Cheeky monkey

Art, illustration, Life

Here’s a great etching by a renown illustrator of zoological books during the 1920’s and 1930’s, one Leonard Robert Brightwell.  He apparently started drawing animals from the age of 6, clearly understanding his sense of purpose early in life. He went on to draw for the educational comics Look and Learn, if you are old enough to remember them.

Before the days of google and wikipedia naturally, we had to contain our excitement at getting one of these babies. You can even download a sample from the website, or if you really want to wade thigh deep in nostalgia they have been good enough to compile a set of 48 of the best for you to buy! Go here to indulge

I digress, a weakness of mine, to get back to the monkey, there is really no reason whatsoever to post him here, except that I like him . For more of his original prints, here is

Looking at his illlustrations I get the impression he really loved his job. To find a purposeful living must be one of the greatest blessings anyone can have bestowed on them. Until I had children I worked in the printing industry, and worked my way through several positions in the company. It was challenging, pressurised and engaging, but I can’t say it was fulfilling a life purpose in me, and after about a decade I was happy to immerse myself in the business of bringing up a family.  I missed the money of course, and the self esteem that doing a good job brings you, the feedback and the social camaraderie of a team, but there was lots I was happy to turn my back on. The politics of office life, the incessant demands of senior management, and the crass stupidity of the man who was to rise to the dizzy heights of M.D., thankfully after my flight to domesticity. I had had to endure his bullying as a youngster in the business, and for the whole of my time with the company I had an enmity that burned!  All this is completely beside the point, but I am at a stage in my life that purposeful endeavour is proving elusive. Spending time doing something that engages is really a privilege. I am so glad now I could give up work to be with my sons full time, nothing can prepare you for the change to your life, and nothing can prepare you for the time when they grow up and away. It’s just the way it is. I remember during the times when life was a bit monotonous and full of chores that I would tell myself they were my job now, and any job has bits which are boring and tedious.  They weren’t boring or tedious, but spending long days alone with them for long periods of time could try the patience of a saint. And I wasn’t one. But now I need to reshape the days ahead, to find a goal that is achievable within the parameters of a peripatetic lifestyle , two not quite adult sons, a husband and a dog. Thinking caps on!! 



NHS lobby letter to your MP

government, health, Life, United Kingdom

Hi there,

The Lords failed to defer the Health and Social Care Bill. I don’t think this has anything to do with party politics, but I do think the government is proceeding carelessly and is making a critical mistake with everybody’s NHS. Not theirs, everybody’s NHS.  I have posted my letter to my M.P. here, in the hope that you will copy it , and send it to your M.P if they voted for the Health and Social Care Bill. If you go the this link, you can easily find a format for sending your letter to your own MP. You can find out if your M P  did vote for the bill to go through.  Please use my wording if it saves you time/ effort.





I am dismayed that the Lords allowed the Health and Social care bill to get through.The professional body itself raises its head above the parapet and says ‘However, we still believe that the government’s reform plans pose an unacceptably high risk to the NHS, threatening its ability to operate effectively and equitably, now and in the future. This is why the BMA continues to call for the Bill to be withdrawn or, at the very least, to be subject to further, significant amendment.’ – Dr Hamish Meldrum of the BMA. I quote Ben Goldacre here : ‘In case you don’t understand NHS bill: GPs know they’re being set up to fail by being given commissioning powers. Those are specialist skills. ■After GPs fail, private commissioning expertise will be needed: large private corps, which will come to operate like health insurers. ■These large bodies, like public/private insurance co’s, will be able to pick & choose patients. Note no geographical responsibility in bill ■Small differences will emerge in what services they offer. Top up plans will become available. And that will be that. ■It is so very obvious that GPs are being set up to fail at the specialist task of health service planning that it’s clearly not an accident” You are not taking into consideratin the opinions of valued menbers of the professional bodies. How can you expect us, the voters, to place our trust in a government so blind and deaf to those experts? Why do the government continue to refuse the release of the Transitional Risk Register for the Bill, despite being ordered by the Information Officer and an appeal tribunal? MPs voting now are passing judgement without knowing the risks the government expects this legislation to have for the NHS. This will have the same result as the poll tax had for the Thatcher government. Your party will be unelectable after proceeding with this bill. I urge you to reconsider and hope the Commons defer the bill pending further analysis.






If only……….

health, Life, Thoughts

Would that I could but know myself, as Erasmus advises when compiling his ‘Proverbs’ from contemporaneous literature.  If I did know myself, perhaps I would feel less bewildered by life, and by the times in which I live. I crave understanding and meaning, and always have done, since being a little tot.  I don’t know why, and I have more questions than answers, as in the song.  I look back to Seneca, and to Socrates, to Shakespeare and Confucius. I know I am not alone in this unmapped territory but the  fact that I am not does not ease the dis-ease of my mindset.  I read alot, but that which I can understand doesn’t enlighten me, and the stuff I don’t understand simply adds to the confusion. In the much quoted (by me) Ian Dury ‘ There ain’t ‘arf been some clever bastards’. So cleverness can’t help me.  Once upon a time, I though that Love must hold the answer,  but I am loved, and I love in return, and my feelings of utter desperation to hold on to something I cannot grasp still return, and threaten a sense of well being. To ease the anxiety, I find like minds and decide to enjoy the ride.  Hope you are well, hope you find your way in the world. Hope I do.  What concerns me now is whether the children I have had will be trapped in the same headlights as me.  Hope not. They are on their own journeys, perhaps ones that have maps. Hope so.

Here’s a great link, well two actually . Different in treatment but attacking the same theme,  how to manage you own mini madness. Enjoy.

Just Say No! But say it now. Say it loud.

government, health, Life, United Kingdom

My thanks go to Ben Goldacre, highly respected science journalist, if you want to know more about his credentials, he writes for the Guardian, and has a blog here

He has identified quackery for what it is, and continues to risk dismemberment by raising his head above the parapet.  Anyway, I trust him much more than I trust alot of journalism.  He does the work in researching his subjects, and then makes pithy conclusions.  In this case, I had concluded the same, but he says it better than me.Follow this:

‘In case u  don’t understand NHS bill: GPs know they’re being set up  to fail by  being given commissioning powers. Those are specialist  skills.

  • After   GPs fail, private commissioning expertise will be needed:  large private   corps, which will come to operate like health insurers.
  • These  large bodies, like public/private insurance co’s, will be  able to pick  & choose patients. Note no geographical responsibility  in bill
  • Small differences will emerge in what services they offer. Top up plans will become available. And that, kids, will be that.
  • It is so  very obvious that GPs are being set up to fail at the  specialist task  of health service planning that it’s clearly not an  accident
  • Those  last 5 tweets are what will obviously, predictably, happen to  the NHS  after this bill. If you missed them, they were a bit  important.’


And that is why he is suggesting anyone interested in trying to save the National Health Service from these catastrophic predictions should sign one of the many petitions out there, or get involved in the sterling work to counter the plans. You could go here;

or here:


Remember this……….

health, Life, Thoughts

You might just make all the difference , and no-one knows when, where or to whom a stroke will strike.  Commit this small memory to mind, the first three letters of stroke.

You might save a life. If a stroke victim gets medical help within three hours, they stand a good chance of a full recovery.  How good is that? .