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Time to put the clocks back

July 30, 2016

Well, the hall clock anyway! It was returned suitably restored, cleaned and fettled is now ticking away quietly and chiming properly as nature intended. It’s nice to have it back, although we are used to it chiming every 30 minutes it was almost a subconscious reminder of the time. We have definitely missed it over the past two months.

I have been trying various RSPB bird food mixes with some interesting and confusing results. The smaller birds will not eat peanuts and I only got rid of them by crunching them up and putting on the table where the crows and pigeons manage to steal some. They all used to like sunflower hearts but apparently went off them so now I have the “no-mess sunflower mix and they don’t seems to eat much of that either. There is another mix “favourites blend” which is like putting out manna – the starlings in particular will fight for it and empty a feeder in a day – it goes well on the table as well. I have suet balls hanging up but nothing seems to like them except crows, there is a home-made guard around that feeder to discourage crows as they frighten off the smaller birds. I found a new table food but that doesn’t seem to be too popular either plus it has whole sunflower seeds and they are not getting eaten. Something (I suspect crows) has just scattered a load of it onto the lawn so I set the camera up to discover what might eat it on the ground, results were inconclusive. I now have a 5kg bag of “no-mess sunflower mix” and a 5kg bag of “table mix extra” – they’ll get to eat this until its all gone then I suspect I’ll be ordering more of the “favourites” blend.

Gardening activities progress slowly as & when I can spare the time to do anything but cut the grass and remove excess growth from a few bushes. The climbers on one side have gone berserk and I had to find some time to cut them back; at least now I can walk down the path next to them. I’ve also managed to control a particularly invasive weed – no idea what it is called – the Roundup gel is particularly effective on this and much easier to use than a spray. The tomato and cucumber plants in the greenhouse have reached full height and have loads of fruit and flower clusters – but nothing is ripe yet. The wee cowrit timorous beastie in the shed has disappeared no doubt one day I shall discover a small corpse in a hidden corner.

A short while ago there was a news article about how disabled people are being treated as second-class citizens. Normally this would not have attracted my attention but for the fact that we now actually have a blue badge for parking in designated spaces. We got it as we need to visit the hospital quite frequently and parking there is a nightmare. What got my attention is there is significant construction work in progress at the Colney Centre in the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital and this has resulted in the contractor parking their equipment, porta-cabins etc on the disabled parking spaces close to the entrance and fencing the area off. No attempt has been made to provide other disabled parking and thus there is just ONE designated space outside the Centre. As this Centre is primarily for the treatment of cancer and renal patients there is naturally a significant proportion of blue badge holders using the place. They now have nowhere to park and in many cases cannot even drop off patients due to the congestion. One wonders what was going through the mind of the administrator who allowed this situation.

Another issue close to my heart right now is how the Data Protection Act is actually causing issues within the NHS that are deeply concerning and in some cases actually dangerous. Due to the provisions of this well-intentioned act, data sharing among medical practitioners is severely limited and in most cases requires the patient to give specific permission for medical records to be shared, sometimes on individual consultations. There is no central system across the NHS where one medical practitioner can see the records entered by another and consequently on each visit the patient has to provide history and medication information. This is time-consuming and is actually preventing doctors etc from seeing the “whole” patient which is bad enough but in certain cases can lead to dangerous drug interactions that can only be detected by the patient reading a lengthy document on each and every medication. This actually happened to us recently – a hospital consultant prescribed a medication and later our GP prescribed another (for a different ailment) which could have interacted. The GP was unaware of the hospital prescription and it was only my questioning it after reading the leaflet which brought it to her attention. In contrast, when we lived in France a pharmacist detected such an interaction from being able to see the entire history and telephoned the doctor to clarify it. That access is provided by having a central database and a secure access provided by the patients Carte Vitale (health card) – a simple credit card like item carried by the patients and presented to any medical practitioner needing access. Only they with the appropriate terminals and access codes can use it, simple but very effective.

My scheme for moving the rain water collection butts is progressing nicely; the pump works well enough to be able to use a garden hose and a spray head to water the borders and the greenhouse. It does seem to consume quite a lot of water but given our current weather patterns I don’t see this as a problem – the butts are being replenished quite quickly. I was surprised by the low quality of the garden hose available here – very flimsy and easily flattened when coiling up which can restrict the water flow. That and the fact that hoses are not supplied with proper end fittings as the US versions are; however it is considerably lighter and more manoeuvrable than the 100’ 5/8” US hose and reel I still have as well. I found a filter device that will prevent most of the roof dirt & debris getting into the barrels; it’s an Australian made device which I had to buy from a South African distributor and I’ll fix it up as & when I move the barrels. I might need help with this part of the project as the hernia isn’t getting any better! I almost spoke too soon – yesterdays rain showers have completely filled the butts so now moving them is going to require some effort in emptying them and preserving the contents. I just know that if I discard all the saved water and move the butts it won’t rain again for weeks.



David & June

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Mrs Niklasson's Adventures

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