1 EAGLETON NOTES: March 2018



Thursday, 22 March 2018

A Fire and An Allegory

I'm in Glasgow. Tomorrow I go into Ayr Hospital and, hopefully, the Surgeon will sort out the problem that has been contributing to my bouts of sepsis.

Today Anna and I went into Glasgow City Centre. As we were driving in and were still some miles away we could see and smell smoke. It became obvious that there was a pretty serious fire somewhere in the City Centre. As we drove along the street into the car park we could see the flashing lights and the fire engines and the tall water cannons with the firemen mounted high into the sky above the buildings.

In fact the fire had only started or been discovered an hour or so before we left Anna's. It was in Sauchiehall Street - one of Glasgow's main shopping streets (although a shadow of it's former glorious self).

We went to John Lewis for coffee. The main windows in the café look right up Sauchiehall Street and the fire and firefighting were there for all to see.  I put my stuff down on a table and went to get the coffees and cakes. Anna came into the café as I was getting the food and went off to the table. 

As I sat down with the tray Anna announced that she had got the news on her phone and regaled me with what was happening - as I was looking at it. Anna had been so busy going to the table and looking for the information on her phone that she was blissfully unaware of what was unfolding in front of her eyes.

And that, I thought, is the story of so much of our lives these days: it's all happening in front of us but we are too busy looking for it (whatever 'it' happens to be) elsewhere that we miss what is staring us in the face.

From the bottom of Sauchiehall Street just below the window we were looking out of.
Aerial press photo
Aerial press photo

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Heinz 57 Varieties

YP's  post yesterday was entitled Pictures.  It had absolutely nothing to do with Heinz Beans. However in the esoteric comments that followed he mentioned "Heinz 57 Varieties" and Kylie of Eclectica asked "57 varieties of what?"

It made me wonder. Having grown up with the brand of tinned and bottled foods Heinz 57 Varieties it occurred to me that our antipodean readers might not be aware of the significance of the reference. So I decided to enlighten you and myself at the same time.

I have always assumed that the original Heinz brand produced 57 varieties of tinned/bottled foods. I also assumed that it was a British company. I was wrong on both counts.

Heinz 57 is a shortened form of an 1896 advertising slogan "57 Varieties of Pickles" by the H. J. Heinz Company located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It has come to mean anything that is made from a large number of parts or origins. It was developed from the marketing campaign that told consumers about the numerous pickle products available from the Heinz company.

The reason for "57" is unclear. Heinz said he chose "5" because it was his lucky number and the number "7" was his wife's lucky number. However, Heinz also said the number "7" was selected specifically because of the "psychological influence of that figure and of its enduring significance to people of all ages". Whatever the reasons, Heinz wanted the company to advertise the greatest number of choices of pickles. In fact by 1892, four years before the slogan was created, the Heinz company was already selling more than 60 products.

In Britain I would think that Heinz is best known for its baked beans. I didn't know until I looked for some pictures for this post that Heinz Baked Beans had been  re-branded as Heinz Beanz. So the Heinz tin showing the 57 very clearly has been relegated to less prominent type.

For my antipodean readers Heinz is branded as Watties in New Zealand (where it is a very large company) and as Heinz Watties in Australia.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Elderly Nurse

When I was in Glasgow's Royal Infirmary last December my first ward after A and E was the Medical Reception Ward. Whilst there I received lots of questioning, tests and so on. When one has sepsis one is often confused but I was alert enough to know what was happening when  a nurse walked across the ward towards me announcing "I'm the elderly nurse.".  My response was quite simply that she didn't look anywhere near as old as I am and I don't think of myself as elderly.

"No. I'm the Elderly Nurse." Ah. That was her title. Of course I knew that but it did seem a very strange moniker.

The standard questions followed: did I know my name?; did I know my address?; did I know where I was?; and did I know why I was here? Able to answer the questions without a problem I was pronounced not to have dementia and off she went to find another patient who might not have been so fortunate.

So when the nurse taking all my details when I got onto the ward last week said "And now for The Questions." I knew exactly what was coming and answered them without her having to ask. Without batting an eyelid she then asked me to recite the months of the year...backwards. As it happens I can do that almost as fast as I can recite them in the correct order: something I was totally unaware of until that moment.

Monday, 12 March 2018


I'm home: back on Lewis. It was a lovely day's drive and sail on Friday. I've unpacked and regrouped (Glasgow = shopping as well as concerts, visiting etc etc as well as hospital, hospital and hospital). Yesterday was spent corresponding: snail mail, email, WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram. Today was soup making day; a visit from Gaz and wee Brodie for lunch; and a general clearing up in the garden in the lovely weather this afternoon.

When one is in hospital one has all the time in the world. Everything is done for one. And yet with all that time at my disposal I achieved nothing in the time I was sitting in my nice little room with not even a television for distraction. So I listened to music, read the previous Saturday's 'Times' from cover to cover and did all the Mind Games. And almost nothing else for three and a half days.

I did gaze out over the Glasgow Necropolis occasionally. A great view from a hospital! Glasgow's Great and Good of old lie there.

Okay. I was rather ill for the first day or so until the intravenous antibiotics worked their magic but why didn't I actually use a pen and paper and draft some of the blog posts I wrote in my mind whilst sitting or lying there? Why didn't I write letters? (I write at least a dozen snail-mail letters/cards each week - usually more). Why didn't I read more than 3 chapters of the McCall Smith book I had with me? Why?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Life - An Update

I’ve been in Glasgow for a couple of weeks.  I should have been home last week.  I came down for routine scans and an appointment with the drug trial coordinator for my cancer treatment. Once more things have not turned out as planned: partly because of the snowy weather and partly because I’m back in hospital with an infection again. One of the problems of being in hospital is that I’m separated from my laptop. This makes Blogland laborious using my iPhone. 

All my British readers will likely have seen plenty of pictures of snow much worse that the snow we’ve had in Glasgow but the chaos here has been considerable with trains cancelled en masse and general transport disruption. At Anna’s where I’m staying the road was totally blocked for cars except a few 4x4s for several days. I eventually got to The Beatson on Friday by walking out to the main road 25 minutes away on foot and getting a bus. In places the snow was over the top of my wellingtons.

I had planned this post with photos but despite all my efforts I cannot find a way that Blogger will post the photos from my phone. The original Blogger app was discontinued long ago and using Google’s Chrome app on my iPhone as my browser elicits the same message as do all the other browsers ie that it is not a Google supported browser for Google Blogger. How strange.

So that’s all folks: for now.