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A Better Year

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So Christmas has been turned on it's head like the rest of 2020. Last night's announcement by the government, who seem to have been chasing their tails throughout this whole pandemic, was a real blow to those of us in the South East. Food has been bought, homes have been decorated, presents are under the tree and now we can't share those things with the people we love. But that last sentence is an indicator of how lucky we really are. If we have food, homes to have a tree in, and money to buy gifts we surely are among the richest in the world. And if we have love then we still have the true meaning of Christmas. Whatever your belief, Christmas is about love. And hope. Hope for a better year to come. If you've read any of my writing before you'll know I have a lot of experience with and great affection for the elderly. One thing that strikes me about the people I know and hold dear who are in their nineties is that they have hope for tomorrow. If they didn't, the

Be Gentle

During one of many Covid-safe walks recently my brother Greg told me that I am one of two people he knows who hasn't had a set 'vision' for life. I jokingly asked if he sees me as a loafer with no aspirations but I knew what he was saying was positive.  We were talking about the past year and how it has affected so many people's plans. It goes without saying that 2020 has turned the world upside down and that, understandably, many have struggled with lockdowns, job changes or losses, relationships or illness. More time spent considering personal situations and futures seems to have been a common thread among people I work with and know personally, with many people making quite drastic changes to jobs and home life. As we talked further Greg explained that he sees my lack of rigid planning as a good approach and that it seems to have made me content in life. I'm aware that I do feel content but I've never considered that this may be, in part, because I failed to

Hello Again Mr Johnson

Dear Mr Johnson,  You may remember my previous letter and the book I sent you Blue Girl: Nursing Beyond the Ward , which I wrote so that the work of nurses could be understood and appreciated. And by appreciated I mean with more than applause. Since February, when I last wrote to you about the workload of nurses, mental health concerns for NHS staff, poor working conditions, faulty equipment, and offensive pay, our situation has become dire. Nurses and HCAs are continuing to battle the same issues as before but have since worked relentlessly through this pandemic. And they are burning out. Since your time in ICU I expect you now know better than some how tough their job is in the most trying of times. And yet rather than reward us, you have kicked us in the teeth. We are furious that your government has denied us a pay rise and we won't let this rest. Protests are only gaining momentum across the country as increasing numbers of nurses are thinking of leaving the profession they lo

Strong

I'm tired. So tired of the 'ideal' body images of both men and women that still bombard us on every platform. And what I am most tired of is that body size, shape and type is still a discussion. Who ever decided that women had to be thin and men had to have a six-pack? And who on earth decided that every woman should contour her face in an effort to lose any individuality? It is so boring that thigh gaps, lack of height, soft bodies, big bums, no boobs, round boobs, abs, dad bods and many other body characteristics are an issue. We are all different to each other and unique to ourselves. And that is OK. In fact more than OK. Our main concern should be internal health, not external appearance. For a long time during my childhood and teens I struggled with my dance teachers repeatedly calling me a 'big girl' in front of the other dancers. At the time I was 5'3" and about nine stone. A perfectly healthy weight for my height. However, at that impressionable age

Let's Hope

Let's be clear on one thing. Selfish people who are only concerned with their own needs are dicks. Panic buyers are only concerned with their own needs and therefore panic buyers are dicks. Don't panic buy. In fact, don't panic at all. This outbreak is of course very concerning and by no means am I suggesting that we carry on as we please ignoring vital information. But let's all only pay attention to the correct information. As soon as this situation began I've been urging people not to take notice of the sensationalist media that we are subjected to on so many platforms these days and listen only to what is being issued by the government/NHS. Their advice is clear, sensible and very easily followed. Stay calm, do what is advised and don't ever read the Daily Mail. Nowhere have we been told that the best way to act is to disregard everyone else, ramming fellow customers out the way with our trolleys, so that we can buy 32 packets of paracetamol and 225 loo

Dear Mr Johnson

Dear Mr Johnson, I am sure I don't need to tell you about the challenges our nurses are facing every day of their working lives. They deal with life and death situations, while remaining calm under immense pressure, providing care for all those who cross their path. On second thoughts, maybe I do as your government certainly doesn't seem to be looking out for their wellbeing, so let me lay it out for you. Between 2016 and 2017 20% more nurses left the register than joined it. 44% of these nurses did not leave because of retirement, they left because they could no longer cope with the intolerable pressure of their working conditions. The goodwill of nurses is being increasingly abused with longer hours, pay rises capped at 1% and, thanks to the marvellous idea of Brexit, fewer nurses in our hospitals. Fewer nurses on the register means increased fees for those who remain on it. Yes, we have to pay every year to be allowed to care and these fees are constantly rising. Pay i

Life to the full

A couple of things I've experienced recently have made me question what it means when people talk about living life to the full. It's often used as a warning in case your days left are short and, for me, it used to provoke images of skydiving, wild partying and endless holidays. I used to panic that maybe I wasn't living my life as fully as I could be. Now though I have a completely different stance on this phrase. While parties are great (I am first up for karaoke after a few wines!) and travel is a mind-broadening and important part of life, I believe it's also about taking notice of the ordinary. Going for walks and actually paying attention to the beauty of your surroundings, cooking good food and eating it round the table with family, walking on the sand and hearing it move under your feet, watching a film with your kids without a phone in your hand. I previously wrote about Tom and Jay, two men I cared for in a hospice, who still found things to look f