Sunday, 29 November 2009

It's time for change

It seems as though the wheels are finally coming off the government’s NHS propaganda machine. The years of nonsensical statistics, Stalinist five-year plans, ministerial edicts or any of the other untreated bullshit that’s been foisted upon the staff of the NHS is coming to light.

The news that Bolton, Greater Manchester and Basildon NHS trusts – the elite NHS Foundation Trusts – had death rates far higher than the national average is bound to start people asking questions about the management of our hospitals.

Finding out what hospitals are really like is pretty tricky. If you ask patients while they're in hospital,  then most will feel so grateful, needy or intimidated they dare not speak out of turn in case they’re refused treatment or simply ignored when they ring for a bedpan. When you’re on the ward you simply don’t rock the boat because you’re so vulnerable. Once most people leave hospital, the nightmare of ward life, filthy toilets and facilities that make Kabul General Hospital look well appointed, begin to fade and complaining is no longer an urgent priority. And as for those who don’t make it through the NHS machine’s 'caring' hands… well, they’re hardly in a position to comment, are they?

So what’s going to happen next? Will someone actually have the nerve to stand up and say parts of the NHS are simply not ‘fit for purpose’? The NHS is like an over-loved teddy. It needs a lot of repair work rather than simply being sprayed with perfume and given a new suit of clothes. It has to take on board patients’ criticisms rather than the pathetic reams of toilet paper produced by overpaid management consultants. The windows need to be opened and the stale air replaced by the invigorating breeze of an open mind that can look at fixing the NHS rather than hosing it down with money that just drains away and empties into the nearest trough for managers and bureaucrats to soak up.

I remember feeling so afraid when I started my blog that criticised the food that was actually hindering my recovery and in danger of making me really ill after ten weeks of nothing else. I was so worried people might spit in my food (or worse) that I knew I had to be anonymous. For all I know, someone may have spat and urinated in my food, but as I hardly ate any of it I’m not all that bothered.

The day after my blog was splashed all over the UK and global media, I felt physically sick for a day or two. I turned down interviews with GMTV, BBC and just about every other media outlet except a couple of radio stations in Perth and Darwin. I was so afraid of being bundled out of my bed for stepping out of line. Actually, I couldn’t step anywhere but you get my drift.

A day or two later the head of finance at the trust where I was being treated visited me because she’d apparently never seen anyone in traction before and was interested. Really? It was so surreal as I lay there explaining how my traction worked as she simply stared at me trying to figure out if I was a lunatic, security risk or just plain trouble. I’d clearly been rumbled at that point.

Perhaps it’s time more patients were given the confidence and encouragement to 'step out of line' and criticise some of the unacceptable practices that are causing people to die needlessly. The NHS can be great but it can also be very bad. It’s time the NHS was stripped of its ‘sacred cow’ status and was forced to face reality and put the patient first. If that happens, then the needless deaths that occur every year in our hospitals won’t have been in vain.

Real hospital food

Christine sent me this snap from a recent meal she was given when in hospital and says: "I was in hospital briefly on thursday for an endoscopy / colonoscopy (aka 'the spitroast') and was treated to jacket potato with salad, melon plate, and ice cream - it was excellent and even the tomatoes had flavour!"

I need more photos like this. In this instance I have a feeling the letters BMI... may have been involved.


Eldest daughter stayed and treated me to her signature dish Eggs Benedict. Nom, nom, nom... as young people say these days

Saturday, 28 November 2009

A bit of a fiasco

The sun may be shining now, but at 8.30 this morning it was dark grey skies and showers of ice-like rain... definitely a gloves, thick socks, coat, scarf and blanket day. And so I set forth looking like a Yeti and made the short journey into town.

I had my coffee but not before almost crashing on to my backside as the wet surface of the rubber pad on the end of one of my crutches slipped and I took my full weight on my bad led and felt a muscle pull or sprain. It was one of those heavy landings where your knee flexes in exactly the opposite direction it's supposed too. The pain was excruciating.

So, back into the wheelchair and off to the bank to sort out a long overdue matter and then I picked up some spectacles that were ready for me. It was then I noticed that one of the wheelchair tyres had gone flat. Frankly that was about all I could take. We headed back for the car in the stinging rain while all around me people walked casually by without even thinking about putting one foot in front of the other. From my lower vantage point even children looked tall, and though it may sound strange, everything felt so intimidating.

I have to say it was one of the lowest points of the past year. I simply couldn't cope with the bustling Christmas crowds and was just happy to be heading back home to put up my aching limb and take a shot of Oramorph for the pain in my back and leg. As I shuffled into the car I couldn't be sure if it was raindrop that rolled off the end of my nose or bit of self pity.

I think I'll give town a miss next week.

Friday, 27 November 2009

It's Friday... fish again

This is yet another piece of Marks & Spencer magic. Salmon en croute with green beans. Very tasty and really quick to prepare. Nice glass of white... I know I shouldn't but a sip won't hurt, will it?

An interesting view

Tomorrow will be one of my first outings since I returned home (physios or doctors don't count) and it's going to be really chilly. This means two things… wheelchair and a blanket. If you've never been in a wheelchair before then I can only say that it's an experience. Your entire view of the world changes.

Firstly, there's the novelty of travelling around at waist height. You end up viewing the world from the level of a ten-year old. This causes you to constantly look up to the people you meet in the street - a very strange feeling. But perhaps the worst part of being in a wheelchair are the looks one gets. Let's forget the odd picture of my fairly small wife pushing round a 5' 11'' male, but people do look at you in a variety of ways. Some stare, small children tend to tap each others arms and point. I guess most immobile people use scooters so you don't see so many wheelchairs around but you soon learn that this is not a wheelchair friendly world.

Despite all the excellent adaptations and the laws that try to make it easier for disabled people to get about, going around town and doing some shopping in a non-electric wheelchair is like a commando assault course for the driver and slightly akin to the Cannonball Run for the passenger. I've lost count of the number of times I've closed my eyes as my protruding leg has nearly smashed into a pillar or clipped the edge of a door. It's dangerous. Eating can be difficult too, as the average wheelchair seems to have a special magnetic capability when it comes to crumbs of food. After a day in town, the seat of a wheelchair can look resemble the baskets of food following the clear up operation of 'the feeding of the 5,000'. It's worse than the cat's food mat.

My second observation is that you soon get cold being wheeled round and that tends to make you more pathetic and waif-like than you really are. This elicits sympathy from elderly ladies and young mothers, which is no bad thing and can be quite comforting. It also makes you appreciate nice warm shops and cafes.

But perhaps the best view from a wheelchair is the number of kindly and thoughtful people you can see that there are in this world. I've had my share of ignorance, rudeness and pigheadedness from people who've let a door close on me when wheeling myself around. I've also been made to wait out in the pouring rain while trying to get into a shop where the doorway is choc-full of immobile women desperate not to get their hair wet and seemingly happy for me and my blanket to get absolutely drenched by a cloudburst. However, overwhelmingly there are so many Good Samaritans in the world who will offer help and support to a total stranger. A short spell in a wheelchair can restore your faith in humanity.

Well, tomorrow I shall have my little outing and enjoy a fresh coffee with friends in the same cafe I've been visiting for 30 years. Then I'll have a quick spin around the German-style Christmas market our town holds each year. It won't be a long outing, but long enough to top up my spirits and give me a glimpse of the normality that I can't wait to reclaim.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

I love Italians

There's a great piece in today's Telegraph reports on the plea by Italian government minister, Gianfranco Rotondi, who has called on Italians to eschew their traditional two-hour lunch break for the sake of the economy.

Long lunches brings the economy to a standstill and Mr Rotondi says it's time Italians looked to their waistlines and followed the example of those fun-loving Germans who apparently don't take lunch breaks... ever! Even we Brits get a pat on the back from Gianfranco who claims we only take breaks three days out of five.

The suggestion was laughed out of court by the whole nation and some nutritionists claimed that Italians typically have a very light breakfast – usually a cappuccino and a cornetto pastry. Without a hearty midday meal, Italians would faint for lack of sustenance. Pietro Migliaccio, a nutritionist went so far as to claim the country would have a "a blood sugar crisis in the afternoon, which would make it quite difficult to work".

Carlo Podda, of the Italian General Confederation of Labour, said: "What next? Should we abolish the boring ritual of sleep?"

Don't you just love the Italians?

You can read the full story here

Nice and simple

Delicious and easy

Walking the walk

Today's the day I return to physio at my local hospital. I'm looking forward to it but there are a few things I can't quite understand about this walking business. Learning to walk is not difficult when you're a baby but relearning to walk when you're trapped in the body of a grown up is no picnic.

There are lots of times when I'm sitting down or lying on the settee with my feet elevated, when I think to myself: "I'll just get up and change that CD/grab an apple/pop to the loo". Then I realise I can't. Obviously I haven't lost the instinct to walk but when I eventually get to my feet with a crutch on each arm, I find I can't cast one crutch aside and try to walk forward. I certainly can't do it without any support. For some reason my left leg just won't allow it to have my full weight forced on it. However much I try I simply can't do it. The thought of falling over and breaking my leg again is too awful to contemplate.

So, I'm assuming much of my inability to walk is a psychological block. My heart says it's okay to walk but my brain steps in and overrules it at the last minute. How do you get around that sort of a barrier? I do my exercises and I'm probably one of the world's most determined, stubborn and difficult individuals but this one's got me beaten for now.

Has anyone else reading this blog experienced the same? Any tips for getting back on my feet?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Dine in for a tenner

Mrs XTM is working all week, sometimes later than usual, so tonight's supper is a cheat... but a tasty one nevertheless. Roast rosemary potatoes, tender-stem broccoli and chicken breast stuffed with feta cheese and butternut squash, encased in a puff pastry lattice and accompanied by a sweet chilli sauce. Now, before you start clamouring for a recipe I must explain that this is a ready meal from Marks & Spencer.

For those living abroad, I should explain that Marks & Spencer is a British institution. It's a large chain of stores that sell clothes, food, furniture and a few other bits and pieces. The quality is pretty good and the prices are fair. There can hardly be a Brit who hasn't worn Marks & Spencer underwear at some point in their life.

The reason why I like Marks & Spencer is that they regularly offer two main course meals, two vegetable side orders, two desserts and a bottle of wine for just £10. That's less than $17 or A$18 or around €11. I think that's great. Name me any restaurant where two people could dine out for that sort of money. It's a great treat in this credit crunch. It's really good to see a large business offering an affordable treat when times are hard. Let's hope people remember when the good times return.

Dessert was a delicious Lemon and Limoncello Pana Cotta

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Just testing

It's been a feet and physio day and I'm really pleased my oedema has gone and I'm working on stregnthening my muscles so that sort of thing doesn't happen again.

It's only just over a week until I find out if my cast and brace can come off. I really hope so but I'm not betting on it.

No supper report tonight as it was the same as last night. The fatted calf has been finished and so my second week at home means a return to less luxurious rations. Delicious nonetheless.

Okay, that's about it for now. I'll try and entertain tomorrow. Bye.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Soup and excuses

Sorry for the lack of posts but much of the day has been spent with my leg in the air. No, I've not taken up ballet, but for some reason my leg has decided to swell again. The calf muscles need to be strong to act as the 'second heart' and return fluids back up the body. Mine are still a bit spindly and wimpish so I was elevated today. The pain and swelling have reduced and I'm now enjoying a warming homemade winter soup in front of the wood burner.

It's easy to forget now I'm home how bad the food was in hospital and I vowed I would try to do something about it when I broke free. I know I haven't written much about it recently but I was giving myself a bit of time off to get used to being home. But I haven't forgotten and I'm currently helping a TV production company to try to find an appropriate platform for the campaign.

I'm also hoping to start more research on the whole subject in terms of best practice and the amount health trusts spend on food per patient. I also need your help. If you could send me photos of good and bad hospital food where you work or are a patient, then perhaps one day we can go as far as having a league table or maybe even hospital food awards as well as wooden spoons!

If you can help with launching a campaign or just have some good ideas then let me know. If you'd like to write on the blog then let me know too. As I build up my strength then so will I step up my efforts to do something about this shameful aspect of the healthcare system.

In the meantime, I'm going to put my feet up, enjoy the fire and maybe play Scrabble with Mrs XTM!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Lazy Sunday roast

This sums up the feeling in the house today. And who could blame him after a lunch like this?

Roast pork with crispy salted crackling

That's the sort of lunch you just have to sleep off

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Just what the doctor ordered

My unofficial doctor popped round for dinner this evening and brought with her a very tasty Lamb Tajine and her husband made some excellent couscous. This was followed by freshly made profiteroles stuffed with whipped cream and drenched in a gorgeous sticky chocolate sauce. The cheese course was optional. Now why can't other doctors make this sort of house call?

I’m planning a crime

Regular readers will know that this week we had a wood-burning stove installed at Traction Towers. We paid a sum of money not far off your average UN aid package to have the thing fitted, but all is now well. I’m broke but the living room is a cosy little den with a cheery glow coming from the once-dark and foreboding chasm where the old fireplace used to be.

As I was looking at the flames gently licking around a log of wood inside the stove, a terrible thought occurred to me. Our house is a Listed Building and is sited in a Conservation Area. What this means is that you own the house but you may make no alterations, may not even dream about making alterations – inside or out – without consulting the local council for Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission.

A chill ran down my spine as I began to wonder if we needed permission for our new stove. I did everything correctly by using a Government approved installer which meant I wouldn’t have to pay out for the local council’s building inspector to call round and give me a certificate for the fire if I’d fitted it myself or asked a mere mortal to install it. You pay many hundreds of pounds extra for this, but I like to play safe for obvious reasons. A neighbour could denounce me or report my heinous crime.

So what should I do? Shall I call the local council and ask them if I need permission or should I risk it? Planning inspectors are a strange breed; a cabal of pettifogging officials drunk on the enormous powers they wield by fiat. Want to put up a garden fence? Need a shed for storage? Hang on a minute! Better call in the planners. Want to change your bed sheets? Hmm… better play safe and give the planning department a call. Anyway, it’s only £250 for the permission to erect your £150 garden shed… well worth the money at twice the price. Actually, it’s probably cheaper to torch the shed if they get shirty.

There was some talk a year or two ago of planning laws being liberalised but that’s all gone very quiet now. I could have guessed these power-crazed megalomaniacs weren’t going to give up their jealously guarded authority until someone actually forces their clipboards from their cold dead hands!

And you want to know why these people are like they are? Well, after Hitler’s Third Reich fell in 1945, there were still plenty of high-ranking Nazis on the loose. Many pretended to be concentration camp victims, others tried to con the Allies into thinking they were Dutch or Polish. However, the vast majority of them, including the Waffen SS, just disappeared.

For many years it was thought that the majority had made it to Argentina, but the truth is, they all lay down their guns, stripped off their uniforms and retrained as town planners. They spread themselves around the world, dropped the German names and accents and then continued with their reign of terror and exercised their unique talent for enforcing the pettiest rules imaginable. Even to this day they still go around knocking on doors without warning, asking to see people’s papers.

I guess old habits die hard. Now where did I put that poker?

Friday, 20 November 2009

It's Friday... that means it's fish

I'd be happy with just the potato and crispy cheese topping

Pollack, salmon and smoked haddock in a béchamel sauce

Not much in the way of leftovers

A growing problem

Manuel Uribe, the world's most obese man has been confined to his bed for the past six years

Perhaps I should spend less time reading the newspapers, but in my situation I’m not sure there’s much else to do once I’ve been out for my jog and spent an hour on the exercise bike!

My latest nugget from the press involves a man who weighs a staggering 39-stone (that’s 248kg or 546 pounds) and has literally outgrown his house. The 67-year-old Michael Williment has put on so much weight that he can no longer move around his specially built bungalow and now requires a couple of carers to hoist him out of his bed and transfer him to a specially adapted armchair where he spends 11 hours each day.

So generous are the authorities in the UK that the man’s local council in Norfolk has agreed to build him a new bungalow at a cost of £300,000 with specially widened corridors and a massive master bedroom.

Since Mr Williment’s last growth spurt, he and his wife Heather have been unable to sleep together. They say they are looking forward to sharing a bed again. “It will be a lot better for us as a married couple,” said Mrs Williment, who admits that her husband’s weight ‘gets me down sometimes’! I think the words she was grasping for may have been crush or flatten.

Mr WIlliment thinks his weight problem was caused by a course of steroids he took as a teenager to treat his eczema. His weight has ballooned since then and Mr Williment now admits he’s given up trying to lose weight. No kidding!

Lucy MacLeod, NHS Norfolk consultant in public health claimed that the main causes of obesity are down to ‘a high calorie diet and a lack of exercise’. No shit, Sherlock! Who’d have thought it? I always wondered how people got fat. In a marvellous piece of NHS-speak, Ms MacLeod added: “NHS Norfolk is committed to working with our partners to encourage members of the public to become more active and facilitate their move towards healthier diets.” I wonder how much she gets paid for spouting that meaningless tripe.

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said the council should be saluted for building Mr Williment a special new home. “We have to have somewhere for this person to live and this house could well be an investment for the future because it can be used by other obese people when he is no longer using it.” That probably won’t be too long, I would think, looking at Mr Williment.

'There's a real need for the NHS to catch these people before things ever get to this state.' I’d agree with that. In fact, I think it would be pretty easy to catch someone like that. I doubt they could run very fast. Hey… even I could catch them!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

There is a God!

For years we've been lectured, hectored and bullied by politicians on matters as diverse as how much we can drink, the salt levels in our diet, our body mass indexes or even the danger of using a mobile phone while driving. Actually that last one seems quite sensible to me even if a lot of people are ignoring the law. I guess that's what happens if you keep introducing new laws like they're going out of fashion, people will just end up ignoring them.

Anyway, despite a fair bit of pain in my legs, something in today's newspapers on this very subject cheered me up enormously. Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the politically correct harridan Harriet Harman (or Harperson as I prefer to think of her because of her hare-brained equality schemes) has been informed that she's going to be prosecuted for using a mobile phone while driving. Oh yes! Thank you, God!

A court summons will be served on the condescending MP for Camberwell and Peckham after a police investigation into a crash in Dulwich, south-east London on the afternoon of July 3. Ms Harman, 59, is facing charges of driving without due care and attention and driving while using a hand-held mobile telephone, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

If found guilty, Ms Harman could face fines of up to £6,000, and have penalty points imposed on her driving licence; she could even be banned from driving altogether! That could be real bugger for her when she loses the use of her chauffeur-driven Government limo after the next election.

This isn't the first time that Harriet has had her collar felt by The Bill. The minor English aristocrat and horribly irritating former public schoolgirl likes to flaunt her social conscience by bullying the middle classes while patronising the poor. However she rarely follows her own advice and is more of a 'do as I say and not as I do' sort of person.

Isn't it nice to see a politician hoisted on their own petard for a change?

Busy, busy, busy

It's been a busy day. First a trip to see the doctor to get all those boring things done followed by something I've been waiting ages for... a haircut. My favourite barber and good friend Sicilian Sam sorted out months of unruly growth and I almost look human again.

Back home and it's time to see the engineers fit the wood fire we ordered to keep me warm  during the days this winter. And now I'm writing this in front of the glowing fire and trying desperately hard not to fall asleep.

Tonight all that activity hit me but the fresh homemade pizza will help replace the energy.

Mrs TM makes the dough from scratch as well as the sauce

With a salad it's even tastier

I only had a sip of wine as I'm taking painkillers

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Insanity sweeps the country... not swine flu!

Tesco Extra... Extra what? Stupidity?

Courtesy of the Daily Snail, I bring you yet another tale of the mass insanity and total collapse in common sense that is currently sweeping through Great Britain faster than a dose of swine flu. The Government denies that we live in a surveillance society or a police state, but I beg to differ...

"When Richard Graham visited a Marks & Spencer store in South Yorkshire to buy some Christmas crackers, his attention was drawn to a notice informing him that, under the Explosives Act, crackers must not be sold to anyone under 16. Mr Graham is 62."

"In Warwick, a group of students, all over 18, went to Tesco to buy a bottle of wine, a birthday cake and a packet of candles. They were asked for ID, which six could produce but one couldn't. So the cashier refused to sell them the wine. OK, they said, we'll just take the cake and the candles. Sorry, said the cashier, but you can't have the candles, either. Why not? No ID.

"Since when has it been illegal to sell candles to anyone who can't prove they are over 18? The students were left with just the cake. They would have been forgiven for pushing it in the cashier's face."

Is it me?

Why don't we have omelettes more often?

Each time we have omelettes we enjoy them so much we wonder why we don't eat them more often. They're nutritious. inexpensive and quick to prepare. Tonight we had cheese and mushroom omelette made with free-range eggs and accompanied by crispy french fries and a fresh side salad. There's only one small problem... it's not thick enough or tough enough to use as a sole to build up my left shoe to equalise my odd-length legs. NHS omelettes were just perfect for this or any other heavy duty task such as road resurfacing, re-roofing or for use as a damp-proof course. We did try to make a big, thick omelette but I think you need powdered eggs and wallpaper paste to do that.

Penne with bacon, spinach and cheese

It seems only fair that if I'm posting photos of all this lovely food, then you should be able to have the recipes. Now, there are two kinds of cooks in this world: measurers and estimators. We fall into the estimator category, so if that's you then you'll be able to follow this recipe easily.

100g pasta penne per person
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large bag of fresh spinach leaves
A few handfuls of smoked, diced bacon
A fistful of blue cheese or any other cheese you like (grated or crumbled)
Salt and pepper
250g of crème fraiche
1 teaspoon of whole grain mustard

Chop the onion and the clove of garlic. Soften in a little olive oil (about a tablespoon at most) and fry until they are soft. Don't burn the onion or the garlic so keep the heat low. In the meantime, put some well-salted water onto boil. Now chop some bacon. You can use back bacon or if you can get lardoons or those nice little cubes of Italian smoked ham, then that will be fine. A handful or two will be enough for two people. Put the bacon in the pan with the onion and garlic and just cook it so that it goes a little crispy but without burning the onions. Throw in a pinch of mixed herbs, some freshly ground black pepper and any other flavour that takes your fancy.

Next take a 250g tub of creme fraiche (or you can use thick greek yogurt or some such substitute) and tip it into a bowl and add a nice big teaspoon of whole grain mustard. By now you will have poured your dried pasta penne into the boiling water. Allow about 100g per person (dry weight) and it should take about 9 minutes to cook. Read the pack instructions if you’re not sure. Turn the heat down so the pasta isn’t bubbling furiously, just a rolling boil will be fine.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and then tip a large bag of fresh spinach into the saucepan. The heat of the pasta will wilt the spinach in a minute or two. Stir to spread the spinach evenly. Now drop in some crumbled or grated blue cheese (St Agur is perfect) or use cheddar or any other cheese you like, if blue isn’t for you. Stir it into the pasta so it melts. Now add the onions and bacon and give it all another stir. Return to a medium heat and add the crème fraiche and stir it all in and make sure the whole dish is hot.

This is a rough-and-ready dish so adjust amounts to suit taste, hunger and personal preferences. Serve straight onto warm plates or put it into a big pasta dish if you want to serve it at table with a bit of elegance. Serve with a salad and a nice, robust red. Australian cabernet would be perfect.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

That's better

Tonight's supper was pasta penne with spinach, bacon, blue cheese and crème fraîche. Tasty and nutritious, and it goes nicely with a nip of Oramorph. My doctor friend came round today to check on me and make sure there wasn't anything too serious going on with my legs and feet. That made me feel a lot better... she also brought some nice chocolate cookies and other treats. Thanks, Jane. Why can't all doctors be like you?

I'm back... with chocolates!

Well, I may have been in great pain these past two days but I couldn’t resist a tiny post today to cheer everyone up and let you know I’m still here and feeling a tiny bit better. Thank you for all your kind messages. They really help and I appreciate it so much. To cheers everyone up I pass on this little snippet that I read today

A Spanish company has invented a chocolate that actually helps you lose weight. The company claims that special amino acids contained in the chocolate send messages to your brain telling you that you aren’t really hungry.

The new chocolates are, the manufacturer claims, no different in taste from ordinary chocolate… in fact the only slight difference is a green tinge that comes from the dietary supplement spirulina, a microscopic algae with a high level of nutrients such as vitamin A and B12, which also have weight loss benefits.

I said the only problem was a slightly green tinge… but I forget to mention the fact that each chocolate cost £1 each. At that sort of price it might be cheaper to opt for liposuction or have a gastric band fitted.

But don’t feel too guilty about eating chocolate because it really is good for you. The Journal of Internal Medicine found that heart attack survivors who eat chocolate regularly are nearly 70 per cent less likely to die from cardiac problems than those who rarely eat it. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which can reduce the risk of blood clots and protect against bowel cancer.

Chocs away!

Monday, 16 November 2009

I'm sorry

I'm really sorry, everyone. I cannot blog today I am in a great deal of pain. I will try to post as soon as I can.



Sunday, 15 November 2009

Deluxe bangers

Creamy mashed potatoes, fresh kale, premium pork sausages and Mrs XTM's freshly made onion gravy

Find out more about these by clicking here


Exceedingly tasty and good fuel to prepare me for my exercises which I must start today. Physio exercises are horrid but they must be done. Wish me luck...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Something fishy...

Prawn risotto... one of my favourites

Tasted exquisite. Pinot Grigio wasn't bad either

Good grief...

Blog reader Nurse Heather works in a ward some distance from the hospital's main kitchen so the food is thoughtfully transferred by van.By the time the food arrives it is quite cold enough for the patients to eat (presumably so they don't burn themselves) and the contents are suitably sloshed around in order to create confusion and ensure nothing can be identified and no one can be incriminated. I have to say this looks one of the worst examples I've seen. Come on the rest of you medics! Get snapping those meals that are a disgrace to the NHS. Let's shame them into doing the right thing. Anonymity guaranteed.

Send me back!

Just how am I expected to eat this sort of breakfast? Where's my cold toast? Where's my fake orange juice? Where's my lukewarm dishwater tea? I even had marmalade afterwards and proper coffee. This sort of abuse has to stop. Nurse!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Home, Sweet Home

Somehow words don't really seem to be necessary...

Rump and filet Aberdeen Angus steak with fresh dumplings and tenderstem broccoli

Succulent and warming

A nice Australian red and not a pea or a drop of custard in sight!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Positively Last Supper

Mushroom soup! Don't make me laugh. There's only one type of fungus this soup has seen

I was so excited about going home tomorrow that I was sick

Only joking. It's broccoli in cheese sauce with wet vegetables

A GP friend of mine (Hi Jane) thinks the NHS custard lake is there to keep old people hydrated. Old people may not drink water but they lap up custard like a cat

Beneath the custard lie cherries... apparently

Someone fetch an archeologist... now!

Just for Sarah and the Chelsea Gang

A Whiskygram especially for Sarah's children. This is Whisky's official publicity picture. He's going to ignore me for a few days when I get home just to show his disgust for me being away so long without his permission. He'll come round...

The penultimate lunch

Carrots... great choice with sausage... I say sausage but

There is no meat in this... I promise!

Apple Grumble

Looks more like a road being dug up