The things we do for love

My husband has always been more adventurous than me, although since meeting him I have become more so. It is amazing how much influence another person can have over you. When we first met I had something of an adventurous spirit but not an ounce of what I have now. Any fears I had of trying something new was quickly quashed when Andrew introduced me to his microlight.Andrew and his microlight
We had been together less than a year when he drove me to the airfield where he had a hangar. I had no idea what a hanger even was, except something you hang your clothes on. In fact I had no idea what a microlight was and I do wonder now if I had had even the slightest clue, would I have gone that day. It was a lovely Summer’s evening. Very warm and all Andrew seemed to talk about was thermals, while I wondered why we would even need them. Of course the thermals he was talking about was rough bumpy warm air and not extra warm clothing. I asked more about the restaurant we were going to afterwards than I did about the flying. After all, I had been on many flights; it couldn’t be much different from that could it?
Oh, good lord, it was very different.
We parked outside the hanger and Andrew opened it up and wheeled out what looked like a motor cycle. I watched in fascination as he checked it over thoroughly before wheeling out a huge wing. My stomach lurched at this point when it dawned on me that this was the wing that would keep me in the air. I looked frantically around the hanger for a possible plane. I didn’t mind how small as long as it was something enclosed. There was no plane. I then looked for the cover that would go over the top of the motorcycle thing, but there wasn’t one. I watched with trembling legs and beating heart as Andrew positioned the wing on and fastened the bolts. He then handed me a flying suit and helmet. I nearly passed out. My god, I can’t go in that, can I? I quickly learnt that a microlight is pretty much a motorcycle with a wing and not much else. Well, a motor obviously. Heavens, did he actually say that he can fly up to about 10,000 feet in this? Not with me in it, thinks I?
‘Ready to go?’ he asks with a smile.
I climb into my flying suit and zip it up with shaking hands. This is it, I shall die and this relationship that I had hoped would be something good will be no more. I stare dumbfounded at the two small seats and try not to picture myself sitting in it at 10,000 feet. I feel sick. Andrew helps me clamber in and helps me on with my helmet. He then affixes the mike that will allow me to speak to him while we are up there. Oh, God, what if I fall out. He straps me in tightly and I thank god for that. I wonder if I should make a few last calls from my mobile, you know my final goodbyes and all that? But before I can do anything he is climbing into the front seat and starting the propeller.
‘Clear prop.’
I would come to know those words very well in the coming years.
‘How long have you been flying?’ I ask in a shaky voice.
‘Since yesterday,’ he jokes
‘About ten years,’ came his confident response.
Well, he must know what he is doing. We motorcycle down the track and stop at the runway. It’s now or never. I can either run, or close my eyes and pray. I choose the latter. You only live once after all.
‘Golf, mike tango, Yankee, echo is lined up for immediate departure.’ he says in one of those typical pilot type voices.
‘Golf Yankee echo is cleared for take off at your discretion.’ Advises a voice in response and I wonder what at your discretion means.
‘Golf yankee echo, take off.’ Says Andrew and before I can ask what is happening we are storming down the runway at about 50 miles an hour. The things I do for love. Then, we really do have lift up and, oh, here are the thermals. A few bumps and I feel myself clinging onto Andrew. Well, we certainly got close on this flight. We go higher and higher and I feel myself tense and tense even more. Finally we are so high that I don’t care anymore and the views are spectacular. I am like a bird.

The wind blows against my face and ahead of me is a hot air balloon.
The cows and sheep below look like tiny dots and I see people sitting in a field having a picnic and they begin waving to us. I wave back. Andrew takes us higher and higher and it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. The colours of the fields seem to change with the shifting light and the shadows are incredible. There is one shaky moment when he asks me to lean over the microlight very slightly so he can check the fuel. I do so and find myself seemingly dangling from the flying motorbike. We turn, go lower and then rise up again. I am having a wonderful time. We skirt around Blenheim Palace where they have a function happening and the driveway is lined with flaming torches. From 3,000 feet the scene is amazing.
I was disappointed when that flight ended and as the years went on I went up many times with Andrew. On one flight I leant forward and guided the microlight by the handlebars, with Andrew assisting of course. I helped wash down the wing and have even been known to sew it before now. I do not enjoy bumpy flights however and always avoided even slightly windy days. We have visited other airfields and have enjoyed the sights of Oxfordshire from the air.

Just over two years ago the microlight failed its MOT and although we got it repaired Andrew felt it’s time was running out. We were both busy but he was busier and had his studies to focus on. After a lot of thought Andrew sold it.

We have done many other exciting things since and I know I would never have done them had it not been for Andrew. Navigating the whole island of Boracay in the Philippines for instance on a motorcycle. I had never been on one in my life and Andrew hadn’t ridden one in years, but what a fab time we had.
Oh, yes the things you do for love.

Living my life to the full!

I received an award from a blogger the other day and it came on a day that I was really thinking through my life. I had been pensive and a little melancholy for a few days. This was totally unlike me and not fitting with my fun personality. I began to wonder do I need anti-depressants or something. It didn’t take long for me to realise this had coincided with my birthday. I was a year older and just a bit older than I wanted to be. For the first time in my life I went into an age panic. I thought of all the things I wanted to do and felt an overwhelming fear that I wouldn’t get everything done. A few days later I gave myself a shake and made a firm decision that from this point onwards I would only do things I wanted to do. I would not let anything stop me and I would not say no to anything I wanted to do and I also would not let age be an obstacle to something that appealed to me. I was and am determined to get the most out of my life. I am not afraid of failure anymore. So with these thoughts in my mind I looked at what I wanted to do. The first thing was to get down to the allotment and plant as much as possible there. I have always wanted to be self-sufficient and grow my own food. So, if you live near, be prepared to be given lots of fresh fruit and veg. I have no ambitions to jump from a plane or go kayaking. I have flown many times in a microlight with Andrew and that was adventure in the air for me and I now want to go up in a helicopter and hot air balloon. If anyone can offer either do let me know  I want to travel more. Having already spent a lot of my life in the Middle East I very much want to return to both Egypt and Israel. Meanwhile my dream to visit Cambodia has materialised. I am returning soon for a long visit and hope while there to sponsor a child at the Orphanage I visited. Not having children of my own this seems an ideal way to give someone else the future I could not give to a child of my own. I am already fulfilling a dream to help this country and am grateful to have been given the chance. I will continue writing as this is my main love. I will visit China and Vietnam hopefully in the next five years. I want to finally finish a cross stitch pattern. I want to take better photographs and spend more time with friends. I am already making more time to go shopping with girlfriends. It is probably time to take art classes, something I have always wanted to do and maybe even horse riding lessons again. Whatever it is, if I fancy it, I shall do it. If I fail, so what? At least I tried.
So if I seem a little busy, it is because I truly am trying to live my life to the full and part of that is blogging where I have made some wonderful and very sincere friends. One of them is Jacqueline who gave me this lovely award for which I am thrilled, as always to receive. Jacqueline writes a very human and loving blog, do drop over and see her. The Sunshine award, really did come on a day when I needed some sunshine

The Sunshine Award asks me to answer some questions, so here we go….

Favourite Colour:
I don’t think I have a favourite colour. I’ll go for ‘sky blue pink’ and keep my options open.

Favourite Animal:
Cats, without doubt. I love them all. I would have a houseful if Andrew allowed me.

Favourite Number:
7 and I have no idea why.

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink:

Ginger Beer

Facebook or Twitter:
Facebook, I think although of late I have become a little addicted to Twitter. I will always prefer Facebook. So many great friends to see on there.

My Passion:
Writing, followed by music. They go together for me.

Favourite pattern:
Jacqueline gave me the idea for this. After seeing her answer I thought of Andrew’s ancestral tartan (from his mother’s side) Mackay tartan. Here it is.

Favourite day of the week:
Sunday. A time to be together.

Favourite Flower:

I will pass the Sunshine Award on to the following blogs and I am aware that some of you may have received this already, but I wanted to let you know that your blogs bring sunshine into my life:

Kew Smith for her great blog ‘Random reasoning’

Fellow author Jane Lovering, who never fails to make me laugh

Is there a Doctor in the house

I have always said, no, threatened to blog the scribbling’s that I have kept of my working life in the National Health Service. I always thought, however, that I would never be believed. However, as the years have gone on and the stories of the NHS have been leaked, I finally feel it is my turn. I have to stress the job of a Doctor’s receptionist is not an easy one. I now only work two days a week and it is enough sometimes. It is so important to remember that the receptionist hands are very much tied. They cannot issue your prescription willy nilly or change it at random. Only a Doctor can do things like that. If they are reluctant to give a result to you, it isn’t because they are being difficult; they just don’t want to give you the wrong information. If the Doctor doesn’t phone you back as quick as you think he should have, it is not the receptionist’s fault. She passes on the message and it is the Doctor who decides when to phone you.
So, below are just a few of my stories. It is not pretty reading, although it is sometimes funny. For every story I tell, there are a hundred others. Enjoy and may you be forever scared to visit your GP in the future.

A Specimen.

Monday: First day of diet and arrive at work to cakes galore. Manage to stick to carrots and celery until 11am when a patient brings in a specimen. Conversation went as follows.
Me: ‘Hello, how are you?’
A question I really should know better than to ask a patient.
‘Dr Marshall asked me to bring in a specimen, do you want it?
Not really. I offer to take it anyway.
Me: ‘I’ll take that for you?’
Carrier bag is handed over the reception desk. Muggins here puts her hand in to remove specimen bottle, only it isn’t a specimen bottle is it? My hand encounters something warm and soft.
Me cringing: ‘Is it a sample?’
‘Yep, a stool sample.’
My hand freezes. Shit, yes, literally, shit. He didn’t put it in a bottle? I remove myself and carrier bag to the loo. There, I discover to my horror that he had indeed put his stool sample straight into the carrier bag. I mean, what?
I later retreat to staff room stressed and miserable where I consume two iced buns and a sausage roll. Bang went that diet.

Baring all.
There was of course the day that I had a quick-lunch and a quick wee break because we were so short-staffed. I rushed from the loo and checked the waiting room. Figuring I wouldn’t have much time to tidy it later that afternoon I decided to do it while there were still a few patients waiting. It took me about five minutes. I returned to reception to have my colleague fall into fits of laughter.
My skirt was tucked into my knickers and my bum had been on show the whole time. Classic or what?

Booking appointments, or at least trying to.
Patient enters.
‘Can I have an appointment with Dr Roberts?’
‘The earliest appointment I have with Dr Roberts is next Monday.’
‘How about this week?’
‘No, I’m afraid not. The first appointment is next Monday.’
‘How about Thursday?’
‘Well, that is this week too isn’t it? And we don’t have any appointments with that Doctor this week.’
‘Not even on Friday?’
Am I speaking in Swahili?
‘Not until next week?’
‘Can I have one for the 22nd then?’
This is now two weeks away.
‘Of course.’
If it means you will then go away…

Answering the emergency only line.
‘Emergency line, how can I help?’
‘Can I book an appointment?’
‘Is it an emergency?’
‘No, but I couldn’t get through on the other lines.’
‘This is for emergencies, could you call back and press for the right option please’
‘Emergency line, can I help you?’
‘I need to see the Doctor urgently.’
‘What is the urgency please.’
‘I have had this cold for over a week and it isn’t going. I am going away tomorrow and need antibiotics today.’
‘Antibiotics won’t actually help your cold.’
‘I want them anyway.’
‘And you feel this is an emergency?’
‘I said so didn’t I?’
‘I’ll get the doctor to call you.’

Locking up.
Empty surgery. Last patient has left. I tidy the waiting room, wash up the cups and check the consulting rooms for left on computers. I open the door to the treatment room to find a patient laying on the couch.
‘Oh, I’m so sorry madam, I had no idea you were here.’
‘The doctor told me to rest here and he would pop back.’
How do I tell her the Doctor has now popped home and most certainly won’t be back?
One moment and I’ll check what the Doctor wants to do.
Oh my God, he has forgotten all about her.
A quick phone call to the Doctor at home who confirms he has indeed forgotten the patient. Asks me how she is feeling and then tells me to tell her it is fine for her to go home!
I finally lock up.

Tracing a noise.
The afternoon I spent trying to trace the whereabouts of a strange whistling noise that many people in reception mentioned, finally tracing it back to Mrs Wilkinson’s hearing aid in the podiatrist’s room where she was having her feet done.
Opening up.
Unlocking the front door and walking away and then waiting for fifteen minutes for the patients who had been queuing to come in from the cold. Only to finally realise I had undone only one bolt and they couldn’t actually get in not that they didn’t want to.

The day a patient came and shouted at me regarding his medication.
‘These aren’t what I wanted, the Doctor said I could have a stronger dose.’
Before I could speak he lobbed the bottle of pills at me. I ducked just in time.
It turned out that they were the right pills and he was supposed to take more so he would get a stronger dose. I gave him the bottle back, although I did feel inclined to lob it also…

The day a man asked me to undo his belt.
‘Undo me belt will you?’
‘I really can’t undo your belt.’
‘I need to pee.’
Is this really my problem?
‘I still can’t undo your belt.’
‘What is wrong with you?’
What is wrong with me??
Suffice to say no one undid his belt and he amazingly managed to do it himself.

Ghosts in the surgery.
The best story is of the haunting. My colleague and I were tidying up the building. The last patient had left and we were waiting for the clock to tell us it was time to turn the phones over to the Out of hours. We were just leaving the treatment room when we both heard a creaking sound from the end of the building. We both stood shaking as it got louder and louder as we backed away. Neither of us were brave enough to go and check and became so frightened that we turned the phones over ten minutes earlier than we should have done and fled. The next day, in broad daylight we realised it was a creaking board that we were ourselves stepping on.. Red faces all around that day.

I have to add that not all the patients I have met have been like those above. Many are fantastic as are the receptionists. I have the highest respect for all receptionists.