Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Bone-headed bureaucracy

It's not just here in the UK where bureaucrats appear to have undergone a frontal lobotomy. Virtually every nation under the sun seems to have been taken over by complete morons. Take the example of a South African man, mistakenly listed as dead by authorities, who has spent four years fighting to prove he is alive so he can get a passport, register a car and change his wife's marital status from "widowed".

Claude Pretorius has been working to correct the bureaucratic error since 2006, when he discovered, while applying for a passport, that the Department of Home Affairs had listed him as dead. "They told me that I could not apply for a passport as I am deceased," the Johannesburg man told the The Star newspaper.

Mr Pretorius said he got a sworn affidavit from police affirming that he is alive and was issued a new identity number, enabling him to buy a car. But the problem resurfaced last year when he tried to register the car with the traffic department. "I found out that my status has again been changed to deceased," he said.

Three weeks ago, Mr Pretorius was given a ticket for failing to license the vehicle. "How is it possible for me to purchase cars, but the minute I need to obtain any form of licensing, I am declared deceased?" he complained. His wife has been unable to give legal help - since she is officially listed as his widow.

Amazing, isn't it? The poor man is declared dead and can't do any of the things he should be able to do but as soon as he infringes one of their petty rules they are able to issue a dead man with a ticket and bring him back to life as if he were Lazarus. I expect they're still taxing him too. 

It never ceases to amaze me how efficient the punishment arm of government works but the bit of the state which is supposed to help people is a shambles. 

Monday, 28 June 2010

Sweet Jesus!

NHS Chiefs in North Wales have decided to ban sugar from vending machines that dispense hot drinks in hospitals. The miserable, shrivelled and humourless idiots that run healthcare in that benighted part of Britain think sugar has no nutritional value so they, egged on by the ridiculous Welsh Assembly, have decided that all their subjects must be prevented from exercising the personal choice and freedom to sweeten tea or coffee.

Experts claim that sugar is a 'risk to health', although probably nothing like as risky as a stay in an NHS hospital. Welsh Assembly documents circulated to NHS hospitals in Wales also recommend that water, juice, seeds and dried fruit be placed in vending machines as healthy alternative snacks. That's bound to cut the takings of vending machines dramatically which in turn can only lead to an increase in parking charges in order to recoup lost income. Of course, sugar in tea has little nutritional value but that's not why most people use it... they put it in their tea because they like the taste. Incidentally, the advice also recommends that Cheddar cheese sandwiches are also banned as they contain too much fat. That's vegetarians stuffed, then.

As a nation we really do have to begin asking ourselves how these brain-dead gastropods and incompetent fuckwits manage to worm their way into highly paid and responsible positions within the public sector. How can these fools possibly imagine that their pathetic attempts to micro-manage people's lives is going to go down well with anyone but themselves and their pathetically timid political masters? It's time we stopped being in thrall to these idiots. The Soviet Union had ways of dealing with people like this: gulags. Isn't it time we introduced the concept here? Or, at the very least, village stocks.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A bridie in the hand

My thanks to The Englishman for passing on this shocking story of disgusting hospital food (I'm using the term 'food' very loosely here). The food in question was served up at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride, Scotland. A local doctor, Grace Campbell, was horrified to see the food her husband was given following an angioplasty at the hospital looked as if it was designed to fur his arteries up again as quickly as possible.

It appears that the local health authority feels that the best food to serve people recovering from coronaries and other heart conditions should include bridies (a fatty meat and pastry delicacy hailing from Forfar, that centre of culinary excellence and home of the deep-fried Mars Bar), cottage pie, sausages and haggis.

Following his angioplasty, Dr Campbell's husband, who also happens to be a doctor, was offered high-fat, processed food, most of which, according to Dr Campbell, was unrecognisable. She said: "The staff were very apologetic but they said that was all that was sent up for all the seriously ill patients in the coronary care unit. The poor staff were mortified as they served the meals which were at best inedible."

Mrs Campbell said that she was forced to bring meals into the hospital for her husband, "as if in a Third World country".

Complaints about the catering at Hairmyres date back to 2001 and NHS Lanarkshire was among the health boards criticised in a report on the quality of hospital food in March. It was one of four that received a "red rating" from a National Facilities Scotland report for failing to meet government standards. The report said that overall, Scotland's hospitals were failing to improve the meals provided for patients.

And the response from the hospital? "All inpatients are presented with nutritionally balanced menu choices, all of which are of nutritional value. We are aware a complaint has been received and we will be fully investigating this."

"All of which are nutritional value"! What sort of fuckwit with a PR degree came up with a quote like that? Of course it has nutritional value: a block of lard has nutritional value, but not necessarily very good nutritional vale. Where in god's name do they find these pen-pushing twats?

Another candidate for the gulag when the revolution comes.

Make your own Bridie

12oz / 300g plain flour
3oz / 75g butter (diced)
3oz / 75g suet
Couple tbs. of cold water
Pinch of salt.

Meat Filling
1lb / 450g finely chopped beef
1 finely chopped onion.
3oz / 75g grated beef suet

Cook for 30- 40 minutes until golden brown and meat is cooked at 200 degrees C or 400 F.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Help needed

Sorry for not blogging for a while but I've been paying attention to my rehab and doing quite well getting mobile again. However, I now need to turn my attention back to pushing the campaign along for better hospital food. I'd really like to hear from anyone in UK hospitals who would like to send me their images and experiences of hospital food. I need to collect more examples from a variety of hospitals in order to confront some of the catering companies who are supplying very poor quality food and making rather a lot of money out of the NHS in the process.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Let them eat cake

Give a simple job to a bureaucrat and then stand back and watch them make a complete hash of things. The latest example of the stupidity of officialdom is the response by the Department for Education to the call for a relaxation in school nutritional standards for boarding schools. Some of you may remember a few years back, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver tried to draw attention to the poor nutritional standards in Britain's state schools. The result of Jamie's campaign was the setting up of the School Food Trust: a bloated and overfed outfit that's provided a large stone for a number of nutritionists to crawl under.

The new stringent rules surrounding school food standards mean that the nation's 35 state boarding schools can no longer feed children in their care anything that is high in fat, sugar or salt... not even as a treat. A cake and a cup of tea after games and before homework? NO! Verboten. Sausages? Banned! Butter? Banned! Breakfast cereal? Banned... unless it's All Bran, of course.

The rules for school meals were designed for day schools, not boarding schools that provide children's food seven days a week. The poor little sods are now forced to follow some nutritionist's wet dream around the clock. Never mind the fact that the school is their home and that means a bit of comfort food or stodge is occasionally called for.

Paul Spencer Ellis, headmaster of Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate, Surrey, said: "The whole logic is that the regulations are for a day school where the parents aren't going to feed them properly at home, but in a boarding school we do all their meals.

"But, as it stands, pupils come into the boarding house after school and they want to grab some carbs and it's illegal. It's illegal for me to give them a sticky bun."

Mr Spencer Ellis asked the bureaucrats what would happen if he relaxed the guidelines and was told he would be prosecuted if he did and could face jail for contempt of court.

There are times when I think only a stout piece of rope and a tall lamppost will solve some of our problems. What is it about some public servants? Where do they get their common sense chip removed? But as my father always says: "The trouble with common sense is that it's not that common".

Thursday, 10 June 2010

More balls

Not being a football fan, I might have missed this little gem had I not stumbled across it at the excellent Nanny Knows Best blog. It appears that the government is worried that we're all going to be sat on our backsides staring at 40-inch plasma screens for the next four weeks. Because of this, the Food Standards Agency has issued some guidelines to armchair footballers about what sort of food and drink they should be eating as they cheer on their favourite team. Now, put the salted peanuts and beer to one side and consider this helpful advice:
"If you're throwing a party for friends and family to watch a game, there are lots of tasty and healthy options you can tuck into as you cheer your team on. Why not serve a vegetable curry with boiled rice or a tasty chilli with plenty of kidney beans? 

If it’s just nibbles, how about some tasty, healthier snacks, such as: 

  • low-fat dips (less than 3g fat per 100g) with vegetable sticks, bread sticks or mini pitta breads for dipping
  • lower fat/salt crisps – compare labels so you can choose healthier varieties
  • some easy-to-eat fruits, such as apples and grapes
  • homemade plain popcorn – made in the pan from popping kernels"
If that's not bad enough, the advice goes on to tell you how to barbecue safely before going on to give some advice on which takeaway meals are better for you. In a cringing nod to the diversity industry there's even a piece of advice about how you can eat food with a multicultural twist. Naturally there are the usual warnings about drinking too much alcohol and not eating salty snacks and, finally, there's a hectoring jab to tell you how you should also take exercise during the competition.

If the government needs to find somewhere for its money saving axe to fall, I don't think it could do better than the department of tosspots who drew up this heap of bollocks.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

I must be feeling better

There's nothing like the feeling of raw anger surging through my body to make me realise that I must be feeling a bit better. And what is the cause of my current ire? It's one of those quangos which is currently leeching off the public purse in order to provide non-jobs for people who appear to be incapable of working in the real world.

Allow me to introduce you to the wonderfully named organisation: "Play England". This Lottery funded ragbag of do-gooders is part of the NCB. This 'charity' was founded in 1963 as the National Bureau for Cooperation in Childcare but now calls itself NCB. It has a staff of 270 and an annual budget of £19 million - most of which comes from the public purse! Its subsidiary Play England has the following flaky objectives:
  • promote local play strategies
  • build partnerships for play
  • research and demonstrate the benefits of play
  • promote equality and diversity in play provision
  • raise awareness and promote standards
Apparently it does this by providing:
  • resources and information
  • training, conferences and seminars
  • networking and referrals
  • advocacy and campaigning support
The NCB is currently moaning that the budget cuts proposed by the new leaders of our bankrupt nation will interrupt their vital work and harm play. Now, I know that turkeys don't particularly relish the sight of an Advent calendar being pinned on the wall, but it's this sort of bollocks (along with Five-a-Day coordinators and Diversity Tzars) that's got us into the supersize heap of financial crap we're currently covered in. 

I don't ever remember anyone needing to teach me how to play. Children seem to manage to play and amuse themselves and each other quite easily without some twerp called Damien or India showing them how to kick a ball or climb a tree. Surely these people aren't using children as an excuse to dip their hands in the nation's piggybank, are they?

Rant over!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Thank goodness for that

Sorry for the break in transmission but when your leg is leaking Lucozade and you're drugged up to the eyeballs, blogging comes way down the priority list. I'm happy to say that the good ship TM is back on an even keel and everything seems to be healing nicely. I'm still a frustrating 2cm short in my left leg and the ORIF (open reduction internal fixator) makes me feel a bit like a cyborg, but at least I no longer have a left leg with an extra hinge in the middle of the femur. You'd be surprised how difficult it is to walk when two thirds of your leg isn't properly attached to the top third... stop squirming at the back!

Anyway, my thanks for all those continuing messages of support. This really is turning out to be something of an education in how much punishment one body can take and home many litres of anaesthetic, antibiotic and opiates one human can digest. It tells me that the human body is a brilliant and durable machine that simply couldn't have been invented by a human being... unless they were Japanese or worked for Apple.

I'm feeling slightly more cheerful today following my perusal of the newspapers this morning. It seems that our new coalition government has decided to make hospitals responsible for their patients' care for up to 30 days after a person is discharged. This is music to my unscathed ears. I have suffered far more than I should by being sent home too early from hospital so that the Health Trust can meet statistics on waiting times demanded by our old government. From now on, if a hospital discharges a patient too soon or botches an operation, it will have to bear the cost of putting things right if the patient needs to be readmitted as a result. That should sharpen the minds of a few of our overpaid pen-pushers. At this rate the government may even do something about hospital food!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Another update

Things seem to have settled down and I'm healing well. A combination of sore leg, antibiotics and painkillers isn't really making me feel great right now but it's good to be feeling a bit better. Once again, thanks for all your kind wishes and I'll try to get back to posting as soon as I can.

Friday, 4 June 2010


Thanks for all your kind messages. Not out of the woods yet but certainly no further down the track. Metalwork still inside and resting up in order not to upset the leg more than necessary. This is some sort of epic... no? It seems like a rollercoaster ride from where I'm laying.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Sorry for not posting. I seem to have developed some post-operative complications. May have to go back in.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The recovery goes on

Still at home in a horizontal posture. This op was far bigger and more painful than I realised. It's going to take 3 to 6 months for rehab, apparently. At least the food is better at home.