Friday, 20 January 2012

Everyone's so well behaved Nowadays

The weather is atrocious.
I managed my daily power walk with only two of the dogs this morning. Mabel, taking in one long somber look at the driving rain and ever-so-slowly crept back to her place on the kitchen sofa...not to be moved.
The cottage has felt damp and cold, thanks to the smell of damp dog and wet coats, so I have lit the fire early and have switched the lamps on in the living room to create the illusion that it is actually daylight outside.

The University lecturer that contacted me about the blind animal farm rooster, Frodo will be driving over from Shropshire to deliver him later today. I don't envy her the journey, it is a day to hide away in the dry warmth of indoors.

So, for a couple of hours this morning, I busied myself sorting through some old files and papers for burning and for throwing out. As I mooched through the rubbish I found an old report card of mine from when I was a student nurse at an old Psychiatric hospital back in the early 80s.
The assessment was a good one, generally all of my reports were,  for as a student, I was keen,conscientious and eager to please.
The report was filled in by an old lag of a charge nurse, who never once left his office in the whole eight week placement I had on his ward. He was in fact a knowledgeable and charming elderly Scotsman, who loved his whiskey more than he loved his wife and although his philosophy of psychiatric care was, shall we say, hardly cutting edge, he commanded a quiet respect from many long term patients who remembered him as a young man within the care system.
During the day, he would often disappear into locked bathroom at the back of the old ward to complete "paperwork", which, the patients would quietly explain away to me as his quality time with a home brew kit...
As a student, it never crossed my mind to report this old soak for such unprofessional behaviour, behaviour that would figure more on Fleet Street than in an nhs hospital

These characters do not exist anymore, I suspect even in the dark recesses of Fleet street . Badly behaved and colourful old dinosaurs that act badly and by the seat of their pants no longer have a place in industry and the workplace and it is not surprising that Policy development, whistle blowing, HR and performance reviews have all but culled them all off in this age of professionalism and technology.

I guess it is all for the best... but some of me kind of misses the mavericks and the Rooster Cogburn's of this world.....

Mind you......... I have just seem the Red Faced Welsh Farmer shoot past the cottage with a jaunty wave and I realise that in some very small pockets of this land Rooster Cogburn's still are very much alive and kicking
And speaking of characters Frodo has just arrived
and he is a bit of an old sweetie.........blind as a bat and tame as a lamb he sat comfortably on my lap after arriving as I gave him the obligatory health check and once over.
I know he's a lame duck....I know he has no use to me or the gate post... but some space in a small coop and a handful of food a day isn't too much to ask to give him a country retirement is it?
Frodo -Blind as a bat but full of personality... perhaps I should rename him Rooster Cogburn ?


  1. I think it's a shame that these old characters don't exist anymore, I think our society has gone too far the other way and perhaps a little bit too PC. I remember as a student nurse in the 80's spending a week with the District nurses and one nurse in particular stood out, she was an excellent nurse but a bit of a maverick. One of her patients always used to pop a little nip of whiskey in our coffees when we visited...purely medicinal of course! I haven't yet seen the new series of Sherlock John but I will as so many have said how good it is...I am afraid I am a Jeremy Brett fan and I did so love him as Sherlock. If it's any consolation, the weather here in Derbyshire is terrible too! Have a great weekend.
    Jo xx

  2. Anonymous2:21 pm

    And what a blessing it is to have these old "characters" who live life as they choose and give us someone for our Moms to tell us we shouldn't be like.

    All the "characters" I've known over the years are long gone and sorely missed!

    But then you're a bit of a "character" yourself John!

  3. In my contacts with health professionals I found the mavericks gave me the best care...pity they've been run out of the system.

  4. Welcome, Frodo!

    I once worked with a consultant surgeon who, while on the wards, was every bit as awful as Sir Lancelot Spratt (from the 'Doctor' books and films) behind the facade he was a gentle man.

  5. Yet again, the angel of Trelawnyd saves an unwanted creature. Well done John, and best wishes to Cogburn.

  6. I agree with fly in the web... the mavericks were definitely the best carers. It's a shame there's no room for them any more.

  7. You're dead right.
    People like that were never a threat to anyone and the workplace was richer for them.

  8. So JG,

    You, with at the last count, fifty three billion, four hundred and thirty five million, nine hundred and twenty seven thousand, eight hundred and sixty one ardent followers (most of them the inhabitants of your Ukrainian village), write guys like me off? I am long dead? Is that what you are saying? In that case explain to Marcia who it is that wakes up at four in the morning and gives her a... cuddle.

    I bet my brother, Vladimir will have something to say about such blatant discrimination; belittling a man just because he likes a bit of distilled grain and prefers to do paperwork in a cupboard rather than beat cheeky employees.

    It is only six in the evening in Kiev so Vlad will not have had breakfast yet but wait 'til he does.

  9. Welcome, Frodo! Perhaps instead of calling him Frodo Cogburn, you can call him Frodo Cockburn. :0)

    I am not nearly as colourful as some of the characters you describe, but i've had more than one boss tell me that i was closer to being an iconoclast than was comfortable.


  10. lol hippo
    you misunderstand me.. although he WAS a dinosaur, his abilities with patients was second to none....

    unfortunately he never really saw many.....which WAS a bit of a bummer!!!

  11. Absolutely not - how delightful that you are giving Frodo a good home for his last days. Here on the farm there is always a tendency to say that every animal has to earn its keep otherwise it goes - I hope that over the years I have weaned the farmer away from this attitude.

    Re your old psychiatric nurse - yes there certainly used to be folk like that - I remember them in teaching too. But they often engendered a lot of affection from the people they worked with. The real characters of this world are the ones that make life interesting I think John.

  12. Lovely thing you have done John for poor blind Frodo.

  13. JG, I knew where you were coming from, it's just that Vladimir has woken up with a sore head.

    Just invite him over, let his chicken scrap with yours and then let him try and swim the Irish sea, maybe he will drown or, since you are all pretty sensitive (not having spent more than five minutes with Vlad), you cqan pray he will find his Irish Babushka and stay there. Given the economy in Ireland, though, he might just swim all the way across the Bay of Biscay, along the Med, up the Black Sea and back to Ukraine.

    Either way, we would be rid of him.

    I am sorry Vladimir, my brother, is bothering you. I can always send Sergei, my half brother (I have loads of those) some cigarettes from Italy smuggled in through Albania and he will beat Vlad round the head and confiscate the computer I sent him for a while. That usually keeps him quite for a few weeks.

  14. Many nice people on this blog of yours, John so when I say that Sergei will thump Vlad, he isn't going to do anything more than just knock him out.

    It is just that with the hospitals in Ukraine, and here in Angola for that matter, they will tie the patient to the bed until the relatives cough up. A bank transfer from Angola to Ukraine takes ages, guaranteeing Vlad being off line for a few weeks.

    I owe Vlad money and he is asking for it. A bit of concussion might take his mind off it so do you want to order the hit? It’ll cost you ten chickens and a packet of goose liver. A small price to pay to get the Balkan Mafia off your back.

  15. I know you are a nice person so if you want us to feed vlad while he recovers, I'll have a slab of bacon from number 21 as well.

  16. Hey there, John!
    Really nice of you to give the blind Frodo a place to spend his dwindling days. I sure hope the word hasn't gotten around, or folks will be shipping you all their senior birds and you will get a new name besides 'John - the Dogs'
    I take it that the numbered porkers have met their demise. Are you having the hams and bacon smoked, or doing that yourself? MMMmmm, might be ready for Easter Dinner.
    Have you started your book yet, or are you just going to put all your blog posts to paper and binding. I believe I would be the first one to buy one!
    Have a good evening now.


  17. I love the new name for Frodo. Appropriate and ironic. You are such a good man, no matter what you may say at times.

  18. Lucky Frodo! Some of the docs I used to work with were known to have a nip or two at lunchtime, but that wasn't nearly as bad as the one who, in retrospect, was a bona fide sadist.

  19. Welcome to Frodo, he's a lucky fella......

    Gill in Canada

  20. Well done on giving the old rooster some quality retirement time on the Trelawnyd ranch John.

    I picked up a couple of birds (ooer) the other day one of which was blind in one eye (don't say it). She has a lovely affectionate character and heaven knows what her fate would have been if I hadn't offered her a home.

    Her name of course is Eileen. What else?

  21. Who needs reality TV - we have John Grey [and Hippo]
    Glad that you are feeling better John and able to get out even in the nasty weather. It's 72 here today I'm I getting ready to plant my sping flowers and pick oranges. Seriously. Wish I could send you a bit of sunshine - you deserve it.

  22. JohnG wrote "... all of my reports were, for as a student, I was keen,conscientious and eager to please. ..."

    Translation: "... as a student, I was the bugger that was always underfoot and asking ceaseless questions, always the first one to turn up for my shift which annoyed the old hands who think my 'earliness' reflects their 'tardiness. I was always ready to offer to make the charge nurses morning tea and to run any personal errands she had due ..."

    LOL! Have a good day - we had a cracker of a thunder storm last night - even got a 15 second blackout - and had 18mm in the rain gauge this morning. It's been so dry that I am pleased we got a good dousing that gave all the plants and, trees and shrubs a good drink.

    Now the bloody grass will shoot upwards and need cutting!

  23. There are still plenty of maverick old soaks around in certain professions - like politics and the law. They're still giving the ambitious young greenhorns a run for their money....

  24. I vividley remember the night sister when I was training in the 70s, affectionately known as "Sister Slippers." She always wore slippers on the wards,out of consideration for the patients (so she said!) but we probationers reckoned it was so that she could sneak up on us and catch us out doing something we shouldn't. She was a character, a maiden lady in her 60s who had been a nurse since her teens and always "lived in". Even in the 70s she was a dying breed. We loved her and so did the patients.

    As for Frodo, that is one lucky rooster!

  25. Frodo sounds quite adorable! Will you have to keep him separated from the other chickens or is he a charmer? I admire you, John.

    Nancy in Iowa

  26. I definitely think you should name him Rooster Cogburn. He hasn't given up yet, after all.
    And he's rather handsome, too,

  27. It certainly is not John the Dogs..bless your sweet heart.

  28. What a sweetie pie you are, John...

  29. Hi
    Just to let you know that I passed on the 'Versatile Blogger' Award for a recently discovered blog that you have enjoyed. Pop over to my blog to read all about it. Congrats.

  30. The world is a better place with characters in..too much regulation is turning us all dull. Nice bird...I hope he enjoys his time


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