16 February 2017

Branching Out

I rarely make new year's resolutions but this year I was determined to make this the year I stop saying I haven't got time to do things. One of those things is to research the family tree. So in the first week of January, to give me an incentive, I signed up to and paid for two online ancestry websites and started to beaver away into the Alcoholic Daze family history. It has been labour-intensive but fascinating. On at least two whole days for every week since I have been glued to the internet researching.

I have a box full of some rough paperwork I have gathered over the years - jottings of conversations with  close relatives, photos with captions on the back, addresses, letters - all in a muddle and a heap. I systematically started to divide it all up into my side of the family and my husband's side. Then for each side I subdivided material into maternal side and paternal side.

I started with my mother's side. I have a lot of information on this part of the family and still have my mother around to ask any questions, if need be - or so I thought. However my 93-year-old mum now has lapses in her memory, it seems, and cannot even recall the name of the hospital I was born in, so obviously she is no longer a reliable source for anything or anyone even further back in history.

My paternal side will need a bit more thought as those records stem from Germany. Maybe I need to go out there for a holiday to research them. Yes, I shall book a flight some time.

My first realisation is that the material available online is not totally reliable. For example my maternal grandmother was called Elsie but the census online shows her as Elni. I knew I had the right person because all the parents' and sibling details on the census are correct. However, when I compared the original hand-written census where her name was clearly "Elsie" with the later typed-up version, it had become "Elni". Another relative who has the name Armstrong as a middle was clearly shown as Armstrong in the handwritten version but shown in the typed version as Arabella. I am sure HE would not have been happy about that! My daughter reckons they use electronic readers to transpose the handwritten versions into typed versions and the electronics go a bit haywire sometimes. You're not kidding. 

Another problem is finding the correct dates. For relatives I know well, I may know the exact date of their birth but even this is not straightforward. My mother-in-law, for example, was born in late 1925, but her birth was not registered until 1926, so in researching ancestors back in the 1800s, I am not entirely sure I have found the right birth or death dates or even the right person as there can be hundreds of John Smiths and surprisingly as many Edith Hedleys (which you would think much rarer). How to know for sure that you have the right one? It is only recently that mothers' maiden names have been added to the birth certificates, so before that there is no way of being sure you have the right John Smith unless you cough up £10 each time to receive a copy of the actual certificate. It can get quite expensive.

The last few weeks I have concentrated on Greg's side of the family, as I was invited up to my sister-in-law for a special occasion last weekend and wanted to take some f my research to show them. I have found some interesting things and interesting professions on their side of the family.Even two sets of cousins marrying over two generations. I've gone as far back as the late 1700s and am now working out how to go further back still.

I am getting a lot of fun out of this and it will be something to leave the next generation. The sad thing is that when we are young, we don't really give a toss about our ancestors and it is only when living relatives pass away, that we wish we had asked more. I intend to leave plenty of records so that Kay and her cousins can have this information to hand, when they feel ready to ask those questions.

Look up this link to a video clip from BBC's Who Do You Think You Are when actor Danny Dyer (who plays pub landlord in  our long-running soap Eastenders) finds out who his ancestor is. The look on his face is priceless.


31 January 2017

Changing Passwords

We are still not quite into the finger-tip tantalisingly close season of Spring, so need a bit of cheering up to cope with the grey skies and gloom, not to mention endless reports about Brexit and Trump.  A friend sent me the following which apparently won Best Joke in a competition. I'm sure we've all experienced this......

WINDOWS: Please enter your new password.
USER: cabbage
WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters.
USER:  boiled cabbage
WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character.

USER: 1 boiled cabbage
WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces.
USER:  50bloodyboiledcabbages
WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain at least one uppercase character.
USER: 50BLOODYboiledcabbages
WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot use more than one uppercase character consecutively.
USER:   50BloodyBoiledCabbagesYouStupidIdiotGiveMeAccessNow!
WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.
USER :  IWillHuntYouDown50BloodyBoiled CabbagesYouStupidIdiotGiveMeAccessNow
WINDOWS: Sorry, that password is already in use. 


23 January 2017

On the wild side

It's been quite chilly in London for the last few weeks. It's noteworthy because our winters here have been a lot milder over the last decade or so, with only the occasional flurry of snow. Other countries can run quite efficiently with snow reaching depths of several feet and even to the North of Britain, deep snow is quite the norm, but at the sight of the first snowflake we southern wimps go into panic mode and despair. Roads are gritted with mine-fulls of salt to cope with the half-dozen flakes that settle on the ground and commuter trains grind to a halt unable to cope with the wrong sort of snow. Is there a right sort?

That said, this winter it has been unusually frosty since Christmas and I have been leaving the heating on 24-hours (reducing temperature at night) in case the water pipes decide to freeze and spring a leak when they thaw. Each morning I wake to dazzling white frosty roads, white grass and cars looking like they have been dusted with icing sugar. We have also been blessed with clear blue skies and by mid-morning the sun has melted any ice to give the plants in the garden a chance to rally round.

However I have been feeling sorry for the wild life. I love the squirrels that now visit my garden. I could never encourage them before when I had a dog and a cat as both hated squirrels with a passion and the dog would hurl himself at the patio window in an attempt to get at them, forgetting there was glass between them. The cat would hide incognito among the shrubs in wait for them, so any decent squirrel who wanted to see another day became used to avoiding our garden. Now my dog and cat have passed over the rainbow bridge, I recently decided to buy bags of peanuts for the squirrels to fatten them up over this cold spell. I painstakingly hide the nuts between the garden tubs on the patio, so the birds cannot get at them. Each day at breakfast time, I often come down to the kitchen to find at least one if not five squirrels waiting patiently for me to throw the nuts out for them. They sit on their haunches munching away until they are full, then take the remainder to bury for another time.  Some are now so tame, they no longer scamper away when I throw out more nuts for them. We are slowly getting to know one another. I study them while I sit inches away  on the other side of the patio door and have my breakfast.

But now I have also started feeling sorry for the birds. Not wanting to deprive the squirrels of their peanuts, I  have added bird seed to my weekly shopping list. I watch while the pigeons, blackbirds, thrushes, jays, magpies, parakeets, crows and two robins peck hungrily away at the spread on the ground, while the squirrels weave back and forth between them. Word is spreading as more birds seem to arrive each day. There's a good cafe five gardens to the right of the big chestnut tree. Plenty of seed and plenty of nuts. Come and join us. I like to think I'm doing my bit to keep their tummies full and survive the harsh winter. (OK, well, harsh by London standards!)

Apologies for the quality of the photos but they were taken through the patio window glass on zoom lest I scared them all away.....
Where's breakfast?

Oh, there it is

brown pigeons

One of two robins that usually come together


Two of the five squirrels have turned up. I cannot photo them all in the same place as they are so skittish, duck and dive all over the place, and run off to hide their finds.

Nom, this nut is so tasty

Hi. Any chance of some more?

I need both paws to hold this one.

Image result for jay
of course the jay did not turn up as I was taking photos, so  you will just have to believe me, but here's one I grabbed from the internet, courtesy of mbaker.co.uk

11 January 2017

Blooming marvellous

I live in London - one of the biggest cities in the world. I have lived in my current house on a wide tree-lined avenue for the last 29 years, having moved here shortly before Kay was born. I've seen many changes to the area over those 29 years,  in terms of new housing, changes in shop ownership in the High Street, introduction of one-way traffic systems, new night clubs and new schools to name but a few. But recently just a wee bit down the road from me, one community-spirited man has started planting flowers underneath the chestnut trees on the public grass verges that line the bit of the avenue outside where he lives. 

He has even planted herbs and put a small sign (and two pairs of scissors) beside them, inviting people to snip off any herbs they fancy as they pass (you can just make out the bright green and red scissor handles in the front of the photo). 

It makes me feel warm inside. We might be a huge city, but it takes one person to make all the difference. I hope his idea catches on and some jobsworth at the local council doesn't decide to slap a fine on him for contradiction of some by-law or another.

01 January 2017

Happy New Year

Well, I can't say I am sorry to see the back of 2016. It was a horrible year personally with major surgery and not so good for others either. The list of celebrity deaths in my newspaper was amazingly long. Big household names went one after another. The Syrian war scaled new depths and showed man's inhumanity to man. Brexit and the American elections turned everything on its head and made the unthinkable became possible. The year ended with a trip to A&E with my mother to sort out a swollen and very painful leg which masqueraded as DVT. Thankfully it turned out to be no more than cellulitis.

I have just returned home having spent the New Year with dear friends in Brighton.  We ate loads and drank loads and welcomed in the New Year with gusto. Good riddance to 2016 and hopes for better health and luck in 2017. That goes for you all.

19 December 2016

The Joy of Christmas

Well, the Christmas tree is decorated......

..... and the halls decked with holly and ornaments.

 Every surface is covered. The window sills......

......the pot plants......

..... the pictures.....

......even the kitchen table.

Rudolph is on stand-by for his busy night......


.... and a wish list has gone to Santa Claus.

 There's a warm welcome for guests.......

 .... and the true meaning of Christmas has not been forgotten.

Last night, Kay and I went to our local church for the most magical Carol service that they put on every year. Lights are turned off at the beginning and the nativity is narrated and acted out by adults in front of us at the altar. The Angel Gabriel brings lit candles in turn to Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the three kings, who walk among us until they reach the tableau at the front. During this the choir sings the most haunting classical pieces. Eventually, towards the end of the service, candles are lit along the pews until the whole church is bathed in light. It's very emotional. This will be the seventh Christmas without Greg, he is never far from our thoughts at this time, but more so last night when the closing music for the church procession was Widor's Toccata which had been played at our wedding as we left the church. I somehow felt he was there with us.

All that remains now is for me:
  •  to thank you for all your comments over the year. I always look forward to receiving them and cherish them ; and
  •  to wish each and every one of you a peaceful Christmas time (even if that is not your faith) and a happy healthy 2017.

07 December 2016

All organised

Well, I'm thoroughly organised for Christmas this year, but it is not without some panic effort by Mrs Alcoholic Daze. I've bought all the presents (bar one on which I'm still awaiting daughter's advice as to which curling tongs exactly she prefers. Hint - hurry up and let me know, as we only have another 18 days to go!!). I've posted all the Christmas cards (and boy did the postage come to a small fortune. I'm hoping I misheard and am actually buying shares in Royal Mail instead). I've cooked  and frozen the red cabbage (to my German grandmother's recipe which knocks spots off anything the English restaurants try to do with it). I'm now awaiting the arrival of my sister-in-law who is coming down to stay with me for a few days to swap presents from her family to mine and vice versa. The larder store is full. Just one last-minute shop of the fresh things and I'm done. Annoying, aren't I? 

Oh wait a minute, I've still got the Christmas tree and decorations to do. Not so perfect after all.

22 November 2016

There's none so blind......

Yesterday I went off to do some serious Christmas shopping. After a while I began to flag so called into a High Street chain coffee house to perk up a bit and stress over how much money I had spent rest my weary legs. I got a window seat and engaged in one of my favourite pastimes..... people-watching. I challenged the theory that one in four people are obese and found it to be quite true. No wonder we are facing a diabetes epidemic. Hips as wide as barn doors staggering along pushing prams or hobbling along on sticks. How do people get to that stage without realising they are extremely overweight? I confess that in the last few years I have become a stone overweight, but  do make serious attempts to bring it back to a normal healthy weight, as anything more than stone is more difficult to shift. But how do you pile on the multiple stones without noticing enough is enough?

While I was people-watching, a blind lady came past the window on her own. She had one of those sticks with a rubber ball on the end that she swept back and forth in front of her to detect obstacles. Suddenly she was confronted with an obstacle - an approaching pair of feet.  They were about to kick her stick up in the air, when they realised and averted an accident.  The approaching pair of feet belonged to someone with their nose stuck so much in their mobile phone that they were oblivious to any obstacles in front of them. Just who was the blind one in that situation? 

15 November 2016

A different battle

On Remembrance Sunday I watched a TV interview with a woman about her husband who had fought and died in Afghanistan three years ago. He had left behind a young widow and two very young sons. She was saying how she has good days and bad days; that she wishes he were still here to grow old with her and see the changes in her sons as they grow older. She was later shown walking proudly with all the veterans past the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

It got me thinking.

My husband died in a different battle. Not one against other human beings but against a much more subtle enemy.  Alcohol.  A different enemy but the same outcome. He's not here to see my daughter grow up and develop into a clever young doctor, to walk her down the aisle, see her married or have grandchildren. He's not here to experience a thousand news stories that his own thoughts had shaped in the past - not Brexit, the rise of the Trump, or the countless things that will happen to us all in the future. He's not here to grow old with me.

He's not here.

At least the fallen soldiers are remembered in a way their families can feel proud. For those families who have been devastated by an alcoholic enemy, there is no such redress. In fact most of us carry the burden, the shame and the guilt of having been somehow responsible, even if that is not true. For us, no medal to polish. Not even some foreign field that is forever England.

09 November 2016

Democracy and the Future

trump (noun)

(in bridge, whist, and similar card games) a playing card of the suit chosen to rank above the others, which can win a trick where a card of a different suit has been led.

Cripes, fissogs, bletherin' barndoors (or fill in your own expletive).

I expect you and a few billion people are recovering from the results of yesterday's US presidential elections. My daughter having just clocked off from a singularly quiet night shift in A&E rang me at 7.30am to tell me the shocking news. She'd been up all night watching the election results coverage on the A&E news feed, given that there were few patients to tend to.

First Brexit, now the US presidential elections. The whole world is in outrage, turmoil and, without being overly dramatic, a tad fearful of what the future brings.What with Russia recently posturing with a dilapidated aircraft carrier sailing close to the Straits of Dover, not to mention threatening to reclaim old USSR states and doing its worst in Syria, it could be World War One and Two all over again.

It occurs to me that the problem with Brexit and with the US elections is that democracy is failing to provide the ideal answer (and by that I don't mean the "right" answer). I've long thought that, whilst in theory democracy is by far the better pattern to follow, it still does not deliver the ideal solution. How many times have you and millions of others voted for a political party but failed to see it in government? Either that party has lost in your constituency or it has won in your constituency but  failed to win every other constituency. For example, 60% of the electorate as individuals might have voted Labour, but a Conservative government was elected  because the majority of constituency wins were Conservative.

Brexit is another good example. The referendum vote was 52:48 and many Remainers have been quick to point out that this was such a close call as to render the result meaningless. But if it had been done on a constituency basis, the outcome might have been different. By that I mean, supposing each constituency had a 52:48 outcome, then there would have been a 100% vote for Brexit. Who is to say that in a general election, if we had a referendum rather than a constituency vote, one party would have an overwhelming majority over the other, when it might have been the opposite with a constituency system.  So too in the US.... if all the individual votes were added up, would it amount to Clinton winning?

Of course, you need an opposition to make things balanced and fair, so the old idea of proportional representation seems to me to be a far fairer system and why it has never been accepted here in the UK  I don't know, although the Liberals did try. That way the votes of the entire country would be added up to find the overwhelming majority to take power and then the individual constituency results would be taken into account too to make sure that each constituency was also fairly represented locally and in Parliament.

Meanwhile, as the Chinese say, we live in interesting times. Just how interesting, only time will tell, but please let it be peaceful and not come to war.

27 October 2016

Off with their heads - Or Off Their Heads?

I often wonder what it was like to live in Britain four or five hundred years ago when it mattered greatly what your religion was. If you were on the opposing side of the ruling monarch in those days you were hunted down, imprisoned and killed. Catholics tortured Protestants. Protestants burned Catholics. If you were a Jew, you were always on the wrong side. It must have been a fearful time to live in, when you couldn't trust your neighbours or even close relatives to hand you over to the establishment because of your beliefs.

It seem to me that the last few months since Brexit have drawn parallels. Maybe with not such drastic outcomes, but nevertheless with some similarity. Instead of Catholics and Protestants, you have Remainers and Leavers. There was vitriol and mud-slinging on both sides a-plenty before the Referendum, but since then there has been daily outpourings of accusation, hatred and viciousness. Threats from the Remainers to scupper the vote, threats from the Leavers to bring it on. People afraid to say what side they voted for in case they were ridiculed, made to justify their beliefs, or even worse given the cold shoulder (I've heard of people refusing to have anything more to do with their parents or grandparents because they disagreed with their point of view. Really?)

I am very worried for my country and not because of the referendum result itself. I am worried that the people of this nation stand so divided (almost 50:50) on the way this country should go. Politicians have fallen by the wayside because of it and whole political parties seem to be buckling under the strain too. Apart from the Tories and the SNP, there is no viable party in opposition to help with the democratic process to take us forward in a balanced way. Whatever you voted for and aspired to, surely the way forward is to pick this country up and do our best together rather than divided. A democratic vote was taken and there was a majority result. It might not be the result a lot of people wanted, but it was democratic. To ignore it, to suggest the result was not the "right answer" and try to turn back the tables would be undemocratic. It would create the right to scupper any democratic result on whatever subject in the future, just because the result wasn't "the right one". That's not democracy.  We might as well all live in North Korea, if that's that case.

We are known all over the world for our bulldog spirit. In the last century alone we were able to withstand and rise from the ashes of two crippling world wars, not to mention a cold war. If our parents and grandparents had given up at the first hurdle,we would certainly not all be here today, able to make free and democratic decisions without fear of reprisals, imprisonment or death camps. Nor are we as a nation by any means stupid - we were the inventors of many great things such as the Industrial Revolution and the World Wide Web, to name but two things that have benefited the world immensely. We are quite capable of getting on with things and making a success of them, whether in the EU or not.

We should all pull together, not apart, and believe we can get through this rocky period together with hard work and confidence, not hatred or mud-slinging. The immediate future will be rocky and the financial markets will rise and fall as they have done since time immemorial, with or without Brexit. That's what they do, even when everything in the garden is lovely. We need to be confident we can work it out together and put aside thoughts that we can't achieve success. To do otherwise is to create a chasm so large, we could be on the brink of apathy, or worse still anarchy, and who wants to return to those awful medieval days?

17 October 2016

Poor me

It's been six months since my major operation to remove the GIST-tumour from my stomach. I had been doing very well and was more or less back to eating normally, back to driving, back to heavy lifting, back to gardening, back to normal in general. However about two or three weeks ago, I had a setback. I am not sure what caused it, although I have a number of theories - it coincided with getting a flu injection, it also coincided with me reheating some rice (which is a definite no-no), and it's possible I had eaten too many foods which are rather acidic or spicy. Whatever the cause, I now have chronic gastritis or  gastroenteritis which is not very pleasant and has set me back quite a bit. The doctor has ordered some tests but meanwhile my get-up-and go and has got-up-and gone. I'm feeling very lack-lustre and not up to much. Damn. 

Picture courtesy of pinterest.com

04 October 2016

Like Falling Off a Blog

I'm not sure why, but there is a distinct lack of blogging going on these days compared with past years. My favourite bloggers are producing less material and even I feel less inclined to blog these days. Is it the weather, other demands on our time, lack of enthusiasm, running out of steam, or what? Answers on a postcard, leave comments below, or tell me in a blog.

19 September 2016

Small world

You would think that with a UK population of around 64 million and a world population of over seven billion people, it would be hard to find many coincidences where people compartmentalised in one part of your life knew people in another. But this last week has shown me that anything is possible.

Between 1988 and 1991 I used to work with a lady called M. The last time I saw her was 25 years ago when I was pregnant and left work to have Kay. We found one another again recently on Facebook and since she only lives about a 20-minute drive from me, we have met up several times over the last few months for a coffee and a catch-up on the last 25 years. It transpired in conversation that her ex-husband's sister (C) had also been a work colleague of mine in a previous job back in 1973. C had married a Spaniard and moved to Madrid in 1977. After that, with the internet and mobile phones yet to be born, we lost touch.  

As C was over in London last week, M invited us all to her house for a lovely supper, where C and I were able to catch up on 40 years' news! Such an amazing coincidence. Over the course of the evening, I also discovered that M's husband went to the same school as me (albeit not at the same time) and also lived a few streets away, when we were younger.

As if that wasn't enough coincidence, it also transpired M's oldest son is a lawyer and works in a tiny Mediterranean community, where my best friend  at school (H) has lived for decades, having married a lawyer there. It turns out he knows my school friend and her husband. I haven't seen H since we left school in 1969 (again no internet or mobiles to stay in touch, only snail-mail which eventually fizzled out as we began our careers and moved abroad in different directions). Now M's son has provided me with H's email. There's 46 years' worth of news to catch up on there. All those coincidences from one meeting. It sure is a small world.

06 September 2016

Doctors' Strike: The Things You Don't Hear in the Media

I feel compelled to write another post about the junior doctors' strike, because it has been said that public support for the junior doctors is waning and I think this is largely attributable to the way the media has (or to be precise has not) been covering it. So much seems to be left out of the media reports, that no wonder the public are getting tired of the whole saga. I have been privileged to see it from the other side, as some of you may know, my daughter is one of those junior doctors.  So, here are a few facts you may not be aware of.......

What is a junior doctor?
Many people are under the impression  that a junior doctor is a leftist young thing straight out of university who can't be bothered to put in a day's work so soon after being a slob at uni. The media doesn't help by only interviewing doctors who look as if they should still be at school let alone having gone through uni. They are depicted at the picket lines chanting "Save our NHS" like zombies.... not a  good way to win over the public (BMA to note). 

The fact is a junior doctor is any doctor who has not yet reached consultant level. As it can take a minimum of 7 or 8 years to reach consultant, junior doctors are therefore anyone aged from 24  to in many cases someone in their 40s (Because medicine is such a difficult course to get into in the first place, many have had to take degrees in other subjects first and are in their 30s when they graduate in medicine, so can be in their 40s when they reach consultant level.) So junior doctors are often married, with children, with mortgages and with huge responsibilities.

Is the strike all about pay? 
No. Pay has never been the reason why the strike was started in  the first place. Junior doctors have never asked for a pay rise, even though the media keeps banging on about it. The pay issue has only arisen because in fact the new contract, which Jeremy Hunt seems blindly hell-bent on pushing through, actually means they will get a drop in pay. A junior doctor fresh out of university gets a basic pay of £23,000. A lot less than most graduates in other disciplines can expect as their starting salary, I might add - even shop assistants earn more than that. The young doctors can earn a bit more if they work on-call which means they work additional evening shifts and weekends floating around the hospital to deal with any emergencies on any of the wards they are not normally assigned to. This can sometimes nudge their pay up to somewhere near £30,000, but it depends how many on-call shifts they are asked to do, so it is not a salary they can rely on. Jeremy Hunt's contract will do away with the extra on-call payments and just give an 11% pay rise on the basic 23,000. You don't need to be a good mathematician to work out that this means a drop in pay in real terms.

The hours are long and morale is low.
There is no such thing as set hours in the medical profession. Doctors can hardly walk away from a sick patient when the clock shows it should be the end of their shift and their aching bones and frazzled minds are telling them it's time to go home. So they stay, because they care and want to see a job through to the end. Usually the shifts are a minimum of ten hours and in some cases longer. I have known my daughter to work 14 hours, most often without a lunch break, often without any more than a grabbed sandwich at a desk while typing up a patients notes. On some occasions she has had no time even for a toilet break! Keeping up a 10- or 14-hour shift is bad enough for a few days, but when you are on-call at weekends too, it can mean working 12 days in one run (Mon- Fri plus the weekend plus Mon-Fri the following week). If you worked that sort of shift length and run in any job, it would make you tired. You could make mistakes. Maybe overprice a customer, drop a box of expensive stock on the floor, use the wrong form to order some stationery. But in medicine? Make a mistake and you could be killing someone. My daughter has spoken of trying to calculate a prescription to give a patient based on so many mg per kg of bodyweight. She has said a simple calculation when you are tired is like thinking through mud.

So what is the strike about?
Jeremy Hunt wants a 24/7 NHS. They already have it. It's called A&E. If you are really sick or dying, weekday or weekend, day or night, A&E is open to receive you. Unfortunately it is much abused by people who cannot be bothered to go to their GP, do not have an arm hanging on by a mere thread and just need paracetamol. For all other (non- A&E) services, there is admittedly not a 24/7 service, but then you would need to recruit more doctors and the support staff of nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers etc etc) which the NHS cannot afford. Jeremy Hunt wants the existing doctors to cope with even more workload to cover this extra service. With the hours they already work, there is no capacity to add on more working hours, unless you expect your doctor to never get any sleep at all. Forget them having any hint of a  social life or seeing their families. If man and wife are both junior doctors they hardly see one another or their children at all.

Not professional?
People have been quick to accuse the doctors of abusing their position, saying they are privileged, they work in a profession and professions simply do not strike. It is a calling. But I would like to see any other profession that overworks anywhere near the same hours for such low pay.Most professions are appreciated and paid accordingly.  It is rather the doctors who are being abused because of their goodwill to carry on regardless.  The bosses know that the junior doctors will not walk away from a sick patient. Yes, they are striking and it may seem they don't care about the patients, but is because they care that they are striking. It is their only way of getting people to sit up and take notice of what they are going through.They cannot go on with the high demand in hours without the patients suffering. Even one fatal mistake made while the doctors are too tired, would be a mistake too many and the public would soon jump on the bandwagon to condemn a tired doctor's decision, if something went terribly wrong.

So next time you hear someone going on about the doctor's strike in a negative way, please remember this and put them right. Support the doctors rather than condemn them. If we are not careful, Jeremy Hunt will drive the NHS into the ground and where will we be then?