Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Well, I Survived :-)

I survived my night duty you'll be pleased to know and have lived to tell the tale :-)

I'm sorry about yesterday - I've been very good really about everything and have tried very hard not to let things get to me too much, however yesterday I was just so angry that two such lovely people had been so upset that it all spilled over.

There have been DEVELOPMENTS. It seems that while I spent my day not sleeping yesterday, a flurry of emails and phone calls and gnashing of teeth was occurring, with the result that night shifts are now ten hours in length again. Honestly! All that upset.

A glitch in the system meant I could only view shifts yesterday and not book them, so they had to be done on my behalf. It's very hard trying to think what you might like to work in October but there you are, all done now.

My problem is that actually I quite like my job - if only I could be left alone to just get on and do what I do best, which is put my patient and their needs first and not have to consider resources and targets and beds and appointment systems and GP availability ....................

There is still a lot of cr*p to be dealt with, but this year I am a lot tougher mentally than I was, and I am NOT going to let it get to me. Added to which other people need me too and they will always come first. Going to work enables me to do and enjoy all the lovely things that I do, but at the end of the day it's just a job, it's not life, and if needs be I can walk away. But if I do, it will be on MY terms.

I've had some lovely messages - here and by email - you are all very good friends - thank you :-)

Yesterday started so well. I have to tell you there are some truly lovely people in this world, and blogless Kathryn from Knitting Haven is one of them. This stunning bag arrived yesterday, I had admired Kathryn's bag a little while ago and said how much I liked Amy Butler fabrics so Kathryn decided I should have one too. Isn't it beautiful. The fabric is from the Tea Box range, Star Paisley, # Apricot, lined with Apricot Oxford Stripe.

I'm a firm believer in the balance of things, thank you Kathryn for doing something so lovely and thoughtful which restored balance to an otherwise mediocre day.

And - wonders will never cease - I appear to have a short row heel complete with wraps. I've no idea if it looks how it should and quite frankly I don't care. Quite why anyone in their right mind would want to knit a sock from the toe up I shall never know, but at least I can say I did it!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Don't Let the B*ggers get You Down!

*Warning! This post contains no knitting content whatsoever*

I shouldn't be here! I SHOULD be in bed still - I am between nights. In fact when the morning comes I will have worked eight out of the last twelve nights. We have been so short of staff recently and morale is so low, but you just keep plodding on don't you. Or try to.

We have officially been terminated - or at least received our letters of termination for the end of the month. Then it's hey ho and all change and a life of profit margins and targets.

Bearing in mind that we have been TUPE'D over on existing terms and conditions, had one-to-one meetings where concerns have been adressed and reassurances made, to have had this dragging on for a year now is inexcusable and demoralising, and it wears you down, all this uncertainty, and how I'm still in one piece I don't know. Some of my colleagues aren't. In one piece that is. A year ago I wouldn't have been either, and in a way I'm quite proud of myself for still being here. You would not believe the half of it though.

I the last 24 hours I have had to try to console two colleagues who are inconsolable, the last one being my work colleague tonight who phoned in sick at 7:30 this morning. That leaves me the only nurse triaging calls from members of the public in the entire county on tonight's shift - when the twilight girls go home at 11:30 that's me folks. Me, and three countywide doctors and Primary Care Centres to deal with. Really conducive to a good day's sleeep is that knowledge.

This afternoon at 4:00 pm I have to book my new shifts on-line. FOR OCTOBER! Normally I would not be doing do until the first Wednesday of the month, but I received a text message - yes that's right, a text message at 4:00 pm yesterday informing me of this. To be fair though, that didn't come from the new folks, but from our office, who were trying their best to let us all know.

I am quite sure the site will crash. Up till now we have had staggered booking times for doctors, nurses and receptionists as the website can't cope with all of us at once and crashes. No staggering today though, oh no!

There are around half the usual number of shifts to book. Only one night shift ( the plan is to employ a call handler and a nurse at night it seems ) and so suddenly it's all change. Evening shifts, weekend shifts, are reduced in number and shift duration, with a night duty commencing at midnight. So even if I DO manage to book two nights, I shall still have four hours to find. Other shifts of course are being changed into call handler shifts ( which are of course the less expensive option ) so my role will be to ring people back, not answer the phone to them and deal
with them at first point of contact.

There is far more going on - but I have to remember that I am a professional. I haven't mentioned here the PCT or company involved, and won't. But I have had enough of both of them.

None of this will make any sense to you all probably. I've just had enough today - in fact I'm right up to here with it all. I don't do going off sick so I shall do my best tonight, but it will be hard.

This September SHOULD have seen me complete 35 years of working in the NHS. I have never ever wanted to be or do anything else, my back injury - and that was work induced - precludes me from many of the hands-on jobs that I could apply for. At the moment, let me tell you that Marks and Spencer is looking highly attractive.

PS I have been trying to keep going and stay chirpy for the TdF KAL, but I haven't been posting on CTNY. I do miss you all girls if any of you are reading, and am lurking a little, but I'm just not feeling sociable at present. I will be back though. I didn't want to come on there and post this, goodness knows I've off loaded there a lot recently to try to keep my blog neutral, and it doesn't seem right somehow. But as is MY space perhaps I can be excused for having a little moan and rant here.

Oh - and I am going to see Leonard Cohen on Thursday. Now THAT will cheer me up won't it ;-)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Reasons to be Cheerful.....

.............. One, two, three :-)

Life chez Aknita has been a bit grim recently :-( work, elderly parents, children, you name it and they have taken their toll. I love the late great Ian Dury, and am trying very hard to take a leaf out of his philosophy, hence the title of the post. That, and I am quite sure that my reader doesn't come here to read doom and gloom - believe me there's enough of it ;-)

No, it's knitting and Tour de France all the way here :-)

I love sport, and have real heroes. Mark Cavendish has today joined the list of sportsmen and women I respect and admire. Today is not the day for recriminations and EPO, it's a day of celebration.

The canapé is finished. Knitted blocked and done within a week. I REALLY like this :-) it was knitted using 4.5mm needles, there are four pattern repeats and ten border rows. The yarn, of course, was from Natalie at The Yarn Yard and I just love the way the monochrome colours "work".

There were 4g of yarn left over. And don't forget, it COULD be yours!

And finally, another reason to be cheerful. DS2 looking all grown up for last night's prom

Isn't his "date" beautiful :-)

Monday, July 7, 2008

One Hundred Not Out!

First of all may I say what a wonderful bunch you all are. So many wonderful and helpful suggestions regarding my toe -ups - thank you. May I just mention here the lovely Linda who loves toe up socks. Linda and I recently went to see Neil Diamond together at the Millennium Stadium. I think she must be the only person I know who would have a crochet chain in her handbag all ready in case the opportunity arose to start a sock!

Anyway I digress. Who on earth would have thunk it! One hundred blogposts - I always knew I could talk the hind leg of a donkey ;) it seems I can write it off too ;-) There's a competition coming up............

Today has seen the third stage of this year's Tour de France which saw an exciting end to the stage and France's Romain Feillu take the yellow jersey from Alejandro Valverde. Tomorrow sees an "épreuve de temps" with Mark Cavendish hopeful of a stage win. Filippo Pozzato of Team Liquigas is tenth in the overall standings - well done!

And how am I getting on you might ask - well I have fallen off my bike a couple of times but I've got back on again and I now think I can manage without stabilisers ;-) thanks to a wonderful woman called Wendy Johnson. I think I love Wendy :-)

Let me explain. The pairs of yo's I had were fine but they involved maths and counting for the second side. I am somewhat mathematically challenged at the best of times. I'm also tired and out of sorts at the moment ( I'm listening to Leonard Cohen which is never a good sign ) and I need a pattern which says "knit x number of stitches on y number of rows till you end up with z" not "knit to next yo pair and do x, y nd z with them and work out how many stitches you should/shouldn't have." I need simple.

And so to Wendy. Simplicity itself. No wraps. Just m1's, nothing else, m1's knitted on 4 dpn's from the toe up. Simple and exactly what I needed. I apologise for the quality of some of my photos but I am sure you want to see them anyway ;-)

See, I've recycled my chain, and knitted 12 stitches.

St stitch for 4 rows, then unzip the chain. Divide between 4 needles, and knit in the round.

Voila - it looks fab dosn't it? I love Wendy :-)

And sideways on - 64 sts and ready to go. *Just* a chart to read now!!!!!!

Et maintenant, la concurrence! Voici une voûte de forêt sur l'aiguille, ou est-ce que je devrais dire le canape. In other words, and now for the competion. Here is a forest canopy on the needle, or should I say canapé ;-) as no Tour de France would be complete without a canapé now would it.
It's being knitted using the lovely asphalt yarn from Natalie, and it's my celebratory bloggiversary prize. Simply comment on my blog during le Tour, and it could be yours. One comment, one entry, the more comments you make the more entries you will have. Winner announced at the end of July. ( it's only on a circular needle for photographic purposes btw, it's back on nice straight needles now :-)

The Intermediate Sprint
There is a little competion going on on the TDF KAL blog at present. This is my extremely feeble attempt to link my projects to the Tour de France in ALL categories.

Express Lane ( my sock pattern ) cyclists have cycling lanes - yes, I know, I told you it was feeble ;-)

Toe - ups ( an uphill struggle ) - apt for the Polka Dot Jersey challenge too which is for the King of the Mountains after all.

Two projects beng knitted in tandem - another cycling link!

The lovely Yarn Yard yarn - the asphalt grey to remind me of the tarmac which Tour cyclists will see rather a lot of ;-) and the green, a reminder of my green jersey project last year ..........
........... a canapé - no Tour should be without one! IMHO ;- )
And finally - I just LOVE France. So many wonderful family holidays to remember :-) especially watching a Tour stage in Brittany one year. Whoooooosh, there it was - gone!!!!!! Life was very much simpler in those days.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tour de France 2008

Le Grand Départ

It's that time of year again - yes it's the Tour de France KAL, and this year sees me as co-chef d'equipe of Team Liquigas - esplosivo o che cosa ;-)

Anyhow, this year I have entered the polka-dot jersey category otherwise known as King of the Mountains. This category is all about learning something new, perhaps a new technique, of finishing off a UFO. So what do I decide to do - toe-up socks. I must be mad!

Anyhow my lovely yarn arrived this morning just in time. Natalie over The Yarn Yard has been secretly dying a TDF pack of two contrasting colours. I foolishly wound them before I photograped them but here they are - aren't they lovely?

And here we have what all toe-up socks need - a crochet chain. Now crochet and I have an understanding - I leave crochet alone and crochet doesn't bother me ;-) However, a chain was needed and so I overcame my natural tendency to attempt to knit with the crochet hook and produced this. Not bad eh?

I even knitted 32 stitches into it.

And look - yarn-over pairs for the short rows! And that's as far as it goes I'm afraid.

That's enough of me, back to Tour business. Où est le prologue épreuve de temps ? Anyway, well done to Spain's Alejandro Valverde on claiming the yellow jersey on the first stage and well done to David Millar for finishing 11th and to Team Liquigas and our very own Filippo Pozzato for finishing 8th

This was my 99th blog post, so all things being equal my next post will be my 100th. It will be special one...............

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Race For Life - I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

* Special Announcemnt *
*Just a little note to let you all know that the winning bid for the FCS was £30:00. The winning bidder won't be on-line again until Monday, but that will take my total to well over £200 which is an improvement on last year's total so thank you to everyone who has helped by either donating or commenting. Your contributions have been much appreciated.

My Race For Life widget is going to stay where it is for now, as it will remain open until 9th September.*

Yesterday evening finally saw me take part in this year's Race for Life at Malvern's Three Counties Showground. This was my first Malvern Race, this is a relatively new venue ( this was the third year ) but it makes far more sense to take part here rather than go to Worcester.

The skies had been heavy and threatening all day, with quite prolonged heavy showers all afternoon, so it was encourging to see the sun's rays above the hills when I arrived.

Here I am before the start.

Getting ready for the big "warm up" - just look at that cloud!

And we're off! The lady to my right on the photo is another "Joy" and former work colleague who lost her mother to cancer a few years ago.

Being a "bag lady" only I could take part with a Kipling bag on my shoulder ;-)

And here I am at the end of the race.

I am so thrilled this morning. Not only do I not ache ( much ) I bettered last year's time of a shade over an hour to 48 minutes and 23 seconds which is quite overwhelming - well it is to me anyway ;-)
As ever this was an emotional occasion. As a family, and a large one at that, we have been relatively unscathed by cancer. However, it's been my privilege over the years to nurse many courageous and wonderful people, and to support their familes too, and this is my way of giving something back to all of them.
Please don't forget about the Forest Canopy here . Bidding currently stands at £16:00 over on CTNY.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Race For Life FCS

It's that time of year again :-) Tomorrow evening will see me once again walking the Race for Life, only this year I am taking part in the Malvern race and not the Worcester one. I am auctioning this shawl on the Crafty Threads and Yarns board ( I have permission from Susan to do so ) see here for details but if you are not a member there but would like to bid please let me know by commenting here and I will make the bid on your behalf. There will be no charge for p&p.

This Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl was knitted using Posh Lei yarn, the colour is Hypnotic and I used one skein and 4.5mm needles. There are two extra pattern repeats and 10 rows in the border. Once again, pink yarn has proved very difficult to photograph, but the second, third and fourth photos, on my screen, are very true to the colour. In spite of the odd tendency to split, the yarn has a lovely drape and was a pleasure to work with.