Wednesday, 11 December 2013

No new blog post but a link to my sculpture page

I've decided not to continue here.

Life has a way of continuing. Things happen.

Suffice to say that at the moment so far as 'Zach' is concerned, it's good. He's made lots of progress. No hiccups. No chickens to be counted before they are hatched.

If anyone is interested, my new sculpture page is at

Enquiries for sales. Comments gratefully received.

Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and productive New Year to all my readers.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

'Care in the Community.' Who's caring?

How many times have I written this piece? How many more times will I have to? How many times will the police/authorities/NHS say the same: 'We will learn from our experiences. Lessons will be taken on board. It won't happen again...' Well, it keeps on happening and it won't stop happening until someone somewhere takes responsibility and until that happens, nothing will change.

A young woman who had earlier killed her own mother while the balance of her mind was severely impaired was allowed out from 'Her Majesty's Pleasure' to kill again. She spent three years. THREE YEARS under a section so that she should 'get better.' Does someone 'get better' from having killed their own mother? She knew herself that she was ill. She made phone calls. She took herself off to hospital, she called the police. She begged. She literally begged to be taken to a secure unit because she knew that she was so ill that she could kill again. What happened? Nothing. No one took responsibility for her. No one shut her up into a secure unit. No one bothered to find her notes. So she did. She killed again. A 58 year old grandmother had her head almost severed from her neck. Now, of course, they lock her up. The judge doesn't attribute this murder to her mental illness. No, he'd much rather say that she was manipulative. Calculating. Guilty. Who's guilty?

WHEN are there going to be mechanisms put in place so that our most vulnerable and most mentally ill people are cared for? Why is it that in the twenty-first century that there is such a lack of responsibility towards British citizens when they are 'cared for' so abysmally by the NHS? Why is it that we are more likely to suffer from physical illness than our European counterparts? Why does each suceessive government close down wards for medical cases and mental health units? How is it possible that people die of starvation and dehydration in a 'hospital'? It's a disgrace. Does this happen in Sweden or Germany or Norway? Where does the money go? I'll give you one example: When I was a volunteer for a Cancer charity at our local hospital our unit wanted to purchase a small fridge for the department. We were only allowed to buy it from a 'named' supplier. Not John Lewis or Selfridges. This supplier was 25% more expensive than both named stores but there was no choice. This is what the NHS is like. Cronyism and back pockets. That's where the money goes. Huge salaries for managers who mis-manage; blackmail for not divulging the graft and greed that is endemic in an organisation of this size.

It's boring to continually write the same blog. Every day I could do the same thing. Say the same things. Use the same analogies,  the same words. Someone has to change something. The problem is who and the problem is when will it happen.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The extraordinary inviolability of youth

Isn't it extraordinary how resilient young people can be? Isn't it also extraordinary how so lacking in imagination they can be? I relate this to the English boy from Richmond who 'got lost' in the Outback in Australia. There he was, on a ranch, miles and miles from anywhere. Heat, flies, dirt and sweat and he ignores all this to go off on a 'jog' into the hinterlands. Does he check his backpack for sufficient water? Does he check to see that he has a mobile phone? Does he check to watch where he's running? Does he tell anyone where he's going? Does he have a brain? Ok. That last observation is unfair. Presumably he does - somewhere.

So there he goes and he gets horribly lost. So lost that he's three miles away from where he began his run. Honestly. You have to wonder. So he is eighteen years of age. A kid. A youth. A bloody idiot. He's been given the opportunity to work on the other side of the world. One would have expected that at least he may have been given a talking to before going there. 'Watch where you're going when you go for a jog...' (His parents know that he's a fitness freak). 'Check out where the snakes are. Take enough water. Take a map. Take a phone. Tell someone.' Who knows how much of this advice he abided by? He was lucky because his Dad had put some contact lens fluid into his backpack but he didn't check beforehand to see what was in there. What the fuck was he doing?

So his mother, besides herself with worry, checks herself onto a plane and dashes off to the desert. She doesn't know what she'll find there. Will he be found? Will he be alive or dead? Will he have been struck by a snake? Will he have been eaten by dingos? Will he have discovered a forgotten spring and kept himself hydrated? Will he, heck. He drank his contact lens fluid and then his pee. God knows what that must taste like but if you're desperate, anything wet would have been nectar. As it was, he was found alive, dehydrated, having lost an amazing two stone and with his kidneys having almost packed up. What a lucky, lucky boy. How many more lives will he have? Like so many men, young and old, he believed that he was inviolable. Will he have to rely on others to save him again?

I remember the first time that I had to go off to find Zach and bring him back to our kind of civilization. Three days in an airport hotel in Athens. Watching the flights landing among the scrub and wild flowers at the side of the runway. Eating Greek salad and drinking retisna on my own in my room because I was too stressed out and too anxious to spend any time by the hotel pool while waiting for news of him. Finding him shackled to a bed and drugged into oblivion in a run down and chaotic private hospital. It wasn't Australia but it could have been. Those hours waiting for a team of London doctors and psychiatric nurses who were on their way to 'rescue' him seemed like months. He, too, believed that he was inviolable. That nothing would happen to him when he took himself off to wherever he believed he was entitled to go and did whatever he did without any conscience. So long as no one knew what he was doing, then no one had to worry. Only, life's not like that. Cause and effect. Nothing happens in a vaccum. There's always a fallout and the innocent are the ones who have to pick up the pieces. I hope that Mr. Eighteen Year Old from Richmond remembers that. He may not have another chance. Unlike Zach.