Bad day chez Hastings Battleaxe

What a day…..
     It started off fine. I went down to the Jerwood Gallery in the morning to have my photo taken. A while ago they asked for a blogger who was a Jerwood member to write a piece on the current exhibition from the ‘perspective of a member’, and  I was chosen in my non-Battleaxe persona.  Fortunately, the last post I wrote here about the gallery was very positive, so could refer them to it. I found the task quite hard – how could being a member give you a different perspective when viewing the paintings?
      The gallery was heaving with small children, so I chose to have my photo taken with the Bratby ‘Holyland’, which was in a relatively child-free space. I wrote about how I’d like the Jerwood to do more to explore its local links, and I feel that the Bratby connection is an obvious place to start. In fact, this particular painting pre-dated his time in Hastings, as do the other two Bratby’s in the Jerwood collection.
      Anyway, the blog will not appear live on their web site just yet.

John Bratby – ‘Holyland’

      Meanwhile, a bit of background. A couple of days ago Philosopher had complained of problems with his chest.. The GP at Harold Road referred him to the Conquest for X-rays and tests. He had these in the morning, and at lunchtime after we got back from the Jerwood we had a call from the GP sending us to the Conquest because he might have a blood clot on his lung. We went straight there, to something called Ambulatory Care, part of the acute assessment unit.
       They did some tests, then we waited for the doctor, who booked him in for a CT scan. We waited for that, waited for the results, waited for the doctor again – by which time it was 6.45pm.  He was stoical. but I got horribly impatient. Anyway, the results were clear, so we were sent home with instructions to return to the GP for further investigations to be planned.
       As ever, the workings of the front-line NHS are fascinating to observe. This being an acute unit, the staff were all rushing about busily. It made a change from my last experience, in a ward in Birmingham, where the staff lounged behind their station reading ‘HeatMagazine and eating cake, seemingly oblivious to the needs of the patients.
       In complete contrast, this looked like good-natured chaos. Patients filled every space, sitting in waiting areas, lying in cubicles, being pushed around on beds. The nurses’ station was covered with tottering heaps of case files, and staff seemed to appear and disappear at random, which led to:
     ‘Who saw Mr X?’
     ‘Lynne, I think…. where is she?’
     ‘On her break? No, gone up to the ward with Mrs Y.’
     ‘Where’s his notes then? Val wants them.’
     ‘Whose notes?’
     ‘Mr X’s I think… oh, and Mrs Z’s if you can see them.’
     ‘Dunno – I think Hassan had them.’.
     ‘Anne? Have you seen Hassan?’
      ‘Called to A&E.’
      ‘Ah, here’s Lynne. Have you got Mr X’s notes?’
      ‘Hang on, I’m doing the new gentleman’s bloods. Is there any gauze?  Hold your finger there, young man….  Val saw Mr X.’
      ‘Where’s Val?’
      ‘Gone to Radiology with Mrs Z. Can you ask Dave for some gauze?’
      ‘Where’s Dave?’
     And so on. They only lost Philosopher’s  notes briefly, but then also lost him altogether for a bit in the wilds of Radiology. However, the staff were pleasant, and the job got done.
     I had plenty of time to wander round and explore the hospital – presumably, as we get older, we’ll see more of it. Have only visited once before – when I broke my foot falling down a rabbit hole at Beachy Head. See previous post. It feels tiny compared with the vast shiny new Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham, our former ‘local’ hospital. Although the Conquest is probably nowhere near as technologically sophisticated, it seems friendly, reassuring and on a human scale.

Wood mouse – poor little guy

     When we got home, far from allowing us to relax to recover from the trauma, Digby the cat decided to go on a mouse catching spree – perhaps he was feeling left out. He brought a very lively little rodent into the living room for us, which he allowed to escape, and we then spent the next age trying to catch it. After much swearing and furniture moving, we cornered it, but it ran up Philosopher’s sleeve. He shook it out onto the ground outside, Digby promptly pounced on it again, rushed indoors, and the whole business started once more.
      Eventually I trapped it under a glass beneath the dining room table. A pretty little wood mouse.
      We are due to go off on our annual trip to Cornwall this weekend, but if Philosopher needs further tests, we will not go…..
       To finish on a more soothing note, here are some pictures of some lovely spring 50s dresses in the window of ‘Wardrobe’ in Hastings Old Town, and of spring in Winchelsea.

Lovely frocks
Winchelsea Churchyard
I think this is Ford Madox Ford’s House
Winchelsea doorway

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