Monday, 29 September 2008

What Am I Doing?

 

 

 

walking1

 

 

Whilst I am away

 

 

 

 

 

 

eating2 

 

I am doing a lot of

 

 

 

 

 

think

 

 

with a fair amount of   

 

 


 

 

 

scream

 

 

and a little

Friday, 26 September 2008

Why ...........

Just popped back for this post.

 

In early August I posted this:

SOMETIMES I ........

...... wonder why I bother

and I .....  think awhile

then I ......   wonder why I bother.

Today I ...  wondered

and I ...... thought awhile

then I .....  wondered why I fucking bother!

Why do I?

 

_______________________________________

 

Today a much simpler version applies.

 

WHY ........

........  DO  I  FUCKING  BOTHER!

 

_______________________________________

 

Sorry. 

This doesn't add to the knowledge of the world in any way.

This is a nothing and worthless post in all respects except one:  it makes me feel better for having screamed.

 

There we are.  I feel so much better for that.

I can go back to my walk now.

See you sometime - sooner or later.

 

UPDATE:  Saturday 02.00

Quiet and peaceful. 

Listening to "Imagine" on Magic FM.

Just going to bed.

No need to worry.

Was just another "Bastards, Thump" moment.

Thanks for not complaining about my scream.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Gone Walking

Back sooner or later.

History says soon but who knows?

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Teaser: Find the Link

A virtually impossible teaser.

 

What links:

•   snowboarding (in garden)

•   mattress

•   circus workshop

 

Any thoughts can be left here. 

The answer will be revealed in due course but, certainly not today (24 September) or tomorrow

A Very Slow Short Post

Sunday 21 Sept 23.00

All day I've been working on a post: no writing but all in my head - Expert Witness:  The Thoughts of a Sceptic but when the time came to type the time passed and no writing appeared.  This was probably just a well because I hadn't quite got my facts or logic totally straight. Better having no post than The Thoughts of an Idiot

What was that you said?  That is out of order!  I am no tan f in idiyot, amI? 

As you'll understand not having a post has left a large hole in my blog plans. A major post to .... well, zero.  I hate zero especially if I've known there was to be a post but what to say instead.  Many of you will want me to say zero every day but I'm not taking their advice.  I must speak and I shall!

 

Monday Sept 22, 07.00

In one way it's probably been a bonus not to post on expert witnesses because I've become too involved in all things medical especially since I became a contributor to the NHSexposed blog.  This is typical of me: new toy and the old toys are cast aside for a while.  I need to step back a bit.

 

Monday Sept 22, 23.50

When I started this post, more than 24h ago, it was meant as a little filler until I had a real post ready.  Some hope!  Today hasn't been the easiest day: not that anything terrible happened just a series of mildly difficult happenings but enough to knock me off my stride.

Not having broadband is a real bummer.  I know it's quite easy to get broadband but like many things this finds itself always dropping down the list.  Trying to visit other blogs, when every page loads slowly, some interminably slowly and some just don't load, takes forever.  No wonder my visit rate is low.

I suspect that Expert Witness:  The Thoughts of a Sceptic, which was about to be my best ever post, will lie unwritten and forgotten. 

The story of my life!!!

Time to throw this post to the wolves of the web.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Tragic Story of Chris Blagbrough

Probably you haven't heard of Chris Blagbrough.  I hadn't either until this afternoon when I stumbled across his story whilst carrying out a Google search on another topic. 

I stopped and read about Chris.  I hope you too will spend a few minutes finding out about him.

Chris died in 2001, almost seven years ago, but the story of his last three years leading up to his suicide is another condemnation of mental health provision in the UK.

An outline of his life is appended below (from The Yorkshire Post)

A 'Nightmare of Care' for Patient Who Died at 10th Suicide Attempt

Peter and Jeanette Blagbrough said they believed their son, Christopher, 22, was driven to kill himself after being forced to endure a "living nightmare" while a patient at St Luke's Hospital, Huddersfield.

Mr Blagbrough was found hanging from a window at the hospital's Castle Hill Unit, where he was being treated for mental illness after he launched a knife attack on his father.

Health bosses have since apologised to Mr and Mrs Blagbrough for the hospital's failings, which were uncovered in an inquiry carried out by Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust in the wake of the tragedy.

Three nursing staff have been disciplined and sacked for not following procedures on the night Christopher Blagbrough died.

Last night his father branded the hospital "a disgrace", and said he and his wife had received no written apology from the trust. "We don't feel as though we have got any closure, and we don't feel the hospital has done anything to admit to us they were in the wrong," he said. "We have never had a written apology, but we don't want one now." Mr Blagbrough, an apprentice engineer, began suffering from stress when his father had a near-fatal brain haemorrhage, leaving him unable to work. He took on the extra responsibility of winding up his father's company and developed a severe vitamin B12 deficiency, which led to depression and psychosis.

In December 1998, he attacked his father with a carving knife, stabbing him twice in the back, causing minor injuries. Mr Blagbrough recalled: "When Chris came at me, his eyes were wild, and I had to restrain him. But it wasn't him. He was deathly white and didn't know what he was doing. I rang for an ambulance, and by the time it came the strange look had gone.

"He was very agitated about going to jail, but I told him I was going to make sure he got the help he needed." Despite his father's insistence that he did not wish to press charges, Christopher Blagbrough was charged with attempted murder and sent to Doncaster Young Offenders' Institution.

"We were told by the police that they were charging him with the most serious offence they could in order to ensure Chris got the best possible care. In the end, that led to his death." His son appeared before Bradford Crown Court in January 2000, where he admitted unlawful wounding and was detained under the Mental Health Act at St Luke's Hospital. But his father was so concerned about his son's treatment in the unit that he absconded to Spain with him. When the pair returned a month later, Mr Blagbrough was banned from seeing his son and had not done so for eight months when the latter took his life in October 2001.

"We had been complaining about his care for months, and when we got back from Spain, the hospital wrote to me and said if Chris returned to the unit, they would look at our complaints in a different light.

"I thought they would review his detention, but the first thing they did was ban me from seeing him. In the eight months before his death I never saw him."

The inquiry found staff panicked when they discovered Mr Blagbrough's death, and failed to inform his parents of the incident for more than four hours.

Three years on, the Blagbroughs have finally achieved their aim for a jury inquest to be held into their son's death, and contributed £8,500 towards legal costs. West Yorkshire coroner Roger Whittaker said: "The jury were directed they could bring in a narrative finding. The jury concluded Christopher took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed. They also expressed the view that his death could have been prevented."

Mr Blagbrough's parents are still trying to come to terms with their loss. They said they hoped the inquiry's recommendations would be implemented in full, to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again. [sally.cope@ypn.co.uk]

_______________________________-

Trust Says Sorry for Catalogue of Failings

A catalogueof failings in the standard of mental health care at St Luke's Hospital were exposed following an inquiry into Christopher Blagbrough's suicide.

A panel of experts appointed by Calderdale and Kirklees NHS Trust concluded that health professionals at the hospital had struggled to diagnose Mr Blagbrough's condition, that care had been inappropriate and the overall risk assessment and management of it was inadequate.

The panel said he ought to have been placed in a medium-secure unit for a comprehensive risk assessment, and the observation policy was not sufficiently implemented.

Staff failed to ensure his safety and panicked when they discovered him hanging. It was more than four hours before his parents were informed of his death, the inquiry found.

But the seriousness of the offence which led to his arrest could not be minimised, given all the circumstances, and difficulties in resolving large numbers of complaints contributed to the paralysis of the clinical care for Mr Blagbrough.

Recommendations made by the panel included better staff training; collating information about untoward incidents to identify trends; ligature scissors to be available on all psychiatric wards; and improvements to psychological and occupational therapy.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust and South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust apologised for the failings and issued a joint statement. Judith Young, chief executive of South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust, said: "We offer our sincere sympathies to the family of the patient who tragically died, and apologise unreservedly for the failings that have been identified. "Sadly, we cannot change the tragic events, but we can learn from them, and we have made many changes. Much progress has been made in the past three years. All the actions recommended by an external inquiry have been implemented, and improvements made to the physical environment of the unit.

"We have a comprehensive training process for all staff, as well as a structured training programme to support staff as they undertake their duties."

 

Chris' parents write a much fuller version of his life and the terrible failings in his care.  It is very much worth taking the time to read their story.  Be prepared to get very angry.

For once I make no criticisms of his care: the stories here do that well but at some point we must start to learn the lessons from the unnecessary and wasteful deaths of people like Chris Blagbrough.

 

How many more must die? 

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Mental Health Posts: Tidying Sidebar

My green sidebar has become very cluttered and so I'm removing the list of mental health posts into its own page which will have a link on the sidebar.

 

POSTS SINCE 10 MAY 2008 NOT ON LIST

 

LIST OF MENTAL HEALTH POSTS


CARR FAMILY ISSUES
21. Let's Fight: Campaign Update
20. Let's Fight: Response to Ellee
19. Let's Fight: Background Info 1
18. No Wonder ... When Fight For Mrs Carr
17. Let's Fight For Mrs Carr
16. NHS MEGA-RANT TO FOLLOW
15. Have We Reached The End Of NHS?
14. Limerick
13. How Could I Have Been So Silly?
12. A Denial Or Not?
11. Precursor Post:Are We The Family From Hell?
10. How Long Does It Take To Answer A Letter?
9. Priorities Must Change
8. Carr Family: Update
7. Worm Has Turned
6. Strange World Gets Even Stranger
5. Faltering Return
4. Mrs Carr - Shite!!
3. Strange World Gets Stranger
2. Shock and Dread
1. Eating Disorder - Lack of Provision


EATING DISORDERS
5. Hannah's Story
4. Keep Starving and We'll Treat You: An Anorexic's Story
3. Anorexia: A Grandmother's Story
2. Not Alone:Shameful "Deafening Silence"
1. Madness


MENTAL HEALTH
2. Clegg Calls for Better Mental Health Services. What about Scotland?
1. Mental Health Provision - An Unnecessary Death

Life Would Be OK

James at Nourishing Obscurity said,

"To post on personal matters is a high-risk activity because there is this danger of coming across as woe-is-me and no one wants to read what I've previously described as "bleat". Most bloggers keep their private affairs to themselves, if only because there are those out there who do wish a person ill."

I left the following comment:

"Well, that's my blog fucked then.

90% personal matters.
90% woe is me.
90% "bleat"

Must be time to pack my bags unless .....

Well, this is my personal blog and I write what I want when I want. If potential readers are turned off then so be it. This is for me, no-one else. Yes, it's public but that's the beauty of blogs. I can shout or cry and the world goes on as before except I feel better because I have shouted (or cried).

I know I'm taking another big risk because in James' words I'm going to bleat and so it's possible that no-one will want to read this. Just in case a few don't fall into the "don't read bleat" category please do NOT comment on this post. I'm not looking for sympathy: simply having a good old rant in public. Now, to the post.

________________________________________

Life would be OK:

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

- if only .......

[Remember. Do NOT leave a comment here]

Friday, 19 September 2008

Stefan's Story

I'd forgotten about Stefan.  Well, not really forgotten, just hadn't remembered him for a while until a blog visitor today visited this post:

Stefan and Time

This post said the following about Stefan:

To Stefan and His Friends

Caring deeply

For strangers

Known briefly

Loved forever

and I remembered again and I thought I'd tell his story.  As I write I have no idea if this will make a post and, if so, whether it will work or not.  I'm not going to judge; I'll write the whole post and then let it float where it will.

 

I met Stefan for the only time for a couple of hours or so one August afternoon in 1991 in circumstances which none would like to encounter. But meet we did and I have never forgotten him or the circumstances and never will forget.

Mrs Carr and I were on the way home after a holiday in Skye, I think it was. We had just driven through the tiny village of Dalwhinnie, near Drumochter Summit, and were waiting to turn right across the traffic onto the single carriageway of the main road North from Central Scotland, A9.  As I turned right, we saw a Transit minibus "parked" perfectly at right angles to the carriageway and directly opposite the Dalwhinnie road from which I had just turned right, passengers still sitting as though asleep. 

This didn't make sense.  Why park there?  Why still sit in the minibus?  Has there been an accident?  Has there?  My God, yes! [For any of a nervous disposition, do not worry.  This is not a tale of blood and guts.]

We pulled off the road, the first car to stop.  Also stopped was an articulated lorry.  In an instant all was clear.  The minibus had been turning right across the carriageway as we did but, unfortunately, as the minibus pulled across the road the lorry caught the minibus a glancing blow amidships and spun it round until it ended up apparently perfectly parked.  Damage?  Apart from a small vee in the middle of the passengers' side of the 'bus there was none.

The first signs were that none had suffered any obvious injuries, no blood. The driver got out the minibus and started to look for a friend, I can't remember the friend's name but he was missing.  The driver was frantic: where is he?  Eventually, quite quickly actually, he turned up in a ditch.  He'd been thrown out unconscious but now was apparently uninjured.

Much of what happened next is vague.  More cars stopped; more helping.  One minibus passenger tried to fling himself from his seat into the back of the minibus.  I knew he shouldn't but I could do nothing.  He screamed!  While waiting for the police and ambulances there was little to do.  There were enough passers-by helping.  But then there has to one bastard! One creep was taking photos.  "Fuck off!" 

I stayed with the driver who was distraught.  He was Italian - Stefan.  I have no idea how much time I spent with Stefan, talking to him, consoling him just being with him.  Even when the police and ambulances arrived I stayed with him.  It was so important to him that all his friends be OK.  He asked the police, he asked me and he kept asking. He knew his mistake had led to the accident.  I suspect that, instead of looking right before he made his turn onto the man road he did what was normal in Italy and looked left.  Seeing no traffic he pulled pulled out straight into the path of the artic coming from his right.  There was no escape.  The impact must have been inevitable. No wonder he was distraught! 

Up and down the verge we walked. An Italian and a Scot , two languages but understanding perfectly. 

Eventually after the air ambulance and most of the ambulances had headed towards Inverness, Stefan's time came.  Time for his ambulance.  "Come with me" he pleaded over and over again.  Home was 90 miles or so South.  Inverness was 50 miles North.  Back to work tomorrow.  I wanted to go to Inverness but I couldn't.  I should have but I couldn't.  I don't know how I rationalised this; probably on some very weak basis. 

Occasionally I think about this decision and I know I should have gone but the time has passed.  I did what I did. 

I told him that I couldn't go. but I couldn't let him go on his own.  Round my neck I wore a crystal, rose quartz, wrapped in copper wire with a leather string.  I removed the crystal and passed it to him.  He took it and put it round his neck.

 

This was no ordinary crystal!  This particular crystal was very very important to me.  I felt an incredibly strong connection between this "common" crystal and my father who had died many years earlier.  I can't remember how or why this came about but it did in  ...... spadefuls.

 

I couldn't go to inverness with Stefan but I could give him "my stone" not lightly or easily but without pain or disappointment.  As I handed the stone to Stefan I told him everything would be OK - it wasn't - but more importantly I said that the stone came with love and was given with love.  Amore!!  Probably the only word I knew in Italian. "Amore, Stefan"

Stefan wore the stone around his neck and walked to his ambulance.  I never saw Stefan or my stone again.  I didn't need to.

[Unfortunately 2 of Stefan's friends died from internal injuries.  Months later Stefan - or Stefani which was his actual name - was found guilty of a motoring offence and was quite correctly, admonished]

During 1991, I was in my writing, my "poetry",  phase and I wrote four or five pieces two of which I append below.  I hope they don't detract from the post.

STONE  TO  STEFAN

My stone is gone
To Stefan
No more shall I hold
Caress and kiss
This being

My love is in this stone
Love was given out
Through hard and painful times
But constant was this
No matter where or how I was

And now to Stefan
My stone, Stefan's stone
I know not "my"
And times will be
When Stefan knows
The stone does not belong
To one
But One
And All
And for All Love

The stone knew when
And I knew when
The time was right
To part in part
As Stefan will
When the Love is there

 

Stone
For One
For All

______________________________________

CALUM  AND  FRIENDS

Caring deeply
For strangers
Known briefly
Loved forever

So good
To care
And love
Those strangers

But strangers no more
Bridged by a bond
Born of need
From pain
And death

No more alone
In a foreign land
But at home
With friends
Real friends

Together
As all can be
A few
Together
For ever

I gave my love
For an hour
Of forever

No more asked
No more to give
Nothing else to give
But love

Now let go
With the love
That I gave
And the pain
Will move away

 

Only feelings of joy
To have been chosen
To give love that way

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Another NHS Battle

Update 18 Sept 08: Cross-posted at http://nhsexposed.blogspot.com

Those who know me may be surprised to learn that this battle is not between a wronged patient and the NHS.

For more than 1 year I have posted about patient problems with the NHS: NHS Lothian over Mrs Carr's lack of treatment; the terrible lack of resources in Scotland for the treatment of eating disorders; the appalling treatment of Mr G (as reported by the mental Welfare commission for Scotland); the lack of respect, compassion and caring within the NHS; plus many other posts.  The common theme has always been how patients were failed by the NHS.

Today I highlight another battle but, this time, I join the battle late: the battle to ensure doctors can speak out about the Health Service without fear of victimisation. 

Hence the badge below.

 

freedom of speech ribbon

Both Andrew and Deb posted about Dr Scot Jnr who had been suspended for calling a medical bureaucrat "fucking shit".  Not face-to-face but on a doctors forum.  Fortunately, he is now reinstated but now there is another case.

 

I came across this new case, firstly at Dr Rant and then Deb.

Dr Shirine Boardman, a consultant at Warwick Hospital,  has been sacked.  According to a newspaper article:

"She was sacked by the hospital’s bosses on July 22, but is appealing against the decision.

Hospital chief executive Glen Burley said: “Dr Shirine Boardman was dismissed following an internal hearing carried out in accordance with our disciplinary procedures.

“We are not going to comment in detail on the nature of the misconduct, but we can say that it does not relate to any issues of patient safety or clinical competence.

Therefore, the reasons for her sacking are not known but in June of this year, in another newspaper article, she supported calls for improved diabetes services.  Is this the reason for the sacking?  I don't know but the NHS does have form here.

 

Please support Dr Boardman by displaying this badge - doesn't need to be so large.  She is probably just one more example of doctors being disciplined for telling the truth.

I said earlier that some may find it strange that I should support doctors when I've spent so much energy fighting some of them.  To me there is no conflict.  We can each have our own problems but, if the NHS is not improved then all of us lose. 

My two battles stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

There is no doubt that the NHS is struggling but doctors who speak out and highlight the problems are subject to sanction but we need them to speak out.  The NHS is not a business whose prime aim is to make profits for its shareholders, the NHS is my, your, our NHS. 

If there are problems then we need to know about them; it's for our good.  Every time a doctor is sacked or suspended for speaking out the harder it is for the next doctor to stand up.  This is what the bureaucrats want.  We cannot let this happen. 

We must support those brave doctors  .......  for us.

And when they are victimised we must say, "STOP! Let that doctor work. 

And you who victimise, you are hindering the recovery of the NHS; you can go.  We don't need you; don't want you. 

 

Please support Dr Shirine Boardman.

Please support every other doctor who is victimised for telling it how it is.

Please display the freedom of speech badge.

Please stand up with, and for, doctors.

Let us reclaim our NHS from the politicians and bureaucrats.

The NHS is our NHS. 

But we will lose our NHS unless we stand and fight.

Stand with me and our brave doctors

And fight!!!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Moon in the Night Sky

I was flicking through old photos when I came across this one of the moon very low over the Pentland Hills.

 

RIMG0238-1

Taken in Edinburgh  - from our back door.

Monday, 15 September 2008

In An Emergency ......

dial 999.

 

But what is an emergency?

According to Central Scotland police not very much sometimes.  They report:

"In one case a male caller dialled and reported being splashed by a car as it went through a puddle of water as he walked along a pavement.  That call came moments after a female caller made an identical claim. When she was advised that it was not appropriate to call 999 for such in incident, the call handler was verbally abused."

and

"...a woman called 999 to report to police that the rabbit she had bought in response to a newspaper advert did not have floppy ears, as had been advertised."

and

"A third caller dialled the emergency number to ask for the postcode of Grangemouth police station."

and

"A male dialled to report that not enough people were visiting his blog."

Sorry.  I couldn't resist making up the last one but the first three are genuine 999 calls which should NEVER have been made.

I wonder sometimes ...........

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Sitemeter Back Up - My Stats Invisible

UPDATE:  As most prob know by now, Sitemeter has abandoned its new system and has reverted to the old, easy-to-read system which actually shows stats.

At least they had the balls to change. Mind you with the amount of abuse they seemed to get there was no option but to retreat.

So now I've got Sitemeter and StatCounter running.

_______________________________

Original post

For some reason Sitemeter won't show my stats despite the site being back up and running after its upgrade.

Therefore, unless you leave a comment or are logged on to mybloglog.com I won't know that you have visited.

I have contacted them but not sorted yet.

 

Sorry about the inconvenience.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Where Has All My Traffic Gone?

Where has all my traffic gone?
So few passing
Where has all my traffic gone?
None dropping by
Where has all my traffic gone?
Gone elsewhere every one
When will I ever learn?
When will I ever learn?

Why has all my traffic gone?
Empty hours ev'rywhere
Why has all my traffic gone?
None dropping by
Why has all my traffic gone?
To better blogs every one
When will I ever learn?
When will I ever learn?

With apologies to Pete Seeger

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Large Hadron Collider: Breaking News!

Several stories are breaking tonight:

•   ahead of schedule scientists have operated the system at full power

•   an unknown branchline of the LHC has been discovered - running from Lucerne to Edinburgh (direct to my head)

•   full power collisions have been taking part in my head

•   scientist shave acknowledged that my head is on the verge of being split

•   CERN scientists had stated previously that in addition to finding the Higgs boson there may well be some very surprising results.  The unexpected has happened tonight.  Schrodinger's cat is not just a thought experiment but is real and is screeching and clawing inside my head.

 

That explains why I've got such a "splitting" headache!!!!

__________________

Apologies for the contrived nature of this post but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Sleep - Alternative Needed

A simple question from one who doesn't get, doesn't allow himself, enough sleep.

Why do we have to sleep?

I hate being tired but ........ I can't make myself get to bed early enough for adequate sleep. I need a device.

Why in this day and age is there not something much simpler?

Why can  I not plug myself into the mains?  Do I hear lots of voices saying,"Yes, please!  Can I switch the plug on?"?

"Bastards!"  I'm being serious.  I don't want to be electrocuted.  I just want to be charged up like my mobile.

A couple of hours while I'm at the pc.  While driving.  Then I'm fully charged and raring to go.  

Sleep no longer required.  No longer crushingly tired.  Simple.

Will someone please develop this asap.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Sorry! Poor Visitor

Just wanted to apologise because, for the last couple of weeks, I've been a very poor visitor and commenter.

I've been - still am -  really tired.  Poor bedtime routine.  Too late to settle and up early.

By time I manage to write a post I'm falling asleep.

Will try and get around everyone in the next few days.

 

I know the above are just excuses but .....

.... I really appreciate those who continue to visit here despite not seeing much, or any, of me in return.

 

Thanks for being so understanding

Calum

Monday, 8 September 2008

REPOST -- Smile! You're On .....

This post from yesterday (Sunday) I am reposting just in case it gets lost between two very large posts. The original is here

Smile! You're On ........

........ the dodgems.

I know this is not what you expected but, today, I saw the power of the dodgems.

As part of a birthday treat we took the children, and one friend each, to M&D's Theme Park near Motherwell. M&D's is basically a permanent funfair nowhere near the size of Alton Towers but it's as good as it gets in Scotland.

Near the end of a long day the children were queuing - a small queue - to get on the dodgems and I was leaning on a rail there whiling away the time when suddenly I became aware that everyone - from young to old - on the dodgems was smiling, big broad smiles. Bumping and being bumped made no difference to those in the twenty cars. Children were being .... just children and adults were being .... just children too.

Smiles and more and bigger smiles.

Now, for sure, not all these people were smiling before they went on the dodgems but somehow the magic of the dodgems transformed them ... and me. I started to smile and feel incredibly good simply because all in front of me were smiling.

This was real dodgems magic and it was wonderful. So many transported for a few minutes to happiness; their cares and worries left behind.

__________________________________________________

As I was writing this post I was reminded of some words I wrote in 1991 which are relevant to what has gone before.

I should mention though that previously I have posted some of my old words from 1991 and always, in a few days, returned in embarrassment to delete them. I daresay this will happen again.

"TIME

Rush, rush, rush, rush
Something's important
Rush, rush, rush, rush
Why? why? why?
Work is big, work is huge
I must not fail or fall
I must not fail
I must not fail
Rush away instead

But rushing loses moments
Of peace and joy and hope
To bring times - long times
Of worry, fear and dread

So bring short time into my life
Bring moments in again
Let longer time appear
As something not required

Bring moments in
Bring moments in
It's easy to think this
But every moment, at this time
Is fearful

So breathe deeply
Smile freely
Feel life return
Now and now and now and now
The moments have returned

So breathe and smile
It's simple
Too simple to be easy
Remember
Breathe
And
Smile
Again
The moments will return
To bring back peace
And joy and hope
To a life that's lost in time"

The moments returned to all at the dodgems.

Thank You, Donal and ... Goodbye

Thank you for replying at the third time of asking (2 comments on your blog and 1 blog post here).

Goodbye not because I'm leaving blogging behind but because this will be my last reference to your original post in the meantime.

So as not to fill up the top of this post the full history can be viewed at the end  - below the black line.

 

Basically you asserted that Oprah Winfrey was being racist by not interviewing the white Sarah Palin before the November elections.  Because I saw no evidence that Winfrey's refusal was linked to colour I asked that you produce evidence to support your contention or, failing that, withdraw your post and apologise.

After three requests you stated (see below the line for your full comment):

"Oprah has only ever backed one candidate publicly like this: the black one. Her outright refusal to interview Gov Palin shows Oprah to be prejudiced. You may wish to interpret it otherwise,..."

I assume that this is as much evidence as you will provide and so let's look at what you say.  You are saying, please correct me if I'm wrong,

Oprah - black - publicly supports one candidate - Obama, black.

Oprah  - black - won't interview Palin - white - before the election

Ergo Oprah is prejudiced and racist.

 

Now consider the following thought experiment:

You  - white - (You are white aren't you, Donal?  All I have to go by is the header to your blog.  If you're not white my little example doesn't work) - support McCain / Palin - both white.

You - white - do not support Obama - black

You - white - criticise Obama - black

Now using the same logic which you use to assert Oprah is racist, one could say that you are prejudiced and racist too in how you regard Obama. Now I would never suggest this of you because the logic train in my little experiment is as flawed as is your logic, given the evidence you adduce, in describing Oprah Winfrey as prejudiced and racist.

 

In your comment you also state:

"Calum: you're under the mistaken belief I care what you think. I don't. "

I don't expect you to care what I think. My reason for following up on your original post is that the allegation you make against Oprah Winfrey is serious and I believe that such allegations should be supported by evidence and that your readership should have access to that evidence so that they can judge whether you have "made" your case.

You go on to say,

"It's really very simple. If you don't like me or what I say, go away and read someone else's blog."

The blog world would be a boring place if we only visited blogs with whose content we knew, in advance, we would agree.  I read, and will continue to read, many blogs other than yours but I will continue to visit you and to comment when I see fit.

 

Finally you state in your comment,

"That [solving my family's family mental health needs] strikes me as more important than hectoring me like a nutter..."

Solving my family's mental health problems is massively important to me but I and others in similar circumstances  are entitled to have hobbies and relaxation.

I'm very sorry, Donal, and surprised that you feel I have been hectoring  - bullying and intimidating - you at all, far less "like a nutter...".  I asked you politely three times to produce evidence in support of your serious allegation against Oprah Winfrey.  Had you done so after my first comment we could have reached this point several days ago.  I fear that you are much more sensitive than most in the blogosphere if you find those three polite requests intimidating.

Anyway, as I said at the start, thank you, Donal and goodbye...... for the moment.

 

_____________________________________________

You posted about Oprah Winfrey on Friday  - as shown below

Blaney Oprah screengrab post

Your link takes readers here at tmz.com (also see immediately below).

Blaney Oprah tmz screengrab2

There is no mention here of Palin's whiteness being involved in a decision not to interview her before the election.

This tmz page links to The Drudge Report here (and also below)

Blaney oprah Drudge screengrab3

 

There is no mention in The Drudge Report about colour being the reason for Oprah not interviewing Palin now.

I, therefore, commented as shown below, a comment which you show but do not answer. 

Blaney Oprah JB Comment

I ask again.

Given that neither your post nor your links contain any evidence for colour being at the heart of Oprah's decision not to interview Palin now, why do you assert this to be the case?

 

Why do you:

-  title your post "Too white for Oprah"

-  state in the body of your post "Sarah Palin's too white to be interviewed on your show"

-  include "racism" as a label

-  include "hypocrisy" as a label?

 

Come on, Donal , you're not normally slow in saying what you think.

What is your evidence, Donal?

If you have evidence, please display it now.

If you have no evidence then you should delete your post immediately and post an apology to Oprah Winfrey.

 

What is it to be, Donal?  Evidence or apology?

 

With your not having replied, I commented a second time and now you did reply.  Both my and your comments are shown below.

CC final comment

after which you replied.

DB final comment

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Smile! You're On ..........

 

........  the dodgems.

I know this is not what you expected but, today, I saw the power of the dodgems.

As part of a birthday treat we took the children, and one friend each, to M&D's Theme Park near Motherwell.  M&D's is basically a permanent funfair nowhere near the size of Alton Towers but it's as good as it gets in Scotland.

Near the end of a long day the children were queuing - a small queue - to get on the dodgems and I was leaning on a rail there whiling away the time when suddenly I became aware that everyone - from young to old - on the dodgems was smiling, big broad smiles.  Bumping and being bumped made no difference to those in the twenty cars.  Children were being .... just children and adults were being .... just children too. 

Smiles and more and bigger smiles. 

Now, for sure, not all these people were smiling before they went on the dodgems but somehow the magic of the dodgems transformed them ... and me.  I started to smile and feel incredibly good simply because all in front of me were smiling.

This was real dodgems magic and it was wonderful. So many transported for a few minutes to happiness; their cares and worries left behind.

__________________________________________________

As I was writing this post I was reminded of some words I wrote in 1991 which are relevant to what has gone before.

I should mention though that previously I have posted some of my old words from 1991 and always, in a few days, returned in embarrassment to delete them.  I daresay this will happen again.

   "TIME

Rush, rush, rush, rush
Something's important
Rush, rush, rush, rush
Why? why? why?
Work is big, work is huge
I must not fail or fall
I must not fail
I must not fail
Rush away instead

But rushing loses moments
Of peace and joy and hope
To bring times  -  long times
Of worry, fear and dread

So bring short time into my life
Bring moments in again
Let longer time appear
As something not required

Bring moments in
Bring moments in
It's easy to think this
But every moment, at this time
Is fearful

So breathe deeply
Smile freely
Feel life return
Now and now and now and now
The moments have returned

So breathe and smile
It's simple
Too simple to be easy
Remember
Breathe
And
Smile
Again
The moments will return
To bring back peace
And joy and hope
To a life that's lost in time"

The moments returned to all at the dodgems.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Donal, Where's Your Evidence?

You posted about Oprah Winfrey on Friday - as shown below

Blaney Oprah screengrab post

Your link takes readers here at tmz.com (also see immediately below).

Blaney Oprah tmz screengrab2

There is no mention here of Palin's whiteness being involved in a decision not to interview her before the election.

This tmz page links to The Drudge Report here (and also below)

Blaney oprah Drudge screengrab3

There is no mention in The Drudge Report about colour being the reason for Oprah not interviewing Palin now.

I, therefore, commented as shown below, a comment which you show but do not answer.

Blaney Oprah JB Comment

I ask again.

Given that neither your post nor your links contain any evidence for colour being at the heart of Oprah's decision not to interview Palin now, why do you assert this to be the case?

Why do you:

- title your post "Too white for Oprah"

- state in the body of your post "Sarah Palin's too white to be interviewed on your show"

- include "racism" as a label

- include "hypocrisy" as a label?

Come on, Donal , you're not normally slow in saying what you think.

What is your evidence, Donal?

If you have evidence, please display it now.

If you have no evidence then you should delete your post immediately and post an apology to Oprah Winfrey.

What is it to be, Donal? Evidence or apology?



Thursday, 4 September 2008

What's In A Name?

During February this year The Times carried a headline

"Barack Obama hits back after Hussein taunts",

the story being that

"Barack Obama was confronted for the second time in 48 hours yesterday with efforts by conservative Republicans to convince voters that he is a Muslim and anti-Semite."

The article continued:

"John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has twice been forced to rebuke members of his own party after the attacks."

Unfortunately, one of the UK's top political bloggers (Iain Dale's version) continues to use Obama's full name.  I wonder why?

Donal, why use Obama's full name when you don't do so for the other presidential / vp candidates? 

You don't use

John Sidney McCain III

Sarah Heath Palin

nor even

Joseph Robinette Biden

You're not trying to make the same association for which McCain rebuked Republicans?

 

To continue to use his full name will speak much much more negatively of you than it does for Obama.

Melanie Phillips: Pot Kettle Black

Until yesterday I hadn't read any of Melanie Phillips' articles for several months but, Donal Blaney drooled over her article on The Spectator blog and I was tempted to read

Mel P said,

"The more savage the left are about someone, the more you can be sure that they feel profoundly threatened by that person. Their vicious reaction to John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential candidate is deeply revealing -- but about themselves rather than her."

and

"Why do the left feel so threatened by Sarah Palin? Clearly, they see her place on the McCain ticket as a major threat to Obama and thus know they have to destroy her. The more venomous their onslaught, therefore, the greater the compliment they are paying her."

I don't condone vicious attacks on anyone whether from the right or the left but Mel's certainty that the more threatened one feels the more viciously one attacks is wrong.  What she states is possible but just as likely, if not more so, is the common sporting method of attacking the weak link in a partnership.  A football team will play on their opponents' weakness knowing that they are more likely to score. In doubles tennis the weaker player in a partnership will be targeted because their opponents know that they are more likely to win by forcing errors from the weaker player.  Here, therefore, the Democrats would attack Sarah Palin, the possible weak link, knowing that by weakening her they are, in fact, weakening John McCain.  Therefore, the attacks on Sarah P may have nothing to do with the Democrats fear of her but more of targeting McCain through her.

Mel P is bright enough to now this but this option doesn't fit her certainty.  She wouldn't have been able to launch a general attack on "the left" if she acknowledged the thesis which I expound.

Melanie, does the right never attack those you would call left-wing politicians?  Of course, they do!  Using your thesis, who do the right fear so much?  Why do the right fear so much?  They must be fearful. Why not address this?

Not mentioned, is it?  Blind spot, is it?  Or do you think that the left attacks the right unjustifiably and the right tells the truth about the left?  Perhaps, Obsolete was right when he wrote these articles  (1 and 2). Are you descending into madness?

You go on to characterise the left as follows:

"But there’s a deeper reason for the foaming vituperation of the left at Mrs Palin’s candidacy. It is the same reason that they lash out at all those who are not on the left: their profound lack of confidence in their own belief system. At some subterranean level, they know they are wrong and that they cannot defend their own position. Which they simply cannot bear. This is because the left is always correct, everyone else is a conservative and therefore if they are wrong about anything they will also be -- a conservative! They'd rather pull out all their fingernails. Which is why they are so vicious: instead of reasoned argument with their opponents they resort to demonisation, intimidating and browbeating any opposition or dissent to shut them up altogether.

Central to this aggressive defensiveness is their feverish characterisation of all dissent as conservatism, of conservatism as evil, fossilised, stupid and selfish, and all conservatives as hateful, decaying, cretinous and corrupt."

"Demonisation"!  That's a cracker.  The entire left summed up with no "reasoned argument".

All you write about the left is stated without support and reasoned argument.

All you write about the left can be said with equal justification of the right. 

You can't say this though, can you?  In your narrow and blinkered world there is no room for any view but your own. There is no reason involved but only one-sided logic which will appeal to only one constituency. As well as the madness to which Obsolete alludes there is another possible reason for articles like this one. How much financial interest would there be in your producing reasoned and balanced articles?

 

Mel P, you do journalism a disservice. 

Embarrassing Typo - Almost

Last night I came so close to suffering massive embarrassment.  I was sending an email and I typed the recipient's name incorrectly.

Fortunately I noticed the mistake in time but ... so close to mega-embarrassment!!!

 

I meant to type Rita but I made two errors.

Can you work out what I typed and almost sent?

Use the keyboard below to help.

Typo1

Have you got it yet?

If not highlight between the two inverted commas    

"Tits"

Can you imagine the reaction if I hadn't noticed and sent the message uncorrected?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Bastards Thump: Another Story

Here you are.  Another story.  I've succumbed to the immense pressure.

Have you any idea what it's like to open your front door and have groupies scream, "Calum.  Love you. Give us a story!" ?

Have you any idea what it's like to have to go out in disguise just to take your kids to school? 

Have you any idea what it's like to get masses of emails saying, "We love you but we'll love you more if you give us another one?"

Well!  Do you?  Of course, you don't.  But this is what I've had to put up with since my three previous stories appeared (1, 2 and 3).

And until now I have resisted the temptation to give them another one but  .... I crumbled.  I am a normal red-bloodied male and I couldn't resist making these women happy.  I don't feel good about it but ....  I just couldn't help myself.  Sorry!!

But will this story make you happy or laugh or is it a sequel too far which bombs.

Here it is then, my new story, "Bastards Thump" but  .... just before I start I need to say that "Bastards Thump" has nothing to do with the NHS or what, in my wilder moments, I might have dreamt of doing to some of the doctors involved in Mrs Carr's (lack of) care.

At the third time of asking I think I'll manage to start.

 

Many years ago, after the phase of personal growth courses, came the next big thing - teamwork and making teams function better by identifying and resolving underlying issues.  I think just about every team and department I knew went through this sort of rigmarole and I'm going to tell you about just one such course.

My little team - well not my team but the team of which I was a member - toddled off to Peebles Hydro for a three-day love-in under the care of a highly-paid consultant.  "Consultant", Christ, why can't I escape from these medical terms?

I managed to get down early enough to get breakfast before we started.  I always had to stuff my face when I was away from home.  I ate far more when I was away.  Don't know why.  This probably partly explains my shape now; a love for the fatty things in life.

My team.  Who were we?  We did have a lot of issues.  I wouldn't say that we were dysfunctional just not hugely successful in the functional stakes. I have changed names to protect the guilty.  Firstly there was:

Angry Andrew:  AA thought that he should have been the top dog but, fortunately, having only 3 legs and little brain he was overlooked.

Big bad bossy Billy:  BBBB was the boss - unsurprisingly - and he was shit hot at his job but he wasn't great at taking people with him.  Mind you that might be because of those whom he was leading.

Charming Calum Carr: CCC - that's I. Note the perfect grammar what I used there! "That's I"  sounds bloody silly doesn't it?  Charming I might have been but I carried a lot of baggage - not clothes - into that huge meeting room.  No, I wasn't charming at all but it is my story and so please just go with my writer's licence.

Death-inducing difficult Dizzy: DDD was the most difficult person I have ever encountered anywhere.  A time-bomb primed to explode often at, apparently, random times. God, just thinking about DDD has me shaking in disbelief.

Easy-going Erica: EE was our secretary who didn't need to be there with us because none of the issues involved her but the pc thinking was that all team members must attend.

That's us.  Sorry, that's we.  Fuck this proper grammar. It sounds stupid. I'm giving up on it.  That's us. OK!

Hey, I can see this story running to a Part 2 because I've barely started, and there's been no mention of "Bastards Thump" yet.  I need to cut out lots but that's not my style - as I'm sure you have come to hate.

 

The first day and a bit went by without any real problems but that is down more to a lack of openness.  Only EE and I were being open, the other 3 were closed tight as a duck's ....  You know what I was going to say there.  Tight, closed that's what they were.  This reminds me of someone I know who, as a student teacher, meant to say, "I want that desk shut tight". Unfortunately Dr Spooner intervened as he said, "I want that desk shite tut."  Huge embarrassment!

Despite the closedness of AA, BBBB and DDD, I felt "things" moving inside me.  Anger, which I was holding about the team, some members and some beyond, was rising.  I could feel it.  After lunch I said that I might need to ask everyone to leave me alone in the room.  Then I could bear it no longer.  "Please leave" and they did.  I remember BBBB touching my shoulder as though to say, "Good Luck".

Why did I need to be alone?  I had no idea.  I knew only that I must be alone.  Rather than being subdued the anger was exposing itself.  I was getting more visibly angry now.  I needed to express this anger. 

I know you're racing ahead now thinking, "I can see where 'bastard' comes in but what about 'thump'?"  Be patient, please!  Another 30mins reading only and you should know!

I needed to channel this anger but how? Where?

Then I knew.  I had to start throwing "things", somethings, not just anythings but the right things and I had so little time.  My actions had to fit in with the anger. I had to find something to throw before I exploded but what ......

 

There it was, part of a previous exercise in which we had to make a physical representation of our group in plasticine.  A big bloody ball of plasticine with drinking straws, I think, stuck into it.  That'll do.  That'll have to do.  I grabbed the ball, pulled out all the straws and hurled the ball with all my might across the room hoping to bounce it off the wall.  In the act of throwing I let out a massive cry  "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!  I know that's not how to spell the word but I'm trying to get across the feeling with which the word was uttered.  This was no use.  The ball was too big to reach the wall.  Why didn't I go closer?  Don't know. Never crossed my mind.  I needed something closer but what?  Yes!  A flip-chart easel - the three legged kind. This was ideal.  I quickly set this up. 

Now I was ready. Again, I hurled the ball with everything I had and again I shouted  "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!" in the act of throwing.  This time the  "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!" was followed by  THUMP as the ball clattered in to the easel and then with CRASH as the easel, unsurprisingly, crashed over.  Now even my less intelligent readers - and there are many of you - will realise that this story is called "Bastards Thump" and not "Bastards Thump Crash" and so we haven't yet reached the story's title.

I needed to make more changes. Not only was the ball too big but the sequence I was in didn't match the eruption of anger.  I needed to throw more balls more quickly and minimise the doing nothing time.  Therefore, I made 6 balls from the plasticine, held three in my hand, with the other three at my feet.  Now I was ready.

Hurl, "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!", THUMP

Hurl, "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!", THUMP

Hurl, "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!", THUMP

Pick up the other three balls and then:

Hurl, "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!", THUMP

Hurl, "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!", THUMP

Hurl, "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!", THUMP

Then I gathered the 6 balls, kept three in my hand and put tree at my feet. This sequence continued for I don't know how long punctuated only by the occasional

Hurl, "B..A..H..S..T..A..H.. R..D..S!!", "SHITE"

whenever I missed the easel which, I'm glad to say was infrequent because each miss meant that I had to walk further to pick up the "missed" ball.  This might seem trivial but when every action fits in with the flowing anger any change in routine is difficult to cope with hence the extra expletive.

Twice, I think it was, BBBB poked his head round the door and asked if I was OK.; the second time I was winding down. "Getting there". 

I was throwing less hard, shouting with less anger, and moving more slowly.  Eventually I had nothing left, nothing driving me on, nothing to shout at, nothing to throw for.  This was over.

I must have taken an hour all in and, I tell you, by the time I finished I was all in.  I had never thrown with such force  - not even once  - but here I must have thrown a couple of hundred balls. My shoulder muscles were aching, my energy levels were low from releasing so much emotional energy but this did work.   All my anger had gone.  I was able to be a fully paid up member of the team - probably the only one.  I have never experienced such a feeling since.

Having gone trough this experience I didn't want to invite the others back into the room until I had tidied up, got the room back to how it was.  That certainly wouldn't happen now.  Tidy!  A four letter swear word.

Everything was back in its place, the floor tidy when I noticed an open window! 

"SHITE!!!!!"  

What if I was overheard?

What if I were seen?

No!!! 

All that time and the window was open.

Why did I not check this out?

How did I not see this?

God, the embarrassment!

There was nothing to do but close the window.  I walked gingerly across the room, closed the window.

PHEW!!!

The window opened onto a small internal area with no access and none of the other windows was open.

What a relief!

My embarrassment now pulled back in.

 

N..O..O..O..O..O..O..O!!

Through the newly closed window I saw into another room: overhead projector, a presenter, rows of seats, each seat occupied.

This room and my room were separated by only a locked wooden door.

FUCK!

NO!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Bastards Thump: Another Story [coming soon]

Sorry about the lack of posts over the last few days. 

I've written three major mental health posts recently and I was giving my last post (a personal story of the lack of compassion shown to Mrs Carr) space at the top of my blog for many to comment. 

I did mean to post another funny (I hope) story but I fell asleep at the pc and have just wakened from my slumbers still too tired to write the story.

Hopefully later today or early Tuesday should see this story appear.  I hope it's worth waiting for.  The more stories I recount and the more positive comments received the greater is the pressure to make the next story better (or, at least, as good).

Time will tell.

Remember to come again and check for:

Bastards Thump: Another Story

Now, there I've gone and cranked up the pressure to perform.   H...e...l...p!

There's no fool .........