Thursday, 26 November 2009

Home From the Costa Del Royal Berks

Got back from the Costa Del Royal Berks this afternoon. Feel a bit grotty and have to chill for a couple of days.I know I have already blogged on the wonders the NHS, a Labour invention, but I was really surprised how much like a holiday it was.

First off the flight was delayed, the piccy is of me waiting in the waiting room. I was dressed in my hospital clothes chatting to my dad who was waiting with me.

We waited about 3 hours, as I had miss understood the directions I had been given not the hospital's fault. While I was waiting the surgeon, the aneathastist and various others who were involved in the op came to see me and personally explain what was going to happen to me. The surgeon, didn't really need to do his drawing.

Then at about 4 O'Clock I was walked down to the surgery, all very relaxed and taken to the aneathstitic suite. Here I was engaged in witty and erudite conversation until I stopped talking. Not a regular event I know. The Suite was new clean and efficient with all the staff explaining what they were doing.

I can't tell you anything about the op, you will be pleased to know.

So on to the real holiday bit.

First I got my own room with a window, the room had TV and a shower. Almost as soon as I was awake I was brought a cup of tea. The room was pretty simple and the impression of being on holiday was reinforced by the sound of hordes of students rampaging up Redlands road. It was amazing to hear the noise they were making, fortunately I was a bit spaced out and so didn't mind.

The hosp was great everytime something hurt I rang a bell I was brought pain relief.

Next morning the surgeon and all his staff came to see me and explained to me what he did, I won't repeat it.

So after all this I was able to go home. Got to say that it was so much more like a holiday than a hospital. Once again thumbs up to the NHS it has improved so much since the first time I had kidney stone problems and ended up in hospital.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A Diversion before the Op

Went out this morning to lollipop and deliver some leaflets to take my mind off things.

I was dissappointed to see my old house in Norris Road with 6-7 bags of festering rubbish dumped outside. I have rung the Uni and they advised that the house is occupied by Students and they will be in contact. Interestingly enough though Ann Westgarth, who is a good stick and very helpful also advised me to ring the Council who have the power to fine people that flytip like this, even if they are fly tipping outside their own house.

So I recommend that every resident, whether fulltime or student reports flytipping to the Council. Ask for Street Care and explain where you are. They will follow up.

Ann Westgarth is very helpful and has asked me to publicise her details so I am. She can be reached on the Uni number of 0118 9875123. To reach Street Care call them on 0118 9390900

While this is all good and both the Council and the Uni are taking efforts to cut down on the rubbish. I wonder why the landlord of this property allows this. He lives in a huge house in Culver Lane, with his mum. He drives a Merc and yet is happy to allow his houses in Norris Road to bring the whole area down. He owns 40, 38 and 36. What do you think? Email me to let me know how I, the Uni and Council should deal with people like him.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A Bit Nervous

I am a bit nervous tonight.

I have to go in to hospital tomorrow, I am sure that all of you will wish me well. Going in to hospital reminds me what has changed in our Health Service for users in the last 10 years.

I have a blocked kidney, this has been going on for a while. When I first had problems I used to turn up at A+E in screaming agony. We have a new A+E unit, I don't know whether you used the old A+E but it was a grotty dirty hole. The clean A+E saw me within about 30 mins and gave me pain relief. When the problem continued I was taken in to the Hopkins Ward in the new hospital. I had previously been in the Battle, which was one of the most depressing places I have ever been to. The new ward discharged me to have a procedure called Lithotripsy, I think. Basically they zap the kidney stone with ultra sound. This didn't dislodge the stone. One day I had to visit my GP and she was able to look at my results and x rays on line from her surgery. Something else that didn't happen more than 10 years ago.

As the stone was huge. It is about the size of a small pebble, 1/2 inch long, the doctors said it had to come out. This was about 8 weeks ago and I was originally supposed to go in a month ago, however it didn't fit in with work.

Now the stone's day is up. All this is happening in a New Hospital, with newish looking equipment and a short waiting list. I won't describe the op, however I attach a link to a Bond film which will give you an idea.

So I am nervous, however I can see just what the Government has acheived. I just hope that the surgeon has a steady hand.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Another Evening As A Street Pasty

Suddenly its 3am and I am saying my goodbyes to my team of Street Pastors and am cycling slowly home after my second Street Pastor Session.

I was stunned at how many people are still about at 3am. We have been down at Gun Street and St Mary Butts for most of the evening. We had lots of people to talk to, street people, party people, police police, door people, alsorts. One incident sticks out. We were down on St Mary's Butts and there was a lad who looked very confused and his eyes were looking in 8 places at once. We went over to chat to him and discovered that he couldn't speak and didn't know where his mates were. A bit concerned we "talked" to him to try and bring him round, a bottle of water, some of which he drank and some he sprayed on his face. After, I don't know 10 maybe 15 mins he started to revive.

In the background of all this there was a bloke who was shouting and screaming at us while we were talking to the lad. We had a little team huddle to discuss what we should do and we decided to call up the town security system so they could keep an eye on us on the CCTV. All of a sudden I looked up to see a couple of the door staff with their arms crossed smiling and asking if we needed any help. They had heard me call up the CCTV and wanted to make sure we were all  right. It is always nice to know that you have friends.

With our guardian angels watching over us we kept on talking to our friends until he snapped awake, remembered where his mates were and rushed, well ambled off to meet his mates.

One short moment in a very fullfilling evening. I was utterly done in when I got home, and to get myself going in the morning, where I had a morning of politics, I ate a bag of Revels for breakfast.

I am very proud of my daughter

My Daughter picked up her GCSE certificates from Maiden Erleigh School this week. The school had arranged a presentation and I was really pleased to see the school making an effort to honour the efforts made by all its pupils.

Seeing her there made me reflect on the changes that have come to Reading in her life time. She started school the year of the Labour Victory and since then in the area we have seen a large extension to her Primary School built, and lots of new building at her Senior School.

Couple this with the hospital that she was born in, the Royal Berks being completely renewed, and still undergoing renewal and huge improvements in Reading, couple this with things like the Family Tax credits and a period of strong employment before the crash and sensible and strong steps taken to prevent the bank collapse becoming a melt down and you see that there is a lot of things that we should be proud of in our country. I think you can truely make the case that Labour has been good for Britain.

Karaoke with the President

Managed with usual Richard McKenzie skill only to catch the end of the Student Finances debate at Reading University.

It was interesting to see how the politico's interacted with the Students and how the Students reacted to the politico's. It seemed that the feedback at the end of the meeting was that Anneleise Dodds and Gareth Epps were well in the lead in their performances and that Rob's Wilson and White, Conservative MP and Green PPC respectively came across very badly. This sparked off a lot of conversations about different ways to run deabtes. There was a suggestion made that the 2 Rob's should fight for last place by wrestling in custard. This has sparked an idea for an article in Spark, the Union newspaper so watch this space.

It was a shame really that both the Rob's came aross so badly. Rob Wilson is an ex RUSU President, albeit in those days for the Social Democratic Party I seem to remember. Rob one is usually quite witting and engaging in those situations but somehow didn't seem to be able to rise to the occassion. Not sure what was going on.

The debate was especially important, given the levels of debt, talking to some of the other students some had debts, at the age of 22, of over £25,000. Where does that leave my children?

Once the post debate debates finished we repaired to the Union where the Karaoke was in full swing, I was pleased to say that I improved my lamentable score of 6 from my last session, see University does have its uses. I was however beaten by the unstoppable combo of Sinaead and Wes, Presidents of RUSU and the NUS respectively. Infact they were so good a number of use joinewd them on stage to bask in their victory.

The end of an interesting night

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A Particular Interest

As some of you might know I am a linguist by training, speaking: German, Russian, French and of course English.

Language training and teaching is something very close to my heart so I am putting a link on the site to a petition encouraging language teaching: please take time to sign it

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Some People Really Get my nerves

Sometimes things really get you down. This week parents parking dangerously where I lollipop at Alfred Sutton school combined with the rain to really get me down.

Everyday I was on duty it honked down with rain, never nice and then on Monday, the owner of this car had the gaul to simply lock his car and walk away when I asked him to move his car so that I could man the crossing point safely.

To say I was cross was an understatement. I was furious. The driver looked so smug when he walked away.

So what do you do when you only have a lollipop stick to defend yourself with? My other main weapon of defence is my mobile phone. Not only was I able to take this piccy for posterity but I was able to ring my supervisor to moan about the problems. Last week a cyclist, with child on the seat at the back, road through the crossing while I was standing in the middle of the road.

My supervisor was on the case really quickly and on Wednesday I had visitors, a PC, 2 PCSO's and a couple of parking wardens. I felt very special and in general parents, drivers and cyclists behaved themselves. Believe it or not though there were still enough people parking illegally or cycling through the crossing to keep the forces of law and order busy.

I was pleased to see the support and a lot of parents told me how happy they were to see the Police and others taking the problem seriously. What the people who were spoken to by the Police say, unfortunately this wasn't recorded........

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Clean the streets, talk to the man with the broom

It was crappy and wet in the morning yesterday. I had noticed on the junction of bumpy Bulmershe and Crescent Rd someone had dumped a load of rubbish all over the grass.

I'd reported it to the Council, but noticed it hadn't been cleared up and the foxes were having a field day. Then who should hove in to view? Our regular street cleaner, bravely battling the rain and keep the streets around the shops on the Woky Rd clean.. I though I'd have a word and see if he would be able to pick up the rubbish and put it in his cart. I was amazed when he said no problem and thanks for pointing out the rubbish to him.

Next time I cycled past the rubbish was gone and the grass was as good as new.  So the moral of the story, to get the streets clean, talk to the man with the broom.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Taking Up Residents Concerns with the Union

Spent a good day talking to the Students' Union and the University's Community Relations Manager about residents concerns about Anti Social Behaviour caused by students.

It was a series of really good meetings, where we all sat down with a spirit of trying to work on the problem, we could see that pressure brought by residents, myself and others has caused some success in one road. There appears to be a growing problem in another road. I made some suggestions based on the successes elsewhere and the Uni are following up the suggestions.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Richard McKenzie backs the PCSO's

Had a quieter week last week as it was half term. Still found time to work on the petition for the PCSO's.

This is a very important campaign and the University has now been presented with the petition that we gathered from around Park, Redlands and Church. I was amazed at how many people were happy to sign.

Strangely enough I bumped in to the Green who said that he wouldn't sign our petition on campus the other day. I mentioned to him that we were a bit surprised at his stance, but he didn't really have a good answer as to why a Green wouldn't want to sign a petition to support the PCSO's. Shame really.

Following the work we did in the Ward, we are still getting positive comments about our campaign and I hope that there will be further follow ups soon.

Enjoyed half term with the family, although I still had to work and study, I had almost every evening free during the week and it was really, really nice to spend time with Kath and chat round the things in our lives. Trying to get elected and having a family is a strain on all, however I does help to keep you grounded and in touch with real life.