I took my mum to Bournemouth for a few days; Spain is far too hot for her at this time of year. I booked our rooms via laterooms.com, and when we arrived I feared they had mistaken my booking for a stint in an old people's home. I was the youngest guest there! Reception was only manned until 7pm, thereafter any requirements had to be directed via the night porter. Breakfast stopped being served at 9am, and dinner was from 6 - 8.30pm sharp.
The speed with which the meals were delivered defied belief. I pictured a drink in the bar, a leisurely dinner, coffee in the lounge and then retiring for the night at the end of the evening.
The food was hot and fresh so it hadn't been standing around for a couple of hours but no sooner was it consumed than the main course arrived with equal speed to take its place. I was dumbfounded both by the velocity and the volume; there was enough food on my plate to feed an army, but these old folk were tucking into it like it was going out of fashion, boy can those wrinklies eat!
Dinner was done and dusted inside 40 minutes leaving a bit of a chasm to fill till bed time. You might know by now that my mum is 85 and so more sedate activities are the order of the day, or I would have whisked her off to the pub. We had already walked the park pier and promenade to death and she wasn't up for any more that day.
The second night there was 'entertainment'. Tyler treated us to Tie a Yellow Ribbon and My Way and just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, he produced a pair of lace thongs from his box of stage tricks and proceeded to enquire from the assembled throng, who had lost their knickers on the coach? They loved it! The thongs were followed by a pair of voluminous, faded, once pink now grey cotton pants, that would have fitted me from ankle to chin (and I ain't no lightweight myself!).
My how they laughed as he passed through his audience Cinderella like, trying them on various women to see if they fitted. I could hardly believe my eyes as Gwyneth, the distinguished Chair of the gardening club committee from Wales, off on their summer outing, allowed herself to be fitted into these awful pants, pulled up over her clothes to her armpits. Meanwhile my mother whispered to me: "if he comes anywhere near me with those things I'll kill him!"
Strangely enough, no yellow stained Y fronts, no boxer shorts, no gold posing pouches were produced from his box of stage tricks,
He then wanted volunteers to do line dancing and pointing at me said: "Now this lovely lady will dance with me won't you?" My alarmingly quiet but adamant refusal left him in no doubt that I would be doing no such thing, and he never looked my way again. The whole sorry performance was at last over and I was able to escape to my room, rapturous applause ringing in my ears. I have never experienced anything quite so bizarre.
Most people have fairies at the bottom of their garden. We have the neighbours from hell. Their children wail cry shriek and scream during their every waking hour and are not reprimanded in the least for doing so. To escape the noise during the recent beautiful weather we have been having, its been necessary to go inside the house and shut all the windows and doors, but you can still hear them. They can even be heard over the noise of our lawn mower and washing machine! I have been asked by the council to whom I complained, to keep a log of the noise to see if any pattern emerges. There is a pattern; they make a noise ALL the time.
I have made recordings and was asked if I would be prepared to go to court to substantiate my complaint. I would rather not have to, but said yes in the hope we can get it stopped. However I neednât have lost any sleep over the prospect, because both the Council and the Housing Association have pretty much washed their hands of the whole affair and said that because it involves children the situation is 'difficult' which basically means they are not prepared to take a stand and would prefer not to know about it and not become involved.
One of my pieces of uni work was to conduct and transcribe an interview with someone who is in employment. I chose a friend who is a Sister at a large hospital, who revealed some alarming howling gaps in patient care and administration. More recently her department were obliged to operate an emergency clinic to prevent the hospital being fined for being in breach of contract under Government time guidelines. However her department were not told in advance that many of the attendees were wheelchair-bound and needed to be 'turned' regularly to prevent pressure sores, thus requiring extra nurses.
This has a cost implication and so was conveniently ignored during arrangements between one department and another. Had the Hand Over team declared this fact, it would have been paid for from their budget.
Furthermore it is apparently the Hand Over teamâs responsibility to ensure transport is arranged, but they didn't do so, since again their budget would be responsible. It transpired that none of the wheelchair patients had the means to get home. The clinic finished at 3pm that afternoon and the patients waited for a hospital car that was in fact never booked. Consequently taxis were eventually arranged some 4 hours later and paid from the emergency clinic's budget.
Not surprisingly the relatives of these patients have complained and there is to be an enquiry. I wonder whose budget will pay for that. It's really scary because of course on paper all targets have been met and the Government can gloat over keeping its promises to people. At what price?
Dave Lee Travis and Rolf Harris have recently been added to the accused group of advantage takers, abusers of privilege and generally seedy unpleasant band of 70's celebrities that prevailed at the time, and about whose antics we are only now being made aware. There are of course varying opinions about the crime and the punishment, but none that I heard from the menfolk during a heated exchange at a get-together with neighbours on Friday evening, entirely blamed DLT, or any of the others with the exception of Saville, for their alleged actions.
Apparently you have to take into account the culture of the time, whatever that means. Comments abounded along the lines of 'it depends how you define assault and abuse; he only pinched her bum' and 'well if they were invited backstage and accepted, then they have only themselves to blame; surely they weren't so naÃ¯ve as to think they were going for coke and crisps.' And 'If they are guilty, I don't condone their behaviour, but ... but what? My argument is that they were entirely condoning what may have gone on by the very fact they were suggesting what these people are alleged to have done was conditional.
Poor lambs, they were hoodwinked by these ghastly girls. As a counter measure, the guys then became all giggly like school boys, saying lucky devils having all these young girls throw themselves at them, wahey nudge nudge, who wouldn't have taken advantage when its handed to you on a plate, excuse excuse, condone condone, smut smut. And these are seemingly normal ordinary rational family orientated men I was arguing with. Though interestingly none of them have daughters; between us we have 7 boys.
Imagine a daughter of yours in that position, I argued. How is it OK for DLT and Co. to fiddle with young girls, but were it your child you would be incensed and fiercely protective? Don't your double standards embarrass you? Strangely they genuinely actually didn't seem to, they struggled to see anything wrong with their stance at all and were puzzled by my incredulity. I don't think I have ever been brave enough to be so angry, and their comeback was 'well you can tell she's studying sociology!'
On the subject of men, what is it about them and queuing? The British are supposed to be renowned for their queuing abilities, but really I think that whilst the female of the species is more deadly (and intelligent!) than the male, they also have far more patience than men when it comes to queues! We went to a battle proms open air concert last night, which we have done every year since the year dot, and every year suggestions abound from my lot as to how they could organise it so much better, with more people on the gate, more people directing the traffic and quicker ways of getting people through the turnstiles.
Unless you expect to have the concert all to yourself then you just have to put up with the queues surely? Well of course you do, just do it with good grace and enjoy it as part of the evening. But no. We then have to leave before the end to beat the queues on the way out, so that the whole evening becomes fraught with tension and anticipation of stampedes and losing your footing down a rabbit hole in the dark, all just to get two cars further ahead than we did last year! Roll on the end of September when I will have uni to moan about instead of my family!