Wednesday, 29 July 2015

People who live in large houses shouldn’t be thrown bones…

There is something strangely and immensely edifying in being implicated as a “moron” by a former adviser to arch war‑criminal and Thatcherite (I honestly don’t know which of these two traits is worse; or has caused most lasting human damage…) Anthony Charles Lynton “get a transplant” Blair – the man who tried to put both the hyphen and hatchet into socialism.

It must, I imagine, feel similar to being savaged by moist cotton-wool; or, perhaps, being on the receiving end of an Internet troll (a creature that only exists to be ridiculed pitied) – especially one who you know (simply from their existence) to be ignorant, irrelevant, and arrogant: i.e. not in possession of either the facts, or any sort of sympathy (let alone empathy) for those less fortunate (if you can describe someone as such who probably does not rank very high on the evolutionary scale, or have much nous).

Trolling of any sort, though (however sad its proponents) – like so many pathetic demands for attention – is, in reality, an offensive, although pointless, pastime: which ranks (both senses), in intention (if not effect), at exactly the same level of iniquity (as well, of course, of stupidity) as the disability hate crime I recently experienced (and which has been efficiently and thoughtfully dealt with, now, by the Police: who continue to offer their sterling support…). And it makes no difference who partakes in such infantile bullying: megalomaniac ex-PM, or the local pub bore. They should both be ignored equally.

It is, of course, their own counsel such poorly-endowed pillicocks should really be paying regard to… – although I am not convinced of the value of donating a heart to someone who appears not to currently have the use of one (or indeed any actual values…). And, although I am not religious, the caution to “Judge not, that ye be not judged” does seem quite apposite, here – knowing that many who taunt and attack, for example, supposedly “feckless, workshy scroungers”, will one day come to regret (if they are capable of such an emotion) their actions when they find themselves disabled and/or jobless: the leaky shoe now on their afflicted foot; and on the receiving end of spookily familiar physical and verbal vitriol. (How very sad.)

What this tirade is leading to (as you may have guessed – another helpful hint is in the above graphic) is a declaration that I shall be wielding my vote in Labour’s leadership contest – both with my fully-functioning heart and highly-intelligent head – in favour of Jeremy Corbyn: proudly, sincerely, and joyfully, wearing my red Labour: I prefer their early work T-shirt as I do so (perhaps over my purple Barney costume). Anything else would be “moronic”: a sop to the Tories and to “austerity lite” – i.e. contributing to negating the future of those not in the richest one percent: the sort of people who think nothing of paying $50,000 to take a life, for example.

Such pandering faithlessness would also, of course, prioritize the simplistic, solipsistic greed to win, to achieve power – at all costs? – over the genuine need to legislate based on belief, care, and duty. This avarice may be the short-termist modus operandi of present politics, present government (which is probably the paradigm that the excrementitious bugaboos who stalk the ’Net – and inhabit the right-wing media – so thoroughly delude themselves in emulating); but it is not my way; nor that of anyone who has both sense and sensibility (not to mention plain common decency…).

In other words, just because “you are 80 per cent cow” does not mean that you should be part of the unthinking herd jostling towards the same slaughterhouse of failed ideas (or an uninvited bull shitting in an intellectual china shop); nor should you fail to wake up to the fact that, as a species, it is “the social genome” – and not the selfish gene – that has made humans (so far, reasonably) successful.

We would be nothing without altruism and cooperation: and should therefore ignore the frequent narcissistic tales told by idiots – wherever they issue their crass, negative convictions – “full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing”; and seek – and choose – our principals accordingly: with minds (and souls) fully and positively engaged.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A pain in the back(and)side…

The renal calculi reds…

My kidney stones
are shaped like Toblerones:
and thus get stucked
within my duct.

They may be spikey:
and – oh my crikey –
do the buggers hurt –
I really wish they were as soft
(especially as I have them oft)
as real Swiss chocolurt.

Renal colic
is no frolic.
Soon I’ll be an alcoholic.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Whilst I was gone…

meadow rue

the gold of cups
     has freely been replaced
by royal thistle purple
     whilst I was gone
a textured tapestry
     of swaying sorts
multicoloured limelight
     and no more one
     now dominates the raw summer grass

and yet I move on slowly
     and sad-faced
the present image in its palette
my fast memory
     as onward I pass

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Knowing how way leads on to way…

Most times, I just follow my (traditional, inherited, Yorkshire-profiled) nose – or a familiar perambulation – but sometimes, I find I need a target, a goal, to encourage me to keep on putting “one foot in front of another”: as part of the conjoined aims of experiencing somewhere (new and) beautiful; and coping, on a regular basis, with the severe, constant pain that attempts to rule my life; my every moment; my every movement….

As Karen Lee Richards writes, on the Health Central website:

Although study after study has shown that exercise helps reduce… pain, we’ve had little understanding of why until now. Scientists have long known that during prolonged strenuous workouts, our bodies release endorphins, a kind of natural opiate that reduces pain and enables us to continue exercising. But they haven’t known why (or even if) more moderate exercise would have a similar effect.

However, a recent report – whose purpose was “To examine the effect of aerobic exercise training on pain sensitivity” (albeit “in healthy individuals”) – I believe, now offers us some clues. As Gretchen Reynolds reports in The New York Times – quoting Matthew Jones, who led the study – “the findings intimate that ‘something occurring in the brain was probably responsible for the change’ in pain thresholds… [that] ‘the brain begins to accept that we are tougher than it had thought, and it allows us to continue longer although the pain itself has not lessened’.”

The study also could be meaningful for people struggling with chronic pain, Mr. Jones said… the experiment suggests that moderate amounts of exercise can change people’s perception of their pain and help them… “to be able to better perform activities of daily living.”

Or, as the monograph itself concludes, more formally:

This finding may have important clinical applications for exercise prescription in patients with persistent pain. For instance, patients with persistent pain may gain a pain relieving benefit of exercise by training with unaffected or pain free limbs. This would serve to improve their functional capacity and clinical outcomes, without the risk of exacerbating their symptoms. A transfer of endurance training to untrained limbs has previously been shown after exercise training.

As with much to do with chronic pain, therefore, coping with it requires some (not always permanent) reprogramming of the stubborn – but still plasticpia mater that (I hope) lies between our ears. But, even without knowing all the technical stuff that may go on ‘up there’, it is easy to understand how the positive distraction of focusing on the world around you – especially if actively involved in navigating your way around it – can mediate, or even relegate (even if only temporarily), the negative, Dementor‑like sensations screaming around your body and soul; as well as producing protracted dividends.

Acknowledging the medical benefits, the “demonstrated link between increased physical activity, well-being and health” – as Hippocrates said: “Walking is man’s best medicine” – there are also psychological, aesthetic, rewards, of course. The swallows mobbing a stubbornly-stupid sparrowhawk – which, eventually, was driven away by their constant barrage, accompanied by excited, machine-gunned ‘splee‑plink’ and ‘flitt‑flitt’ alarm calls (although they actually appeared to be enjoying themselves…). A birdfight, rather than a dogfight.

Or the lonely lapwing, mournfully reiterating its ‘peewit’ soubriquet (“There is enough evil in the crying of wind”) by the side of a farm’s large pond (“I wander by the edge of this desolate lake”). The parent-and-child buzzards mewing in turn, soaring and circling over the wheat-fields of Baddesley Clinton; then heading, as close companions, true, towards Hay Wood. Always; all ways: the roads taken – and not taken….

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken

So, why was I there, what “target”, what “goal”, had brought me to these places, these events; stretching my legs, stretching my limits? Well, I had donned my boots in the name of a good cause: the RamblersBig Pathwatch.

Walkers understand better than anyone just how important it is to keep our paths well maintained, and they already do an amazing job of helping with this just by regularly using our paths. We are hoping as many people as possible will go one step further and play a crucial role in protecting our paths by getting involved….
Benedict Southworth, chief executive, Ramblers

As the NFU reports: “The Local Authority rights of way teams are struggling to survey every route and so the Ramblers have started the project to undertake these surveys.” And, as I have already discovered, only a week in (and four blocks crawlingly completed – it’s pretty much like doing a giant crossword or sudoku, in slower-motion, with kilometre-sized squares…) – encountering a chronically-broken bridge; impassable and barely-recognizable footpaths cloaked by nettles and brambles; absent waymarkers; forbidding signs; big new houses blocking your way, your view… – Britain’s footpaths truly show signs of disappearing through “slow decay”. And something – this thing – needs to be done. Or where else shall we go…?

That is not to say that there are not many responsible farmers and landowners – the National Trust (whose plethora of properties make excellent launching points; and provide the perfect sustenance and shelter necessary for rest and recovery…) principal amongst them – whose almost religious, rigorous care of the rights of way across their land make rambling a truly rewarding (and hazard-free) experience: even for those limping of limb. And, being in the middle of England, even I – a bare‑faced Northerner: who likes my landscapes (‘like me chips’) rugged and dripping – have to admit that the scenery is something else. Being mainly flat (by my measure) – thank goodness – it is also a lot easier on my agéd bones.

So onwards will I plod, the National Grid as my guide: tracing the dotted, dashed, diamonded, green lines; re-tracing my steps; registering and recording both the lowlights and highlights of our local environs; gaining behoofs on the hoof – both self- and society-interested; a square deal, if you will: an equitable arrangement, where my health (both mental and physical), as well as that of the countryside (and our enjoyment of it), is enhanced immeasurably. Encouraged thusly, thus will I go on “putting one foot in front of another”.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Roses are red…

This book is different: it is a book about housing, but it does not advocate building many more homes. This book does not add more support to many of the usual solutions offered. It does not suggest that so-called affordable housing schemes are good, or that we necessarily need thousands of new ‘council homes’ to be built. It does suggest that the housing problem requires a more serious solution than merely building more homes. This conclusion has resulted partly from concerns about the near-future, not about the present. Solutions such as home-building, which look as if they might solve some of our present woes, may not be the panacea many imagine if we continue to allow a few to get richer and richer through exploitation of what the housing system has become. Building more may result in the wealthy owning even more houses, more families renting some of those homes, but more being empty at any one time and in greater future inequality, unless we address rising inequalities in how housing is shared out.
– Danny Dorling: All That is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster

This week's Herald – and its headline about the “number of homes [that] just keeps on rising” with each revision of Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s Core Strategy (about as strategic as this household’s weekly shopping list) – crystallized thoughts I have been having for some time; and is one of a continually-growing number of reasons why I now wonder if there is any point to Neighbourhood Plans (at least in their current form and lack of legal standing): especially when “The Government is very clear that it will not be possible to use [them] to stop development.” (They do not, therefore, as some appear to believe, “protect the village”.)

As long as we, as a community, as a district, as a country, continue to espouse the simplistic mantra that building more and more homes is the answer to life, the universe and everything, I cannot see any purpose in producing a “vision” for Tysoe that can then be crumpled and crushed in an instant by the Vogon triumvirate of government, property and finance. We may as well wield fly-swatters in the paths of oncoming bulldozers (or lie down in front of them wearing our dressing-gowns), as to mount a defence of the status quo (which is what I believe we are really trying to achieve – not many people are in a position to readily welcome change, in any form…) with a glossy, Panglossian compilation of complex protocols. Indeed, as I have written before: “I am concerned that this could just simply be yet another time- and money-consuming exercise: designed to keep us ‘plebs’ occupied, and therefore from being able to interfere in, or protest against, Tory diktats” – the latest in a long line of increasingly-bizarrely-named documents that, momentarily, repeatedly, give us the blurred illusions of localism, local power, local choice. When will we learn…?

And, from sage comments made (and quoted) previously on these pages, perhaps I am not the only one who thinks like this: “It doesn't even have to be the Neighbourhood Plan. It could simply be our plan. A plan for Tysoe.”

I think I have (finally) reached Frost’s “Two roads diverged”; and, like him, will take “the one less traveled by”. I have spent far too much time critiquing our attempts at pulling a plan together (but not “together” with most residents of the village…); and making suggestions – long have “I stood And looked down… as far as I could” – many having fallen on fallow ground; a few, perhaps (if appearances count for anything) permeating the ears of our still-wet-behind-the-ears Parish Council.

Accordingly, I suppose, like the great poet, I should be “telling this with a sigh” – but I feel I have said all that there is to be said; and, now, it seems, about something with as many sharp bits as a ball-bearing. So: my main emotion is actually relief. And, as a result, unless there is a massive change in both process and direction, I no longer see any further sense in giving my opinions on it; and will focus my meagre resources and “lucid words” on things of importance to me. I will also, therefore, of course, be voting against it.

However, if you feel differently, then may I suggest that tonight’s PC meeting is definitely worth attending?!

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognizes infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it. It is not selfish to think for oneself. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of one’s neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him. A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.
– Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

A tale of two societies…

It sometimes takes a long(ish – only ever “ish”, with my health…) walk to settle my thoughts (and maybe yours, too?): and it was only after pootling around Packwood House’s meandering meadows and tree-lined byways that my feelings crystallized – seeded during time away relearning Dorset and Wiltshire’s delightful wonderments – and I realized how much I missed the place where I once lived; but how little I missed (and how much it stressed me) being connected permanently to the Internet (that is, of course, until I returned to Tysoe and a seemingly infinite queue of unread emails…).

As my friend Duke Senior recently opined – and reported (by email!) – though, whilst I was away on my travels in the land of the hill-fort, barrow and henge:

Dorset. A delightful part of the country, where there are still some old style ways of living, and virtues, to be found among the Hardy-esque rural bliss. Like it or not, we here in the Midlands, albeit as rural oasis in the midst of urban and suburban existence, are not like that. The question is, critically, how to retain the oasis-like qualities, when the historical agricultural foundations are somewhat fragile; and there appears little inclination or potential to foster alternative cottage industries, such as prevalent in Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall, for example. But there are heartening signs of all sorts of activities in the village, including overwhelming support for the Post Office, that suggest there are grounds for hope that something can be fashioned, to avoid this becoming just a commuter village, with retirement homes.

And thus it was good to find myself, as the PO was just opening – a couple of days after I had returned to this “better place” – at the end of a sizeable snake of villagers, wending its way towards the counter, eager to make use of its manifold offerings. As always, familiar faces filled the shop; and both conversation and service were friendly and welcoming. So, as June’s edition of Oxhill News reinforces: “Use it or lose it” (and contact Nadhim whilst you’re at it…)! Oh, and please walk there, if you can….

I only make this request, because, whilst incomprehensible rumours circulate of a third draft of the itself‑confusing (in both process and content) Neighbourhood Plan – which I had believed was on hold, whilst the Parish Council wrestled with it, and perhaps wrested back some form of control (it’s amazing what can happen when you leave the village for a short while…) – as well as a proposed/supposed “Simple English” or “Plain English” version – which makes me wonder what language the ‘official’ rounceval is in…) – there continue to be mutterings of “the risk of urbanization” in quelling the seemingly permanent rush of traffic on our tiny roads; as well as the massive increase of ofttimes dangerous/illegal parking outside the concentration of our public facilities (churches, school, village hall, shop, pub, hairdresser, etc. – including, of course, our threatened Post Office) – and not just at peak times any more.

But I do wonder if, maybe, some form of such controls/constraints are exactly what we need? Do we, as a community, really prioritize appearance and the picturesque above safety and common sense? (Hard to believe, I know, considering the attempted mass-Poundburying – like Bunburying, only different – diktats of the NP.)

For example: why not install a pelican crossing – or, indeed, pelican, crossing – outside Tysoe Children’s Group – where, possibly, the sight of a large, non-native bird with a beak full of fish – accompanied by other exotic fauna, elsewhere – would finally tame our speeding idiots/motorists…? Or even an Ettington-style priority system on entering Middle Tysoe from the Banbury Road, just before you hit (hopefully not literally) Church Farm Court; and/or on the Oxhill Road, before Windmill Way and Sandpits Road?

And I only ask this, because – on my many meanderings, walking stick as essential prop – I all too-frequently espy familiar, local cars parked in the centre of the village, no more than fifteen minutes amble from their points of origin; or ignoring the now freshly-painted road markings. (In Warwickshire dialect, the word ‘slow’, now writ large in several places on our byways in gleaming, titanium white, obviously means the opposite of what my grammar school English teacher beat into me: in the same way that ‘sick’ – I am informed by my backwards-wearing-baseball-capped intimates of a certain youthful disposition – means something is rather what-I-at-a-similar-age-would-simply-have-referred-to-as ‘spiffing’. And we are obviously using some longer parochial measure than the mile for our speed limit signs – a maximum, remember; not a target to be accelerated past as soon as the laws of physics permit….)

Perhaps (just for a change (ahem)) I am being cynical; but I do wonder (and not for the first time, of course) how many of these repeatedly-recognizable vehicles have crawled – or, in many cases, zoomed (watching the guys carefully laying down the new lines in Main Street made me realize how courageous you have to be as a Tysoe pedestrian: even in high-viz habiliments…) – half-a-mile or less, without the objective of travelling any further than the return journey home. And it is noticeable, coming back from the slightly behind-the-times-feeling south-west – although I’m not saying that motorists in Wessex villages are any better behaved (well, maybe slightly; and certainly more polite…) – how driving (and living) does feel considerably calmer away from motorways and major cities. No-one appears to be in the permanent rush that so characterizes the A3400, A422, A429 and the Fosse Way; and driving just at or below the legal limit is no longer punishable by Velcro-like tailgating or insane, risk-taking overtaking on blind bends and summits. Time (and traffic) seems to pass just a tad more slowly and sensibly….

I am sure that, if we really felt the need to install them, there are methods of managing vehicles and their speed which would not make the core of Tysoe resemble the centres of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Banbury, or Coventry. But I am equally certain that real improvements come from changes to behaviour, rather than systems.

As the World War II poster (and the motoring organizations, when there’s a light dusting of infrequent snow) asks: “Is your journey really necessary?” And, if it is, can you do it on foot (as I politely requested earlier); or by bicycle or bus – or even on the hoof…? And, finally, can you also do it calmly, and within the law? If not, perhaps you also need a vacation away from traffic both digital and mechanical…. I can highly recommend it….

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Never ascribe to malice…

In my long, varied, and deep experience, I have discovered that there are mainly two reasons for incompetence in any professional arena: namely, stupidity and greed. And they are not mutually exclusive: as is proven by the multi-storey car park developed (seemingly in haste – both from its makeshift appearance and its stunning lack of fitness for purpose (see below)) for the new Stratford Hospital – itself designed, apparently, to look like an ill-fitting conglomeration of partly-opened kitchen cabinets. If the Government is as keen to both commoditize (and subcontract) healthcare and create workhouse-like factories for the poorly-paid – especially those in the public sector – as I believe: then such architecture (and I use the term extremely loosely for something that has obviously been created by computerized machines with oversized egos, and no concept of the friendliness of the curved surface) will be a perfect environment (if not epitaph) for their joint demise.

According to Collins: “If you describe someone as incompetent, you are criticizing them because they cannot do their job or a task properly.” And, in my case, they are dead on. Doing a “job or a task” successfully does not – however right-wing your ethos – simply mean raking in money, or bringing a project in on time and budget. To function well, any facility must surely revolve around its users and their needs. But as George Osborne proved so adroitly, yesterday, such idealism, such ideology, such idiocy, is to ignore the slimy, hand-staining lure of profit. In this modern world of corporate scrounging and £93bn handshakes, the needs of the few (giant corporations) outweigh the needs of the many (little people) – as my hero Mr Spock would obviously never have said.

When the “phenomenon of our times” Owen Jones wrote, in his “phenomenal bestseller” The Establishment: And how they get away with it, that the “great carve-up of the NHS is a threat to the health and even the lives of patients”, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t thinking specifically about the bent-over-double pensioner who took around thirty minutes to exit the labyrinthine travesty that HUBER Car Park Systems – whose slogan, “HUBER guarantees long-term, efficient and profitable use”, says all you need to know about why they were hired – describe as “Project Stratford-upon-Avon”:

Huber has constructed a 250 bays public car park facility for the Warwick NHS Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. The car park forms a first part of a wider development in Stratford hospital; the steel structure is timber cladded and is serviced by two staircases and two lifts. The project is the first to receive the bespoke HUBER LED fittings with advanced controllers which provide low operational costs without increasing the installation times and costs.

Nowhere can I find an explanation (or boast) of how their “system” (however unsystematic in practice) benefits its actual users: with its overly-complex, indecipherable, automated ticketing machines; its narrow lanes – meaning that cars (especially the archetypal Warwickshire behemoths) cannot pass each other without great difficulty; and that all the multitudinous sharp corners must be taken (slowly) only in the few magical moments when there are no oncoming vehicles. It’s as if they have turned best-practice on its head to squeeze in as little investment, capacity and practicality as possible. (That’s why only 2% of the spaces are Disabled bays, of course.) For a service that deals almost exclusively in humans (you know what I mean: those soft, squidgy moving objects…) who are damaged in some manner, it seems to me that HUBER (and those who hired them) have deliberately gone out of the way to engineer an increase in the number of casualties entering the hospital: injured in the inevitable physical clash of SUV bumpers (with each other, as well as with disoriented stragglers); or mentally weakened by the tortuous, unmanned (ta-da: no fallacious living wages to supply!) payment gadgetry.

Were it not for the burly, hard-hatted, high-viz-jacketed saint who just happened to be passing by, I fear that the old gentleman, in obvious pain, and confused beyond belief (but ignored by those many hurrying folks besuited and lanyarded with NHS ribbons and tags), would still now be leaning on his stick, and the boot of his car, breathless: wondering both how he was going to shuffle across the incessant traffic entering, leaving, and almost-colliding; and then operate the Terminator-redux towering over his tiny, distorted frame. I admit that I was no help, either: as I too was befuddled and angered by the difficulties we were both having merely in attending for supposed healthcare.

According to the Hospital’s own website:

There are exciting plans to build a new state of the art hospital in the centre of Stratford. The first phase will provide first class Cancer [sic] and eye services for local residents of Stratford and surrounding districts. Without these services near to home, patients previously had to travel long, tiring distances to other facilities which are further afield to receive treatment. In some cases cancer patients decided to go without their treatment as they were unable to travel long distances every day, when they may already be feeling weak from treatments.

It also says, under “Creating a pleasant environment”:

We understand that a visit to hospital can be a challenging experience. We want to ease this and help our patients and their relatives feel as comfortable as possible during their time with us. Our aim is to use charitable funds to create a homely and less institutionalised environment for the people that use our services. Research has shown that the environment in which a patient is treated can have an impact upon the healthcare outcomes. By developing a space that is theraputic [sic] and supportive of family involvement we will be able to reduce anxiety and stress, something that can aid recovery.

Which I can counter with only one word (and which The Good Lady Bard will tell you is my favourite and most-uttered) – bollocks. It is all well and good to spout such badly-crafted homilies; but it takes more than a jobbing copy- or speech-writer to turn them into customer-oriented, user-friendly reality.

Now, patients have “to travel long, tiring distances” simply to pay for their car-parking – which is only not free for the disabled because that would need the attendance of a costly human-being to monitor. And there is no doubt in my mind that “the environment”, as it stands – with its large ladling-out of “anxiety and stress” (which, of course, retards recovery (oops)) – can only have a majorly negative “impact upon the healthcare outcomes” of anyone trying to arrive under their own power. I would not be surprised if, as a result, there was soon a further increase in patients deciding “to go without their treatment”. Personally, I would rather drive all the way to Warwick or Oxford, than have to go through the struggles I and my disabled colleague endured yesterday.

There is one drop of comfort in all this. According to the architects:

The new hospital… will include a new… energy centre and public realm as part of the strategic masterplan.

I would like to nominate myself to be the first leader of this new “public realm”, please (having first received some much-needed “energy”…)! And, if ruling it necessitates gratuitous violence (as I hope), Game of Thrones-style, then I would also like to nominate the car-park designers as my first victims. My weapon of choice will, of course, be a carbon-fibre-shafted walking stick, wielded brutally from my large Japanese war-chariot. There will be blood.