and I'm a bit late. No matter.   I reckon I've saved hours!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

What's Troubling Sidney Kidney

Photo: EK Kempf
Do you remember when I went to Wimbledon earlier this year and e-Laura roped  me into cooking what seemed like ten million vol au vents?  Oh okay I'm exaggerating but stories do tend to grow more elaborate with time.

The next day loads of us trooped down to a nearby hotel for breakfast.   During the meal, just as I was tucking into a nice fat sausage,  e-Laura's mum whipped her husband's recently removed kidney stones out of her handbag. Respect!  I might be known for grossing out softies with too much medical information but this surpasses anything that I've ever done or said.  I laughed my socks off.

I was reminded of the incident when I came across this, an image of a kidney stone taken by electron micrography.  Those delicate looking crystalline shards are really rather beautiful.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A Big Fat Zero

Louis asked me yesterday how many people I'd cured of dementia.  I'm afraid that the answer was this.  That's the problem of working with those with a degenerative disease. I like to think that, because of me, some of them got better.