Sunday, November 19, 2006

The truth is out there ?

'People will DIE' Shes said it now three times.And the reaction to the most recent and dramatic utterance is no different to the previous times.Issues?
The menagerie of people in this public (ish) meeting have got more issues than a UN conference.
Theres the politicians.Opportunist, petulant and downright childish.The NHS senior Directors with the Powerpoint presentation, the management-nonsense speak-health communities, best value etc

And the angry-at-everybody lot.
This is a pre-consultation-(non) consultation on the 're-configuration' of some of the local hospital services.Its pretty much impossible for a genuine non aligned enquirer to get near the truth of whats going on here.What it all means.Will the maternity unit close?
Where are this army of community health care professionals to carry out all this dynamic home-care for the otherwise-hospitalised ?

The NHS Directors agenda is wrecked by angry speeches and shouting.The professional facilitator-local Radio DJ type manages to salvage something and when half the attenders have stormed out, there are discussions around tables with salient points summarised on the ubiquitous flipchart.Nice wish lists and aspirations that are destined for a paragraph in an event summary and not much else.

Adventures in the Arndale

‘Now-WHEN DID YOU LAST EAT?’ a small man with an anxious manner is shouting at an elderly lady. A weekday afternoon, I was heading out of the Arndale with my late lunch and she just collapsed off the bus stop bench.

At first I thought she was just like most people who have trouble sitting on the thin strip of chest high wood that but when she remained immobile-I thought I’d better take a look.

She looked very still and rigid. That kind of worries you. I’m thinking ‘No…please….’ but just as I reach out my hand to feel her carotid pulse she wakes up and looks at me.

I say ‘Can I help you, I’m a nurse.’ Meanwhile small shouting bloke has appeared to my left and is excitedly quizzing the bewildered elderly lady on the ground at the same time as I am asking her what happened and how she’s feeling now.

Another man arrives and kneels down next to me ‘I’m a doctor’. Someone behind is calling an ambulance on their mobile. She’s a little shaken and embarrassed and being given advice and questions from at least three people. ‘NOW-you have been advised to GO TO A&E..’ the small man is helpfully summarising as the paramedics siren approaches.

That’s it for me. I tell the paramedic what I saw and let him get on with it. As I stand up I remember my lunch and look around thinking that some opportunist vegetarian Guardian reader thief has nicked my vegetable pasty and newspaper whilst shouting man and I have been trying to help. It seems kind of at odds with the whole scene of helpful strangers and it is. A language student has been holding my lunch and newspaper and hands them back to me.
And I’m on my way back to work thinking good things about Eastbourne and it’s people and how they really should make those benches wider…

Monday, September 18, 2006

Politicised street Brittany

I found this on the edge of a town in Northern Brittany last month.
Brittany is fascinating.I know that there is some kind of Breton independence movement but, as in Cornwall you only really get a glimpse of the odd bit of grafitti and some dual langauge road signs
I would love to know more about it.
I wonder if there are any links between the Cornish independence activists and their Breton counterparts ?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Corn at last

Finally had some results from months of watering and nurturing my front-garden corn seedlings.Some amazingly tasty and sweet cobs.

Using the straw waste from the rabbits hutch I mulched the seedlings with a nitrogen rich mixture of straw and rabbit droppings.It seems to have worked really well with the plants growing well-despite an initial bit of a smell when I first mulched in some v hot weather.This was fine after a week.

Disappointingly though, about half of the cobs have been munched by something.

People do stop and look at the garden.A lot of old people.I wonder what they are thinking.

I told a little boy from up the road that these were corn plants.It occured to me that maybe hes never eaten corn.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Politicised street Eastbourne ?

Banksy, is an artist who leaves stencilled-graffiti like art in unlikely urban environments.
I saw this one, that looks like one of his on the side of an undertakers by Eastbourne station.

Did a bit if a double take as I've never seen anything like this in the 6 years I 've lived in the town.Unlike Brighton,where I used to live where Banksy-style art pieces can be seen all over town.I got quite excited once when I spotted an anti MacDonalds sticker once in Eastbourne.
An excitement that was short lived until I found some BNP flyers in a phone box.

Whether its a Banksy or imitator, if you ask me (or if you didn't) its good for Eastbourne-the appearance of some kind of intelligent creative energy in what is a beautiful-but-staid place. And before you mention it, no, I don't consider the hedge trimmed into the words 'Arndale centre' as an example of this (appearing on this blog soon perhaps).

Thursday, June 29, 2006

mens health week 2006

As a nurse, I've cared for a lot of men who have heart attacks, strokes, alcoholic liver disease and other lifestyle related health problems.I volunteered to help out with promoting health living to men, not realising that mens health week coincided with the 2nd week of the world cup.
7pm in Eastbourne town centre.Andrew, the health promotion mens health specialist promised me the tee-shirts wouldn't be yellow and large.They are.I meet two 30 something trendy women; one is a Sexual health /HIV health> promotion worker and the other, a Peacehaven youthworker.There are large groups of drunk singing groups of men wandering up and down the road.Tons of police.After a brief discussion about what might be the most dangerous pubs> to go into, we're off for our mens health week outreach session.

Clad in banana yellow outsize tee-shirts, carrying pound shop shoulder cool bags that are filled with 'bloke bags'. Andrew's bloke bags contain booklets on healthy living, a condom,wristband> and a calculate-your-alcohol unit wheel thing.

Pub 1.The Eagle sports pub.First group of men are quite rude to me.One v> drunk one comes up and asks me what I am giving away.Two women come up and> start asking me whats in the bags too.Couple of people refuse the bags, one gets a bit funny about the condom-says he will be in trouble if his wofe> sees it.Friendly landlord-takes two bags.

Pub 2.The Dewdrop.A lot less busy.No football fans.Older blokes.Have brief vaguely amusing banter with big hairy bloke and his mate at the bar.They take some bags.

Pub 3.The Dolphin.Quiet.Looks like a newly refurbished Brighton pub.Talk to 3 30 somethings.One is smoking.They take some bags.The barmaid wants one too.

Pub 4.Bibendum. Ask two knuckle head-looking middle aged blokes if they want> some mens health packs.They look at me unsmiling and 'No, we're fit as **** we are'

Bit deflated by their reaction and go outside..

Pub 5.The Greenhouse.Heaving.Lots of v drunk people and football fans.Approach one table of fans, before I finish saying 'Did you know that.... it is mens health week?' , one of them shouts (the ugliest one) 'FAGGOT'.They start pointing at me and start chanting 'Who the hell> are you?'.I throw two bags at them, turn grinning like a idiot and start to run.IBloke bags scatter on the floor.The chanting group are on their feet. Crash out the door.

Pub 6.Via cafe bar.Much quieter.Some middle class 20 somethings drinking quietly.I'm desperate.Can't get home quick enough.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I have just finished planting some corn seedlings in the tiny front garden of our terraced house.The seedlings are in a central block, with sunflowers, poppies and swiss chard planted in and around them.
After doing a introduction to permaculture course 2 years ago, I told myself I would do a design for our front garden.I did the base map.Sat out there for quite a few hours and started to think about linkages between the house and the garden and the street in general.

As far as I got though was deciding that growing some food in the form of an annual (corn) in my front garden definetly fulfilled the serving-3-purposes permaculture function:
1.Food.2.Aesthetics-looks nice from house and street.3.Serves as a stimulation to discussion for passers by 'Ohh! is that corn?!'

Not quite the integrated design process that permaculture comprises but its a start.
And being in the front garden in the evening gives you a view of your street that you don't normally see.A world where you can chat to neighbours and passers by, where a street is not just a place to park cars or pass through en-route somewhere else.