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Armanitabha April 12, 2014

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We all need a purpose in life.


Praise the Lord ! May 25, 2006

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So Eurovision has come and gone again. I’ve never been a big fan of this strangely enduring and even more strangely endearing tradition but this would certainly be one year worth voting for. Lordi certainly deserved to win it for Finland – what a performance ! Mimosa would’ve been proud… oh well, maybe not. No longer a province of Russia or Sweden’s poorer cousin, it has proven that it is home not just to lots of Christmas trees but also Death Metal… or more accurately, “Melodic Death Metal” as they prefer. My only worry is that their runaway victory is going to inspire proper musicians and spell the end of no-hopers with naff tunes. Perhaps someone could persuade The Darkness to put up some kind of challenge for us next year and restore the competition to its former glory. As they say, God works in mysterious ways and the Devil walks in many guises.

Hollywood’s silly season of sequels and remakes is upon us once again. MI3 was no better than MI2 and X-men 3 was even more hopeless than Star Wars 1,2 and 3 put together. At £8 a film, I really wonder why I bother. At least the Da Vinci Code was watchable although I still think Angels & Demons lends itself much better to a film. And now the whole world awaits Superman, Poseiden, Omen & Fast / Furious 2. I wish the rain would stop soon.

And hopefully it will be a fine day on the 2nd of June. For this is one follow-up I am definitely looking forward to. And I am only too sure that it will be just as good as the first part from last year. I suppose the big question is : will this be a trilogy?

Gratz my old friend. It is our honour to be there with you.

Blest be the tie that binds.

Big games & small plays May 21, 2006

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Posted by Picasa Parting shots in Cowes with Ems. May 2005.

“Big games are all about luck” The Albanian who stood next to me insisted. “How true” I laughed as we joked about last year’s shambolic and farcical final when the red shite clawed their way back. I must say it was nice to enjoy wednesday’s game as a neutral for a change and although I started the night rooting for the underdogs, I was glad Barca took the European Cup home. It was never a foul on Ebola in the first place though the gunners rode their luck for a long time.

Ambar paid a surprise visit yesterday and we decided to play tourists in London for a day. After all, if you can’t beat them, join them. The British Museum was surprisingly impressive, much more so than the V&A or Natural History Museum. It was very well laid out for a museum and even though we didn’t get there in time for tickets to the Michaelangelo exhibit, I doubt we even covered a quarter of the place. It was predictably mobbed with tourists and I slowly realised I was in a museum within a museum. How can we all be so different when we are the same? I was particularly affected by the feature on Living and Dying. “Pain shatters me…I crack like glass” and “I know the truth…” were particularly good as was the pharmacopeia weave. I stopped and thought about all the drugs that we would be dealing in over the next 20, 30 years. I never ever thought to count them all one by one. I remember a nurse once telling me some years ago: “Even you can’t save everyone.” I had to believe her then. I believe her still. Save the world ? You’re having a laugh…

We ended up watching Smaller as Ambar had already seen The Crucible. Dawn French seemed larger in life and Alison Moyet looked fifteen years older than… well, fifteen years ago. It was actually quite good and was peppered with some wonderful lines too. “Mum’s staging a shit-in” and “You fat fucker” were particularly well-received. Sometimes I still wonder if I should have worked harder at developing my creative streak. After all, I think I did a pretty good job directing and acting in my church play twenty years ago. And the cross-dressing was memorable too.

Thanks Ambs. I’ll see you in Manc soon.

Clinical Governance May 16, 2006

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Parentsitting in April while spring arrives


Sometimes at the end of a long day, a good story is all it takes to restore my pride in the madness and lunacy that infects our terminally ill NHS. I only wish I had thought of it first instead of blundering on with my somewhat less exciting audit on throat swabs. On second thought, perhaps I could yet ingeniously incorporate chocolates into my data collection and investigate a possible association between excessive sweet intake and sore throats in children. Or maybe even a prospective RCT with Roses on one arm & Quality Street on the other. Wishful thinking though- somehow I don’t think I will be able to collect anywhere near enough chocolates from the staff room at the end of each day.

I felt really strange at the end of yesterday. I was run off my feet almost all day and yet finished my shift feeling empty and unfulfilled. I just couldn’t understand why…I’ve largely enjoyed this job so far- it definitely could have been a lot worse. Perhaps its the abundance of microwave crap I’ve been having lately, perhaps its the late nights, perhaps the distinct lack of exercise or perhaps simply the obscene amount of pizza I’d stuffed my face with yesterday. Whatever it is, I think I should seriously take stock of my lifestyle… and soon.

My half-term appraisal with Dayo went well today and Hippocrates would have been glad to know I’ve done more good than harm so far. Only 2 months to go now before certification and on to a brave new world.

And I really should do something about Mother’s Day next year. It was purely good fortune that I’d realised it only a day late this time. Sometimes I really wonder why I haven’t been disowned yet. Maybe not anything as extravagant as flowers… but just getting it on the right sunday of the year would be a good start.

I Remember May 14, 2006

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Posted by Picasa
I remember doing my patented Henri Paul manuveour in a Parisian underpass which so very nearly resulted in a false start to our fortnight in Loire. I remember us carrying a monster of a broken fridge down the most narrow and spiralling of stairways down chateau enfer. I remember five-course dinners, baths, the moulin rouge, atom bomb, numerous cave à vin, mussels with Jeanne d’Arc in Orléans. But most of all, I remember Sancerre 1997 – a great vintage.

And this is why I have yesterday decided to continue with this diary. Time continues to fly by me quicker than a ferret scampering in a hot tin can. How much of my last three months do I remember let alone my last thirty? Suddenly I find myself with a bit of time on my hands again after my relationship with A failed to work out or more accurately, take off. Y, whom I’ve only known the last 3 months, asked me somewhat pointedly last Friday if I am actually looking for myself. I think I know the answer to that – but whether it is the right or wrong one I do not yet know and perhaps never will.

Even though I’ve spent hardly any weekends since moving here, I am definitely starting to think this place is not meant for me. Yet it is London and not Barcelona, Paris, New York or Shanghai that remains the heart of the world today. Perhaps I might feel differently if I do not have to watch my bank and credit balance like a hawk every week. Perhaps I might see it differently come August but for now, my home remains my only absolute attachment.

And so I resolve to continue with this journal. When I first started back last year, I wondered what form and shape it would take. I’m glad it has not changed… I still write only for myself and not to an audience apart from a very small number of people whom I’m made it known to. And hopefully, in another ten years I can look back at this and say…

I remember.

Legend April 27, 2006

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Rest in peace as a nation mourns. You were right… One evertonian will always be worth twenty liverpudlians.

Wrong February 20, 2006

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My entry for the BMJ Careers poster photo competition promoting a course on digital photography for doctors earlier this month. I had taken this on my last day at work and promised Pen I would give her a share of the prize money (if any) if I was to win…

I’ve always known myself to be a bit of a hoarder but even I was surprised at the volume of junk I had to ruthlessly chuck out whilst packing for my recent move. However, amongst everything else lay a forgotten bag in an undisturbed corner of the wardrobe in my guest room. Perhaps I am simply a sentimental fool but I have always found it incredibly difficult to let go of past memories. And how they did flood back as I leafed through the photos, cards and letters from my near and distant past. Much as I tried to, I struggled to find any lingering bitterness in any of my past relationships although some things I’d done when much younger I still regret and hopefully always will.

As the Master of Ceremonies at my brother’s wedding several years ago, I remember saying “When you meet the right person at the right place at the right time of your life, you know you’ve met your wife.” I believed it then and I believe it still. In hindsight, I can easily say now that L was definitely the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time but how different it seemed then. The relationship might have been short but it was certainly intense and for me, almost my last relationship. The fact that I got out of my wreck of a car with only a sprained collateral ligament should always remind me that I am here today on borrowed time and by his leave. Tucked away in her last letter, I found this draft which I wrote in February exactly 8 years ago.

Angel (1998)

She moves as if a waltz consumed with grace
Her smile lights the gloom of darkest days

She smells of the daffodils in the sun-kissed fields
Her laughter many a wounded soul healed

She wears her mane like a crown of amber
Her eyes dance an undying ember

She sees not the shell but the inner seed
Her kiss a finish as sweet as mead

She fights with a passion tempered with steel
Her zest for life fills the lifeless with zeal

She listens with her heart and not her ear
Her gentle fragility has known every fear

She gives freely to those with none to love
Her charity her wealth in the kingdom above

She lifts up the weary and those in woe
Her touch brings warmth to melt the pole

She loves with the sweet innocence of a newborn child
Her heart a crystal shrine in temple undefiled

She is an angel, our Queen our allegiance we swear
Her name is L S C

I saw her again a few years back in the far north across a crowded room, at least I think I did. And I wondered if it was all worth it… and I realised that yes, it was and always will be. The warmth of her touch may already have been shut from the aperture of my mind but the autumn twilight of Glen Affric will never fade from any exposure of age or time.

Capital Punishment January 15, 2006

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Posted by Picasa Westminster Abbey, London 9th July 2005 – 48 hours after…

Although I have been to Bangkok, Phuket, Changmai and Kanchanaburi several times, I have never fallen in love with Thailand for various reasons. Perhaps most of my visits there were when I was much younger but even today, I have no burning desire to return. The first time I ever heard of Koh Samui was 6 years ago, not long before Danny Boyle’s The Beach made it the dream destination of every backpacker to the Far East looking for a piece of paradise. And like all Edens, it can only be spoilt by the hand of man.

In a way, I suppose the death penalty is the political equivalent of euthanasia, two fundamental ethical dilemmas which will remain with us until the end of time. If the two fishermen are truly guilty as charged of the rape and murder of Katherine Horton, then no moral person will argue that punishment of some form is unjustified. Even now, I still do not know where I stand on the death penalty although reports suggest that her mother have asked for leniency on their behalf. However, the initial sadness I felt quickly gave way to repugnance at the response of the local authorities. That it was not compassion and grief but pride and concern for the country’s tourist industry that should drive the cogs of justice. Their sentencing this week may indeed see justice being served but not at all prepared in taste.

In three weeks, I will make the short trip north to the heart of the world, my ninth move in eight years. Surprisingly, I actually find myself looking forward to working in a big city with bright lights for a change, certainly the biggest ever so far. It will definitely be different. And starting today, I should think less of my first home, for the thought of leaving this time has been far more difficult than ever before.

MMV January 8, 2006

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Posted by Picasa We are all connected. Fenwick, New Year’s Day 2006

So with the passing of a new year comes the closing of yet another chapter in my life. 2005 has arguably proven to be perhaps the most eventful of all my years thus far. Not only has it shown scant respect for the rigours of time, it has also taken me on a high octane roller-coaster of sheer emotional turbulence. And even as the ride threatens to further accelerate in this first week, I cannot help but look back at my journey which had taken me from the breathtaking heights of Mont Blanc to the despairing chasm of the Premiership and back again…

A Recipe for a Year

7 countries – simmer between hot & cold
4 weddings – marinade in bubbly
1 funeral – grind in respect
8 j,e,h,a,s,l,n,m – split in half
2 RTAs – crush in bad luck
2 ski trips – freeze in adrenaline
40 miles on IoW – drain in sweat
4 speeches/ presentations – dice in wit
67 video consultations – strain in stress
1 MRCGP – immerse in (not so hard) work
1 ? viral meningitis – pound to a head
1 flood – soak in curses
9 gym sessions – 9 more than last year

2006 – Bring it !

Home December 15, 2005

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“End ? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… one that we all must take. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it… White shores and beyond. A far green country under a swift sunrise.”
~ Mithrandir, from the cinematic version of The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien Posted by Picasa

In the spring of 1998, S had urged me to return. Family was the reason why she herself moved back from Boston. “Think of your grandad, he’s not young anymore and won’t be around forever you know.”

You were to prove her wrong for seven years until a fortnight ago when you quietly went in your sleep. When I first heard of your passing, I did not really know what to think. Numb perhaps I was at first. In fact, even though I was in your house for the five days after, the truth did not quite sink in until the night before your burial. I think we were all affected in our own personal ways, unique yet not dissimilar… drifting from disbelief to relief, rising from sadness to gladness, mourning our loss to rejoicing in your gain.

You would have heard my dad and the ministers speak well. Thank you for listening to me too. There is so much I do not know, so much I should have asked. The one thing I do know is that I would be blessed if I am to become a quarter of the man you are. John says the Almighty has many rooms in his house and you now stay in your mansion with grandma who had waited patiently for you. Now wait patiently for me… for perhaps one day, I might earn my passage past those gates and dine with you at your table in your home again.

But until that day, you will be with me. I know you will because I can see your face and hear your laughter still. But for now, you are home.

And where exactly is my home for the now ? Is it the place of my birth ? Or perhaps the land of my ancestry ? My spiritual highland ? Or simply where I am just now ? With every trip, home seems a hundred miles further away and none further than this last visit…

My last visit will almost certainly be very different to my next visit to Bag End. What was once a house is now a home. I very much look forward to time in a far green country under a swift sunrise. And for now, I too… am home.

Good night.