Saturday, January 11, 2014

Over-used emergency centres; A resignation!; The state of the nation; and Memory Lane

I read yesterday that in some countries in East Europe, people don't have GPs so, instead of first going to the Medical Centre and then waiting for weeks to see a specialist, they go to their hospital's Emergency unit and take it from there. Oddly enough, I was discussing this recently with my knowledgable friend, who's had a great deal of experience recently of the Emergency (Urgencias) system here in Spain. Where things are much the same. My own experience of taking my (in agony) daughters confirms his judgement that the Urgencia units here overflow with people who really shouldn't be there. As a result, there are large waiting rooms, numerous cubicles, beds in the corridors and - unless it's the middle of the night - long waits. Forcing people to wait is, of course, the standard rationing weapon in the UK but folk have long become inured to this and expect it. Despite this, many Brits and Spaniards rate their national health services highly. Incidentally, the report which sparked this paragraph was on the problems being created for the Emergency units in the UK (A&E) being overwhelmed by Rumanians and Bulgarians arriving there with stomach upsets, or boils and other trivial complaints.

I was wrong about heads not rolling because of the ETA meeting cock-up. The Press Officer at the Ministry of the Interior has apologised for the premature announcement of success and has had his resignation accepted. If not compelled.

I watched a decent film last night - The Words. In Spain, this became The Thief of Words. Why? No one has the slightest idea. Job retention is the best guess.

If you want a trenchant (left-of-centre) view of the state of the state of Spain, click here. It's from Graeme of South of Watford and seems pretty accurate to me.

And now for something completely different . . . I'm not sure it still happens but when I was at primary school we had a weekly singing session, conducted by a teacher who could play the piano. Something or other reminded me of this and I dug out the tunes I can remember. Especially for my reader and schoolmate, KK, here they are. The rest of you can join in if you like:-

Cotton Fields. Johnny Cash version.

Poor Old (Black) Joe. Paul Robeson version

The Leaving of Liverpool. One of hundreds of versions.

Oh, Soldier, Soldier. Versions A, B and C.

D'ye Ken John Peel. Trifle unusual version.

The British Grenadier. Basic march.

As I write this, I can see the teacher writing the words of Cotton Fields and Poor Old Joe on the blackboard. Quite why she chose black spirituals I've no idea but we clearly loved the tunes. I wonder if primary schools today in the UK still have the time and inclination to teach kids to sing. Actually, we had a singing class in grammar school as well but I doubt these have survived today's obsession with rankings.

The Ayatollah is having a rest today.


JG said...

When I was at primary school (1973) we had Friday afternoon singing sessions- a boy and girl would stand on stage and after each song pick someone who they thought was singing well- those pupils would then join them on stage. The first person picked would be the picker the next week. Basically this meant that during the week there would be deals struck as to who the picker would pick. We didn’t learn much about music but quite a lot about lobbying and politicking. As for teachers (or anyone) being able to play the piano for this kind of assembly hall event- block chords, stomping bass lines, lots of loud pedal- I suspect that it’s a much-declining skill, mainly due to the prevalence of electronic keyboards, which can make quite a nice sound without needing too much skill. Also because guitars are deemed to be cooler, which of course they are. (Don’t know if it’s the same in Spain, where the teenage boy picking up a Fender Strat seems to be less of a rite of passage, despite the fact that Spain is in some ways the home of the guitar).

kraal said...


The Leaving of Liverpool - do you remember a Mr. Davis, I think he taught second year juniors for a short time. He was Tony Davis and left teaching when the Spinners turned professional. You may remember my mother was a teacher, and she used to say upon arrival at a new school the first question from the staff was, can you play the piano?

Cheers, Kev

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Kev. I don't recall Tony Davis being there. Was it during our time? Yes, I do remember your mum, of course. But I don't recall her picking me up by my sideburns, like, say, Mrs Downes. My younger daughter is a teacher and can play the piano but I don't think she's ever been asked to play it at school. But, then, she's a secondary school teacher.Things ain't what they used to be!

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, JG. Fascinating stuff.

Search This Blog