Rock Climbing With The School Bully, Part I

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Is bullying all bad though? It’s a question worth asking. For example, a colleague of mine goes rock climbing with another colleague who used to bully him at school, which is both heart-warming and bleak. Well, this isn’t entirely true, as it’s actually a climbing wall, not larking about on a cliff or whatever. When I was told the news, I said ‘That mate, is not only bleak, it’s Dave Dee, Dozy, Bleaky, Mick and Tich’ surprising myself that a lesser known Sixties pop group was the conduit for my enthralled incredulity. They were from Devon I think, and did a not-unlikeable tune called Bend It, which I should like to re-record as Balls To It for a larf. Anyway. The reference went viral among the three other people in the room – appropriately, now I come to think of it, as it was a room in the pathogen lab – and led to a lengthy pile-on from all corners consisting of being up the bleak without a paddle, an insistence that bleak is the word a la the popular disco film Bleak starring John Travolta, and culminating in a warning to not eat too much chicken and bleak pie in case you get bu-leakmia. Nonetheless, childhood misery (in what we may safely assume was a secondary school) is the Highball Centre on Twickenham Road’s gain, so that’s the main thing.

Before we go any further, I should like to point out that my focus upon endemic bullying within the NHS is merely as a starting point for a new trade union. Working in a hospital is certainly awful, but it would be wrong to suggest that every corner of the National Health Service is a well-spring of human misery. In fact, my part – Radiology – functions more like a clinic than a hospital, and has a relatively sedate atmosphere. The first time I assisted with a trans-vaginal biopsy illustrates this: I attached the ECG cables wrongly and had to fiddle about sorting it all out, causing a delay. This can not only stress the patient, but shortens the time anaesthetic will be effective. Instead of being a dick about it, the consultant said to the patient ‘It’s OK – Paul’s used to working on bigger cases in our main theatres’, de-escalating the situation nicely. I greatly appreciated this and thanked him afterwards. Similarly, when an early patient-fetching expedition saw me crash into almost literally everything in the entire hospital, my colleagues explained that the bed was faulty and reported it to Maintenance, who sent a little man to take it away, covering up the fact that I was drunk.

Anyway. This was to have been a much longer post. I am turning it into a two-parter, though, as I have to pop round and see my old dear, who just rang to inform me that she has been buying gardening stuff. I hate the outdoors, and have insisted that I am only going round on the understanding that I am not helping in any way whatsoever with any actual gardening. To her credit, she has adjusted well to life in Norfolk and enjoys growing joyless vegetables such as courgettes on her allotment. However, she recently admitted to me that she ‘has always been in awe of strimmers’, and I am keen to see how a person in awe of strimmers reacts when they actually buy one.


Main: A theatre trolley being prepared for, by the look of things, a standard drainage procedure.

Top: A staircase of my acquaintance, East Block, Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital.

Lower: As the UK’s only baseball fan, I took annual leave to watch the World Series, and when I came back my LA Dodgers mug was broken. I am treating it as a Hate Crime.

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