On the 70th Anniversary of the NHS, here’s my offering:
Ten, Nine, Eight
A J Hayward
I thought NHS stood for:
Never Eat Sweets
but as a nine-year-old I was proved wrong
when my leg needed technical adjustment
I thought it would be fun
a few weeks off school
Wasn’t I a fool?
They took me to the theatre
Then the importance hit me
I wanted to run but I can’t even walk
Surrounded by men in green
I wanted to scream but no,
it was too late
I was counting backwards in my head
Ten, nine, eight
Just as I was told
A man came out on a trolley
He looked so old
and all I could think as I was injected into sleep
Was he just nine years old when he went in?
Approximately written in 1996
Published in The NHS Experience edited by Sally Goodall
Anchor Books, 1996
I had such plans for my writing this year and still have. Writing this whilst on holiday in beautiful Suffolk, I feel more inspired than I have in a long time, even though I really struggle to believe where time has gone. By now I had hoped to have added some twelve pieces to my blog but putting pressure on myself is counterproductive, so I vow to stop. You heard it here first!
Holidays are meant to be relaxing and fun, this one has ticked every box and I have fallen for this beautiful leafy county with it’s rolling countryside and chocolate box houses adorning each village.
From pubs which don’t serve food in the afternoons despite a sign being outside to a gorgeous hotel for morning coffee in quaint Lavenham, we have encountered many establishments this week of varying standards.
In 2008 I was invited to write the following for Mobilise Magazine
I logged into my Blog last night to find that I couldn’t add anymore until I paid some money. Maybe I was naive but I am not in the habit of paying to be published. I wasn’t sure whether to continue but decided this morning that if I could do my Blog by email, I would have more control who read it. Not the idea if you want to be noticed but when it comes to my precious words, I am more timid than you’d all believe. Each epistle is a new child to me and I am very protective. Of course, there’s nothing to say that the Blog and Pencilpatch Times won’t find themselves in a book one day, a sort of ‘Life on Wheels’ little book. Who knows?
It wasn’t the most exciting of weeks, although it started with a great comment from my Taxi Driver who on Monday morning said ‘I know when I’m wrong’ – a man who says that can’t go wrong in my book! He really is great, I have trained him well, he listens to Radio 2 now and drives along periodically looking in the mirror saying ‘Alright Manda?’ rather enthusiastically.
On Monday I turned into Grumpy and I think most of my colleagues wondered who I really was. My friend was here on Sunday and laughed hysterically when I said I had a temper – she should have seen me Monday, talk about watch and learn!!!
Tuesday and Wednesday were welcomed days off. On Wednesday we went to Cambridge to see Victoria Wood’s acclaimed ‘Acorns Antiques’, which was brilliant. I think Victoria Wood is amazingly talented and it was great to see some of her work on stage. I love the depth and vibrancy of her characters, not only is she a great writer, she’s the University of People Watching.
The rest of the week slipped away in some sort of virus so I didn’t make it back into work on Thursday as planned which I berated myself for. Those of you particularly close to me will know what a monster I become when I am ill. If only I concentrated on becoming well rather than obsessing about what I haven’t done or what people may or may not think because I missed two days from work, life would be so much easier.
Here’s to an easier week!
Originally Published 4 February 2007
Remastered for Wheels & Wit @2018