Thursday, July 28, 2005

Skaters Recycle Too!

Gsog spotted the recycling symbol on this packet of crisps in Greece.

It seems that skaters, as well as being jolly nice chaps, are environmentally friendly too (if you look closely you can see his 4 little wheels on each boot).

Jings! Who would have thought it?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

High Tech Toilet Discovered In Greece Shock

I'm a devoted graecophile. I first visited Greece in 1972, and I've now been to the country (mainly the islands) 10 times in total. The weather is wonderful, the scenery is beautiful, the people are very friendly, the food is fabulous, but the plumbing is still, I must confess, generally somewhat deficient. There is no doubt that some people are put off going to Greece purely by the fact that they can't flush their used toilet paper down the loo!

Personally, I can live with the situation, but imagine my surprise to find in the the Pines Restaurant in Skala, Kefalonia the ultimate in toilet technology! The CWS CleanSeat overcomes the age-old problem of thoughtless males "forgetting" to lift the seat before "pointing Percy at the porcelain". The next visitor to the loo simply activates the sensor and the seat rotates, cleaning the surface in the process. I wonder if my friends in the British Toilet Association have come across this ingenious device?

Maybe for once Greek plumbing leads the World?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mr Blobby's Back

Returned from Kefalonia fatter than ever, despite attempts to moderate consumption of the delicious Greek cuisine! We have tended to go on beach-based holidays to very hot countries in the Summer (mainly Greek islands) in the last several years, and it has always been a time when I have been forced to face my increasing bulk. Surprisingly however, unlike some years, I don't find my work clothes difficult to get into this year. Body weight's a funny thing!

Gsog, of course, is skinny as a rake, and he seems to regard this as some sort of achievement. I've tried to tell him that I was much lighter prior to my fortieth birthday, but I must confess when I was sixteen I was nowhere near as thin as he is at that age. He seems to feel he can insult me with impunity at the moment, and I think if he had made one more reference to "man boobs" I would have resorted to physical violence. I suppose if it makes me address the problem it will have been worth absorbing the jibes. Interestingly, he never makes any references to his mother's weight. I suspect he knows that doing so would have swift and rather unpleasant consequences.

The guy in the picture doesn't seem to have any difficulty getting into his shorts, but it doesn't seem to have made his girlfriend any more interested!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Bye For Now!

Sog, Wosog and Gsog are heading off to Kefalonia in Greece tomorrow leaving poor little Gdog to "hold the fort". Unlike one sophisticated blogger that I know, I am unable to schedule posts for the next fortnight to keep my audience interested (either of them).

You'll both just need to wait until I get back!

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Stiff Upper Lip?

Organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provide valuable support to people addicted to alcohol and other drugs respectively, but I was not, until the other day, aware of the existence of Viagraholics Anonymous.

"I'm John, and I'm a viagraholic." just doesn't sound right, and telling people you're a member of Viagraholics Anonymous carries a significant risk of sniggering. AA provides participants with a buddy that you can phone up who will try to persuade you not to take a drink. The equivalent situation with VA conjours up all sorts of bizarre thoughts. Would your VA buddy rush to your house, and throw a bucket of cold water over you and your bemused partner?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Schindler's List 2

Before going on I'd like to make the point that I am, I think, a pretty competent and caring GP, but I'm only human and affected by the pressures of keeping to deadlines just like anyone else. What follows is a true account....

Mrs Schindler is a list-maker, and like many of her breed she has deceptively thin case notes. This is because, although she doesn't come to see you very often, when she does come she presents such a list of symptoms that you don't have time to record them all.

Her first problem the other day was vaginal discharge: not my favourite topic, but described in such graphic detail that I felt a bit queasy right from the start. Fortunately, she had a history of bacterial vaginosis, and an empirical trial of the antibiotic metronidazole without the need for examination seemed justified.

Her next little cluster of symptoms comprised rectal bleeding, pain, and itch. These sounded most probably to be related to piles, and she then went on to describe, ad nauseam, the haemorrhoids she had had after both her pregnancies. Examination revealed perianal skin tags, and I decided to refer her to the surgeons for further assessment.

She next moved further south to her athlete's foot and probable fungal nail infection. I asked her to provide us with some nail clippings to try and confirm this, but she still insisted on giving me a blow-by-blow account of her adventures with Canesten Cream.

Meanwhile the rising aggression of the patients waiting, appropriately, in the waiting room could almost be felt radiating through the wall....

Her coup de gras was to direct my attention to the most revolting coated tongue that I have ever seen. I asked her if she'd tried a mouth wash, and she replied that she'd even tried to remove the offending (and offensive) material with a brush! For want of something better to do, I took a swab and reserved judgement as to diagnosis.

Towards the end all this, I wasn't sure how long the list was going to be, and my mind drifted off visualising images such as one of her husband parcelling her in a plastic bag and labelling her with a bio-hazard sticker before they both entered the marital bed. As she exhausted the possibilities of her major orifices, I wondered if she was going to describe some noxious discharge from a nostril, or an external auditory meatus (ear hole to you). Perhaps a boil on her backside the size of St Paul's Cathedral would be revealed, or the subcutaneous bulging of a creature ready to burst from her chest like that of John Hurt in "Alien"? But just before I lost the will to live she finally came to the end of her list.

She stood up and calmly left the room. Frankly, I felt like I needed a lie down!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Schindler's List 1

It is a well known fact that British General Practice affords the patient only 10 minutes to: exchange pleasantries; bemoan the state of the the weather/ the country; communicate their problem; have it dealt with; and vacate the premises. Unfortunately, there is a group of patients who are determined not to play by the rules. They've stored up a whole list of symptoms/ problems, many of which they've had for months, and they would like them all sorted out now because they are going on holiday abroad (usually to places I can't afford to visit) in a few days time.

These patients often turn up late when you are all ready running behind schedule. They enter the consulting, room looking far healthier than I feel, and flop onto the chair saying various dread-inducing statements like: "Well, I don't know where to start!"; "How long have you got doc?" (as if they didn't know); or even "Well I'm afraid I've got a list....". Sometimes they literally do have a written list that they bring out and tick off during the consultation. You might think that was worse than the situation where the patient only has a mental list, but not so---at least with the scribblers you can see when you're getting near the end!

Strangely enough, patients like these also tend to populate the group that get very bad tempered in the waiting room when they are not seen at their appointed time! "I've been here for half an hour!" they mutter, seemingly oblivious to the fact that several patients ahead of them have been playing "the list game".

Mrs Schindler is a list-maker, but more of her in my next post....

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Why Did We Buy This?

In preparation for her departure for The Big City, Gdog has been having a clearout of her bedroom at home. After binning several rubbish sacks of items up to now thought essential, she came across this creature that had been "asleep" for quite some time. She thought about puting him too in the bin, but so far we've hung onto him.

I'm not sure how long ago it was that Furbies came onto the scene. In our case the novelty wore off very quickly, but for others Furbies and things Furbish are obviously a "lifestyle choice"! I must say I still find the eyes a little disconcerting.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Glasgow Green

Went to see Al Green at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow last night. Practically everyone that I told I was going to see Al Green said "Who?", but I think many people would know his songs "Tired of Being Alone", and "Let's Stay Together".

The warm-up act was a female singer and her band who were quite good, but I'm afraid I can't remember their name! She did her best to get everyone in the mood, and did what she could to get the audience on its feet with very limited success, but the difference when Al appeared was amazing. The whole audience seemed to come to life as Al bounced around the stage like a Spring Chicken. The thing is, he's not a Spring Chicken, he's 10 years older than I am! Some of the female members of the audience in the front row were practically kissing his feet, and I was surprised how many young women were up boogying during the concert.

When he broke into "Let's Stay Together" halfway through his set the whole audience took to it's feet---even myself. The only thing that he did wrong was not coming back for an encore. Glaswegian audiences like to get their pound of flesh, and this omission actually prompted a brief "Boo!". However, it was quickly forgotten and, everyone went home content that they had seen a Great Soul Showman in the flesh.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Bomb Squad Comes To Call....

Another funny story comes to mind from our time in Banffshire. The house had a rather decrepit garage at the corner of the garden. We never kept any of our cars in it, but a friend, lets call him Jeremy (for that was his name), kept his totally impractical little open-topped car in it over the Winter months. Summer came that year, and Jeremy went to take his car out of mothballs.

"Did you know about the grenades in your garage?" he asked us. "What grenades?" we asked. "There's things that look like grenades to me in your garage." he said. We weren't too sure what to do in this situation so we called the local Police. True to form, they went into "controlled panic mode" and posted a policeman outside the garage while we waited for the Bomb Squad to arrive from Edinburgh. The squad arrived fairly promptly, and removed what turned out to be an anti-tank weapon from the Second World War. Although the explosives had been removed, the pin and detonator were still in place.

About a week later Jeremy asked us what had happened about the grenades. We told him about the anti-tank weapon, and he said "What about the others?" to which we replied "What others?". "There were four things that looked like grenades in your garage." he said. Somewhat sheepishly, we contacted the Bomb Squad again, and they returned to remove two rifle grenades and a mock grenade (see picture).

Shortly after this episode we moved south, but the story did find its way into the local newspaper.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Seemed Like A Nice Boy....

I was interested to hear last night about Brian Blackwell, the young man who butchered his elderly parents, but was sentenced to manslaughter rather than murder because of "diminished responsibility". Apparently the wee lamb was "suffering" from narcissistic personality disorder. Immediately after the killings, he and his girlfriend went on a luxury holiday in America. I must confess that my first reaction was "He must have had a bloody good barrister working for him!".

Many of the occupants of HM Prisons "suffer" from psychopathic personality disorder, but the courts don't seem to see the need to reduce the charges for many of them. From my admittedly limited reading of Blackwell's case, it sounds to me as if he had a comfortable upbringing and is a highly intelligent, but thoroughly evil, individual. He should be serving the full sentence for murder for battering his father with a claw hammer and stabbing his mother 30 times.

Incidentally, features of narcissistic personality disorder include: a grandiose sense of self-importance; fantasies about unlimited successes; the belief that one is "special" and deserving of excessive admiration; a sense of entitlement to things; a lack of empathy; and a tendency to haughty, arrogant behaviour. How many politicians does that list remind you of?