Friday, August 31, 2007


Someone, who will remain nameless, has asked me to write their business plan for a 'dragon's den' application for an innovative bakery idea they've got up their sleeve. Anyway to make a short story extremely long, I've been trying to think of how I would make their innovative cakes (I haven't been let on to the actual invention so I could be totally wrong on that to start with) fit in with my business ethics. This happened to coincide with a meeting I attended in a professional capacity. What I learnt (well, more reinforced what I already knew) at this meeting is that care is absolutely shocking for those people with 'complex' needs at home. What happens if you have multiple scelorosis, motor neurone disease or Alzheimers is that you're effectively fending for yourself. Nobody, for example is prepared to feed these people, apart from their relatives. The District Nurses are (allegedly) only willing to replace bandages, Home Care workers do the hoovering. 'Feeding' is part of the grey area between personal care, health care, domicilliary care and home care. Money isn't the issue. It's just how it's organised. I was suitably livid after discussing this for a while and was thinking of how I could possibly persuade the Dragons to give me loads of dosh to solve this problem and combine it with my friend's application. And I came up with 'Advo-cake'. It would combine advocacy with cakes. Poor people would be able to get a home-delivered cake in return for a nominal sum (say £1) a week. Then they could upgrade if they wanted to a sort of Car Breakdown Service for themselves where they get an emergency advocate to see them if they get a 'long term condition'. For the £1 a week service we'd be able to keep an eye on people and slip in the odd leaflet informing them of how the system works.

Anyway, business was never really my strong point. Or cakes. I might retract the business plan idea, especially as we've got so much on at the moment.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Offer accepted

The offer on the house has been accepted. So only another four months of stress and juggling about eleven balls to go. Except it's more like a year as it's only then that the MA is over. I'm resorting to read Richard Rorty on my lunch break. Good distraction. There's a good poem in there too. My problem is I seem to discover these academics I like, just when they've recently died. Like Roy Porter. He died about six months before I tried to contact him. And Richard Rorty wrestled with the reaper of grimness two months ago. I give up on this poetry lark. Rorty & Porter would approve.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Blogging on the train

GNER is quite amazing, certainly compared to MEGABUS. In fact slicing your knuckles with a blunt razor blade is quite good compared to Megabus. Anyway, they've got wifi, which my wonderful husband managed to sort out for me before I departed. So here I am typing aware on the World Wide Web publishing to the 'world'. And it's a bit of an experiment. I'm quite pleased it's a little experiment I seem to have beaten even Blaglady to. You can survey the scene and report back to your 'readers' or 'market' or 'friends' or 'self'. Anyway there's a couple in their thirties sitting at the table down and to the right. They're married. I've clocked the rings. She's Asian he looks northern. They look like teachers and I'm wondering if they're coming back from the Leeds Festival. And basically that's what everyone who's on this train looks like they're doing. So it's not a very interesting or exciting experiment. The married guy with glasses married to the Asian lady is now asleep. That says it all really.

But I bet Tony Blair is now regretting he didn't do a journal when he was in office. I'd hate to have to try and remember all the interesting bits 10 years from now that happened today. We saw my cousin and her fiancee for example. They showed us how they've converted a garage into a bedroom, and they've got two reception rooms in this new house. They recommended that we didn't live in Halifax. And then we had an afternoon nap. It's all these titbits of information that just get lost in the melay. Although ironically today ten years ago of course Princess Diana died so most people remember a lot of detail about that day as it's etched on our memories. I remember that I was in London staying in this awful place near Turnpike Lane, which had mice, with my Ex. Radio One was playing non stop funeral music which I woke up to thought it was weird, then they said why. I was doing my post-grad diploma in journalism and had this brain wave of building on the anti-media backlash that occured by burning loads of tabloids in the streets. But I never sorted it out. I still think about what a missed opportunity that was. I hated the media, it was a stupid idea to do a vocational course in that area. I failed the diploma. The rest, as they say, is history.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ten Amazing Things (to do on holiday)

1) Watch Kate Nash perform (on telly)
2) Kiss your husband
3) Make sure you bring your slippers, especially if you're going up North. In fact come to think of it don't bother otherwise
4) Read GErmaine Greer's article on Princess Diana in the Sunday Times.
5) Then have a heated debate on the defammation laws with your husband
6) And then look them up on his phone on Wikipedia
7) Then moan about the internet on his phone - ie you can't read it. Hopefully distracting him from the fact that you've lost the debate.
8) Go for at least one amazing meal per day. Like The Durham Ox near York.
9) Try something like Beetroot Souffle.
10) Then start saying things like 'Is it me or are people at festivals getting younger?' And Look at the sky out of the window. Thanking your lucky stars you're not actually at a festival, getting dirty/too hot/cold/bored/annoyed/stuck in traffic. And finish your wedding thank you cards.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Excited about the 'new', postmodern history of dementia

There's so much going on at the moment, hardly got time to breathe. We've put an offer on a house in Leeds - 2 bed semi in Chapel Allerton £150k. I'm supposed to be doing all the research for my course which starts in October. We're renting our flat out, moving to York temporarily, applying for jobs left right and centre, trying to make friends with my brother's friends in London so we're not Mr and Mrs Billy-no-mates up there. Fitting in work around that and the usual being a quite frankly pathetic friend to all my existing friends in London. Then there's all the financial rubbish linked to this - sorting out a loan to put as a deposit on the second house, trying not to think about the stock market crash, how much debt we're already in.

Anyway I'm still happy, most excited about my MA. I just think that with house buying 'property' is so much about luck, I know normal people would be most excited about that. But in many ways the more you own the more you have to worry about. Doing an MA in the history of dementia is a totally different kettle of fish. There's an element of luck, but it's much reduced.

I'm narrowing down my field. It's going to be called 'The Forgotten Forgetting: The deaths of a generation in the 1990s, a post-modern history of dementia". I'm going to link the rise in age discrimination which I will prove occured in the 90s with increasing, untimely and unreported deaths from dementia, hand in hand with a reduction in real terms expenditure on treatment of the disease. The documentary with Barbara and Malcolm Pointon supports this, plus the report from the National Audit Office a few weeks ago. I feel vindicated. Like Dementia's Joan of Arc. Perhaps not a brilliant analogy. Anyway...

I'm about to email my (brilliant) tutor and ask her how many death certificates she thinks I should look at - 100 or 1000? I'm trying to cram in all the primary source research before I actually start which is a tad ridiculous. It worked when I was doing my undergrad stuff though. Then you effectively concentrate on writing up for the next 9 months.

The other problem is I can't decide whether I'm a postmodernist or not. They're all a bit weird. And the modernists seem to write better stuff. What I think is that we're in the postmodern era. The era when infinity seems as weird and wonderful as it really is, when people talk about nonsense. Progress seems a distant era, perhaps when our parents were growing up. So we're all postmodernists now, whether we like it or not. I prefer postmodern to 'new' as it conjurs up 'new' labour images which make me feel a bit sick. And the 'neo-philiacs' in Private Eye. But the 'neophiliacs' manage to distance themselves from the postmodernists just by putting that word in front of themselves. I don't think they can escape.

Friday, August 03, 2007

How long before I stop wearing a coat?

I've come to Leeds for the weekend to acclimatise before we move here. The thing you easily forget about up North is how about 1% of the population wear coats, even if the temperature is about 10 degrees below Zero. But the fascinating thing is I USED TO NEVER WEAR A COAT EITHER. Back in the day, when Northern cities really were run down, I never wore a coat out, in January. So the moral of the tale is that non-coat wearing is a purely cultural phenomenon. I won't be able to get Northerners to wear coats, they'll infiltrate my softie southernised culture and persuade me not to wear it, in their subtle, influencing ways. But how long will it take?