Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

Perhaps you'll learn more about me as you read my blog. For anyone who translates my blog using the translator facility, don't forget if you wish to read the comments in your own language to click on the title of the post down the left hand side otherwise they will remain in english. Also I assume that the translation is accurate but I don't know, so please allow for errors.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Is There Anybody Out There?

I'm sorry for missing for so long, things are looking up and I may be back to posting in the next few days. Now, I'm not saying that any exciting has happened(probably the reverse in my private life)

What should I talk of? World and UK events or what's happening within my immediate circle.

Things have happened that are connected to previous entries which should allow me to bring you upto date with how things are and whether my opinions have changed, I really must get caught up on comments I should be posting on the blogs that I read and reading all the posts that I have missed.

Truth is I have and am still getting caught up on tasks such as clearing off the hard drive on this computer and I have been given the responsibility of helping watch over a messageboard where many posters I have met in the last year or two at various boards at the BBC site have come together because the BBC boards have been changed so much in how they are run, some boards have closed and the truth is that a few people spoilt it for the many.

Oh, yes and I must get around to buying a new pc so I can keep one doing the big tasks and the other mainly for e-mailing, blogging and messageboarding. But of course the new Windows Vista Operating system was launched to day so my pc will have to have it installed. So a good reason for holding off until now.

Keep the faith,

Gildy x

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Handbag!

Oscar Wilde had in one of his works someone claiming that he had been left on the doorstep in a handbag but I wonder what is carried around in a handbag these days. Is it such a mystery? Would I be surprised?

It is prompted somewhat tongue in cheek because of a television programme mentioned in my blog a long time ago.

Early last year I mentioned the explosion of television quiz programmes on commercial television in the UK.

I contested whether they really should be called quiz shows as there is little if any skill trying to win a prize...you may be shown a grid with a nine letter word such as
and you have to work out the word and its obviously Education because whichever they put the word in the grid once you find the start letter they are in the correct order. They run a clock down to zero and take a call at some point(usually as close to zero as possible which allows more people to phone in and they could take a call immediately but they won't)as during the countdown some callers will get through and be kept on hold, others get through but are told that they have been unsuccessful and as one call is only taken to studio out of those holding on the remainder are lost and it costs 75p a time no matter how often you phone in.

Another game was a list of words maybe "What would you find in a Handbag" Perhaps it depends on how the question is asked as if you say a "Ladies/Woman's" handbag the response could be different but still I think most viewers would think we are talking of handbag belonging to a female. This is an example of such a game but is mentioned because it has been featured in the last day or two for all the wrong reasons.

They give the first word as an example Mobile Phone in the tower to help you think of an answer as you guess the remaining nine. Amongst answers given and pre determined were directions, contact lenses, driving licence even false teeth. If they pick the most obvious answers the game would be over in seconds but you've got to avoid making the game not too off the wall to be seen as unfair. I've often found myself if I have time on my hands watching fleetingly thinking where on earth did that answer come from.

Well a DJ on the radio that I listen to has mentioned this particular game that he thought to be dodgy as an example some months ago. He's gone further calling such programmes as being crooked and says to all his listeners...don't call in and waste your time and money. You could say the viewer in the end has the ultimate decision what to do with their money but some people do get addicted and part with their money very easily hence all the con tricks that exist and how people are caught out.

What is interesting is that the broadcasting regulatory body has found this example of the programme "Quizmania" as broadcast on ITV Play was in breach of its broadcasting code. Only seven out of a possible thirteen answers had been identified. Two of the remaining answers were Rawl Plugs and a Balaclava. Amazingly, only three complaints were made to the regulatory body. I guess you could put just about anything into a handbag but what's the likelihood of those two items being in a handbag in reality?

However, Quizmania came to quite a sudden end at the weekend which took many viewers by surprise. It could be finished for good that was how it seemed it was until the last few days then the suggestion was from presenters that it may be resting its difficult to say, as another phrase has been used to suggest its the end of the current series. Information is scant. This story would not be welcome publicity. This story is released, the programme goes off air, is there a connection...who knows. One of the shows creators was interviewed on BBC's Radio 5 before Christmas and gave no clue that it was ending so did they not know at that time or were they just staying quiet? Considering the criticism these shows receive daily, I am a little surprised its going has been met with little comment.

Does it get any better? Well the replacement as a variety of games but every one is accessable now only by mobile phone and only using texts. And every response costs 75p. A question last night was about a dress that had been actioned but had been featured in the Film "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and you were given three options as to who it was worn by in the film...
a)Some man(I forget who)
b)Audrey Hepburn

Well, unless you really are without a clue how easy is that..Jordan is just a recent model who has made no films, its not likely to be an actor(It certainly wasn't the person they chose)so it only left the obvious answer Audrey Hepburn. So they know that they will get a massive response.
I'll not be one of them.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Plight Of Local Health Care...

FRUSTRATED GPs have "bought" their own surgeon after a cash-strapped hospital turned away hundreds of patients.
Bosses at County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospital NHS Trust turned down a contract to treat nearly 500 orthopaedic patients, despite warning they may have to axe up to 130 beds to save costs.
The contract is believed to have been worth millions to the trust, which this week told staff that beds and four operating theatres might have to be closed as part of an efficiency drive.

But officials declined the opportunity because they could not guarantee to treat all the patients within the Government's maximum six-month waiting time limit.

Trust bosses then rejected offers from a consortium of GPs who wanted to use NHS funds to hire beds and operating theatres at Bishop Auckland General Hospital. Instead, the frustrated medics have used the money to have the orthopaedic work carried out at the private Woodlands Hospital, in Darlington.

This pilot project, commissioned by GPs in Bishop Auckland and backed by County Durham Primary Care Trust, is believed to be one of the first of its kind in England.

The Northern Echo

I return to this topic as many of you probably have similar stories around the UK and perhaps abroad and I did bring it up earlier but without much detail to back up the story but walking around Tesco the story as featured in the big newspaper in the North East caught my eye. I quote the first few paragraphs and give credit to where the article is taken(Its worth looking at the link above and seeing the whole article.

Of course I care(having had to use hospitals so much in the last 10 years)but I always did but I have worked in hospitals in a voluntary way(mainly hospital radio)but you get to know the staff and patients and are privy to little bits of news that perhaps are kept out of the papers.
The story ties in with my mentioning that a certain presenter hinted about a hospital closing that had only been open for a few years. He could be talking of some other hospital but I know where he comes from and where his family lives so to me I feel I know that Bishop Auckland General is probably the one.

Darlington's hospital is managed by the same hospital trust. Its been there ever since I can remember but BAGH was in a sorry state but just over 4 years ago it was raized to the ground, rebuilt and though some areas are extremely cramped(because it covers less ground)and some of the land was sold off. The hospital plans resulted in it building up over. The Hospital opened by the Prime Minister cost £67Million and was constructed under the PFI idea which means the tax payer is paying for this hospital for the next 26 years.

An article in the Newton News explains that it has 286 beds and serves a local population of 120,000.

Well, I have heard reports on the local television suggesting a total closure of the hospital(denied)but it is now reported that Ward 3(27 beds)is closing...well, they are basically closing half of it but then by mid February that ward is to be closed. At least 15 nursing posts will be lost. This is according to documents that have been leaked to a group that has been started to save the Hospital.

The same article claims that a statement was issued on the record by a hospital administrator last year that bed numbers would not be cut.

I have a link to the free sheet but it may be that the story has not yet been put on line...I have to go with what I read, that's all that you can do.

It is worrying...I felt that I should put some meat on the bones of the story having brought up the subject a little earlier. It gives a little bit of an insight into life in the UK for readers abroad and anyone in the UK can probably emphasise with the experience.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I'm visiting an old topic as I start to get upto speed on my blog again...
It may be new to anyone that has just started reading my jottings...We have having some rather bad weather during December and the start of 2007. Nothing as bad as the kind that many parts of the world have and continue to suffer, in the great scheme of things its nothing. I dare say someone will try to tie this period of bad weather into global warming.

The simple fact is we have gale force winds happening. Fences will blow down whatever happens but...readers know that we had new neighbours move in perhaps 12-14 months ago.

Most of the period since there has been lots of change. We have seen trees and shrubs ripped out and the area left as open space or converted to concrete and walls.

A natural break which divided our properties and had been there as long as I can remember was pulled out and what remained was not worth trying to save(it was mainly grown from their side so if they wanted it out, it had to go)It was a great wind breaker and there was nothing that could be damaged by being blown down.

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So a new panel fence was erected. With decent posts driven into the ground and a reasonable sized panels it probably would have been strong and high enough. Our own is still standing some 30 years or more. And looking around, other fences locally are still standing. I think anything that survives today has done very well. They had to be different. They decided on shorter panels and decided to add height by building brickwork at the bottom and placing the panels on top. The panels were fastened to the posts by two very small thin brackets per panel.

The area is now so open there is nothing to break up wind direction. If they had replaced some of the trees and shrubs and placed them in front of the fence that would've helped save it. And replacing them also would break up the appearance. Maybe that is in their schedule at some future time but leaving it until later has not helped the situation.

Within 6-8 months some of the panels were moving, also some of the brickwork too. Cement and concrete foundations became broken too. This resulted in some wooden stakes being driven into the ground. And that saved some of the fence and strengthened it but I always felt temporarily.

And today I have been proven correct.

Between midday and 3pm I have seen panels sway backwards and forwards, eventually becoming detached. And then breaking altogether. One falling across my reasonably new and still growing shrubs and early showing of snowdrops and daffodills. Thankfully, some wooden canes saved them. But I do wonder when it comes to repairing the fence in approx 3 weeks how safe everything will be as some disruption to the border is bound to happen. And the need is there to replace what is broken or start from scratch. I feel the latter is more appropriate. I don't think it will happen. I want to say that we are fortunate that only two panels are broken but the pictures perhaps make the brickwork etc...look reasonably ok but it isn't.

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As previously said, the aspect that bothers me more is losing so much greenery and opening the garden up as they have, wildlife has reduced because they no longer feel safe and if prove were needed, I suspect a dove has been lost to a sparrow hawk again because in the corner of the neighbours garden where one of these panels has been lost, I noticed loads of little feathers that I know to be the remains of a dove. We've lost privacy too. So have others that face onto their garden from another location. Looking around the gardens in my location, there is a block of four or five(this includes my own)that have lost their secluded design due to a lack of protection provided by trees and shrubbery only mine has been forced upon me and others have been directly or indirectly affected.

Of course when its all repaired things may be fine again and all this will seem ok but I will have to do all that I can to help the wildlife and see what shrubs I can plant to improve matters.

A final note(I posted pictures on an earlier entry)It crossed my mind that the conservatory that was built actually spoils their own view of their garden as unless they actually use it and so far that's been rare, all they are looking onto is the conservatory and the natural light from the garden is not reaching the house. It is pretty dark in there unless they put lights on. As big as it is with the furniture it seems quite cramped. Also, the kitchen which is to the left has a narrow field of vision so much of the garden is not visable and all they can see to the right is the side view of a conservatory.

A small extension might've been better or I think I would've taken the original window out(which they have)and installed patio doors giving a view and when required open the doors and step out. That was probably too simple.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I'm Popping In...

I must...to say thank you for all the New Year Greetings and apologise for seemingly disappearing off the face of the Earth. Truth is I have let a lot of work build up on the computer and its taking ages to organise and clear off the Hard Drive. And that is the reason for my sudden disappearance.
I have to get on here as soon as possible otherwise I will lose my readers. Stay with me!

And even without worrying about a computer crash, don't do as I have and let files build up on the computer as they take forever to clear. I am now trying to lift everything off to disc as they are and go through them gradually from disc and edit them down. New files must be dealt with immediately. I think the time is right for a second computer that should speed things up.

A few people know of my medical history from previous entries and also those who e-mail me, I am awaiting results of my blood counts which I have taken every three months or so. If all goes well and I also get caught up on these tasks I will be back asap.
Update:The results appear to be good so that's a weight off my mind...a reprieve for now...

However, I have LBC 97.3 broadcasting from London, the presenter Adrian Allen is doing the phone in(when I started in Hospital Radio as a volunteer)some 21 years ago, he was one of the main presenters as I joined. He's started the programme by saying( I don't know what his source is)that the UK has just paid its final instalment to the American Government(approx $82Million)and the Canadian Government(approx $22Million)for loans taken out to pay for weapons etc...we needed for WWII. That means we have been paying this debt for about 60 years! So we have an extra £100Million in our coffers each month and that's like each of the population having an extra £1.50 to spend per week...yeah right!

I just thought it was interesting...

He's also jogged a memory of mine...he was talking of the National Health Service and would not mention which hospital he was talking about but said that he knows of a hospital that is going to be closed after only being built 3 and a bit years ago. He could be referring to another but my local hospital(the same one where this particular Hospital Radio station is located and we worked)has been mentioned in the media in that context so as his family still live in this area, its a fair bet that's the one he is talking about. It is a fine hospital but it was in a shocking state and many wards were just like tin huts made of corrugated iron. And then, I would reckon about three and a quarter years ago our Government invested in building a new modern hospital but not with Government money, it was built using private money as many new hospitals are these days and so they are renting from the builders and other investors behind it so I guess it will be long after I have gone before its paid for. Assuming by then it has not be closed and levelled to the ground or taken over by private care.

However, the stories have appeared but been denied that the hospital will close and after a lot of negative publicity, the latest is that the hospital is safe...for now...which could mean anything. And I think you can guess what that is really saying so the campaign is starting to save the hospital.

I'm afraid that I think we will see many more such stories in the coming years and yet without it, I doubt that I would still be here.

Also, in my town we have a well used health care centre that was opened by the Prime Minister maybe 4 years ago and it used by many in the community to learn and study subjects to help your well being and it also is a meeting place for disabled and mentally troubled. It is highly praised my charities and voluntary organisations and is never empty. You've guessed it...a campaign has had to be started to save it as the County Council is ready to pull all or much of its funding.

Its interesting that both the places that I mention are new and modern yet are the ones most under threat of closure.