Tag Archives: NHS

Deborah Morgan “The Punter”

As regular readers will know I don’t really do reviews. But I saw a play last night, written by a friend, and I want to tell you about it, because I think she’s really good at what she does. So fair enough?

“The Punter” by Deborah Morgan, at The Cornerstone, Shaw Street.

“The Punter” then is Deb’s first full play, following her brilliant novel “Disappearing Home” about growing up in Everton. There’s a full house in the theatre tonight, part of the Hope University Shaw Street campus, or “the old SFX” as the friends with me call it.

Some of us have seen an extract from the play performed before, by Deb and a friend at our “Peaceful Warrior” event last September. So we know we’re in for a bit of a comedy. But subsequent development by Deb and the whole company has considerably darkened things from what we saw last autumn. Continue reading

Ten years

Ten years ago today Sarah and I got up worried and early to begin one of the longest days of our lives. We travelled to the Royal Hospital here in Liverpool, to the Rapid Diagnosis Clinic, to find out what we found out.

And ten years later part of me finds it hard to travel back to what Sarah has written here. But most of me is immensely relieved, and grateful, that she is alive to write it. And that the years have in no way dimmed her fire and passion for our National Health Service, or her determination to keep it safe from officious predators, as you’ll see when you read on.



22nd February 2007

This is me on the 22nd of February 2007. It is the day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, age 43.

So today, the 21st of February 2017, marks ten years from that diagnosis. There is no whoop of delight, no fist pumps here. No, this is not a celebration. It is a mere observation of a fact, a fact that I am still here to observe. And of all the questions I asked that day ten years ago during the hours in the hospital, the main question, the one I remember the most, was when I said, ‘Will I die?’

But thanks to modern medicine and surgery, some great doctors and surgeons, a hefty dose of luck and some of my own tenacity, I did not die of breast cancer. At least, I haven’t so far. Continue reading

Wandering About: Down to the River

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A day of reflections.

Having walked a fair bit of North Liverpool then South Liverpool in the last two days it didn’t take a genius or even me to work out today’s ‘Walking About’ route, the middle. Roughly from here in Wavertree, through L7 and L1 to the River. Let’s go.

Out across the Mystery.

Out across the Mystery.

Reflecting as I start out on a third walk in three days that there are some times when I need a lot of time on my own. Not in a melancholy way, but I don’t want to be inside and I have an elemental need to walk, alone.

The inbound London train crosses a 79D bus on Picton Road.

The inbound London train crosses a 79D bus on Picton Road.

Continue reading

Are we all living in ‘Borgen’ now?

The quandry of who on earth to vote for? And will we end up with a feuding coalition anyway?borgen_588249m1

Yesterday evening a brave Conservative walked along our terraced street in Liverpool delivering election leaflets. As soon as I noticed it I went and looked up and down the street to try and see what such a being looked like, but no, they were gone.

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‘Hardworking people?’

Back inside the house soon rang with laughter as I read through the joke in every line leaflet. This chancer, James Pearson is his name, will be ‘safeguarding our NHS, creating new  jobs for hardworking people (yes ‘hardworking’ is now a conjoined political word) and protecting us from the coalition of chaos.’ Eh, I thought the Conservatives had spent the last 5 years running that?

Oh well, none of it matters because James has absolutely no chance of winning the seat here. But thanks for delivering your leaflet anyway. It’s your democratic right and it made me smile, not to say laugh, for a few minutes.

Which is more than the rest of this General Election campaign is doing. Continue reading

Tina’s Story

If you followed my series of ‘Year to live’ posts during this year you may have noticed that amongst the things I said I’d not do any more during this theoretical final year would be make any more films. I judged that I’d been involved in making them for long enough now and so I’d not give over any more of my precious days to making any more?

Well I’ve just finished making a film.

Charlie and Tina.

Charlie and Tina.

Here’s how it happened. The phone rang and someone working with someone I’d worked with in the past (this being the way most work arrives) said they’d like me to make them a film.

‘That’s unfortunate’ I replied ‘as I’m not making them any more.’ ‘Well that’s a shame as we only wanted you’ they came back. ‘You come particularly recommended and we only need it to be about twenty minutes. So do you think you could reconsider?’

‘No, I’m really done’ I said. ‘But what I could do is meet up and help you do a brief to find someone else. Because I can’t believe you really need anything that long. Nobody will watch twenty minutes!’

Continue reading

10k Sunday: A walking version of a run

Noticing the unkempt state of the former Garden Festival site towards the end of this November 2014) walk, you may well be glad to hear the whole site, including the unbuilt housing bit has now been bought from the non-developers by Liverpool City Council (June 2015) with plans to make better use of the place than at any time in the last 30 years. At last.

This is a favourite route of mine as a run. But it’s also a good walk. And since runs are tricky to photograph decently me and my camera set off to walk this particular 10k today. A sunny Sunday and the last day of November.

Along Crawford Avenue.

Along Crawford Avenue.

And up the hill over the railway at Penny Lane.

And up the hill over the railway at Penny Lane.

Down the other side.

Down the other side.

Past one of the two houses round here where the great feminist and politician Eleanor Rathbone used to live.

Past one of the two houses round here where the great feminist and politician Eleanor Rathbone used to live.

It’s now become part of a ‘Spire’ private clinic where, strangely, I was recently given NHS treatment when my left ear went deaf. A bizarre and unsettling experience getting state care in a place full of cosmetic surgery adverts. Continue reading

Mr Churchill: And the creation of the NHS?

Winston Churchill, age 26, in 1900.

Winston Churchill, age 26, in 1900.

Would you say Winston Churchill was a Socialist Prime Minister?

That’s got your attention. Of course he wasn’t. Far from it.

But for the whole of the 1940s Britain had a government largely run by Socialists and for the first half of that Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister. So it is sort of true. Read on.

Since I did my walk around 1943 Liverpool with my then office junior Dad a few weeks ago, I’ve been reading  a lot about the 1940s. Born in 1954 it was, after all, the decade that created the world I was born into and the NHS Hospital I was actually born in. A decade of some of the worst things the human race had ever done:

  • The Holocaust;
  • Stalin’s enslavements and mass slaughtering in the USSR and Eastern Europe;
  • And the British and US fire storming and mass slaughter of German cities, well beyond any military reasoning.

But also a decade when we did one of the best things the human race had ever done, created the British National Health Service.

And over all of our side of things towered the truculent and mildly inebriated figure of the man who was once again Prime Minister when I was born, Winston Churchill. Let’s reflect. Continue reading