A fear to bring children into the world
You threaten my baby, unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood that runs in your veins
I had a wonderful evening last Saturday at the Landmark, seeing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Le Navet Bete, four gentlemen who, between them, played Dorothy, her family, two witches, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, Munchkins, a flying monkey and probably a few I’ve missed, not necessarily all at once. One of the gentlemen played Dorothy throughout the show, quite convincingly, except when his wig came off – I'm not sure if that was deliberate or not – and despite looking to me as though, in certain lights, he had a slight 5 o’clock shadow!
The day before, I had had a very good meal at the Olive Room. This was the first time I have managed to get a reservation there at my preferred time for several months, an indication that Mr Carr is getting the recognition he deserves. I think the prices have gone up a bit, but they are still a bargain for the quality of the cooking. Service, which, in the past, has sometimes seemed a little slow, seems to have speeded up, no bad thing. He is also still listing wine no 28, a German Pinot Noir (my favourite red grape) which is the best German Pinot that I can recall drinking since one I had many years ago in a Munich Weinstube, and which cost significantly more than is charged at the Olive Room. Unfortunately, after the starter and main courses, I felt too full to contemplate dessert, which is a great pity, as there were two (passion fruit and blackberry) which I would love to have tried. Maybe next time.
I wrote the paragraph above on Sunday. On Monday I read on the Journal’s website “Thomas was celebrating ….. after being awarded a Michelin star, one of the most prestigious international prizes in food.” I can't say I'm surprised – I predicted this in a column I wrote in the Journal a year ago. Congratulations to Tom and his team. I believe he has worked previously at restaurants where the chef has been awarded a star, but I believe this is the first time he has won one in his own right. But, bother, now I will never be able to get a reservation unless I plan weeks ahead! Anyway, it’s good news for Tom and good news for Ilfracombe and very well deserved.
Hospitals! The Guardian recently reported “Hospitals have become dangerously full and discharge patients too soon as a direct result of ‘political maladministration’ by successive governments, according to a report by the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs select committee”. With hospitals dangerously full, does it really make sense to close beds and cut services, as seems to be the plan for our region? The report goes on to put part of the blame on inadequate social care which results in patients being kept in hospital longer than is strictly necessary from a medical point of view – so called bedblocking. That’s fine, but sort out the social care problem and then see if beds can be closed. Don’t close beds and then wonder why people are dying!
Don’t forget the demonstration in Barnstaple on 22nd October. Also, if you have any personal stories that demonstrate lives saved by Barnstaple hospital that would have been lost if the patient had to travel to Exeter or Plymouth, please let Peter Heaton-Jones know by letter to him at the House of Commons or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know Peter Heaton-Jones is not everyone’s cup of tea, and certainly there are some of his policies with which I disagree. However, he has recently been making speeches which are difficult to disagree with. Last week, I highlighted his speech at the Barnstaple Town Council meeting where almost everything he said could have been taken from the Save Our Hospital Services newsletter, and his comment (in front of impeccable witnesses) that he agreed with everything Gerry Sables, who for more years than I care to count has been bravely keeping aloft the Communist flag in North Devon, had said. On another subject, his latest newsletter says "there’s not a single question to which the correct answer is ‘more politicians’!", something I never expected to hear from a politician, but which I can heartily endorse.
So there we have experienced politicians from the Conservative, LibDem and Communist parties, all marching to the same beat. In Ilfracombe, one of the leading supporters of the Save Our Hospital Services campaign is my friend, Netti Pearson, who is Green, even when she is wearing Red. I have also seen a lot of Labour supporters at the demonstrations I have attended. Of the major parties, the only one I have not seen actively supporting the Save Our Hospital Services campaign is UKIP. So, would any UKIP supporters like to nail their colours to our mast?
The lesson from the above is that, however much we may disagree on other matters – and there must be plenty of things that Peter, Gerry, Brian and Netti would never agree on in a million years – we all agree that we must support our local hospitals.
I am pleased to see the number of mothers who have come forward with their own stories of how their and/or their children’s lives have been saved by Barnstaple Hospital, while the extra journey to Exeter or Plymouth could have been fatal. However, we mustn’t forget that it is not only the maternity services that are under threat and not only mothers to be and their children who would be endangered by closure of services in Barnstaple. Heart attack and stroke victims should be treated in a hospital within one hour of the event, otherwise their chances of a good recovery diminish horrendously. If you live in Ilfracombe, Lynton or even Barnstaple, what are your chances of getting to Exeter, let alone Plymouth, within that Golden Hour? Pretty slim, I would say, maybe non-existent. Oh, it’s not so far as the crow flies, say the Sustainability & Transformation Planners. Well, it will take one hell of a lot of crows to ferry all the heart attack and stroke patients, because the only other option, the air ambulance, will not be able to cope. And you know something – the air ambulance is a voluntary organisation, funded by donations from you and me, not by the NHS.
And finally….. I hear that Neil will be cremated at 11.45 on Monday 10th October. Rest in peace young man.