Maggie was right? Or are Nurses Angels?

Well that’s got your attention I suppose. Perhaps we could fall back on Plato who said “This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.”
What set this off was the fact that during the last three months or so I’ve walked, lonely and largely unafraid, through the highways and byways of hospitals, care homes, nursing homes, dental surgeries and more.
I’ve watched a doctor so young that in her green pyjamas she looked like she ought to be dragging a teddy bear behind her; yet she coped with a frightened alcoholic with skill and compassion. I’ve sat in a curtained ‘cubicle’ in A&E by the bedside of a sleeping elderly man and overheard the conversation in the cubicles on either side and at the nurses’ station. I’ve had two roots extracted by a Polish dentist who is so good that should she ever decide to go back to Poland I’ll probably have to resort to working through my single male friends to find one who scrubs up well enough to entice her into staying.
Sometimes in all this process I’ve been the patient, sometimes I’ve been there to help and support, and frankly I prefer the latter role.
It’s not just hospital nurses, I’ve seen lasses behind the desk coping with computer systems that work with the slick alacrity of continental drift and yet they still manage to smile. I saw one lass in the offices who was so mortified by the way the system had screwed up a patients appointment that she personally dropped off a new appointment letter for the patient on her way home from work.
I’ve talked to porters who manage to keep cheerful, cleaning staff who get overlooked and people of more than a dozen different nationalities.
I suppose it might help in that this is the North, we’re not a high wage economy and even the salary you get working in a care home looks good money.
But the big question, are these people angels? Of course not; they’re something far more precious, they’re ordinary human beings trying to do a tricky, difficult job, and trying to do it with compassion.

And what about Maggie and society? Well what she said was “And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.”

And what did I see? A lot of people with families of their own to support; people who may have aging parents or young children or dysfunctional friends of their own. But they’re people who rise above this and get on with the job and CARE for those their work brings them in contact with.

Frankly it’s contemptibly easy to strive for ‘peace’ or work for ‘equality’. What’s really difficult is to be nice to the people you meet during the day, to care for people who’ve frankly got no-one to blame but themselves, to help the unfashionable, the un-sexy, the unwashed. Society doesn’t do this, people do this, and it is because people do this that we have a society that’s worth a damn. And if you want a better society then the hard way to improve it, but the only way that works, is for you, as a person, to actually get down in the muck and strife of the every day and help people, as individuals, one at a time.
Yeah legislation can help, probably as often as it can hinder, but new laws on their own will save no-one. Indeed as Tacitus said, “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

And don’t wish for Angels, you might just get one. 


Take your angels as you find them.

When Storth arrives home after a long absence, there’s are a few things that need sorting out. Sometimes they can be more complicated than you initially thought.
But at least there are opportunities for an honest man to make money, with maidens to be rescued and tyrants slain, or was it the other way about.
And who uses energy carbines any more? Military fashions have moved on.


“You are Storth, ex-pilot and thief.”

“I have done rather more than that.” Storth sounded genuinely aggrieved.

“Yes but this is meant to be an identity check, not a charge sheet. We also felt mercenary, smuggler and thief verged on the tautological.”

“Oh, well I’m Storth.”

“And you are Hutton, wife of Storth, just a thief.”

“You could call me ‘Hutton, wife of Storth, housewife and thief’ if it makes it any better for your records.”

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8 thoughts on “Maggie was right? Or are Nurses Angels?

  1. willmacmillanjones October 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm Reply

    “Would you like to make the world perfect? It is easy – first start with yourself” Buddah

    Oh, and Polish dentists are the best. Maybe the best in the world.

    • jwebster2 October 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm Reply

      He was right. It’s the old Greek adage, γνῶθι σεαυτόν, ‘Know thyself’. Or as Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.
      If you can examine your life and still do the sort of stuff that leads to bureaucratic madness and insensitivity, then in all candor, your life is not worth living.

  2. M T McGuire October 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm Reply

    There’s right and wrong. Doing the right thing is hard but it gets easier each time you try… I think.



    • jwebster2 October 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm Reply

      It’s worth a try anyway 🙂

      • M T McGuire October 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm

        Yeh, what else can you do? Then again, I think I’m probably a bit simplistic about this kind of stuff. I need to be at peace with myself, all of the time so I try because even if my efforts are 90% stuff up at least I can console myself with having made the effort. Phnark.

      • jwebster2 October 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm

        90% failure rate? If I were you, I’d tender for a few government IT contracts, you’re a better bet than some of the companies who’ve got previous contracts

  3. M T McGuire October 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm Reply

    Don’t! One of my friends worked for National Health University an online NHS distance learning resource (which has since closed down – like all these things it lasted the two year period from the implementation of one policy change to the next).

    She wanted to ask the 500 (5,000?) pilot users some questions to find out how they were getting on. She was told she MUST use procurement. She asked, they sent her the first page of a google search printed out with instructions to choose.

    So, as I understand it, to e-mail a questionnaire 500 people, to ask them about their experiences of using the service cost the NHS over £100,000. I used to sign off a WHOLE YEAR’S worth of weekly passenger research on a coach network I brand managed for £20k. That was real people one day a week, 52 weeks a year slogging round asking passengers questions.

    I could have subcontracted the whole project to the people I used for that, who were one of the best market research companies around, for a maximum of about £10k. Unfortunately my annual turnover was less than £100,000k so they couldn’t use me and the company I’d have used weren’t in the top 10 results on google so she wasn’t allowed to use them.

    So her employers coughed up the £100,000.

    For nothing.

    Just…. shocking.



  4. jwebster2 October 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm Reply

    Standard operating procedure 😦 We learned that with capital grants for agricultural improvements, by the time you’d used their specifications (as opposed to the one that any agricultural engineer would recommend using good second hand timber and recycled steel) the grant barely covered the extra cost. Effectively it paid for the first years interest payments on the job

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