Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Thunder shakes

The weather today is making me feel irritable. It’s hot and it’s sticky, and it’s close and over cast. It keeps raining and I’m extremely uncomfortable, and more than a little bit sulky. The rats are sulking as well. They’re lying in a little heap in their cage, trying not to move. It’s tough being hairy in the summer.


I’ve been dealing with the hospital where I had my operation today. The more I think about how I was treated post-operation, the more I realise how inappropriate it was. It’s a fairly frightening experience to wake up with a gas mask hooked to your face, whilst your arm’s attached to a drip. No one came to see if I was alright, or to tell me that the operation had been a success. It took the nurses two hours after asking what I wanted for lunch, for them to actually bring it to me, and even then the trifle was frozen solid, which couldn’t have been particularly good for me. Frankly, it was only because I’d got myself dressed and was trying to leave the hospital that they even started preparing me the food I’d asked for... or at least slamming it into the microwave. They took away my water cup, and left me drinking out of a jug. The nurses hadn’t been told that I wasn’t allowed to talk, so when anyone did come over, they asked me direct questions that I couldn’t possibly answer with a shake or nod of the head. I’d told them I was a vegetarian and they offered me fish and chips. They told Nathan I’d been given pain killers when he came to collect me. I hadn’t. They argued with each other and discussed other patients’ issues way too loudly.

I think the manager person I was speaking to today was more than a little aware that some of my complaints were fairly serious ones, and she told me at the end of our chat that a formal investigation had been launched. What upsets me most is that the majority of the people in the ward with me wouldn’t have been capable of complaining. Many were obviously very ill, or fairly infirm. How often do people end up in this situation and just suffer in silence, because they don’t want to – or don’t know how to - make a fuss? It makes me worry about the future, really. For myself. For when I’m old and when I don’t feel I have the right to complain any more.

I spent the day arranging music in the cafe, as the rain thundered down on the skylight above me. I rushed home during a break in the weather, and set up shop on the kitchen table, whilst the mother of all storms swirled around me. At one stage, a clap of thunder actually shook the house.

At some point, I received a call from the organisers of Yorkshire Day, which this year is being held somewhere like Wakefield. There’s been a call from the mayor for A Symphony for Yorkshire to be performed, which I suspect merely means the tune from the last movement. Now I know how Holst must have felt when his Planet Suite was reduced to the theme from Jupiter (which is, incidentally a hymn tune called Thaxted.) Still, I’m thrilled the melody seems to be entrenching itself in the Yorkshire consciousness. They asked me how much it would cost them to perform it, and I told them, as I tell everyone, that the music doesn’t cost; it’s simply my gift to Doreen and the people of Yorkshire.

350 years ago, Pepys spent the day practising singing, which he described as his new “great trade.” He dined with Lady Sandwich and then went to Moorfields to see a wrestling match between “the north and west countrymen,” (whoever they were.) One assumes the fight was part of the newly established Bartholomew Fair. Wrestling was no doubt banned in the interregnum, so this was something of a novelty. Pepys returned home and set up his bed in a newly decorated room that he called the nursery. Poor Pepys. He longed for children and never got them and was now sleeping in the room that they’d obviously set up for kids. That just about says it all!

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