Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The weather was unseasonably warm last week but has now grown a little cooler although remaining dry. All that changes today but rain is welcome now that things are moving, growing and greening. Yesterday evening I heard my first bumblebee and there is a small patch of spawn in the pond although no sign of the frogs that made it. The frogs are late this year and do not seem particularly abundant. I wonder if the hard winter has played a part or whether they are wiser than we and know that winter still has some cold weather to delay our move to spring.

It was nice to enjoy the remains of the day and to think of being 50 soon. Seems a long time but marked in the life of so many other things a mere trifle of existence. Still the potatoes and onions are in, the herbs are coming through and the hillside is alive with yellow daffodils. It must be spring...my 50th spring. Maybe my last as the US pastor (Harold Camping) has forecast the world will end this year and only 2% of the world’s population will be raptured (taken to heaven). The rest of us...well we are going on a long, hot trip. But you know that seems like an awful waste of people. But just in case, I shall have to enjoy this spring all the more.
The coming northern front sweeps away the warmer air back to the south. Its chill wind leavens the tree tops to dance in its wake. Above the rustle of motile leaves a solitary magpie cackles its hoary song. Yet the bumble bee queen carries on working, for she cares not for his boasting, vulgar song about how he steals from the works of others. For soon she shall raise an army fit for the summer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I made a wish so full upon the moon
But realise now it was so late; too soon
The world has now changed I understand
For the sea to ever sweep back into land
I thought that I would teach you a lesson
But you taught me one the harder to learn
That faith and goodness is not ever earned
It is innate within and iconic, of an essence
That will always be of you when I smile
My supermoon pictures - ok not NASA standard but i like to think artistic

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Clear skies will reveal a "super moon" phenomenon on Saturday as the moon reaches its closest point to the Earth for almost two decades. Stargazers will be hoping to see a bigger and brighter moon than normal as it reaches the closest point to the Earth since 1992. But experts say that people will need to look very closely to spot the 0.3% difference in size. It is the first time since 19 January 1992 that the moon has come into such close proximity to the Earth. This type of full moon tends to bring a range of high and low tides, but experts said yesterday that there was nothing to worry about.

Well they would say that wouldn’t they! Seriously though the moon should be impressive tonight if we have a clear sky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The world opens up to
Arms enfolding morning sunshine
Stretched across earlier dawns
Clutching back the lost hours.

The heart cannot escape joy for
Of all the times in the year
This is the most uplifting to...
Simply be and await the summer

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Into this brooding arc of change
Turning circles across leisurely days
See the new hours and spend time
To sense the season come to pass
Within lightening spring vistas
We are the sum of evolution by a remarkable chance that creates thoughts that wander lost in the cosmos looking for answers to all the questions. So lofty and challenging are the enquiries we ask. But we can never be given the answers for at the end of it all we are limited by our decaying physical existence. While we know pain and pleasure and while we feel and respond to emotions we shall not evolve further. The proof of this is clear if we look, for all minds since the dawn of literacy have pondered the very same questions and all, (despite the intervention of millennial evolution,) have arrived at the same conclusions. No matter the belief

We are the sum of a creation
Made from an omnipotent will
Given pain and pleasure to...
Teach us there is a better life ahead
Gifted with a generous free will
To feel and respond to emotions
We shall not however evolve further
For we are but the puppets of heaven
We are the sum of a creation
Made evident in their likeness
Given an eternity in paradise
Knowing every day as a joy to…
Await punishment of the wicked
On the judgement day and...
Be rapturous in their torment
Or given never-ending pain in hell
If we be that which we are – human
We are the creator’s sum of chaos

We are the sum of an evolution
Hewed from rock and stardust
Breathed into life by chance
Drifting through a time and space
Living testaments to one single span
Of existence within the universe
While we know pain and pleasure
Nothing else can take precedence
For we feel and respond to emotion
That clings deep into the psyche
And we shall not evolve further
While we hold to instincts of the past
We are the sum of an evolution
A living chain that sometimes
Breaks its familial links and decays
But it matters not, for we shall not
No matter the desire to greatness
Evolve further that this lifetime
We are after all the sum of chaos

Monday, March 07, 2011

March is finally here bringing the long awaited longer days that lift spirits as we once again go and return to work in the light. It’s a huge step change really but it is so gradual that we hardly notice until it is upon us. The garden is looking more mature under the flat grass which accentuates the size of the trees. The emerging daffodils around the base of the trees just add to the effect.

Robbie is completely over his operation now and his personality seems to have been magnified to another level. I rather thought he might be quieter somehow. He’s 99% joy and 1% hard work. I can live with those odds.

It’s so good to once again take evening and morning walks through the paths that wind across the top of the cemetery. With a healthy dose of imagination the old widely spaced trees and the thick carpet of beech leaves I could almost imagine I am in one of the ancient forests of Middle earth.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia and David Cameron, her British counterpart, are shown a time machine which can see 100 years into the future. They both decide to test it by asking a question each. Julia goes first. "What will Australia be like in 100 years time" The machine whirrs and beeps and goes into action and gives her a printout, she reads it out "The country is in good hands under the new Prime Minister, crime is non-existent, there is no conflict, the economy is healthy. There are no worries"
David thinks "It’s not bad this time machine, I'll have a bit of that" so he asks "What will Great Britain be like in 100 years time?" The machine whirrs and beeps and goes into action, and he gets a printout. But he's just staring at it. "Come on David" says Julia, "What does it say"
David replies, "I don’t know, it's all in a foreign language"
If you...

Can start the day without caffeine,
Can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
Can resist complaining, boring people with your troubles,
Can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
Can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
Can take criticism and blame without resentment,
Can conquer tension without medical help,
Can relax without liquor,
Can sleep without the aid of drugs,

You Are Probably ..........The Family Dog!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

This is a bit long but worth reading – perhaps soon whether you live or die will be down to the size of the doctor’s bonus – from File on 4, BBC Radio 4

Government health reform plans 'unethical' warns BMA

Dr Laurence Buckman says GP bonus payments could undermine trust. A key element of the government's NHS reform programme has been branded “disgracefully unethical" by the British Medical Association (BMA). Dr Laurence Buckman says a system of incentive payments for GPs could be seen as rewarding them for withdrawing treatment. The "Quality Premium" will be paid as part of health service reform plans. Health Minister Paul Burstow said the criticism was "a gross distortion" of government proposals. New GP consortia are due to take over responsibility for commissioning health services in England in April 2013 under reforms proposed in the government's Health and Social Care Bill.

The Premium was designed to encourage doctors to commission improved standards of care for patients rather than cutting services, Dr Buckman told the BBC. But Dr Buckman, chairman of the BMA's General Practitioners Committee, warned that bonus payments could undermine trust between doctors and their patients."We don't understand what the Quality Premium means. We don't understand where it will come from. We rather fear it will come out of our pay and be paid back to us if we do certain things. "It appears that what we might actually be asked to do is to save money and if we save a certain amount of money we will receive some of our pay given back to us. That is something that is appallingly unethical."I don't believe that I should be saying to a patient 'you can't have treatment because that way I'll get paid'."I don't think any patient would sit down with me and have in their head the thought that I would only be being paid by withdrawing treatment from them. I'm not prepared to do that". He said while he accepted doctors should be careful with the expenditure of NHS resources, he thought it was important they remained focused on patients' needs:"What I'm not prepared to do is receive pay … on the basis that I withdraw treatment from a patient. That is disgracefully unethical and most GPs will have nothing to do with that," he said.

The idea behind the Quality Premium is contained in an "Impact Assessment “document published in January by the Department of Health alongside the new Health Bill. This says payment of the Premium "should be linked to the outcomes that are achieved collaboratively through commissioning consortia and the effectiveness with which they manage financial resources".
In an interview with the BBC, Mr Burstow dismissed the suggestion that the payments were designed to incentivise cost-cutting by family doctors."That really is a caricature, a gross distortion of what we are trying to do here," he said."What GP commissioning consortia will be rewarded for is improving survival rates, improving quality of care given to their patients.”If the BMA haven't understood that at this stage then we clearly need to talk to them further."
Mr Burstow confirmed that the Quality Premium payments would be paid to successful GP consortia by the new NHS Commissioning Board. Funding would come from within existing NHS budgets, he said. The BMA has already warned that the Health and Social Care Bill could threaten the confidentiality of patient records. In a letter to government the organisation claimed that the Bill gave broad powers to a number of bodies, including the Health Secretary and the NHS Commissioning Board, to obtain confidential information. A Department of Health spokesman insisted the Health Bill did not undermine patient confidentiality and left legal safeguards intact.

File on 4 is on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 1 March at 2000 GMT and Sunday 6 March at 1700GMT. Listen again via the BBC iPlayer or download the podcast.