Sunday, 17 October 2010

A whole week has passed since my last Blog posting, seems like a lifetime!

The big shock on announcing that the blog would go out weekly, was when I looked at the statistics mid week. On average, only 2 or 3 people were looking in! That means of course that the 70 to 80 people who were looking in daily, were not there, because they had been told there would be no postings for a week. They were all regulars, how fantastic! I was delighted to find that, because I thought I had perhaps around 20 regular followers and that the other 50 or so hits were just random. I feel guilty having gone to weekly now, and hope you all come back once a week :-)

Sasha made all the difference on Thursday, and I would like to say a big thank you to her. There are 'sayers' and 'doers' and she has proved to be the latter throughout all of this. Fed up with lack of progress, she called Addenbrookes on Thursday morning, with far more determination than I had strength for. Not sure what she said, but within minutes, the Consultant's secretary phoned me with the following information.

My consultant is on holiday (wouldn't you have guessed!) and is due back on Monday (tomorrow). All of my records are waiting for him and I will be discussed at the MDT meeting on Monday 25th October. That's the big meeting that they have at all hospitals every week to discuss cancer patients currently in the pipeline. After this meeting, I should be called down within a week for an outpatients appointment, where I will be examined and possibly rescanned. All being well then, surgery should follow within a short period of time, but many things could influence what period of time that will be. So I am now on the conveyor belt at Addenbrookes, which is better than wondering where the conveyor belt is in Carlisle!

Great week at Uni, photography, ecology, biodiversity, expedition planning; love it! We had a two hour lecture on 'soil', can you believe that? I didn't know there was so much too know about that stuff! I've also been given the 29th October as the date for my minibus practical, so stay indoors Penrith!

This Wednesday we are on a day trip to Thorp Perrow arboretum and gardens, over in Yorkshire. I've put a link to it below, sounds great, don't you think?

Thank God for the French when I need reminding of a population that still has backbone. The French Government want to raise the retirement age to 62! Yes 62! All French people currently retire at 60 having worked a 35 hour week up till then. In this country, I've know people who work 70 or 80 hours a week and only get paid for 40. There is one sat opposite me now working all weekend, as she normally does, for no other reason than wanting the best for the children at her school; and she is working for 'free'. I can't fault her dedication, but I despise the system that takes advantage of it.

The French reaction to this decision by their government, is being led by French students, who are protesting in every city across their nation. Can you imagine our students protesting? They couldn't get out of bed on time! Now, I hear that the lorry drivers are blocking all main routes, the power workers are walking out and all fuel delivery drivers to the National Airports have gone home. Brilliant!

In this country, the retirement age is going up to 66 in about 6 years time, and then incrementally to 70. This means that you have to work until 70 until you get the state pension. Of course, most people will have to stop working at around 60 because at that age, in many jobs, they would simply struggle to keep up. So they will get to retire at 60, but just won't get a pension for another 10 years. It's a big 'win' situation for the government, because most people make it to 60 and a fair few even to 65, but about 170,000 people, aged between 65 and 70, die in the UK every year. That's 170,000 people who paid into the state pension all their working lives, who will never see a penny of it!

If our government put the retirement age up to 100, and cut the state pension in half, do you know what would happen? NOTHING! Spineless, gutless population as we are, having won two world wars, we still fail to even recognise the enemy living amongst us.

So why are we like this? Do they drug our reservoirs, or just give us enough X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and Eastenders to turn our brains to a jelly? Maybe we are protesting all around the country, but it's not being reported by the media? I last protested with two of my daughters, Chantal & Sasha, at the G8 Summit in Edinburgh. 5,000 riot police lined the city streets that day to police a completely non violent crowd. I lost track of where my daughters had gone, but finally got a call from one. Twenty of them, all youngsters with placards, mainly girls, were surrounded by over 150 riot police in full body armour. They were refusing to let them leave unless they left one by one. A single traffic warden could have sorted it out; especially an Edinburgh traffic warden! I was left stunned by the sight of this overwhelming force, used against a group of harmless young people who had done nothing wrong but apparently, were acting illegally.

Yet when a bank fails, making massive losses and ruining the lives of thousands of people, what happens to their leaders. Leaders, who knew weeks before what was about to happen and filled their pockets, advising their families and close friends to do the same.
Fred Goodwin, the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was punished by having his pension reduced from £700,000 to 342,000 a year! NOT ONE police officer showed up, they didn't need to, because, 'he had done nothing illegal'. Do I sound pissed off with the Justice system in this country?

I better add to this, in saying that I am a total supporter of the Police, as they do their sometimes almost impossible work. I have many serving and retired friends, who are the most fantastic people you could ever meet. They have an extremely difficult job to do, and like us, just doing their best with the given funding. As inequality grows in this country, their job will become very difficult. There are dark times ahead.

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