Monday, 19 November 2007

Dealing with the NHS

I am following a friend Simon thru his experience with the NHS. Last week Simon saw the doctor about a bladder issue. Local GP recommended a test. Simon got told to ring back for the result Friday which he did. He was told that there was a problem with the sample and further discussion would be needed with the GP who was busy - so he needed to call back on Monday for a telephone appointment Monday. Simon expressed dismay to the receptionist that he would now be left to worry all weekend about this, so the receptionist tried to find out more information unfortunately to little avail, so a telephone appointment for Monday was made.

Today Simon said that he rang the doctor as required. He needs to see a Urologist. The doctor left in reception for him two pieces of paper. One with a reference and one with a password, to use to make an appointment. Simon picked these up on the way home from work. Impressed at how efficient this all was Simon got straight onto the Internet to make his appointment. It was very impressive - he could choose 1 of 3 places - Frimley, Aldershot or Farnham. There was even a comparison page that awarded stars for the standard of service they had achieved. All were 3 star excellent. But with Frimley being closer he tried to book that one.

But computer said ..... Nooo

He tried to book the other locations.

Computer said ..... Nooooo

He tried extending the calendar to 2009 for an appointment ...

Computer said .... Noooo

No problem he said - I will use the other option - phoning a "real person". Which he proceeded to do. However, real person said that because he had gone on-line to book and was unable to book an appointment the computer had locked him out too. "You need to call back in 30 minutes" he was told politely.

Thirty minutes later Simon rang again. The "real person" tried to book, but he had a problem booking, so took Simon's details and informed him that they would advise Frimley Hospital, and someone from the hospital will ring and make an appointment with him within the next 2 weeks.

Simon rang me this evening and told me what happened, and I asked permission to log Simon's experience of the local NHS. So together we will see how Simon gets on. Good luck Simon.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Time for a Farnborough Civic Society to be formed

It is high time Farnborough had a Civic Society.

We are under huge pressure locally from developers and government policy and it is about time we had a local non political lobby group that kept an eye on developers, the airfield, local and central Government and their agencies. Farnborough has some treasures and a civic society would be the ideal body to scrutinise and protect what we have and what is thrust upon us at times.

It would influence the thinking and actions of people who shape and manage the built environment in a variety of ways. In addition to the practical projects it would carry out, the Farnborough Society would respond to consultation papers issued by central and local government and its agencies. issue position statements that capture the views of local people on a variety of community topics. Take part in focused campaigns, harnessing the lobbying power of Civic Society membership to change policies and attitudes.

Contact me if you wish to join me in setting up the first Farnborough Civic Society.
For more information on Civic Societies visit the Civic Trust web site

Monday, 12 November 2007

My first flying video

My favorite flying pictures ....

I took this picture flying above the Massive Central France with just cord and canvass ... and a reserve!!

... dats me - I can fly mum!! First light above French Vineyards

French flying trip planned for 2008

We are off to BOUFFERE la Vendée, 3 kilometer from the local Flying club 3km and 40km south west of Nantes. The club we will be flying with are Atlantic paramotor

I am really looking forward to it. Below is a great shot taken by one of the local pilots.

ready to go ...

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Act of Remembrance (Or did some of us forget something?)

The church service this year was excellent, as always, with a packed church and fitting service for the occasion. The sermon was profound, reminding us of the price we have paid for freedom over the years. Four thousand deaths a week during the Great War 1914 - 1918, and 1500 deaths a week during World War II. The Garrison Sergeant Major was the man of the moment, stepping in last minute with bagpipes to play a lament in place of the bugler who could not attend due to a family crisis.

A few things disappointed me however. Bearing in mind a Labour Government is responsible for sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, it was a shock to me that not one of the six Aldershot Labour Councillor's attended the Service, especially at a time we are sustaining regular casualties in these two locations. Was it too much of an effort? Maybe they simply forgot. Was it too much to expect just one of their councillors to attend this important Service?

The other thing that disappointed me was the march past. In the "Home of the British Army" all that could be mustered for the parade was a Sea Cadet Band from HMS Swiftshore(very good one I might add), our veterans (with a healthy contingent of red berets), a squadron of Air Cadets (very smart), and finally the Garrison Sergeant Major (the only serving soldier in the parade). With so many commitments I can understand why numbers of troops for the parade were limited, but this was ridiculous. It was, however, a shame that there were no scouts, guides or Army cadets.

All I can say is thank goodness for the Garrison Sergeant Major..

Joining soldiers for lunch after the service, reminded me that we must not forget the living either. Every year we remember those that have died, but do we forget those that have served Queen and Country and are now trying to live? What are we as a Council that represents a Garrison Town doing? How can we do more, for those that serve and are prepared to give all?

Well one thing we could do is give ex service personnel extra points on our housing waiting list, we could give them discounts on Council facilities, we could look at a number of ways that this Borough shows its gratitude, not just for those that give their lives, but for those left to live their lives.

Family Roll of Honour

We sometimes forget the cost this Nation paid with the blood of its sons for peace in Europe during two World wars. That tradition continues today with a new generation of young men and women who are prepared to pay the ultimate price in order to bring peace to communities far from our shores. They do not do it in vain. They are making a positive difference in the lives of people, despite the cynical views of some.
Most families do not realise the number of relatives lost in their family in just the first world war. We were reminded in the sermon today that there was, over the period of that war, an average of 4000 deaths a week.
Our Family Roll of Honour
David Pullen: 1813-90 (51st Regiment of Foot) Storming of Rangoon 1847
John Robt Townsend: 1842 - 1932 (Queens Own Gloucester Hussars)
Frank Edwin Powell: 1892 - 1979 (Royal Navy) Served on HMS Victory
Henry Albert Sanders: 1877 - 1953 (Royal Artillery) fought in the Boar War
Charles Hardaker - killed - 22 Aug 1915 (AIF) Gallipoli, Turkey
Patrick McBride - killed - 26 Oct 1915 (DLI) Houplines, France
Francis Trudden - killed - 15 Oct 1916 (DLI) Somme, France
Denis Trudden - lost - 6 April 1917 (SS Powhatan) Atlantic
Arthur Merrell - killed - 12 April 1917 (Gloucester Regiment) Arras, France
George Richards- killed - 2 Aug 1917 (South Wales Borderers) Ypres, Belgium
Charles Penfold- killed - 12 April 1918 (Royal Fusiliers) Hazebrouck, France
George Williams: 1889 - 1965 (North Somerset Yeomanry) Prisoner of War
John J Townsend: 1873 - 1959 (AIF)
William T Jackman: 1882 - 1966 (Royal Fusiliers)
Patrick Clifford - lost - 1st Feb 1943 (HMS Welshman) sunk by U boat 617 in Tripoli Harbour, Libya
Albert G Godwin: 1912-98 (Royal Engineers) captured by Japanese in Hong Kong 1940, survived the sinking of the Lisbon Maru, by an American submarine, and survived the Japanese prison of war camp.
Francis Clifford: 1933 - 2001 (Royal Corps of Transport) served in Malaya and Aden
And I have a few more I need to find more information on to add to this noble list..

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Petrol Price Protest

I was impressed by a campaign aimed at hurting the biggest oil companies in the UK to get the prices down. It is essentially the following - I have cut out the long explanation which can be hard work reading through!!

Acting together we can make a difference. Please pass this message on. HOLD OUT UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE 69p a LITRE RANGE. It's easy to make this happen. Just buy your petrol at Shell, Asda,Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Jet etc.
i.e. we all boycott BP and Esso

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Should Metropolitan Commissioner go?

I have been uneasy for the clamor to get Sir Ian Blair to resign, until I read an article by my mate Daniel Hannan. clickhere

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Postal Scam Warning

Can you circulate this around especially as Xmas is fast approaching - it has been confirmed by Royal Mail. The Trading Standards Office are making people aware of the following scam:

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a premium rate number). DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize.

If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £15 for the phone call. If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 02072396655 or ICSTIS (the premium rate service regulator) at

Friday, 2 November 2007

Ecstasy Warning from our Drug Action Team

Samples of white powder that have been analysed show that Cocaine pre-mixed with Ecstasy is being sold in Andover Town Centre.

Those using illegal drugs or substances should seek medical assistance if you, or someone you’re with, appear to be suffering from any side effects, out-of-the-ordinary/unusual reactions.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Kids, Vampires and Witches!

Here is my American nephew dressed like a vampire, he may not look too frightening, but he was probably followed round halloween night by a father armed to the teeth!!
And talking of teeth, I will be surprised if any kids these day will have any by the time they are adults, going by the way they scoffed the sugar we fed them all at the door steps last night.
When I grew up we were told never to accept sweets from strangers and never go out when its dark. So who came up with this Halloween idea of sending little people, covered in makeup out at night just as the clocks go back, threatening adults with trouble if they aren't given sweets? We're back to those crazy Americans aren't we?