Older Than Dinosaurs…

Just another WordPress.com weblog

PCC Elections

So in the great ideal of democracy we were able to choose who will oversee the policing needs of our local area! What a fiasco!

I always vote! A woman’s right to vote was fought for very hard and I feel I have to uphold the principle but this election for the Police and Crime Commissioner was a complete and utter farce. Apart from the bright pink leaflet that came from the government I received not one scrap of information on the candidates I was expected to choose from.

Last week the local newspaper published the manifesto (such as it was) from each candidate but I’m afraid each was so vague and full of rhetoric that I was no wiser. Also four of the candidates identified their affiliation to a political party and I had thought that the appointment was to be apolitical.

I considered writing ‘This election is a farce’ across my ballot paper but who would care and who would take any notice anyway so I decided on the Independent candidate who had the extra factor of being female.

It would seem the turn-out was low across the country and I’m sure that was the case here, no-one else was at the polling station when I went and no-one else was going in when I left.

Interestingly, I received an automated SMS message on my landline at about 7.30pm last night, reminding me the polling stations would be open until 10pm!

Considering the country is so strapped for cash to have spent so much money on an absolute shambles of an election that no-one asked for, seems to me to be absolutely ridiculous.

Incidentally, I have just checked the results and Cheshire is still to be declared so I don’t even know if my effort to vote had any effect at all.


November 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

It’s Been a Long Night

Don’t know how much sleep I got last night but it wasn’t much and it was all Andy Murray’s fault!

I started watching the final on TV but when the first set went to 12:10 in the tie break with many rallies going to 20 shots or more, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to watch to the finish. I’ll do the sensible thing, I thought, set record, go to bed and listen on the radio.

Normally, listening to the radio in bed is a sure way of falling asleep, so I set the snooze button for 30′ and snuggled down. The second set was under way and was so enthralling to listen to that the snooze button cutting off the commentary was both a surprise and an annoyance.

I switched the radio on again and this time set the button for an hour, surely I’d have succumbed to sleep by then. Murray won the second set and things were looking good but, as I should have expected, Djokovic raised his game and went ahead in the third set. The radio went off again and this time I switched it back on and didn’t bother to set snooze.

I dozed on and off during the third and fourth sets and then it was the fifth! The balance of power in the fifth set swung one way then another; no way I was going to get to sleep then.

Finally it was over, Murray had won! I looked at the clock…2.30am! Ok, I thought, 3 hours kip before I have to get up and walk the dog!

Needless to say…I feel like s**t today but it was worth it! No longer could the tennis pundits say that no male Brit has won a singles Grand Slam since Fred Perry!

September 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Choose & Book pt2

As I said in the previous post, I used the Choose & Book system to get a hospital appointment most convenient to me and booked an appointment at the nearest hospital which was for September 20th.

Last Monday I received a letter telling me that the appointment had been cancelled and saying it could be one of three reasons why this might have been necessary (in other words take your pick) and I would be sent another appointment.

The following day when the mail arrived at lunch-time, I received a letter stating they had made an appointment for me that afternoon at 2.45, not at the local hospital but at the hospital near Crewe. The letter reiterated that I should not to drive myself because I would have drops put in my eyes, which was why I’d opted for the local hospital in the first place.

I rang to cancel the appointment and to ask why I had to go to Crewe instead of Northwich. It transpired that I shouldn’t have had the option of Northwich in the first place as they didn’t hold a primary clinic there at all. So I made an appointment for the following week, (yesterday), on the understanding that it would depend on J being able to take me there.

All was set, yesterday dawned, my appointment was for 1.55 and J had arranged time off work and was scheduled to pick me up at 1.00pm. At 9.15am I got a phone call from the hospital and a woman said can you come in now! When I asked why, she said she didn’t know. I rang J who luckily was able to rearrange things and agree to take me then.

We duly arrived at the clinic at about 10.15am and still I wasn’t given any explanation as to why I’d been summoned in the morning. Eventually, after we played musical seats being moved from one area of the building to another, I was taken in by a nurse to read the bottom line of an eye chart. I asked her why I’d had the time changed and her explanation was that they had a spare doctor and no patients booked in for him to see. In other words, admin was given the task of dragging in any patients who could turn up to make a list!

After waiting a further hour with no explanation, I was taken by another nurse to have drops put in; by this time I’d had enough. I told her what had transpired and complained that the complete lack of adequate communication wasn’t good enough. She, of course, wasn’t party to any of the cock-up but was good enough to say she understood my frustration and would speak to the department manager.

Thankfully very soon afterwards I was called to see the consultant who was thorough and efficient and confirmed that I didn’t have anything seriously wrong with my eyes and didn’t need to be seen again.

When I came out the nurse I’d complained to made a point of coming to tell me she had passed on my comments to the manager. Whether they will be acted upon, I have no idea but Thank God I don’t have to go back again to find out!

August 29, 2012 Posted by | oldpeople | , | 1 Comment

Choose & Book

Last week I had my first experience of the new improved NHS and the much heralded patient choice!

A month ago I experienced some visual disturbances in my left eye and duly went off to the optician. The optician did all the usual checks and said that although there was some vitreous degeneration there didn’t appear to be any retinal tears but she would refer me to be checked by an ophthalmologist who would be able to see a wider retinal field.

Three weeks went by and not having heard from the hospital, I checked with the opticians if this was the normal waiting time for some communication about my appointment. I was then informed that they don’t make a direct referral unless it’s urgent but had sent the referral request to my GP.

I called at the surgery to inquire what was happening only to find that although they had received the referral from the optician immediately after my appointment, they’d done nothing about it. I expressed my displeasure and was told the secretary would print off a letter, get a GP to sign it for me to collect the next day.

Much to my surprise what I received wasn’t any ordinary referral letter to a consultant but a printed off form for ‘Choose & Book’! I was required to choose one of five hospitals and make my own appointment, not by consultant but the most convenient for me judged by time, distance, parking etc. and whilst the criteria listed are worthy of consideration it’s not how I would choose to get a specialist opinion.

I decided I needed more information so went on-line and looked at the Clinical Excellence scores of the consultants (those that had one, that is) in each hospital. They were all much of a muchness, no one shone out, and as so much time had passed and the visual disturbances hadn’t worsened, I decided to plump for the nearest hospital.

There were four consultants listed at the local hospital none of whom had a CE score above 4 but in any case I found I could only book an appointment from a list which didn’t specify which one it was. I duly booked in and since then have received a letter from the hospital confirming the booking but still not specifying which consultant I will be seeing.

As a patient I want to feel confident that I have been referred to a consultant who will best be able to diagnose and treat my condition; this system gives me no such feelings of confidence so I await my consultation with not a little apprehension.

So much for patient choice!

July 21, 2012 Posted by | oldpeople | , | Leave a comment

Officially Old

Three days into the week and two weeks before my 69th birthday, I now know I am officially old and destined for a care home!

It all started on Monday morning when I went to the doctors to ask when I could expect to receive an appointment to the Ophthalmologist ( my optician had requested a referral on 13th June but more of that another time). At the reception desk I was confronted by a callow youth who looked all of 12 and not exactly someone I felt I wanted to give all my confidential information.

He seemed a bit taken aback when I said, “Who are you?” and mumbled something about being a receptionist. Of course he couldn’t deal with my enquiry and had to get someone else to do it in the end. I wasn’t too happy with the surgery as it was and having to deal with a pre-pubescent ‘yoof’ just made me even more dissatisfied.

The day got even worse! In the middle of the afternoon a fire engine pulled up outside and two firemen came to the door and asked to inspect my smoke alarm. They were very pleasant and passed the smoke alarm although they said I should hoover it inside as it was a bit dusty! They then gave me a leaflet on fire safety and said they would refer me to Age UK. I pointed out that I was quite active and could wash and dress myself despite being of more mature years but apparently it’s part of the service to the elderly!

My son called in that evening to fix the door bell and decided I needed a telling off for not joining in more activities! I am not a joiner-in! I am very happy with my own company and after years of working hard and bringing up two children on my own, I now like my quiet and, maybe to others, mundane life.

You’d think that was enough to make me feel really ancient but no; last evening a bloke came to the door and asked if I’d received the information pack about a telephone line upgrade. I replied that I hadn’t received anything about it. He looked at me as if I was lying, said “It’s green and black and was sent last Wednesday”. I assured him that I had received no such communication to which he replied in a tone as if he was addressing a toddler, “Are you sure you haven’t thrown it away?” My response was quite swift, “I may have grey hair”, I said, “but I’m not stupid!”. He was lucky I didn’t deck him!

So if I needed any reminding of the passage of time, I’ve had it all this week or is there more to come? Will Age UK be next to come and see if I need incontinence pads?

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Coffee, Cake & Chat

The other day I got this pushed through the door!

As I read the card I had the same reaction as I do to the unsolicited junk mail from Saga! Why does somebody think I’m a lonely old woman in need of company?

I cannot imagine anything worse than turning up to have coffee & cake with a bunch of complete strangers, never mind the fact that are a ‘holy’ bunch of strangers presumably out to save me! The only thing that stirred my curiosity a little was to see how an old railway station has been turned into a church. The station building is no longer used but the trains still run regularly and stop to pick up and drop off passengers which must be a bit distracting during services.

However, my curiosity isn’t great enough for me to succumb to the invitation. Old I might be, after all I was born before the dinosaurs, but in need of company? NO! I’m independent, self-sufficient and very happy with my own friends and family and indeed with my own company!

So come every Wednesday from 1pm-3pm, I won’t be there!

October 26, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | | 1 Comment

Marmite Bars

I love Marmite! It’s my favourite spread to have on hot buttered toast. Today, I succumbed to the advertising campaign and bought a box of six 25g bars.

Having just tried one I wonder what is the point of them? They look like all other cereal bars but I was so disappointed that they didn’t give me the kick of Marmite I expected.

An inspection of the ingredients showed that they are a mixture of wheat, rice & oat cereals, soya kernels and 16% Marmite. Salt is mentioned twice in the list but, interestingly, there is also barley malt extract, rice starch syrup and sugar.

I know Marmite is one of those tastes you either love or hate so is the addition of the sugars an attempt by Unilever to appeal to the haters.

If this is so I fear they’ve missed the boat! The bars aren’t sweet enough to appeal to the haters and aren’t Marmite(y) enough to suit the lovers.

Don’t think I will want to try another so now need to find someone else to willing to give them a try. I’ve got five bars going free!

October 21, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | | 1 Comment

Any Price Rise is Regrettable

This morning I got this note from the milkman!

So my daily pinta went up by not 1p or 2p but 3 pence a pint two days ago. Couching this news in apologies doesn’t make  it any easier to take!

What justification do they have for such a massive price rise? Are the cows producing less milk? And wouldn’t have been nice to have been notified in advance so that I could make the choice of telling them to take a running jump!

Having milk delivered is so much more convenient and it comes in proper bottles which is better for the environment so I know I will accept it but for them to make this assumption really makes my blood boil!

September 29, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | , , | Leave a comment

Politicians & Twitter

When the candidates for leader of the Labour Party were announced what seems like years ago now so long and drawn out was the process, I decided to follow them all on Twitter. I hoped that I would be able to get a picture of the candidates outside of the rhetoric and be able to form an opinion of them as people.

Why am I disappointed that it didn’t happen? Most of the tweets from all five candidates consisted of saying “Thanks for your support!” ” Come and meet a b c d or e at such and such place” or how rewarding it was to attend events such as from Ed Balls “just cut a cake at ……. nursery school”.

Moreover, although it wasn’t specified, many of the tweets appeared to have been written by members of their team and not by the candidate themselves. Isn’t that deception?

So at the end of the campaign apart from learning that Andy Burnham supports Brentford, I have no more idea of what the candidates are really like. Trawling through the rhetoric hasn’t helped either as I am still unable to say if Ed Milliband will be a better leader than David, Andy, Diane or Ed would have been.

It’s a pity that the result of this experiment is no better than when I tried it with my local Labour party candidate during the general election. If politicians are going to use social networking sites it seems to me that they should learn how to use them first!

September 27, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | , , | Leave a comment

BSkyB Update 2

Just to keep you in the loop, my Sky box arrived yesterday morning!

It wasn’t a Sky engineer but Shaun from a firm called First Line Digital who are franchised by Sky, which probably accounts for his being pleasant, helpful and very efficient.

Anyway he set up the HD box and was about to show me the difference in the picture quality when viewing a programme in HD, only for him to find that I didn’t have an HD subscription set up!

As you will see in my first post on this subject I described how I made the decision to adjust my package to accommodate an HD subscription and in God’s name who would request an HD box without signing up for HD services anyway. He rang through to Sky and I got to speak to an advisor, the 6th person since this saga started and I confirmed I wanted HD.

The HD picture is different, sharp and clear but the brightness of the colour takes some getting used to; overall, though, the clarity alone makes it worth it. However, how much it’ll cost is another thing, having spoken to so many people and had so may different answers I’ve lost track of what they will decide I should be paying. I fear the battle is not yet over!

On a lighter note, Sky rang this morning for me to complete an automated customer satisfaction survey! Alas, there wasn’t an option for ROFL!

September 14, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | | Leave a comment