I've been a guest of the NHS (the envy of the world) for 14 weeks so far this year. How I managed to survive is a wonder even to me. You see, the NHS is run along strictly Soviet lines. In order to make the Soviet experience even more authentic, my hospital has provided plenty of Eastern European charm. Take our ward manager, for example. I don't know the lady's real name but I call her Rosa... as in Rosa Krebs, that charming lady in the Bond movies with poisoned spikes in her shoes. Marvellous woman. I think she may be Moldovan but I'm not entirely sure. If anyone ever wants an enforcer then Rosa's your girl. She has all the ruthlessness of Stalin coupled with the efficiency of the Wehrmacht and the charm of a great white shark. However, to Rosa's credit, she did manage to retrieve my lunch as it was being wheeled back to the kitchen as I was overlooked yet again!
Oh how I wish Rosa hadn't chased that trolley. On paper, the sound of Southern-style drumsticks was quite appealing. Unfortunately the menu didn't state the origin of southern. In my case it was southern Ethiopia. Never have I seen such scrawny and aged chicken. There was more stick than drum. This was a case of chicken bones coated in a rock hard material that would have been better employed as the surface for Heathrow's third runway. Alongside the Southern-style bones was a heap of murdered cabbage and something described as sautéed potatoes. It is beyond even my fertile imagination to identify what the potatoes had been sautéed in, but my best guess would be a bedpan.
Never mind there's always pudding to look forward to... isn't there? Sadly no. The jam roly poly had indeed been rolled, probably across the kitchen floor by the taste of it. And how anyone could screw up custard quite so badly I can't imagine. It wasn't thick enough to have lumps. Yellow water would be a more accurate description.
So here I am with another six weeks to go in the care of Rosa and her team. And Barack Obama wants to give this to America! If he does he'll certainly go down in history. Now if you'll excuse me I'll stop there as I can hear the sound of the warm-drinks trolley coming.