18 January 2021 (Monday) - After the Night Shift

The night shift was much as most night shifts are these days. When I first started doing night duties as a blood tester (in August 1985) things were very different. Weekend and night work was paid as overtime. We would work a standard nine-to-five shift from Monday to Friday and then all go home. One of us would (on a rota system) be available each night and each weekend,  and we would then be called in from home when required. And we would then work a standard nine-to-five shift afterwards. (At the weekends people would be on duty for forty-eight hours without a break. And then work the nine-to-five shift on the Monday too. We would regularly be on duty for up to seventy hours every week). But the workload was so much easier back then. Being called in more than four times (i.e. for four patients) between five o'clock in the afternoon and nine o'clock the following morning was considered to be busy. More than sixteen call-outs during a weekend (forty-eight hours) was seen to be excessive.

As the workload grew, travelling to and from home became impractical. We were given a room in the hospital accommodation where we would sleep between calls. And after an amazing concession from management we were allowed to go home one hour early for each time we were called out of bed after midnight.

But since the halcyon days of yore the workload has escalated exponentially (and the pandemic hasn't helped). Far from being called in for a named patient, doing our bit (as overtime) and going home again, these days our night and weekend work is done as standard shifts, and the workload is constant. Last night was actually a quiet one by today’s standards, but I had blood samples from over fifty different patients and I produced just under a thousand different individual blood test results.

How times have changed.


Shortly before three o'clock this morning I had whatever it is you call the meal that you eat at three o'clock. As I scoffed I looked at the Facebook app on my phone. Some complete f...wit was posting to one of the Ashford chat sites about how COVID-19 and face masks are a hoax, and how he wished that people wouldn't go along with what he saw as a conspiracy. Other half-wits were posting anti-vaccination propaganda which was simply wrong. I considered posting about how my night was going but thought better of it. As Mark Twain once remarked, "Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience".

Amazingly someone I've known for over thirty years was also posting how he wouldn't have the COVID-19 vaccine when he will be offered it. I asked him why. He said he didn't want it because he "couldn't wrap his head around it" but said that he wasn't surprised that I'd had the vaccine because I understand that sort of thing. I did think of pointing out the incongruity that he has no problem smoking dodgy stuff that even dodgier people pass to him under pub tables but he won't take a reputably produced and licenced medical product, but thought better of that too...


As always it was with a sense of relief that I greeted the early shift when she arrived, and once I’d scraped the ice off of my car I set off homewards down the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the frankly amazing effort that vaccination teams have been performing. On average the NHS is doing one hundred and fourteen vaccinations every minute right now, but still people were looking to find fault.


Once home I took the dogs round the road for a quick outing. We didn’t go very far, but they were *far* better behaved than they had been yesterday. Their behaviour is much worse whenever "er indoors TM"  comes along. I have this theory that Pogo is trying to protect her, and his heightened excitement winds the others up. Whilst his intentions are all very admirable, it does make him (and consequently all three dogs) something of a pain in the glass.

With dogs walked I then took Fudge to the vet. He walked very happily as far as Bond Road as he knows I often park the car there, but as we walked past Bond Road so he stopped and dug his heels in. He flatly refused to go any further down the road as he knows the only reason we go that way is to go to the vet. In the end I had to carry him as he would not walk.

We got to the vet’s; I popped him on the scales. He was nine point two kilogrammes. He was trembling n terror when we got called in. But it was good news. His kidney infection has cleared up, and the weight loss is probably due to a lack of appetite caused by the antibiotics which stop tomorrow.

He’s booked in for a blood pressure test next week.


I went to bed for a few hours, and woke in time to spend the afternoon slobbed out in front of the telly watching “Four in a Bed”. Today’s contestants featured two rather good places offering rooms, a rather posh spa and a rather downmarket place in Blackpool catering for the budget end of the market. I quite liked the place in Blackpool, but as the show went on I took a serious dislike to the woman who ran the place. She had a major chip on her shoulder, admitting to a resentment to anyone who lived south of Birmingham.

One of the other places featured was a pub offering accommodation which was just down the road in Rye. "er indoors TM" has been there a few times. The place looked rather nice, but I wonder… the show was rather misleading in that in the “Rye episode” it featured several places in East Sussex which are all many miles apart but would have had us believe they were all local to Rye.


"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching a documentary about the making of the “Mr Bean” programs. Can you believe that the first one was made over thirty years ago?

17 January 2021 (Sunday) -Before the Night Shift

I slept well, finally getting up shortly after nine o’clock. Mind you I did feel rather rough when I got up. Fudge was keen to go out to the garden so we came downstairs and whilst Fudge and Sid went up the garden I cleared up all the turds from the kitchen, There were several today.

I made toast and got the lap-top going. I had a message (via Facebook) from Anggi Auzy  who had said “dating site naughty whore” and had given a website address which presumably would take me to a dating site and/or a naughty whore. I thought better of clicking on that link. I’d had a similar message on Friday from someone else who is still going on Facebook. I saw a friend was telling the world that he too had received a dubious message through Facebook this morning. However he’d made the error of telling the world the message in its entirety. Unfortunately the Facebook bots will pick up on his posting and will brand him to be the pornmonger.

I had a message (via the geocaching website) from a friend who had said “The secular cooling that must someday overtake our planet has already gone far indeed with our neighbour”. There was then a link supposedly to geocaching messenger which was actually to some other web site. I posted a warning to the local geocaching Facebook page, and it would seem that several people’s geo-accounts have been hacked. You have to ask why… what can anyone steal from a geocaching account that is worth having?


I then gathered turds from the garden. There weren’t as many as usual.


Bearing in mind pretty much everywhere that we might walk the dogs would be a swamp (after yesterday’s rain) we took them round the park, but made the schoolboy error of going after ten o’clock. The place was absolutely heaving. There were other dog walkers who were quite obviously out for their one walk of the week. There were small children on bikes and scooters not looking where they were going. There were small children on bikes and scooters constantly falling off because their parents demanded they went at walking pace. There were endless people blundering around seemingly oblivious to the hundreds of people around them. And through this were all sorts of people running and cycling and determined not to let anyone slow them down.

And to completely boil my piss, Pogo decided to go completely rogue.

Never go to the park after ten o’clock in the morning…


We came home; I went to bed and slept for five hours. That’s more than I usually sleep in the afternoon. And having felt grim when I woke this morning and when I went to bed at mid day, I still didn’t feel right when I got up the second time.

Perhaps I am sickening for something?

I’m off to the night shift soon… life is so dull right now… It comes to something when gathering turds is the highlight of the day,

16 January 2021 (Saturday) - So Bored...

Finding myself wide awake at silly o’clock I got up and had a very early brekkie whilst watching an episode of “The Office” before going back to bed. I slept for a few more hours until Sid started a woofing fit. I got to him before he could “do” anything. When he saw the rain he was reluctant to go out to do anything, but go out he did. I went with him and saw that the forecast snow had fallen. There had been enough to leave a white covering on the lawn.

Peering into the Internet I sent out some clan invites (it’s a Munzee thing), and rolled my eyes at some of the postings on the Kent-based fishing pages. Several people were posting selfies from where they were fishing this morning. There is something of a macho-element in fishing circles; there is supposedly some merit in sitting in a puddle of slushy mud whilst the rain hammers down around you. I can’t see it myself, but many other “proper” fishermen have often lambasted me for not going fishing in the most extreme of conditions.


With freezing conditions and torrential rain outside our plans for a longer dog walk were a non-starter. Fortunately the dogs seemed happy to carry on sleeping, so I spent the morning carrying on with my Atlas of Haematology. Rather dull, but it passed the morning.

I ironed a couple of shirts whilst watching a camping special “Four In A Bed” in which four camping and caravan sites were up against each other. As always the show made for good viewing, but they never compare like with like. In today’s show one titled couple were operating a glamping site in the garden of their castle whilst another couple were running a budget campsite on a wasteland in order to raise enough money for a full set of teeth. 

Seeing a break in the rain we quickly took the dogs round the block, then once home had a cuppa. I was rather amazed when Fudge stole my biccie. I would expect it from the other dogs, but not from Fudge. I did more work on my Atlas, then got a message from "My Boy TM". He has started watching “Bridgerton” on Lacey’s recommendation. My granddaughter has seen the lot… I was shocked. But then when I was her age I can remember me and a mate trying to snaffle his gran’s movie projector so we could watch “Gymslip Rampage”; a rather dubious film that we’d got from an iffy shop in Hastings Old Town. Thinking back I can remember we got caught trying to snaffle the movie projector. We never did see Gymslip Rampage”. I wonder what happened to it?

"er indoors TM" boiled up bangers and mash. They were rather good. As we scoffed them we watched the James Bond film “Spectre”. We’d tried watching it some time ago but the sound quality on the DVD (or whatever it was) had been rather dodgy and we’d had to give up about half-way through. Tonight we watched it (having recorded it over Christmas) and… I think last time we’d seen the best bit. Like all the James Bond films it started well, but lacking very much of a plot, it just dragged on and on and ended up being perhaps an hour too long. Such a disappointment – I’d been looking forward to it for some time… 

Today was *so* dull… Usually on dull days I’ve had a full working day in the middle to give me something to do, but terrible weather and lockdowns put the kibosh on doing anything today. It is as well that I’m a “key worker” (I *hate* that phrase) – I would go stir crazy if I was cooped up at home much longer.