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National Poetry Day

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Cherry blossoms - via Twitter

Here’s one of my favourite poems for National Poetry Day.

The Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W. B. Yeats

ramblingmads

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

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I live with Christmas’ number two fan (his mum is no. 1) and this weekend we put the tree up and made our little flat all festive.

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We also discovered that rats are scared of the sound of Michael Buble singing (or maybe it’s when trees suddenly grow inside the house). They quite like the sound of Santa Paws and extra treats.

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We also wrote cards and wrapped presents to the sound of a gospel choir singing Christmas carols and discussed which films we will watch to get into the spirit.

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We’ve started our own little traditions and have ornaments that mean something to us, like the way all the ones on my parents’ tree have meaning and a story.

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I apologise in advance to whoever gets the cards I wrote last, my handwriting can only keep it together for so long before becoming unintelligible.

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We have a mix of traditional and contemporary decorations. There’s a Nativity scene and a herd of reindeer, Santas and angels. We’ve even got our first few cards up.

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Over the last few years I’ve got quite good at snagging cards and wrapping paper in January’s sales so we’re stocked up well in advance, not scrambling about trying to grab the last pack of cards or roll of paper.

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I have a weird relationship with Christmas, growing up it was all about the Sunday School presentation and getting a decent looking Christingle orange and not having my hair set alight by my friend’s little brother (small boys and lit candles are not a good mix).

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Presents were not ostentatious or in their multitudes, we had nice things but my mum the ex-hippy doesn’t really do commercialization and she’s religious.

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My best memories are of Christmas days at my grandparents, with Grandad’s gag gifts while dressed as Santa and my Nan’s mostly sherry trifle. My cousins bickering over the post lunch TV selection, my dad sleeping off the two types of potatoes and the washing up being done in shifts.

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ramblingmads

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Domestic Abuse can kiss my arse…

When you read this I will be doing my 10k for Refuge UK – the largest domestic abuse charity in the UK. They help women and children fleeing abusive homes by providing them a safe place to stay and helping them access legal support and put their abuser away.

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My number

Sadly this is something that exists in all stratas of society, regardless of wealth, privilege and education. But because it goes on behind closed doors we are often oblivious to it. 1 in 4 women in the UK will experience some form of domestic abuse – whether it’s physical, mental, financial or sexual. That’s a staggering number. Then there are children who suffer a secondary, equally harmful abuse, despite what a lot of people seem to think, children see and hear everything – imagine the effect this must have.

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Yes, men can be victims too, and it happens in same sex relationships as well as opposite sex ones. But women are overwhelmingly the victims.

Having worked with victims of crime for the last 6 years, I have seen first hand how awful this can be. From the client who cried in our office for two hours because she was too scared to go home, to the story a women’s aid worker told me of the husband who threw his naked wife onto the street, telling her that she could leave but take nothing that belonged to him and as she hasn’t worked (he hadn’t let her) even her clothes (and by his logic) children belonged to him. These women need help to be safe to be free of the terrifying control their abusers have.

So if you would like to sponsor me – all the money goes to Refuge, I just get sore feet and blisters, please click here.

ramblingmads

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Why this nurse’s daughter has no faith in Jeremy Hunt

Dear Mr Cameron,

I didn’t vote for you, mostly because some of your policies are set to cause terrible damage to the country I live in. None more so than the dismantling of the NHS.

Jeremy Hunt has no medical background and knows absolutely nothing about healthcare. He believes that water than once encountered an onion is medicine. He’s wrong.

The NHS was born in 1948 and I was born in 1986. The hospital where I was born still exists, and needs serious work to modernise it. That same hospital is where my mum, a nurse and midwife, worked and it saved my life a few times.

I was a week late sauntering into the world with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, turning slightly blue. That was swiftly removed and I was sent home to grow up.

Aged 10 I stopped breathing, I was rushed to hospital on oxygen – an allergen I’d not encountered before closed my airways. Luckily swift intervention meant I could grow up some more.

Aged 18 I tried to kill myself, the doctor I told at university told me it was a phase and let me go. Aged 28 I tried again, this time I was believed and started therapy at that same hospital.

I have physical issues too – PCOS, a painful growth of cysts on my overies, something I hope your daughters never deal with. An under active thyroid that means whatever I eat I can’t lose weight.  Both are treated by medicine, medicine I don’t pay for because they’re lifelong conditions.

I do however pay my taxes and National Insurance, happily, knowing it keeps the NHS saving lives.

My mum has been a nurse since she was 17. I won’t embarrass her by saying how old she is now, but trust me when I say that’s most of her life. She’s studying for her PhD in nursing at the moment, while working full time and looking after my dad, a diabetic with a chronic heart condition, and my sister who has complex learning and behavioural needs. My mum now has osteoporosis. Probably due to a kidney disease she had as a kid (treated by the NHS).

You want a 24/7 healthcare system, but don’t understand that hospitals, A&Es especially, are already at breaking point. Doctors and nurses work ridiculously long shifts, sleep maybe a few hours, then work again. They have no personal life, no time to socialize or relax.

Fewer and fewer young people want to train for 7 years, graduate with huge debts and all but wall themselves inside a hospital for their adult lives. I can’t imagine why.

Two weeks ago there was a tube strike – doctors cannot strike and are paid less than tube drivers to save lives.

My mum moved from the wards when she became a parent, the hours are incompatible with family life. But as a ward sister, she had risen high in the hospital. She worked at Great Ormond Street, the RNOH, the Aids clinic in Soho in the 80s, the maternity unit at Northwick Park (where I was born) and many others.

She returned to nursing – her capacity for caring is boundless. She now works in North West London as a school nurse – which is much more than just vaccinations. She attends child protection meetings, visits families at home, deals with parents, teaches sexual health in schools, during the H1N1 scare she visited the homes of people with the flu and assessed them, repeatedly putting her own health at risk.

She’s not the only one.

Jeremy Hunt wouldn’t survive five minutes on the front line of the NHS. How would he cope being vomited, bled, shat on by the sick, how about easing the suffering of the dying or helping a woman give birth to an already dead child?

He wouldn’t. I honestly believe that he is a terrible health minister – no experience or actual knowledge, and without those you have an idiot with the belief that water that once met an onion is more able to cure someone than medicine prescribed by an educated, trained, knowledgeable doctor.

I implore you Mr Cameron, to do the right thing, remove Mr Hunt from this post and find someone (maybe an actual healthcare professional) to do the job fairly and justly. The NHS is worth saving, the lives it’s saved and continues to save prove that.

ramblingmads