Tuesday 6th February saw the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. This gave the vote to women over the age of 30 with fairly minimal property qualifications.
I read on Saturday that a young lad aged 9 who had the flu died in Exeter. At the time of writing, it is not known whether flu caused his death, was a factor in it or had nothing to do with it. Whatever is ultimately found, it is a salutary reminder that we should not treat flu casually, as we do the common cold – it is a potentially fatal disease. Most years, in Britain, a few hundred die as a result of the flu, but it is worth remembering that several hundred thousand die worldwide and that 1 million died worldwide in the Hong Kong flu epidemic of 1968, 2 million died of Asian flu in 1957 and an astonishing 50 million died of Spanish flu in 1918, one hundred years ago.
SOHS Devon have produced a short film arguing that the Care Closer to Home (CCTH) concept is not working. The idea behind CCTH is, on the face of it, very attractive: many patients, after receiving whatever care they were in hospital for, need a degree of further care from health- or social-care professionals. Rather than occupying expensive hospital beds, such patients are sent home and are then visited, as needed by health- or social-care professionals.
This week, the NHS handed us two belated Christmas presents that we could well have done without. First, the Minor Injuries Unit at the Tyrrell Hospital (along with that in Bideford) was closed for several days because of staff sickness. Second, we have the now-traditional winter black alert at several hospitals in the region, with the result that all operations, other than those to deal with life-threatening conditions, are postponed; and let us not forget the occasional unfortunate incident where someone dies whilst waiting for an ambulance that takes too long to arrive, or where they die on a trolley in a hospital corridor because the harassed and over-worked staff have not been able to get round to them.
Well, actually, if you don’t mind, I could do with a little boredom now! The last few years have been altogether too interesting for my comfort! What with the credit crunch, austerity, the first coalition government that I can remember in this country, Brexit, Donald Trump, North Korea, it seems the excitement never ends. I suppose the most interesting thing over the last year was Mrs May’s unnecessary General Election, in which she asked the electorate to deliver “strong and stable leadership”. The electorate duly delivered, but, unfortunately for Mrs May, delivered it to the leader of the opposition instead!
Oliver Burkeman writes a weekly column in the Guardian’s Weekend (colour) magazine. It is always worth reading for its unusual approach to and advice on how we live and how we think.
Last Saturday, I, with several members of my family, had the honour of being a guest at the Christmas dinner of the Capstone Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffalos (the Buffs).
Thanks to Lez Cann for inviting us and thanks to the Buffs for letting us in! As it has been for the last few years, it was held at the Osborne Hotel and, as always, was an excellent evening. Nick and his team at the hotel have catering for large parties down to a “t”, so the food was good, the wine was good and the company was outstanding. What more could you want?
I was glad to see that our MP, Peter Heaton-Jones, has taken up in parliament the case of Aiden Platt.
Blue Poppy Publishing was set up by local author, Oliver J (Olli) Tooley, initially to publish his own books, but he has subsequently opened it to other, mainly local, authors. I have just seen copies of the two latest publications, both children’s books. I should declare an interest in that I helped fund the publication of both books. However, I have no financial, or other, interest in their success or otherwise.
Well, that was the Winter Wonderland Weekend, that was.