In this blogposting…
*The Glories of the NHS
*News From Nowhere
Onward and upward...
The next AGM will take place this upcoming Thursday, 11 November at 1100 in Sunderland’s Winter Gardens cafe.
It will be the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
THE GLORIES OF THE NHS
Don’t read this if you’re about to go into hospital….
Every year, the NHS’s National Patient Safety Agency produces a report on ‘wrong-site surgery’ - operations carried out on the wrong limb or organ, or even on the wrong person altogether.
Apparently, there were 111 instances of wrong-site surgery in the last twelve months. Of these, no fewer than 57 involved patients undergoing surgery on the wrong part of the body.
And their were 41 instances of misplaced feeding tubes, putting patients at risk of being fed directly into the respiratory tract.
Just thought you'd like to know.
I’ve been an Archers Addict for decades. Every Sunday morning I would snuggle down beneath the duvet with an iced finger and listen to the Omnibus Edition of the programme. Life was simply incomplete unless I kept myself up-to-date with all the unlikely and implausible goings-on in Ambridge.
Until, that is, now.
Last weekend I made the fateful decision to stop listening. My life seems to have taken several Archers-unfriendly turns recently and keeping my weekly appointment with them has become increasingly difficult.
At the moment, it’s still cold turkey. I’m desperately unsure how long it will be before I’m forced to relent and take a sneak aural peek at Radio 4 just to make sure that everything’s all right in Borsetshire.
If you’re an Archers fan, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
As a kind of final salute to my friends in Ambridge, here is a News From Nowhere list of surprising things about the world’s longest-running serial drama….
*Richard Attlee, who plays Kenton Archer, is the grandson of Clement Attlee
*Charles Collingwood (Brian Aldridge) is very proud indeed of his ancestors, one of whom was our very own Admiral Collingwood
*Tom Graham, who plays Tom Archer, has just started a PhD in psychology
*Charlotte Martin (Susan Carter) is a research psychologist
*Felicity Finch, who plays the Geordie Ruth Archer, is also a BBC journalist who has been to Afghanistan four times in the last ten years
*Tim Bentinck (David Archer) is the 12th Earl of Portland; until recently, he was also the voice of London Underground’s Piccadilly Line, telling passengers to ‘mind the gap’
*Ian Pepperell (Roy Tucker) runs a pub in the New Forest.
I’ll miss them all.
NEWS FROM NOWHERE
A Scot has reclaimed the title of the world's best porridge-maker (see picture above) after it was won by an American last year.
Neal Robertson, from Auchtermuchty in Fife, used a spon – a double-backed spoon he invented – instead of a traditional rod-shaped spurtle – to prepare the dish. He said the spon and water from the hills above Auchtermuchty were the secret to making the perfect porridge.
Neal, who runs the Tannochbrae Tearoom, faced competition from last year's winner, Matthew Cox, of Portland, Oregon.
Other competitors prepared unusual mixtures such as west coast seafood porridge with scallops and hot smoked salmon and langoustine tails.
One of the reasons I’ve had to stop listening to The Archers is that I now have even more trivial and superfluous things to do. Recently, for example, a friend introduced me to the delights of ‘re-translation’.
It works like this.
You take a few famous lines of, say, poetry and paste them into one of the many free, internet translation sites, like Google Translate or Babel Fish, with a request that they be translated into French (or any other language you choose).
You then take the new version and paste that into the same site, this time requesting a ‘re-translation’ back into English.
The first verse of The Lady of Shalott comes out as…
'On each side the lie of river
Long fields of the barley and of rye
Which cloth the wold and meet the sky
And by the field the road runs close
At much-dominated Camelot.'
'I wandered only like cloud
This fleet on the high one above the valleys and the hills
When the only one feature I saw a cloud
A crowd of jonquils however.'
And the National Anthem…
'God except our kind queen
Long our noble queen
God except the queen
Send you live it victoriously
Happy and splendourful
Over us long govern
God store the queen.'
It’s addictive. Try the words of your favourite song, or a great quotation from history.
...congratulations to Robin Hendrickson (pictured) and Eric Brandsness of Reno, Nevada. The Guinness Book of World Records has recently confirmed that their maine coon cat Stewie (also pictured) is the longest cat in the world.
He measures 1.2 metres (just over 4 ft) from head to tail.
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