First of all, many thanks to Chris Nickson for stepping into the breach (again) when my own times became a little too interesting for comfort and both my spare hours and my energy had to be directed elsewhere. If you enjoyed his blog posts, try his books!
And I’m afraid that’s the last mention crime fiction will get in this post. Sometimes I have other things on my mind.
An e-mail from my sister a couple of days ago read: Ooops, another Brexit. Nothing to do with politics; this was far more important. Football. Which my friends across the pond call soccer. It’s being played big time in France at the moment, and the UK’s four countries separate into their component parts for the purpose of Euro 2016, the biggest tournament this side of the World Cup. Scotland didn’t make the cut, which left England, who were expected to qualify, at least by their supporters, and Wales and Northern Ireland, who weren’t, by anyone at all, really.
Regular blog-dippers may recall that my national affiliation, on account of birth and blood, is very firmly to Wales. And guess who, against all the odds and expectation, are the last team standing in Euro 2016? My boys are doing great; they scored first against England, beat Russia three-nil, fought off Northern Ireland, and now they’re in the quarter-finals.
England, on the other hand, collapsed against Iceland, a country with a population the size of Leicester, a city which also made footballing history earlier this year.
And I don’t even like football.
It just goes to show that interesting times doesn’t always suggest bad stuff.
On the other hand...
My own personal interesting times lately have mostly involved wrestling with what is laughingly called the best health service in the world. I’m sure this description was once true, but I’m surer that it’s now used ironically, despite the plaudits heaped on it by an American friend who visited the UK recently and found herself in need of urgent medical attention.
Try this for size:
A sixteen-week gap between diagnosis and any form of treatment for a potentially life-threatening illness.
A surgeon who invented a patient’s job on his record without ever having asked what it actually was, and got it insultingly wrong.
A whole series of nurses and doctors (I lost count) who failed to get the patient’s name right because they simply didn’t read the notes.
A letter from a doctor dated three days before the date of an investigative procedure, the results of which were included in the letter.
A referral from one medical department to another related one which took three months to process – for a condition which was caused by someone screwing up, should never have happened at all, and should in any case clear up by itself in a few weeks.
All this and more, at a time which is especially stressful for patient and family without additional administrative hassle.
I could go on, but I don’t want to depress you if you’re planning a trip to the UK. They say the NHS is free. Maybe that’s because no one would pay the bill if there was one.
So, as you see, I’ve been having really interesting times, and they’re not over yet. And that’s before I even mention Brexit.
I suppose I have to, don’t I? I’ll just say this: I don’t know who was more surprised (or appalled, for that matter) by the result: the In camp or the Out one. But if it gets UKIP off our TV screens, it can’t be all bad.