Archive for December, 2008

All my… friends I… return to wish you a happy Christmas

I bragged – somewhat precipitously – in work the other day that despite the  huge surge of coughing, sneezing, vomiting, exploding, virulent and infectious patients we’ve had of late that I hadn’t a day off sick in 9 years. So today I broke that duck.

But my friends would have none of it. Just as one is looking forward to an evening feeling sorry for myself and indulging the twin pleasures of beer and theology – they tend to come in and spoil it all with gifts and grace and love beyond words.

They managed to give only books (such wisdom…)  and only one book twice – all very impressive. Both to the ones with the tenacity to show their faces and the ones with the sense and mercy not to bother – I thank you all. You all do what you do in my life exceptionally well and to each I am eternally grateful and will continue to show my love for you by locking myself in the house and ignoring all your acts of gracious kindness toward me. Forgive me.

I am better at preaching the gospel of love and community and fellowship than living it. But at least you give me some examples to learn from.

None of it changes that Dad is not here. Not that any of you expected it. I just don’t tend to do fun anymore. Joy maybe but not fun. Though I’d be willing to give it a go sometime.

End Any Ill

2 months of too much time shut up in the house with the computer and a guitar can’t be good for you. Anyhow it’s done now.

End Any Ill


So this is Frolics

And yes the time has come again. When those of us who had the privilege of spending time in university together (mostly lying around drinking tea and putting the world to rights or playing mario-kart) get back together for an evening of food and light entertainment.

Festive Fun & Frolics (in fact whoever came up with the name please let me know…) has become something of an institution, progressing and evolving year by year. Gone of the days of a take-away Chinese and everyone crammed into my bedroom in Tate’s Avenue for a rendition of Temptation Dinghy. It’s all “smart casual” and restaurants and we even have an organising committee (too many presby’s you see…) even if it is just Jose with too much time on his hands.

It has also become strangely evangelistic, with more and more what could be seen as random punters being brought on board. Which is cool, cause something like this will inevitably be cliquey (!) and full of “in jokes”.  Some of the “blow ins” (I don’t mean that honestly, we love you really, apart from Skeeno…) are WAGs (wives and girlfriends) or HABs (husbands and boyfriends) but most are just guys we know who seem happy enough to be involved in such silliness.

The interesting bit – to us at least – is the entertainment, with each former student house providing an item – mainly songs. I thought I’d include some of the videos below so that all the silliness may be recorded for all eternity. Some day some of you will get married and the best man will have such good material to choose from…

First up was Pete and Fred’s Megamix danceathon. It went on for about 20 minutes. I was tired just watching them. Edited highlights below. Sorry about the lighting. Watch out for Gilpy’s 80s power grabs. Priceless.

This year provided the pleasant surprise of Windsor Avenue actually pulling out something pretty decent for once, compared with the bizzare after eight games of recent years.

Edinburgh St tend to be the industry favourites each year though the public vote let them down somewhat this year. Every one was upset Jonny’s Aunty Mary didn’t make an appearance this year.

And then there was Tates. After a brief confusion when I thought Sparky meant us to sing a Christmas Carol and then realising he meant A Christmas Carol we were off and running. Though this borrowed sightly more from the muppets than Dickens. It’s a bit long but worth it. Well not really but there is nakeness at one point and that always improves the blog stats.

Pizza and wine

Just a quick one.

1) my landlord just bought me a bottle of wine when he called for the rent. And he’s not even a patient. I’m so impressed.

2) I’m down with the old man-flu. Finally. The immune system of chmpions finally takes a hit… So i’m eating frozen pizza and watching a DVD, how low i have fallen.

[NB: Does anyone apart from my brother even remember Juiet Turner…]

Thank you for saving me

I got my first bottle of wine off a patient today. Not that I think patient’s should encourage their doctor’s to alcohol or anything, though there could be worse things.

Some people’s office’s and pigeon holes are coming down with thank you cards and pressies from patients – there is a certain speciality bias to that.

People who deliver babies get lots of gifts cause it’s generally a happy event and there’s lots of pressies being bought anyhow.

Surgeon’s get lots cause what they do to the patients is fairly dramatic and occasionally it even works (sorry, no surgeon bashing, sorry…) and you generally see lots of them over a month or two so there’s a certain relationship that develops there.

Anywhere, where you get to develop a relationship with a patient (not in any dodgy “let’s meet for dinner and a movie” type way) then there’ll be opportunities for free stuff.

Unfortunately given the nature of A&E we generally don’t develop too much of a relationship – the majority of what we do is basic management and diagnosis and then referral on for appropriate definitve care. The bit of the job that is truly ours and ours alone is the critically ill and resuscitation. Unfortunately most of our target demographic is nearly dead or technically dead and therefore not big into relationship building.

[Anaesthetists suffer a simiar problem in that they put all their patient’s to sleep and do the cross word till the butcher surgeon is all done.]

So we suffer a somewhat unfortunate lack of biccies and pressies relative the 70000 or so we see a year.

There are exceptions to this. Almost every patient of Gilly’s I review will have “a little something” for Dr Carson. But then he is truly exception as medic, Christian and human being. And he doesn’t even drink the whisky…

5 years I’ve been working now and not one pressie have I got (I once got given 20 quid which I put into the ward fund) – now I’ve got boxes of celebrations dedicated to the ward staff but nothing to me personally. Yes I’m that self-absorbed.

Till today. A young fella who I had blind luck to pick up sarcoid on got me a bottle of vino – even though it was the respiratory team who did all the real work of scopes and scans and biopsies. Seems unfair. But hey I’ll take what I can get –  deserved or not.

The photo album

Found this photo of Da when he was 20 and kind of scared myself a bit. We used to joke that I was son of the milkman cause I didn’t look like either mum or da. Go figure.


Can’t help who you love

One of the big things (amongst many) i missed while living in NZ was decent live music, in fact any live music. My only experiences of live music in NZ were the Datsun’s being very loud in a pub across the marina and making it into the Hawke’s Bay Herald for being too loud. That and a BYOB night at the church i was a part of where even i played and sang so that shows how desperate they must have been.

Not that NZ hasn’t produced a few musical geniuses – namely flight of the conchords – one of whom used to be in the hugely wonderful Black Seeds…

[yes of course there was crowded house and kiri te kanawa but let’s try and forget…]


As far as Norn Iron goes, we rock. We have a pretty decent bunch of musos putting out some pretty fine stuff. I could (almost) happily wean my music collection down to contain mostly Irish folk. We seem to pretty good at this. More good reasons to be Irish.

I have numerous tenuous links to vaious people involved in music in NI – I always joke to Skeeno that I live with someone who knows someone who is almost famous – and I feel cool because of that…


As a result i feel some odd kind of community with the music that we put out in this place. Not that I add that much i just turn up and cheer at the gigs.

Tonight was The mighty Lowly Knights in McHugh’s (holding claim to the title of oldest pub in Belfast) shoved in the basement out of the way in one of the cosiest gigs I’ve been in in a long time.

Gigs in Belfast are always cool, cause there’s nearly always the same people at all the gigs, and so it’s a good way to catch up with people who you don’t see so much of any more. Though with advancing age I realise that there are now more and more students I don’t know and fewer and fewer people with jobs and lives and babies who I do know. Yet I still can’t grow a beard. So it goes.

The Knights have an exceptional quirkiness which I suppose is part of their charm. not many bands have a choir, wear braces and print song sheets for the crowd. Most impressive.

Gigs always make me want to write songs and be in a band and grow my hair. I try to narrow the distance between the life I live and the life I think I live, though I’m not sure it always works that neatly…


December 2008