You know when you hear a the minute you answer a phone call you’re being diverted to somewhere in the world. Somewhere exotic maybe; not that it matters.

A very eager accented woman’s voice jumps in ….. Hello Madam, how are you today?

Madam– Why do want to know?   ………….pause

…, I am calling on behalf of BT Madam. (Madam stays silent)………When you use your computer do you find everything is very slow, Madam?


We have …oh….No

Madam….That’s right, NO. Goodbye.




Answering a demanding shrill phone tone this morning:

“Hello”, I answered.  I’ve long ago given up answering a call with 0-0-0-4- 2-3-8 blah blah.

Pleasant male voice asked “Is that James”?…….

Er, no“, Me, replying in my best dulcet feminine tones.

“Oh, I mean Julia.” countered the caller.

……”No, no” said I.

Sounding very disappointed, the caller asked “You’re not Julia Hamilton?”

Me -“No, I am not.  It’s a very nice name though.”

“Oh, I am sorry to have disturbed you.”

Bye“, I said and then so did he.


I am left wondering why Julia metamorphosed into James and James became Julia.




Readability: I recently read advice on how to make a blog readable. The advice was, according to the Washington Post, write as if you were writing for eighth grade readers. On the assumption that eighth grade would be year eight here in the U.K, it is being suggested that we bloggers write our posts for a read ability age of about twelve to thirteen years old. Without knowing the average ability parameters for the age group here, or in the USA, or any other English language country, it is difficult to follow the suggestion. 

Could I write like an average twelve year old; would I want to? If it were a peculiarly prodigiously talented individual I might be tempted to have a go. Then again, if it were a peculiarly indifferent writer, I might take up the challenge. Hm but, why?  It won’t be me.

“Try to be friendly and chatty, be yourself,” is the usual guidance. What if you don’t follow any prescription, should it matter if you write in a way that is individually your own… no it should not matter.  Express your individuality!  I am not sure what my style is, it has altered a lot over time and it has varied with the focus of my writing.


Today, a glorious sunny one, found us on a nearby sandy beach. We were attempting to thwart gale force winds…no not as odd as it sounds. The wind was mostly forcing its way from the south, which gave us potential to dart over to a slightly less windy north-east. Negotiating a very narrow gap-cum-path through the dunes to get onto the beach was quite exciting. The nearer we got to the beach, the narrower the gap became, so narrow, you could only move forward whichever way you were facing. Imagine that and working out how to keep two metres distance between us and pass the family coming towards us! He, a tall guy, reckoned we had to go back [backwards].  They were a much nearer their starting point than we were from ours and by the way, a lot younger, also, presumably they were fitter.

I did a super quick assessment of my position.  Hubs, I discovered, was a dune layer or two higher up, and not as I thought, behind me. I’ve no idea how he got there. My first idea of abseiling up to his level with a little bit of one armed help from him wasn’t going work, I’ve never abseiled and besides,  I valued my arm staying in its socket.  Brainwave: using my two arms, I managed, (to my surprise) to ease myself up backwards to the ridge, spring my legs up under me, swivel round and stand up. “Well if you don’t mind us passing you” the guy said, “That’s fine by us“. My feet were just above his head height.





I am enrolled on a foreign language course, part of the keeping of body, mind and soul together.  I say I am enrolled, because it was someone else’s idea for a gift! The beginner’s German language course is usually in a physical classroom in Vienna University.  Covid-19 has initiated much thinking out of the box. The course is offered online for nine weeks, worldwide, by video conference, UK time 8am-10am. There’s thirteen in the class. A few of the students are in other countries and different time zones.


Reading Room Vienna University


I do not like seeing me on the screen, it doesn’t do me any favours.. All the others in the group look so lovely and youthful. I am not sure how the tutor will look by the end of the course, but, for now, she looks great, too.





Yesterday I posted experiences as described by an intensive care nurse in a major hospital from late March to early april 2020. You will see in the following communication,  PPE Equipment, the welfare of staff and general patient provision have swiftly become major issues and Matt Hancock, Minister Of State for Health appeared to be blaming front line medical staff for the under-supply of Protective Clothing.

Week 5th – 12th April 2020

…”I was actually cringing for Mr Hancock, (Secretary Of State for Health) he just has no concept. We are cleaning visors in sterilisation fluid, masks cannot be re-used, nor gowns. We usually have two 15 minute breaks and two 30 minute breaks, (four in total)  over a twelve and a half hours shift. Now, we have three 30 minute breaks just to save PPE! 

We still get the same time overall but less opportunity to go to the toilet and get drinks! We can’t have a drink in our PPE! ( as mentioned in yesterday’s post, PPE though essential, is not comfortable to wear).

I also feel quite insulted at the politicans clapping for the key workers they have underfunded for so long!

As for Boris in ICU, we only admit if the patient is going straight to a ventilator. Anyone managing oxygen would be in HDU, (High Dependancy Unit)! That is what is called a ‘soft admission’ and you can be certain it would not happen to Joe Public! Not that I would wish the man any harm, just that lots of patients will not get the opportunity he was given as we have so few ICU beds per head of population.

Even now when we have expanded our capacity in other places, and the next phase of more beds is underway, we lack the vital experienced ICU nurses to treat the patients! We are now trying to train theatre staff and ward staff to help us.  Realistically though, we cannot give them a full skill set, it takes years to become experienced and knowledgeable in critical care. We have pulled back nurses that have left us, they have, with their agreement come back on seconded places.

Mr Hancock hasn’t a clue.

I am also astonished at the disproportionate amount of male patients we have. When I left shift the other night we had nine ventilated patients, all male. This virus is much more dangerous to men. China and Italy had the same trend.

The patients are also much sicker than I first assumed they would be, not just respiratory failure, many advance quickly to multi-system failure. The patients are staying a long time, fifteen-twenty days; it’s just incredible.  It’s bizarre how it can hit one patient so severely, yet others have mild symptoms”.






I keep in contact with a friend who is a critical care nurse in a major hospital. After a lot of thought I have decided to post some of the news from my friend, starting with :

End March-Early April:

“……….It’s only a small percentage who are unfortunate to contract Covid that become critically unwell. Sadly, those who do are very unwell indeed!

Unfortunately, the hospital is getting busier now. We have created a whole new Covid Isolation Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but, I don’t think it will be long before we are forced to overspill into the existing Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU). There are some plans afoot to to create further ICU beds in another part of the hospital. How we are going to equip them with pumps, ventilators, monitors and bedside trolleys is another matter. However, it is really quite amazing  how many changes have already been made and how everyone has adapted. Sadly, the hardest thing is caring for patients and not meeting the family. We can only talk to them on the phone to update them. Many of the loved ones are self-isolating or have Covid themselves.

Sometimes we have one partner while the other is on the Covid ward. It is so very hard and I think we might just be at the beginning of this.

I don’t go anywhere, but work, travelling by myself. We are doing our best to socially distance but for the majority of the shift we are in full RPE and PPE, (types of protective clothing) so we are fully protected. It is far from comfortable to work in, but we are all more than grateful for it!

Going to the Supermarket is straightforward at NHS times, it’s brilliant! I try to do a fairly big shop then I don’t have to go back for a while.  I guess perseverance for all of us is our only choice at present”.

Updated news to follow.






Two bites of exercise today, Yay!

Our Pilates class arrived at home for the first time courtesy of a Zoom video link.  It looks like it will become a weekly event.

Me and hubs went out for a forty minutes daily exercise walk.  I watched a lone Shag in the river diving near the shoreline catching food. It’s a speedy  bird on or under water. (Not this bird)

We saw a white cat with a smudge on its ear in a wall crevice. Whatever reason took it there, it couldn’t have been too important because it it looked very nonchalantly at us when we called it.

A single surfer was out in the bay. No police officer was likely to wade in to have a chat about what she/he was doing, or where she/he was going.


In our small town, the streets were very quiet for a Saturday. I had no problem topping up my well used porridge pack with another one, though that has now changed.  I couldn’t find  tomato passata, nor any of the milk we use. So I took a tube of tomato paste’ and as for the milk, I decided to wait and see if there were any deliveries over the next day or two. There weren’t any deliveries  so we bought some other kind of milk.

I do understand people who live out in the wilds where no stores exist doing their regular weekly or fortnightly basket fill-up for themselves. Their shopping habits have never left shelves empty. I have no understanding of others who live a stone’s throw away from food stores stuffing their trolleys sky high, like the gluttony of Christmas was never going to return. That though, is what I have seen.

Carers with their clients’ shopping lists are having a hard time finding things. Time being a factor in the carer’s task, means they either don’t complete the shopping needs and continue to give their clients their amount of face-to-face-time and fewer food supplies, or they spend time searching other stores and greatly reduce the support time they spend in the client’s home.

And in a pharmacy, I met a man who was determined to stand in my space, however much I backed away. He was loudly pronouncing  that ‘the whole pandemic viral thing was a nonsense; it was ‘stirred up’; he didn’t believe it. Compared to annual deaths from flu’ it was nothing’ and he added, ‘it’ wouldn’t come up here!

This vast area I am in, taken as  a whole, is the size of Belgium. It has had one case of Covid 19 confirmed in a busy town. Our locally very deprived hospital does not possess any ventilators. We are a very long way from any major services. So far, fortunately, in our sector of this vast county, we have no confirmd  cases of Covid-19.   Some American students I heard on a radio news programme, who were based in a major city,  have decided not to go back home. They decided instead, to hide away from people in the relatively safer more isolated areas of Scotland.







Wandered into the kitchen and was hit by the bright light: the blinds were down!   Peeped under the blinds. The combination of a snowfall over night and the morning sun was blindingly seeping through.

There had been a power cut during the night. Set the microwave clock and corrected the central heating timer. The day got relatively milder and the snow disappeared.

Ewes and their lambs came out to play. With the fickle weather we’ve had, there haven’t been many days when lambs could frolic about in the fields.

The grocery store was limiting customers to five packs of pasta. It looked like customers had taken them at their word. I took one pack of Conchigle  from the extremely depleted pasta stock.

Saw a friend  in the store who said she had just returned from India. She looked a picture of blooming, glowing health. She had just discovered The toilet rolls shelves were bare.

I told her the pasta situation. “You wouldn’t buy five pack of pasta would you?”  ….“No, I wouldn’t”, I said, “I’d have nowhere to store them”. (Eating that much pasta would be epic and so would my proportions).

The woman in front of me at the check out must have bought the last pack of a dozen toilet rolls. And I felt quite virtuous with just one packet of pasta amongst my purchases.