I know I have said before that, at my age, looking backwards is more comfortable than looking forwards. This was brought home to me last month by an article in the newspaper describing an aeroplane crash at Gatwick exactly 50 years previously, when an Indian Boeing 727 crashed into a house near the runway at 200mph, killing half the passengers on the aeroplane and all the occupants of the house except a baby who was in her cot. She is now now 51 years old and the article detailed her life since the crash. The article brought back vivid memories for me because I had just started a Cardiology job at Redhill General Hospital. In those days, we were on call non-stop and I was called into the hospital just after midnight on the morning of Sunday, January 5th 1969 and I did not see my bed again until the Wednesday. The hospital was full to bursting with seriously burned and injured adults and children, their burned flesh peeling off in sheets, and all covered in liquid mud and aviation fuel. My two most vivid memories are of the all-pervading acrid smell which still haunts me, and the large number of casualties who were beyond hope and died in spite of all our efforts. As a young doctor, the combination of shock, horror and an overwhelming sense of my failure to save these people whatever we did was a strong element in my formative years in my career.
My actual job was as Senior House officer in Medicine. Basically, it involved being available24 hours a day, 7 days a week with half a day off every fourth Friday. I even had an office and a bed, both on the ward, and hardly ever got to my own bed in the flat over the road.
The salary was £1,100 per annum, less income tax and rent for my flat – £17. 8. 3d per month. So, I took home about £65 or £70 a month. However, as I never managed to go anywhere to spend it, I managed to save some of it after paying for the running of my old my old Hillman Mix purchased for £35 and held together with pop rivets and bits of metal. Fortunately, it was black, so touching in the paint on repairs was no problem.
We have had a long, damp Winter here in the Midlands. Weeks of 100% cloud cover with rain almost every day. Those of our kids who live here have said for years that the weather was “rubbish”. However, today is gloriously sunny and I have started to knock the garden into shape. All the bulbs I planted in the Autumn are coming up, the birds are all feeding well at the feeder. However, the mice in my shed, which had eaten a lot of my spare car seat stored in there, are eating the “food” I put down for them with alacrity. They are taking the sachets away and, so far, have demolished more than two dozen! I have given the lawn its first cut and done all the edges. I have lots of really healthy plants waiting to go in so next weekend is taken care of.
A man was sitting in a bar. He looked really miserable and his drink sat in front of him, untouched. A big bully lorry driver strolled in drank the man’s drink, emptying the glass with one long swig. The man burst into tears. The lorry driver softened and urged him to stop crying.
“Oh, I can”t” said the man “I”ve had an awful day; I overslept and was late to work so I got fired. I went to go home and discovered my car had been stolen. I took a taxi and then could not pay because my wallet was still in my stolen car. I went indoors to find my wife in bed with the gardener so I came down here, considering putting an end to it all. And then you stroll in and drink all my poison!
A Moscow-based business man was walking in Washington when he was caught short. He went into an alley and was unzipping his trousers when a policeman turned up and told him that he could not urinate there. The policeman took the man to a nearby park, beautifully manicured and full of flowers and colour. Th man asked the policeman “That was vey kind of you sir. Is this the famous American courtesy I have heard so much about?” “No” replied the policeman “This is the Russian Embassy”.
Best wishes to you all Ian Nisbet