Gardening and Hospital TV

Today’s Valentine’s Day. St Valentine did not have a particularly distinguished history so suffice to say I bought a bottle of champagne because it’s a good excuse and will have an Indian takeaway if we can find the room, having had a very large and late lunch. Update – my lunch is sitting on my stomach so were going to have Valentine’s celebrations tomorrow and sit in front of the TV and the fire drinking champagne.

We did a gardening job today consisting of tidying up the property for someone who was going to host their father’s wake  a couple of weeks hence. The father lived only a few doors away and evidently there were relatives from Bristol looking at photographs of the man and reacting in their own particular ways, some emotional, some reactive in various ways. I mentioned to my customer that death is often the chance to ab react various emotions that had been bottled up like the Brits are so good at doing. She said she wanted to leave them to it and not get involved with them. I think the death of someone can bring people together or it can split them apart. I don’t think most people are adjusted to the topic of death at all although they acknowledge in theory that there is life after death they don’t really know what to do with that factoid. When it comes, it seems to hit them in the face and I must say if my partner predeceased me I would probably feel the same way. I suppose the idea of an afterlife is comforting. I have got over 40 books on reincarnation, don’t ask me how but I’ve accumulated over the years and don’t need any convincing.

I also saw previous customer who was a music teacher. Her mother had a fall and was consigned to hospital. Eventually she healed but on one occasion and as part of an evaluation was unable to demonstrate that she could go upstairs. After a few days she was indeed able to go upstairs unassisted but the social workers considered that her ability to climb stairs was ‘variable’ although only one test had been done. They therefore decided she should have mechanical assistance to go from one floor to another and also Zimmer frames both on the first floor and the ground floor. When my client objected to the hospital they said that they didn’t have the resources to do another test.  A chain is only as strong as the weakest link and it does seem that this bottleneck, one of many types, is what is holding the hospital system up so much. Another type is called bed blocking. an older person typically waits until a home can be found for them. Another bottleneck is the complete availability of beds in various categories.

A surgeon cannot start an operation unless there is in intensive care bed free so we read stories of surgeon sitting around twiddling their thumbs most of the day while someone is released from an intensive care ward. Bearing in mind that an operation can last eight hours, it is normal to start at eight o’clock in the morning and how frustrating it must be to find yourself at 1 PM given the choice of starting an operation going on late into the evening or abandoning it.

Somewhat unusually, I had written a long letter to the music teacher after hearing her woes. She found herself after many years being employed by an authority being on her own, self-employed, teaching the violin and other musical instruments. She found it very difficult charge mileage and as a result the fee had to absorb very often lets say a 20 mile round trip. I said that everyone would understand if she charge mileage which if I recall I suggested and £.45 per mile. Since our last meeting in September, she had taken this on board and started charging.  She also dismissed or should we say became unavailable to a client who broke refused to pay travel expenses and indeed local parking. I said good riddance better off without them.  I also gave her some tips about having a business card, which she didn’t have, perhaps also having some sort of web presence or perhaps even having a Facebook account. I’m aware that these devices are in no way to guarantee of better business but I think every little bit helps to establish credibility.

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