Out of Focus - the diary of a student radiographer.

Friday, April 23, 2004


I don't like kids. That may seem a odd statement for someone who works in a maternity dept but I don't mind babies. Its when they start showing signs of independent thought that I go off them. I especially don't like the little c**t that lives next door and his friends.

Here at chez minstrelcat we live between 'The Simpsons' and 'The Flanders'. 'Mr Flanders' looks just like Ned Flanders from the Simpsons cartoon, except that he always looks as miserable as sin. They are Mr & Mrs Suburbia - very conservative and very dull. 'Mrs Flanders' is like a quiet version of Margot from The Good Life - she gardens in marigold gloves and deadheads the lobelia.

'The Simpsons' are the one with the brat. 'Mr Simpson' is actually fairly pleasant but his wife is a screeching harridan. You should hear her when the rat, sorry, the yorkshire terrier, gets out. 'Mr & Mrs Simpson' took the inspired decision a couple of years back to purchase their brat a full-size trampoline and site it right alongside the fence between our two gardens. So now, almost constantly between the beginning of spring until the end of autumn, we have the endure the brat and most of the kids in the neighbourhood bouncing on it, peering over the fence and shouting silly comments. I have gamely tried to ignore this menace but yesterday I was in the garden pottering about and planting lollo rosso and it really got to me. I had been feeling down for a couple of days and the brats kept on and on and I got upset.

I'm not sure what to do. I'd like to be able to go out in my garden for a bit of peace and quiet. We don't have much to do with the neighbours on either side but I don't want to fall out with them either. Adam says he'll go have a polite word with them but it's not as if they can tell off the brats as most of them aren't theirs.

Meanwhile, I'll have to cheer myself up by imagining the brats being decapitated with a chainsaw.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Mature student

I don't think I was wearing my pedometer properly last time I tried it at work as I only got about 6 or 7 thousand steps. This time, instead of just chucking it in my pocket, I clipped it to the pocket and got just over 10,000 for an hours less work (and it wasn't very busy). Pretty impressive, huh?

After work yesterday I went to an open evening at Canterbury Uni where I'm hoping to study medical imaging (aka radiography). I found a parking space in a street round the back of the uni so I had to walk through the grounds to get to reception. I felt out of place and, well, kind of old. Anyway, the evening was useful - I got some questions I had about the course answered and a nice lady from admissions was there and told me they are still processing applications so that is why I haven't heard anything yet. And I saw numberplates 8 though 11 on my way there and back. Yay!

Monday, April 19, 2004


I went to the local blood doning session today and gave my armful - the only time I can eat crisps and biscuits and not feel guilty. The woman who stuck the needle in my arm had a bat sticker stuck to her name badge which amused me a little. Giving blood is pretty much a non event for me nowadays but the last few times I have gone they have changed little details, just to make the experience a little more interesting, I suppose.

Like not giving you a rollery thing to roll in your hand to keep the blood flowing - they've stopped using them for cross-infection reasons. But I liked having something to roll in my hand, somehow it was easier than opening and closing your hand which is what you have to do now.

Like not taping a ball of cotton wool over your plaster to put pressure on the wound any more - now you have to press some gauze to your arm for 'a couple of minutes'. Its not something I find easy to do lying down - my bust is, erm, ample and gets in the way so I end up spending the 'couple of minutes' (seems like about 10) shifting my arms about trying to get more comfortable whilst my fingers are going numb from pressing on my arm.

Anyway, it had an up side - I spotted the next number I was looking for in the number plate spotting thingy through the window whilst I was lying down with the needle in my arm. I'm now looking for number 8.

Digging the Dirt

I read the Mail on Sunday yesterday. Before I go any further, I'd like to point out that I didn't buy it, we went to my parents and they had bought it. The front page story was a perfect example of why I don't buy newspapers any more.

The headline screamed 'LORD DIRT' and the first paragraph went on to state that Lord Birt was the director of a company that 'helped perverts buy pornography'. "I wonder what the company does", thought I. "Is it a distributor of top shelf magazines? Does it have a website selling such items?"

I read further and it turns out he is a director of PayPal. Eh?? I can't believe they have come to the conclusion that he deserves to be called Lord Dirt for that. I am stunned. I can't find word to express how laughable I find that.

We decided to clear our heads after reading that and went to place a cache and nearly got blown off our feet in the process. It was a bit windy.

Oh, and after several days trying to find number 1, I got up to 5 in the car numberplate spotting thingy. Yay!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Happy birthday Von

Adam and I went to the 60th birthday party of one of my oldest friends today. Yvonne (known to everyone as Von) is a wonderful, nutty lady I have known since I moved to Kent at the age of 7. I first met her when I went to her ballet classes, later I joined the junior drama group which she was involved with and, when I was 17, I joined the adult drama group and we've both been members of the group ever since then. Today's do was at lunchtime and a huge spread was laid on with plenty to drink. Wonderful lady!

We even had time to squeeze in a quick multi-cache afterwards, before night fell. A good day.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Ick warning

I thought it was about time I had something a bit more icky on my blog. I have just seen this website mentioned on the telly. Beware if you are of a nervous disposition. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Stepping out

I was given some posters at rehearsals last night to put up somewhere so I've got the blu-tack out and the first one can go up here.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Not that anyone I know online lives very close so this is unlikely to generate any additional audience members.

Inspired by Sarah's recent pedometer exploits, I dug out the one I bought ages ago to find out how far I walk whilst at work, and actually used it for the purpose for which I bought it. Yesterday I did 8182 steps which is a moderately busy 7 hour shift, walking 15 mins there and back to work, a supermarket shop and a rehearsal.

Oh, and today's (and yesterday's) earworm has been 'All that Jazz' from Chicago for some reason.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Social Pariah

I feel guilty. I think I was flashed by a speed camera this evening. It was the little yellow blighter just down the road from our house. I never bother checking my speed going past that one as its fairly close to the junction and I thought I didn't have didn't have room to get up to 30mph. I checked the speedo when I saw the flash and it showed 36mph, so that's 33 or 34mph taking into account the positive bias on speedos.

Thing is, its only just happened, and I've no idea whether I'll even get a ticket, but I feel as if I have a big sign on the car now saying 'this person is a reckless and irresponsible driver'. I mean, it can't happen to me. I've never had so much as a parking ticket in 14 years of driving. I'm one of the 80% of people that are better than average drivers. I passed the driving test I took when I was applying for a job as an ambulance technician with flying colours. Stu and Sarah will vouch for my driving skills. OK, I hit the kerb a couple of times but I'm wasn't used to the way the car handles with twice the usual number of people on board. Honest.

I suppose I better prepare for the worst - how much does a speeding fine cost nowadays?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


I had really dull day at work today. All three of the maternity wards were quiet today and I spent a good deal of my time popping into the other two to see if there was anything needing doing.

It was so dull that the most interesting thing that happened was that some printed blood results slips came back from Haematology marked for Peanut Ward instead of Peale Ward.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Tunnel adventure

We've just got back from our very enjoyable weekend caching and socialising in Worcestershire. Seeing as many others have blogged about the tunnel adventure, I'll just say hurrah and thank you to Stu and Sarah for placing the cache and organising everything. Oh, and it was nice to find JG and Ned got home OK after the noise their fan belt was making.

It's a pity it took so long that everyone had to rush off home afterwards so it was just Adam & me that went back to Stu & Sarah's for pizza and nattering. We accidently managed to over-order a tad on the pizzas, bearing in mind Stu can't eat pizza, as you can see here:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

We finally got back to our travelodge at about 12.30am - I'm really glad they gave us a key to the front door. I'm even more glad we didn't need to check out until midday. The travelodge doesn't do food so we had to have breakfast (well, I suppose it qualified more as lunch by the time we had it) at the Little Chef next door. Neither of us had eaten at a Little Chef for years, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that it's bad reputation isn't really deserved. The food was pretty good and it actually looked as good as it did in the pictures on the menu.

We managed to do 7 caches in the afternoon, including Stu & Sarah's series of 4 + bonus (I think I'll leave logging until tomorrow). We also had a nice chat with Martyn of Martyn B & April A who spotted us doing their cache that they can see from their house.

In short, a great weekend and I hope we can have another thinger's bash soon!

Friday, April 09, 2004

My brain hurts

The trouble with working on a bank holiday is that half my brain forgets that it's a bank holiday. I had planned to go to the post office today to send off a couple of packages but I've now realised I'll have to nip in there tomorrow on the way to Kidderminster. I also went to the friends of the hospital shop to buy a local paper but of course it's closed.

My abortive trip to get a paper meant I went past the free standing cashpoint near reception. Someone has broken into it (the cashpoint, not reception). I'm not sure how they managed it, I know the hospital is quiet at night but there is usually someone around and besides, judging by the mess they made of it, they must have made a hell of a noise. Also, the only way out at night is though A&E. I'm just glad I wasn't around when it happened.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Missing the point

I have a Boots loyalty card & I realised today that I have £25 worth of points saved up on it. Trouble is, I have no idea what to spend it on. The shop in town recently downgraded and they no longer sell any of the home decoration and kitchen type stuff. I've no idea whether they've stopped selling this kind of stuff in all Boots shops or not. I don't bother with expensive perfumes or face creams and I'm not interested in any of the 'personal grooming' electrical gizmos.

I had a wander around the shop and the only thing that remotely interested me was a Body Fat Monitor for £30 and I wonder if it's worth getting. I may only use it a couple of times and get fed up with it - after all, there's only so many times I'd be interested in it telling me I have far too much body fat.

Monday, April 05, 2004


I'm jolly pleased this morning as postie arrived with a big parcel of Lush goodies. They had made a special short run of discontinued items only available to people who read their forum. I'm especially looking forward to using a bath melt which smells all chocolatey and spicy. It's called '13 Rabbits' for some reason I've not been able to work out.

All this new stuff has prompted me to clear out some old toiletries that have been lurking around for years (literally). I'm a terrible hoarder. I found a huge pile of those little sachets of stuff like body lotion and shampoo that they stick in women's magazines. I also found loads of little bottles of perfume which smell really cheap and nasty. I'm not sure if they have gone off over the years or I had really bad taste in scents back then.

Must go and stick them in the dustbin as they are stinking the place out.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Green, green grass

Occasionally I take a look at the 'Homes' section of the local paper, just to get an idea of how much our house is worth. Not that we are thinking of moving, well, not yet anyway, it's just out of idle curiosity. It's quite remarkable to find out that ropey flats like the one I sold 5 years ago are priced now at almost what we paid for our nice modern detached house the same year.

I had my first major gardening session of the year today - mostly it involved weeding and wondering for the umpteenth time why grass seems to grow better in the borders than it does in the lawn, where it would be infinitely more welcome.