We awoke to beautiful blue skys as can often happen on the final day of a trip. We heard that last night, Tuesday, there were only two people on duty. One was the receptionist and one was a cook. Between them they had to serve at reception, take orders at the bar, take orders for food, serve it and clear the tables. I do admire the people for doing the work that I did under great stress.
An unexpected encounter at the lunch canteen
Finally they have replaced the printed menus at the stations with a TV type sign. I notice the addition of two ‘economy meals’ for those needing to save money. It is a nod to those less fortunate or the victim of circumstances to keep body and soul together. I note the offer is to staff as well as the public.
Making a difference
Prior to going in for our meal, I noticed a stand, exhibition style, where two or three of the staff were asking people questions. The theme of the stand was ” making a difference”. I was invited to take part. If there’s one thing I am very good at and that is looking at what other people are trying to say and seeing if they achieve their aim and objective. The right hand side of the stand featured posters of people in positions of caring. The main problem was it was not clear what they were caring about and in what form the caring happened. People who smile to order for the benefit of the camera and the publicity shot never comes across in the same way. There was a male helper figure who was smiling but not looking anywhere in particular and for me that image failed. I need to see ‘heart’ in a picture.
There was another image of a female coloured nurse who was grinning so much it might as well have been a dental examination. That failed too. On the left was a picture gallery, zoom-like, of a whole lot of different people again who were smiling. I am confused. I said to the interviewer, this is definitely a case of less is more. There is no call To action or statement about exactly how people will benefit. I asked the interviewer directly, and it was a choice of “did you benefit by being listened to, by someone paying attention to your comfort while in bed, inquiring about your welfare etc.” As I spoke the lady took notes. My impression was that the whole thing had not been thought out. It’s like saying we need to understand what makes a difference to people so let’s start by asking people. Even that preliminary stage you need to devote some thought too possibly by doing a trial run. At the end of the very pleasant chat I told them that I was really not clear what the whole thing was about. It may be that before starting to ask people you need to question a cohort to try at least and get the categories of what they might find helpful and supportive and would indeed make a difference.
For that is why I am here. Francoise found a lovely inner garden with trees and plants designed for rest and respite. I left her doing some sketches. I have an appointment for an eye injection at three pm which I must attend. There is a new drug called Vabismo. A few days after taking it, I found that my vision in my left eye had become more foggy and I attributed it to the new medication. I did some research and found that the drug itself had only been approved in the European Union last September. I found that the testimonials from those who had used this drug were mixed to put it politely. May be I am waking up to what happens to most drugs that appear on the market.
Prior to coming I did express my concerns to the Eye department and they said they would do a scan and extra tests. It is always a good idea to give warning as records are kept and people can muster staff as required I arrived at 2:30 p.m. and was immediately scanned and then taken to an optometrist who examined me further and got an opinion from a senior person in the department. It was agreed that I go back to my old prescription, Eylea, but also that I would have cataract surgery within three months. Evidently they put a new lens in which can on a good day give you better eyesight,
While we were waiting, I talked to an older lady who remembered the time when you had to pay for injections which are now free they cost £2,000 each and that was some time ago because the NHS would not pay. I have had 48 injections so that means £96,000 I would have spent. I do not know if this would be means tested. Barely a day passes without someone complaining about the NHS but I have had nothing but good service from the people at least when I have had need. I wonder if the bad publicity is because people want the NHS to fail. I am however told that there is a shortage of one hundred thousand staff and that is probably partly down to Brexit but also unattractive working conditions where new doctors work for 14 pounds an hour.
In the car park we saw the car that I showed you last Sunday. The subject matter was initially disturbing to me showing that the owner had been entirely subject to the forces of entropy or evil. However, all coins have two sides and I did eventually see this as a work of art. I did not find this threatening or distasteful because it was that person’s sincere belief that they wanted to worship the devil. People have free will to worship who they want. What purpose is served by condemning a person who I have not yet met. It is more valuable to reflect on why this person should find such an attractiveness in the devil.
He or she is not alone. Many people in positions of authority worship the devil in its various forms. When I had finished my session with the clinic I came into the car park half hoping that the person would be there and I could talk to them in a non-judgmental way but alas the car had left the car park.
What next? The woman who served breakfast to us in the hotel said that she herself was going on holiday to Swansea. She says it was a lovely place with a miles worth of beach and she was looking forward to it. I was very happy to hear about something so close to home. My appetite for traveling never mind flying is not very great at the moment so why not make the best of what is in the locality. If as has been promised the weather will become hotter than I might take the opportunity.
Incidentally for some reason which is purely economic I guess, this hotel chain charges a premium pride for Saturday night which is by far the highest charge in the week. They charge £156 for the Saturday night. I suppose they make their money, like the airlines, for adjusting supply and demand and most people who want a weekend away would have Saturday as their core night.