June is here

I love May & June! True that it would have been nice to have a bit more warmth but then again the garden has been well watered and the roses are blooming – both spectacular yellow and another one pink…….The courgettes are coming along too. But broccoli sadly got eaten, even before the cabbage white butterflies got to lay their eggs on it. (Below after the storm!!!)

I am the proud owner of an e-bike and I love it? I purchased it on the cycle to work scheme which is a wonderful way of investing in a good, sturdy, reliable and expensive bike.

On Friday, a few days ago, it was the Queen’s Jubilee holiday, the roads were quiet and my ride to work was a clear run and probably my fastest time yet. I was almost there and the e-assist kicked in as I cycled up the final hill.  There’s an ideal spot to dismount, off the road, just outside the fire station before I cross the dual carriageway on foot. But I must have hit the dropped curb at the wrong angle…….. During the split second while I flew through the air, I thought, ‘do not put your hand out to save yourself’- (a common reason for fractures and dislocations of any part of the arm.)  But what goes up, must come down and somehow I must have slid along the ground before I ended up spread eagled on my back with the bike on top of me.  

I knew I wasn’t seriously injured but I couldn’t get up! I was so close to the hospital and cars whizzed by ignoring my cries for help. I lay there wondering when someone was going to come past and worried that I was going to be late for work.

At last a passing van stopped and the driver removed the bike which had effectively pinned me to the ground and propped it up against a wall.

“Wow, that’s a heavy bike,” he said.

 Simultaneously an ambulance pulled up; paramedics had spotted the crumpled heap of highly reflective jacket from the other side of the road. I identified myself and fortunately they recognised me, which helped a great deal, when it came to convincing everyone that I really was ok and did not need to be immobilised and checked over. Though I had to sign a form to say I was refusing care and swear blind that I did not hit my head. (Helmets are wonderful things!)

I was very grateful to the paramedics, not least because the control centre, gave them the all clear to ‘convey me’ to hospital which was a much needed lift to work, along with the bike. One of them then wheeled it to the lock up for me, where it will remain in solitary until I am fit enough to ride it back home. With my wounds suitably covered with dressings, it was obvious to one of my elderly patients that I had been in some sort of accident and she asked me what happened.

“I’m glad I have a doctor who understands falling” she said.

I am not sure that is quite the reputation I want right now…..

Needless to say, I am quite bruised and sore but more annoyed with myself than anything. I was getting my fitness back after a mandatory break when I went down with covid, literally an hour after my father’s funeral.

I was so worried that I would have passed it on – It was a very emotional time and I had kissed and hugged the 14 of us who had been able to get to the very short committal. Of course this included my 94 year old mother. Yet at that key moment of potential contagion, none of them went down with the infection. Even Phil was fine! I have to say I do not understand this virus at all. 

Finally Sunday came and a much needed day off, the last day of the Jubilee weekend. Some neighbours had organised a street party so it was disappointing that it was grey and cloudy after a series of thunder-storms overnight. Umbrellas and wellie boots mandatory along with the plate of food for the pot luck. But very England!

SO ENGLAND! Some older residents in the neighbourhood…..

Phil is really enjoying his new voluntary job as administrator of a food bank. He is in his element restoring order and efficiency when the unglamorous but necessary administrative tasks are in disarray. This part is all too often neglected in the charity world when those that volunteer tend to be doing the caring and sharing work.  He’s done it a few times in the past of course, most notably during our time in Thailand…….He works most of the week, taking the ‘referrals’ from agencies and smooths over all sorts of hiccups and crises which occur during the week as he coordinates it all. He’s just the right character to do this, so unflappable and able to quell the anxiety of volunteers who are involved on the ‘front line’, as it were. Literally doing the work behind the scenes that keeps the show on the road. His IT skills help to bring order to the chaos.

We all have different skills and I am very aware for instance that I may be held in high esteem because of my medical degree, but why? I am no different to the person I was who was cleaning the toilets when I worked in Denver.

I actually I loved working with the homeless clients in that job, who didn’t care f*ck what qualifications you had. Sometimes I feel as though we get wrapped in layers like a ‘pass the parcel’ maybe more so in the UK – all part of our social ‘breeding’ and later experiences. I felt very accepted when I lost my layers … whereas in ‘normal’ life, I have often felt exposed when I express my inner self.

But I freely admit I found the organisational ethos of the Denver workplace, completely incomprehensible. NO doubt they thought the same about me…….I was probably viewed as a ‘know it all’ who rubbed everyone up the wrong way! The director used to boast that I was a UK doctor working for them, when she showed donors around. Yet others in the organisation were not receptive when I gave suggestions on infection control for instance – like simple requests for soap and hand washing facilities…….

 I am lucky. There are lots of people the world over who for the sake of political correctness or maybe simply the arrogance of national rules/managers/hierarchy are kept in ‘their place’ under-valued, unappreciated and without any chance to flourish.
I hate the way we forget to value people for who they are, rather than for their occupation. Yet there is no denying that there should be the scope, to enable talented individuals to access educational opportunity or skill development and allow them to grow into the best they can be.

Have you ever wondered what you would really like to do/have done in your heart of hearts? Something that may be could have been developed further……..another life perhaps? It may be easy to look back in regret at lost opportunities or nostalgia at ‘better times’
But I have quite enjoyed thinking about what the ‘real’ inner me, would like to do/ have done:-

I would like to have danced, sang, acted, clarinet in an orchestra or jazz………professionally of course!

OR I would liked to have become a naturalist

OR a novelist

OR a journalist focussing on humanitarian issues

OR used my current medical skills but in a humanitarian setting…….

Not in any particular order!

I guess, once retired, the world will be my oyster for any of the above -apart from ‘performing’ – sadly, I don’t think I will ever make it into the corps de Ballet ……….

I did investigate the possibility of applying to do a stint with Medecins sans frontieres – you have to give 2 years minimum. Not sure that Phil would be too impressed if I push off for that long. Although if we could both go – he could do his whizz kid stuff with the admin……Nah. Probably should stop dreaming. Do I want to live in hardship with feet that don’t like the heat?

OR maybe we could sell up and go and live on an island in the Caribbean? All I would need is a good supply of books, paper and a pen………

Oh darn, I just landed back on earth with a thump but less of a thump than falling off the bike! I guess I’d better appreciate what I have, while I can, which means filling up the bird feeders to encourage the goldfinches, green finches, great tits and anything other than the flippin’ pigeons – they clearly like our garden and have no desire to move on.

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