I have been a voluntary hospital visitor at a big London teaching hospital for the last three years. I only go in one day a week, it is not much in the way of ‘putting something back,’ but even in those few short hours I have seen quite a lot. At first I was outraged by some of the things … [Read on]
Patrolling the wards of a big London hospital this week, as a chaplaincy worker, trying not to get up the noses of the nursing staff I settled down by an elderly man, Mr T who seemed very keen to chat. I quickly realised that though the NHS is a great and brilliant institution which we all love, it’s easy to … [Read on]
I have just discovered further shocking news about disgraceful inequalities in British society. Private schooling was found to be an advantage in the graduate labour market UK graduates who went to private schools earn thousands of pounds more, on average, than their state-educated peers, research finds. The study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies says the pay gap is more than … [Read on]
I had to go to hospital today for my six months check up after having cancer in 2010. The wait in the corridor for the results is never pleasant, as with just a few words a doctor can change your whole world and predict very accurately when it’s going to end. No matter how many times you go through this … [Read on]
If I had to choose a new national symbol for Britain, which happily I don’t, I think I should choose the orange and white-striped traffic cone. The other day I drove 120 miles to a town in the east of the country and there were road-works every ten miles on average. The journey took an hour longer than predicted in … [Read on]
The snow has fallen early in Bulgaria, weighing down heavily on the still leafy trees, lending them a mournful, crestfallen look, kind of bent double. The children want to go out to play in the first snow. I tell them they can look forward to another four months of this and that the novelty will soon wear off. Nevertheless they … [Read on]
After months of negotiation, prevarication and delay I am about to exchange contracts and move from a one bedroomed flat in London, where I have lived since 1996, to a small house, in a small town.
A couple of years ago I went to the doctor because I was afraid I had Alzheimer’s. Suddenly names, facts and bits of poetry I thought I knew were not there anymore. I reached for them automatically and found – nothing. It was alarming.My doctor, a young Indian woman, looked at me sceptically and fired off some questions. I was … [Read on]