A Smack to the Head…

Someone just started following this blog and it dawned on me that I haven’t posted here in absolutely ages.  As I’m awaiting feedback on a few things I thought I’d take the quiet moment to rectify the situation.  Maybe it will even inspire me to update the damn thing more often.  Or maybe I need a smack to the head to make me do so.

So, what to write about?

My grandkids are all growing faster than I’d like (six of them, now).  It makes me seem old just watching them change so much every time I see them.  My youngest, Ariana, has started cutting teeth and it hardly seems five minutes since she was born.  And my eldest, Caitlin, is rapidly approaching her 11th birthday.  And now I realise I’m sounding like every other old fogey out there.

When I’m writing it’s like age has no relevance whatsoever.  My mind is fired up, sharp, filled with ideas and in love with the words.

Speaking of my mind, I’ve been feeling a bit more creative since coming off my medication recently.  Although there are still a few problems, I think I’d rather manage them than go through the slightly disconnected feelings I’ve been having.  It seemed like my emotions were all dulled and my rational mind was taking too much control.

Take my brother, for instance.  I just realised I didn’t post here about how he was rushed into hospital last year and, after an emergency operation, was diagnosed with cancer.  Because of the medication I was on it didn’t properly register with my emotions and I began to feel a little guilty that I wasn’t more upset by the awful news.  Over Christmas he was in a really bad way and my rational reaction made me think I had to do something about my medication.  I’ve had a few weeps since then.  Although my brother’s condition is not good in the long term, recently he’s been a lot better on a day-to-day basis and I go and see him a couple of times a week.

I’ve been incredibly busy with the writing lately, which is always good considering I’m a freelance writer, but I’ve pretty much given up on the comics as a result and don’t have as much time for drawing and painting as I once did.  Ah well, I can’t do everything.

Spring is filling the garden with new growth and buds and a few early flowers.  We have frogspawn in the pond and the goldfish have survived the winter okay.  We even have a new footpath.


Open Letter to the NHS – Hygiene

Dear NHS,

I really love the wonderful things you do and all our lives would be very poor indeed without the on-going care and medical aid you give us.  However, I really get annoyed when I see reports in the newspapers about MRSA and lack of hygiene.

The reason for my annoyance comes from a regular display of practices that suggest a basic lack of understanding of simple hygiene from everyone involved.  In the last few years, for instance, I have seen a number of instances of each of the following:

  • Wearing cardigans over uniforms.
  • Wearing outdoor coats over uniforms.
  • Wearing uniforms to and from the hospital.

The idea of transfer of germs and bugs through such practices clearly escapes the grasp of those involved.  It is often impressed on visitors how important it is to wash/clean hands on entering wards and this is exactly right, but hospital staff should have much higher standards that include the right attitude towards clothing.

However, the above is nothing compared to one of the worst practices I’ve regularly seen happen – a complete disregard for how infection can be spread through the transfer from the curtains surrounding each of the beds on the wards.

Visitors constantly brush up against these curtains with their clothes, the patients touch them, everybody touches them.  Now think carefully about the main people who touch them – the nurses who attend the patients many times a day.

If they have just cleaned up a patient or re-dressed an infected wound, those nurses will push back the curtains with the soiled gloves still on their hands, transferring bacteria and the like to the curtains.

Worse still is that the next time they attend that same patient, nurses put on rubber gloves BEFORE closing the curtains, which immediately stops the gloves being sterile and risks passing on infection to the patient.  If this isn’t the cause of the majority of patient infections I’d be very surprised.

We’re all disgusted at the cut-backs enforced on the NHS by this current government, particularly when the majority of us have been paying for it through our National Insurance contributions, but this is not an excuse for a mind-set that cannot make the connections that lead to infection transfer this way.

Being in hospital is hard.  Working in hospital is hard.  But thinking about hygiene should be natural for all of us.

Please be cleaner in your thinking.

Steve Ince
East Yorkshire

Enhanced by Zemanta

Zen – What?!

We decided to watch the startof the new BBC series, Zen, last night.  It would have been great if it wasn’t for the dreadful audio.

Overall, the sound was much quieter than other programmes so we had to turn up the telly quite a bit in order to compensate, but even then it was hard to make out what they were saying much of the time.  When the actors lifted their voices above that of a mumble they were often competing with too much background noise and the musical soundtrack.

Now I don’t consider myself hard of hearing by a long way, but I was struggling to make out much of what was said, so I dread to think how people coped who had genuine hearing problems.  I’m not talking about the level of hearing problem that means people need the subtitles but the slight loss of certain frequencies that means the sound in programmes should be much clearer.

Very poor show, BBC.

A Quiet Day

Today I had a little lie-in, which was pretty cool. However I don’t like to spend too long in bed or I feel as if I’m wasting my own time. Besides, I need to put out seeds for the birds and squirrels in this cold weather, even though it’s been slightly milder today.

I seem to have spent a lot of today doing very little, but I went out for a walk in the sleet to get a paper. The centre of Pocklington was really quiet and even the pubs I passed had virtually no one drinking in them.

I received a call from my dad who’d just returned from taking my brother to the hospital where they found that he had a broken ankle. He fell over on Christmas eve and thought he’d just twisted his ankle, but it turns out he’s been limping on a broken ankle for three days.

This afternoon I watched Inception for the first time and while I thought it was a good film it wasn’t as clever as I’d been led to believe it was.

I managed to fit in some time to draw an prepare a couple of Mitchell cartoons for tomorrow and Friday. I hope I can find time to do Wednesday’s Mr. Smoozles comic strip as we’re out visiting much of the day.

Oops, it’s after midnight so I’d better call it a night, particularly as the cat is giving me funny looks. I think he wants feeding.

Water, water…

I seem to be drinking more and more water all the time.  Well, fluids in general.  I don’t drink too much tea and coffee – maybe three mugs a day – and have a couple of glasses of juice – but inbetween these I seem to be drinking lots of water.

I’ve always been one for drinking water instead of over-doing the coffee or tea, but it’s definitely on the increase.  Sometimes I’ll drink a glass of water and still feel thirsty afterwards and so have another, which doesn’t strike me as a good sign.  And, of course, another effect of this is that I go to the loo an awful lot.

Yesterday I did a rough estimate on my fluid intake and I must be drinking something like 6 0r 7 litres of fluids in a day and it could be more.  I know that people vary in their intake, but this seems a lot more than the normal 4 litres I’ve seen quoted in various places.  Even if this amount is within reasonable bounds, what happens when I reduce this probably isn’t.

If I’m out for the day and don’t drink as regularly as I would normally do, the following day I can feel as if I’m unwell, which explains why I’ve been feeling so up and down lately.  I’ve only just made the connection and seen this as a pattern, but it explains so much.

June and I have a strong feeling that it could be diabetes, but I’ve had tests for this a couple of times in recent years.  However, this is clearly a serious problem so I’m going to have to visit the doctor again and insist on more tests.

Although no one wants to be diagnosed with a serious complaint, I’d rather have something I can get a handle on and learn to deal with than struggle along with something unknown that’s virtually impossible to treat.

A day of bits and pieces…

My dad had an operation last week.  It was fairly minor, but he can’t drive for a couple of weeks; so this morning I took him to his doctor’s medical centre to get his flu jab.  they must have been shooting the stuff in with a nail gun as each person in the queue was in and out in seconds.

While we were there we bumped into a couple of people (husband and wife) I haven’t seen since I was about nineteen.  They’re a bit older than my dad, but still looking very fit and healthy.  The woman had the cheek to say that I was “broader” than when she last saw me.  Blimey!  I’ve jut lost a bit more weight, too, which makes it 12 pounds in total since the beginning of September.

I went to see my son, David, and his girlfriend, Katie, and my grandaughter wasn’t there!  They went out to see a film last night and Leilani stayed at her aunt’s for the night.  I dropped David off on my way home as he was playing rugby this afternoon.

June and I went shopping this afternoon, which was a little odd.  Although we didn’t get a huge amount, the local Sainsbury’s seemed to be less well stocked than it usually is.  It’s not a big supermarket, but it’s always been pretty well stocked in the past.  Mind you, when we need to stock up in a big way we have to go through to Market Weighton and shop at the Tesco there.

There’s another supermarket being built in Pocklington and the local paper described it as a “discount supermarket”.  Aren’t they all?  I don’t know the details, but I suspect it’s going to be a Netto or a Lidl, which I can’t believe will get the custom.  We already have a Co-op and this doesn’t do nearly the amount of trade that Sainsbury’s does and it’s a bigger store.

The cat was all over my desk a little earlier while I was trying to catch up on my e-mails.  I have to push the keyboard away to give him space or he’d just walk all over it and today he just plonked himself down right in front of me and only moved when I’d stroked him and scratched behind his ears enough, at which point he jumped down and went back downstairs.  It’s good to know that I provide an adequate service for him.

I drew this week’s Mitchell cartoons a little while ago and prepared them for posting tomorrow and Friday.  I’m really getting into doing them.  With the semi-demise of Octavius I may return to doing three Mitchell cartoons a week.  I’ll see how I’m fixed when the latest workload clears itself.

It’s been pretty dull today and now it feels like it’s getting dark already even though it’s not quite 6pm.  I really dislike the way that the dark evenings rush onto us so rapidly at this time of year, especially when we put the clocks back later this month.

I don’t think June’s knee is quite up to a walk to the pub, so we’ll probably spend the evening in watching the TV.  I hope we have something good recorded because they’ve taken Wallender off this week.


I spent most of the last week ill.  A few days after I last posted I came down with a stinker of a cold that I’m still feeling the effects of now.  I went for a short walk to the shops this afternoon and it was about all I could manage, so I don’t know when I’ll be back to my regular exercise routine again.

It’s so frustrating for something like this to hit at a time when I’d just gotten into a good routine, but at least the weight has stayed down – I even lost another pound with the illness taking it out of me.  But I’d rather lose it through diet and exercise than through illness.

The thing I hate the most whenever I’m ill with a cold or flu, is the way it makes my head feel so woolly.  It’s as if my throughts are travelling through treacle at times and anything even slightly complex must be checked a couple of times in order to be sure that I’ve thought through it correctly.  One day I was reading a book and when I came back to it the next day I couldn’t remember what had happened.  I hope that was just the cold, at least.

A little lighter…

A few weeks ago I decided I was a little too overweight and felt I should do something about it.  So at the beginning of the month I changed a few things in my life.

I’ve been doing stretching exercises every day since I had trouble with my neck and shoulder, then with my back and finally with my foot last year.  My general muscle tone, though, hasn’t been very good for a while and it’s probably as a result of sitting at the computer all day.  So now I’m doing some weight exercises and squats, along with much brisker walks to the shops when I go out each day.  Even with these few changes over a few weeks I’m already feeling much better for it.

My biggest change has been to my diet.  I’m not counting calories or anything like that, but I’ve cut down a lot just by taking a little less sugar in my tea and coffee, drinking more water instead of juice drinks, not eating biscuits between meals and cutting down on the size of the portions at meal times.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take my stomach long to get used to eating less, which is where the main battle lies with will power.  I’m ready for my meals when I have them, but I no longer have the unnatural hunger pangs I used to have before.

I got weighed this morning and I’ve lost ten pounds since the start of the month, which I think is pretty good going, particularly as I had a few days last week where I did no exercise after straining my back a little.  A little more and I’ll be at my lowest weight in over three years. 🙂

Busy, busy, busy…

I just realised that it’s been such a long time since I posted here I ought to spend a few minutes to put things right.  I’m very busy with work at the moment, which is why I have so little time for other writing.  This is a good thing, obviously, but I do feel a little bad that I’m neglecting the people who pop in here from time to time to check on the blog.  Sorry.

I’ve actually started on a diet of sorts.  It’s not anything slavish, just reducing the size of meal portions a little and not eating things like biscuits between meals.  I’m also doing a little more exercise, which is helping me feel better.  My mental state has improved somewhat, but I don’t want to speak too soon about that.

I have a busy few days coming up.  This evening we’re having a meal with some friends, tomorrow evening I’m at an event to meet Alan Bennett, Saturday I’ll be visiting family and Monday I’m at the Script Factor event at York Theatre Royal.  Should be fun.

The weather this morning has been strange so far.  Very thick fog when I woke, which has slowly cleared leaving a sky with not a cloud in it and lovely autumnal sunshine.  I hope it stays like this all day.

My other blog is down

My other blog, Writing and Design, is down at the moment, but I’m not sure why.  It could just be that the database server is down for maintenance or something.

I was actually going to post something about not being at GamesCom this year, but clearly I’m going to have to wait until it’s back online until I can do so.

On a completely disconnected note, I have a pain in my back but it doesn’t feel muscular.  I’m going to give it a couple of days to see what happens.

Update: Writing and Design is back up again.