Dear Mr Hunt

This is a very different kind of Music on Monday for you.  It’s a missive to our current Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, from a group of junior doctors.

You may or may not know that Mr Hunt is currently trying to impose a new contract on junior doctors in England that will drastically make life worse for them and, despite his protestations to the contrary, mean they will be considerably worse off financially too.

The new contract which Mr Hunt would impose increases the doctors ‘normal’ working hours to include up to 10 p.m. (it is currently 7:00pm) and Saturdays.  Whilst promising a pay rise of 11% in one hand, he takes away the additional payment for those hours and, somewhat underhandedly, is abolishing the annual increments they are currently entitled to.

Mr Hunt seems to be forgetting a few things:

  • To qualify as doctors, young people spend five years at university accruing massive student loans, thanks to a government who keeps increasing fees. Most of them will spend the next 20 years paying those loans off. Even after all that training, their starting pay is as little as £23,000 and they rely on the unsocial hour payments to top that up to a living wage.  Not forgetting that many of them are at an age when they have young families to support on that too.
  • After uni they are required to complete a couple of foundation years, where they are expected to take on huge responsibilities – from day one they are working night shifts on their own.
  • From day one they work weekends and nights. They already provide a 24/7 service. Yes, that does include weekends and Christmas (We have to postpone our own Christmas to accommodate our daughter’s shift patterns).
  • To progress they need to take exams which cost up to £400 a pop.  To pass the exams they have to fork out for books and courses often costing in excess of £100 each.  Being a doctor is not a cheap option.
  • Being a doctor is a ‘lifelong learning’ career.The annual increments that they are currently entitled to recognise the experience gained over the previous year and the additional responsibilities that entails.
  • They are already massively understaffed and overworked.  Imposing this contract may see a huge migration of our wonderful talented young doctors to foreign parts, or alternative careers, where their dedication is appreciated.

You can maybe tell that I feel deeply angered by Mr Hunt’s cavalier attitude, and that may be coloured by my daughters both being junior doctors (though the one currently working in Wales will not be directly affected should these proposals be enforced).  But this is the tip of the iceberg. Our NHS is crumbling under the current government, who seem to have no insight into the realities of caring for the sick. I fear for it’s future, and without a caring attitude towards our doctors who will care for us?

You can find out more about the Junior Doctors Dispute here.

Anyway…. my thanks to these wonderful young ladies who have done a stirling job of putting their plight into song:


This one’s for my mum

Hi Mum!

Surprise!! I know you loyally read my blog even though sometimes you don’t understand it, and quite definitely ‘don’t like poetry’.  So when I came across this video this morning and knew that you’d love it, I thought I’d post it here just for you (and anyone else who might like it too of course).  The music might not be entirely to your taste, but it’s worth watching for the dancing and the incredible way all the clips are put together in perfect timing.

When I watched it, it took me back to Sunday afternoons watching Fred and Ginger, Gene Kelly, or Busby Berkeley movies on the sofa with you and nan. You always did love dancing.  I can remember, when I was very small, being told off for running about between peoples legs when you and dad took me along to one of your ballroom dancing classes, and as I got older, watching you being swept around the floor in a dazzling waltz on our annual visits to the holiday camp.

For a short while you sent me to dance classes.  I don’t remember why I couldn’t do ballet, I think I wasn’t the right shape or something, but I did a bit of tap and modern, well, until my sister refused to take me anymore because she was embarrased by my (alleged) naughtiness.

So, I’ve never been up to scratch with the dancy dancy. That’s not to say I don’t do it, blimey, I even admit to dancing about on my own on my ‘about’ page here!  But it’s probably just as well that no one is watching.

You and I both enjoy watching Strictly Come Dancing at this time of year, and I’d love to be on it. I bet in your day you could’ve beaten the pants off of any of them! Wouldn’t it be great to be all dressed up in those glittery frocks and being swished around the floor by a proper professional? Of course, this programme is the new and improved incarnation of ‘Come Dancing’ that we used to watch together years ago too.

Anyhoo, enough of the reminiscing, have a look at the video and enjoy. I hope it cheers you up as much as it did me this morning – but don’t try any of the moves, well, not unless you’re hanging on to your ‘trolley’ 😉

lots of love

k xx

Reasons to be Cheerful

Well, they were playing this on the radio this morning, and while I was dancing around my bedroom I thought about all the reasons I have to be cheerful on this sunny Monday.  Here is a selection. Not necessarily my top 20 but up there somewhere:

In no particular order…:

  1. my family is healthy
  2. It’s sunny even thought it’s August in England 😉 – we must be due for a storm…
  3. I went to bed later than I should so I’m still sleepy, but I was lucky enough to be able to get a good night’s rest in a comfortable bed with a soft pillow
  4. I had an invigorating shower with as much hot water as I cared to use
  5. Despite ‘never having anything to wear’ I do actually have a huge selection of clean clothes to choose from
  6. I still have my own teeth, and hair
  7. I can still dance – after a fashion 🙂
  8. none of the people I love smoke. This is something I am grateful for every single day (I have very strong opinions on smoking…don’t get me started!)
  9. I have a very daft dog
  10. I’ll be eating vegetables today that I have grown and picked myself
  11. If I didn’t have my own veggies to eat, I could go to the supermarket and buy as many as I like
  12. I have perfume to make me smell nice
  13. Even though I know and appreciate that there are terrible, horrible, disgraceful, unfathomably nasty things going on in the world, I can still listen to jolly music on the radio in the mornings.
  14. I am retired, though I don’t feel old enough to be
  15. I have nice feet, and shoes to put on them
  16. I know how to bake a cake and make wine….really, that’s all you need 🙂
  17. I haven’t seen a spider in my house for several days
  18. I can go out for a spin in Mavis, my new little red car, if I fancy it today
  19. I can count at least five different species of birds in my garden right now… as I type..
  20. I’ll get to have another session learning Japanese today

I’m wondering what your list might look like. I guess that one or two of your’s would match mine, but I’d love to hear what other’s you have. For inspiration here’s Ian Drury and the Blockheads for you:

Have a magical Monday x

Music on Monday!

Gosh, this Music on Monday is getting to be a bit of a habit. Well, what can I say… I just quite like fishing out some of my favourite bits and pieces to share with you. Today it’s The Civil Wars with ‘I had me a girl’.  I’ve got a couple of their albums and like most of their stuff, but this one always has me singing along with my air guitar in hand! I hope that you enjoy despite the fact there is no video 😦

Music on Monday

Well, I guess it’s about time I shared my absolutely number one favourite song ever. By happy co-incidence it is also from the soundtrack of my absolutely favourite film, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (I may be the only person in the world who lists this as their favourite film, I’ve not come across anyone else yet!) , which moves me to tears every single time I watch it (apart from the bit with David Bowies brother which is a bit of a weak point methinks).

Anyhoo, my favourite song ‘Forbidden Colours’ by Sylvian and Sakamoto never fails to send my stomach into a knot however many times I listen to it… and believe me that is many, many times. I hope you love it too.

Music on Monday!

Here’s another one of my all time favourites.  It really makes my heart soar and I inevitably end up singing, dancing and grinning when I hear it.  I can speak only a very little schoolgirl French so I’ve no idea what it’s all about (someone called Ginette…something about a supermarket??), could be something very rude for all I know… if so, I do apologise!

This is a live version and probably not their finest work (a few bum notes in there methinks!), but you get the gist.  Stick with it, you’ll be singing along with the crowd before the end I’ll bet 🙂