Monday, September 15, 2014

TMI Tag - some useless information about myself

Secular Scarlet nominated me for this TMI Tag, and now I have worked out what the questions mean, there is no going back ….

1 What are you wearing?
 Fairly muddy three-quarter length trousers (not long back for the allotment) and my favourite Festival T-shirt.

2 Ever been in love?
A couple of times. Stuck with the second guy, which was a good choice.

3 Ever had a terrible break up?

4 How tall are you?
1.75m or 5’8″

5 How much do you weigh?
around 63kgs or 10stone

6 Any Tattoos?

7 Any piercings?
Yes. Had my ears pierced, when I was a teenager, but don't bother now.

8 OTP (One True Pairing)
I reckon Tony Benn and Jesus together would make this world a better place.

9 Favourite Show
Rather partial to Swedish Crime Drama

10 Favourite Bands?
Crowded House
The Beautiful South

11 Something you miss?
More tolerance in the world and willingness to co-operate and work together

12 Favourite Songs?
"Fields of Gold" Eva Cassidy
Most songs by Simon and Garfunkel

13 How old are you?
Heading for 48

14 Zodiac sign

15 Quality you look for in a partner?
Commitment, humour and tolerance

16 Favourite Quote
"Be the change you want to see in the world." (Mahatma Gandhi)

"Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)

17 Favourite Actor?
Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, Judi Dench

18 Favourite Colour?

19 Loud music or soft?

20 Where do you go when your sad?
Walking or running

21 How long does it take you to shower?
10 minutes tops

22 How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
20 minutes to be physically ready; 60 minutes to be mentally prepared

23 Ever been in a physical fight?
Not that I can remember

24 Turn on?
Honesty, sincerity and laughter

25 Turn off?
Hatred, dishonesty and cruelty

26 The reason I joined Utube?

27 Fears?
Heights and being abandoned

28 Last thing that made you cry?
Seeing thousands of people last week waiting in Red Lion Square for the marchers in the People's March for the NHS - such solidarity and support!

29 Last time you said you loved someone?

30 Meaning behind your online/Twitter name?
Madhat refers to my early Internet days, when I was into knitting and selling hats.

31 Last book you read?
Finding Sanctuary by Father Christopher Jamison

32 The book you are currently reading?
"Seeking Justice - The Radical Compassion of Jesus" by Keith Hebden
"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

Hoping to read next:
"NHS Plc - The Privatisation of our Health Care" by Allyson M. Pollock
"Harry's Last Stand - How the World My Generation Built is Falling Down, and What We Can Do to Save it" by Harry Leslie Smith

33 The last show you watched?
Waking the Dead

34 Last person you talked to?
My son

35 The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
My daughter

36 Favourite Food?
Lamb biryani

37 Places you want to visit?
Scotland and Scandinavia

38 Last place you were?
Trafalgar Square in London

39 Do you have a crush?

40 Last time you kissed someone?
About an hour ago

41 Last time you were insulted?
Unless you count meaningless Twitter tweets from people who really don't know me at all, not for a very long time

42 Favourite flavour of sweet?

43 What instruments do you play?
Saxophone and piano (once upon a time); these days singing is my thing

44 Favourite piece of jewellery?
Wedding ring; don't really wear jewelry

45 Last sport you played?

46 Last song you sang?
"How Great Thou Art" last Sunday
Before then "Donald, Where's Your Troosers"

47 Favourite chat up line?
I don't have one.

48 Have you ever used one?
Not for 28 years, so I'm probably a bit outdated ...

49 last time you hung out with anyone?
Last week. Long walk with husband and daughter.
Before then, joining the People's March for the NHS with the greatest bunch of people! (See previous blog post)

50 Who should answer these questions next?
@SaritaAgerman @KeithHebden @beingboth
(Have tried to look for tweeps who I know also blog)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The People’s March for the NHS - the day we filled Trafalgar Square

Let me be clear, I am not political.

But I support the NHS. I have worked in the NHS for 24 years and I love its principles and all it stands for.
The idea that health provision is not for personal gain sits deep within the National Health Services’ principles. So far that, if a patient or service user gives us a box of chocolates as a Thank-you gift, we as staff take it back to the office to share with everybody.
The underpinning concept is this:
the NHS (and all its workers) will provide care for patients, regardless of who they are; whether they are rich or poor; whether they can afford to buy a box of chocolates or not.
So the idea that our health services should be run by private companies who (have to) make a private profit out of the health/sickness of the nation, seems simply very, very wrong.

I love the NHS.
And I love walking.

So when I heard about the People’s March for the NHS, started by a group of people in the North-East (referred to as the Darlomums) and retracing the steps of the 1936 Jarrow March from Jarrow to London, I immediately felt this was something I wanted to be part of.

Being not political I thought of it as a walk rather than a political march.
Having registered with the march for the last five days my anxieties were mostly around practical issues, such as would I have to carry my own luggage; would I need to buy my own food and find my own accommodation?
And being somebody who can take a while to relax around strangers raised the question whether I would fit in with an already well-established group?

I needn’t have worried.
The generosity and hospitality of people was amazing. We were fed and cared for every day. Community centres, the Methodist church and individual people opened their homes and halls for us to use. People cooked for us. Leisure centres let us use their showers. People were amazing!

And as for fitting in with the group?
On the end of my first day, having joined the group in the early afternoon and only walked 5 miles or so, standing along the sidelines watching the rally unfold, Rehana Azam (one of the Darlomums and organiser of the march) said to me “Come and stand with us. You are one of the 300 milers now!”
Thank you, Rehana. That meant so much!

Our core group of 30 people or so was really a bunch of quite ordinary people. And spending so much time together, it seemed easy to get to know people. Walking is a wonderful way to get to spend time and chat.
So my thanks go to all of you who have shared that journey with me.

To Rehana for keeping us all together and making sure nobody got lost. You are amazing! It must have been like herding cats.
To Craig for keeping us chanting and shouting, even when we were dead on our feet.
To Jo, James, Geoff, campervan “It’s a motorhome” Joe and medic Jordan (and all the others I have not met and cannot name) who were keeping us supported and safe by driving, transporting and organising things behind the scenes.
To Icarus and Vinny for managing to get me dancing and singing after marching 15 miles – even if they weren’t at their best the following morning.
To Barbara for her gentle patience and her great humour. And for convincing me that people beeping their horns and shaking their fists angrily are really angry with the NHS cuts,
not me!
To Dr Raj, big John, Jim and Brian - men of few words, but when they speak it is worth listening!
To Dave and Ian for making me laugh all the way.
To Trish for always finding the nearest toilet.
To Nicola for her advice on foot care.
To Carol, Neil, Terry, Ann-Marie, Margaret, Fiona, Stella and Joanne for inspiring me with their perseverance and energy.
To Tone and John for great conversations along the way.
To Geoff, with whom I could have spent hours discussing theology and the role of the church in the political issues of health care and poverty.
To anybody else I may have forgotten to name.
And to all you unknown people out there, who offered us food, refreshments, accommodation and support along the way.
To those who clapped and cheered, shook our hands and even showered us with flowers!

You are amazing. Did I say you were ordinary? You are anything
but ordinary! You are the most extraordinary bunch of people I could ever have hoped to march with!

Thank you for teaching me so much. By the time we reached London to be met by thousands of people I was beginning to realise that the future of our NHS
is a political issue and that I cannot have an opinion about it without being political.

I am beginning to listen more carefully to what politicians are saying about it.
I am beginning to get involved in our local campaign to save our own A&E department.

am political. Let’s keep fighting for our NHS!

Added April 2015:
The fight for the NHS continues, even more so in the run up to the general election.
To follow the events of the Marchers for the NHS, check their website. And join us!