Tag Archives: Lists


This week I’ve graduated twice. Having already done it once before, the novelty had somewhat worn off but it felt important to mark the end of time spent in a particular way. Mostly, though, I did it for my family.

The first ceremony, at home, went pretty well. No hitches, and it was fun to celebrate with friends. The second one, not so much.

Graduation Number Two required a whole family outing to the Big Smoke on the hottest day of the year so far. It was a long day. A very long day. My coursemates graduated in January when I was on placement so they weren’t there to soften the blow. They gave me the wrong gown. Nobody was happy. Suffice to say several times throughout the day I wished I hadn’t bothered.

Working on the basis that it’s always better to laugh, I amused myself by making a list of complaints my grandad had throughout the day.
And so I present to you, in chronological order and with repeat complaints omitted, #GraduationProblems, according to my grandad:

1. The lowness of cars.
2. White shirts and newspapers.
3. The length of the train.
4. The price of the toilet.
5. Pigeons.
6. Picnic benches.
7. The wind.
8. The queue for the lift.
9. The lift.
10. The height of the taxi.
11. Ties.
12. The slope into the Barbican.
13. People.
14. The distance to toilets.
15. Heat.
16. The Sun.
17. The distance to seats (approx. 2m)
18. Seats. (Specially reserved)
19. Jackets.
20. The number of degrees given out.
21. Stairs.
22. Having his photo taken.
23. Photographers.
24. Other people having their photo taken.
25. Queues.
26. A nearby Chinese family.
27. Not being at home.
28. The number of toilets in the Barbican.
29. Strangers talking to us.
30. “Funny bread” (ciabatta).
31. Sloping floors.
32. Evening Sun.
33. Lack of chairs.
34. Needing a chair.
35. The ridges in the floor.
36. The heat in the taxi.
37. Waiting for the train.
38. Waiting for a lift to the train.
39. The plant in the waiting room.
40. The mobility cart.
41. The delayed train.
42. Crewe not being Runcorn.
43. Waiting for a taxi.
44. Other people ordering a taxi first.
45. The heat of our house when we got home.

What a day.

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Thank you, NHS.

Today, the National Health Service in Britain celebrates its 65th anniversary. Like millions of others I owe my life to the NHS, metaphorically and literally. In no particular order, here are 20 things that I want to thank the NHS for:

  1. For meaning I can afford the 22 tablets I take each day to make my slightly broken body work a little more like it should, and the physiotherapy that keeps me moving.
  2. For fighting for me, even though my immune system often doesn’t want to.
  3. For the vaccinations that we take for granted even though millions around the world do not have the same privilege.
  4. For not giving up on me even though you can’t cure me.
  5. For patching me up when I break myself because I am a clumsy fool.
  6. For chopping out bits that are misbehaving and fixing my insides.
  7. For not letting me die when I turned out to be a bit rubbish at the being born thing.
  8. For looking after people I love and helping them to become well again, and making them comfortable even when you couldn’t make them better.
  9. For the doctors who let me stay with my nan for every chest drain and blood test so she didn’t have to feel afraid.
  10. For every paramedic who has ever come to the rescue.
  11. For the radiographer who told me that the smashed up bits of ankle floating in my foot looked like a cool far away galaxy, even if it wasn’t the ideal place or number of parts for my ankle bone to be in.
  12. For the nurse who let me try to chop his arm off with the saw when I had my first cast cut off so I wasn’t scared.
  13. For the dentist who has known me longer than anyone but my immediate family.
  14. For the physiotherapist who cried laughing at me when she was teaching me how to walk again, helping me to be able to laugh about it too.
  15. For everyone who has bravely tried to pronounce my name with confidence to a crowded waiting room.
  16. For the doctor on the night shift who offered me half of his chips after seven hours in A&E.
  17. For every phlebotomist who has battled to pry blood out of my stingy veins (and the junior doctor who cried because it took her seven attempts).
  18. For the nurse who gave me off-cuts from the plaster room so I could make a Greek pot for my classics project when I was stuck at home.
  19. For every person who has asked “Are you okay?” and meant it.
  20. For countless cups of tea and sympathy and about a kilometre of tubigrip.

I could go on writing this list for days, I have so much to be thankful for. Doubtless the system has its problems – my nan died of lung cancer six weeks after a nurse told her she had a chest infection when the doctor was too busy to see her, and I’ve probably spent actual weeks of my life in waiting rooms – but the good that the NHS does far outweighs the bad. We are quick to complain and take it for granted, but I’d wager that every person in this country could write a list of things they owe it for. Try it –  you’ll be surprised and incredibly grateful.

Thank you, NHS.

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Songs through a brick wall.

My neighbour, Freddie, loves The Killers. Really loves them. He also likes to play them loudly whenever he’s in his room working. For the most part, I don’t really mind – I was quite a fan of Mr Flowers in his heyday, and I defy you to find someone of my generation who wouldn’t include Mr Brightside on the teenage years section of the soundtrack to their life. As with all things though, there is a line that, once crossed, cannot be uncrossed. It turns out my line for The Killers is listening to their entire first album five times, back to back, through an adjoining wall whilst trying to get an early night.

My upstairs neighbour loves a thumping bass line at midnight, midday, and, indeed, most of the hours in between them. He’s fairly indiscriminate in his tastes, to the extent that at first I thought he had an actual double bass up there (I play double bass, it’s not common, I was excited). Turns out what he actually has is a really loud stereo that can make my ceiling shake if he’s on one.

Completing this haven of tranquility is the fact that my flat backs onto a gym, which at set times each evening hosts exercise classes including bootcamp circuits, zumba, and (impossibly) line dancing. I am not a member of said gym, so I’m speculating about the nature of the classes, based on the variety of music and grunting that fills our corridor at various times.

By and large I think I’m probably fairly easy going, so my coping strategy for dealing with this has just been to have the radio on fairly constantly, loud enough to be heard over the melange of sound but not obnoxiously loud (we’ve got more than enough of that going on…). Last week I was hoovering my room, radio on as per, but barely audible over the sound of our trusty own-brand Henry. Imagine my confusion, then, as I found myself singing along to the song. I paused the hoover. I was correct. It was then that I realised that life in London has taught me a (not at all) valuable new skill. And so, without further ado, I present to you the ever-growing list of:

25 songs that I can identify through a brick wall (or whilst hoovering or drying my hair).

  1. Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow
  2. Adele – Skyfall
  3. Shania Twain – Man (I Feel Like A Woman)
  4. Little Mix – DNA
  5. Little Mix – Wings
  6. PSY – Gangnam Style
  7. JLS – Hottest Girl In The World
  8. The Script feat. will.i.am – Hall of Fame
  9. Justin Bieber – Boyfriend
  10. Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj – Beauty And A Beat
  11. Conor Maynard feat. Ne-Yo – Turn Around
  12. David Guetta feat. Sia – She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)
  13. The XX – Angels
  14. Misha B – Do You Think Of Me
  15. Example – Close Enemies
  16. Rita Ora – Shine Your Light
  17. Rita Ora – How We Do
  18. Wiley feat. Ms. D, Skepta and JME – Can You Hear Me (Ayayaya)
  19. Girls Aloud – Something New
  20. Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris – We Found Love
  21. The Wanted – Glad You Came
  22. Nicki Minaj – Starships
  23. LMFAO – Sexy and I Know It
  24. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill Me)
  25. Literally anything by The Killers.

Judge for yourself how many of those I enjoy by choice, without the wall between us.
(Hint: It is closer to 0 than 25)

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