1 EAGLETON NOTES: January 2022



Monday 31 January 2022

Heart Attack Time

I've just read a post by Bob (as in Mr Brague who rhymes with plague) upon an incident he had and a reminder that we should all listen to our bodies. 

Assuming you have either already read or now popped over to his post you will see that I commented as follows:

"Unlike you, when I thought I was having a heart attack (same symptoms as yours and age 56) I immediately went to the nearest doctor (I was away from home at a trade fair). He pronounced me A1 after doing all the tests. To be continued..... "   I am continuing.

Later that evening after my friends and I had been for dinner we were walking back to the place we were renting for a few days. It was a very bitter, windy October evening in Aviemore in the coldest part of the Scottish Highlands. I was breathless and when I eventually made it back I asked them to get an ambulance.

It arrived as did the local doctor I'd seen that afternoon. The general assumption was that I'd had a heart attack. I was carted off to Inverness and spent the night having tests and so on. 

In the morning I was declared A1 fit for discharge with them being able to find no indication whatsoever of a heart attack. I was very surprised but happy. However as I had nowhere to go and no clothes and no one to collect me (they were all at the trade fair 30 miles away) I was shoved into a private sideroom until the next day. During that day I wandered up and down the three flights of stairs (with the permission of the doctor!) to the ground floor, had lunch in the café and generally amused myself.

That evening my friends brought in my clothes and agreed to collect me the next morning. Whilst they were there two doctors and three nurses entered and, very accusingly, asked why, at 11pm the previous evening, I had had an ECG. No one had ordered one. 

My response made it clear that it certainly wasn't me who had asked for it and they were the medics. Apparently no ECG had been ordered so far as anyone could find. However, you guessed it, it showed quite the opposite to everything previously done. I was to go back onto the observation ward that very moment and, no, the bed would go with me in it, I was not to move a muscle until the morning.

The next morning a consultant whom I hope I never meet again came in and  told me that I was being flown to Edinburgh for an angiogram and probably angioplasty. (See sub-story below).

Next day I was duly loaded into a helicopter ambulance and flown down to Glasgow. In those days angioplasty was a much bigger job than it is today where they pop a line up your arm and bob's your uncle. So I'm told by people who have had recent stent insertions.

I found myself in a huge theatre with two consultants and heaven knows how many support staff and a television set to my left showing an x-ray view of my heart and its surrounds. This had the advantage that the consultants could see into my body and work out where the stents were going and, for me, it stopped any potential boredom. It was a long afternoon! I won't bore you with the details although some were very amusing and some were a tad unpleasant. I had 5 stents inserted. The 6th just wouldn't play ball. 

The Sub Story

I didn't know anyone in Edinburgh and it's the diagonally opposite side of the country to Lewis. I know lots of people in Glasgow and life would have been so much easier in hospital there. The Consultant was not having any of it and dismissed my request for Glasgow 'if possible pretty please" with an "I send people to Edinburgh!" Behind him the Sister gave me a kindly smile and a wink. I knew I was in good hands.  The next morning she explained that, regretfully, she hadn't been able to find a bed in the Edinburgh Hospital so I was going down to the Glasgow Western Infirmary.  

Friday 28 January 2022

This Week Miscellany

The wind took me by surprise this morning and as I was slightly off balance it blew me into the fishpond. It wasn't even that strong - possibly force 5. It was supposed to be much worse this afternoon and evening but it's all petered out and it's just an ordinary "somewhere below gale force" breeze outside. Sorry, I didn't manage a selfie.

We learned today that The Western Isles has broken new records. We have had the dreichest, dullest  January of anywhere in the UK since records began. No wonder everyone is a bit under the weather and waiting for some signs of Spring.

Wordle. People kept mentioning Wordle to me at the end of last week after being mentioned on the radio and television. Now I'm hooked. Advantages: it's just one game played once every 24 hours. It's a mixture of luck, skill and judgement. Disadvantages: There is no phone app (but it can be played on a phone). Beware a myriad of copies which have sprung up including "Wordle!".

Tai Chi (Not Quite). I’d done all my usual gym exercises this morning when I was persuaded by an ex olympian who runs the Move More class I attend to join a sort of Tai Chi class "just to see what I thought". I had the time before going to visit a friend for coffee so spent 45 minutes discovering that less is more and that it’s far harder than I imagined.

Road Rules UK. Under the existing rules a person crossing a road at a junction gives way to a car turning left. From tomorrow the car must give way to the pedestrian. The stronger must always give way to the weaker is the new rule. I have no problem with that. However, I will predict that the number of cars running into the back of cars turning left and suddenly stopping in the middle of flowing traffic will increase significantly.

Friday 21 January 2022


 On the way home from coffeeing with a friend at The Woodlands  I stopped  at a garage to get a latte as a surprise for a friend whose office I pass on the way home. 

The two youngsters serving were chatty and another customer in his 20s appeared, ordered and commented on the terrible loss of Meatloaf. 

"How old was he?" the customer asked.

"70" one of the servers responded.

I was just about to correct him and say "74" when the customer said "What did he die of?"

The assistant looked at him and said "He was 70 for heavens sake when you get to that age you're old and you die.  You don't have to die of 'something'. "

At this point I felt compelled to have my tuppence-worth so I said something like "Hang on.  70 isn't old. I'm nearly 80 and I'm not old and I'm certainly not thinking of "just dying" anytime soon."

I was reasonably appeased by the look of astonishment about my age but then I suppose if you are walking without a stick and wearing a tie with yellow ducks on it you're not exactly a typical Lewis bodach. 

The conversation continued on the agreed merits of Meatloaf until the latte was ready and I drove off into the morning gloom and delivered the coffee and wondered if my friend looked at me and though "Ah well, he's survived another day."

R.I.P Meatloaf. Thank you for all the pleasure you have given to so many of us.

Monday 10 January 2022

Use By....

This morning I had, in the fridge, a small amount of milk left in a 1.1 litre plastic container it was supplied in. It was labelled 'Use By 2 Jan'.  I've been using it until today and it smelt okay but then I've just had a dose of not being able to smell anything. So I disposed of it down the sink. That's not good because milk is quite a pollutant.

I was eating my banana and muesli quite happily with the fresh milk when I was informed on the news that the supermarket chain Morrisons is to replace the  'Use By' date on milk with a 'Best Before' date.

Doubtless other supermarkets will all follow suit. I hope so. In any case I will now continue to rely on the smell test.

This has made me think about milk in glass bottles and delivery of milk to the doorstep both of which were common when I was a child. Perhaps another post in due course. 

In the meantime I hanker for the days when the bluetits used to peck through the milk bottle top and drink the cream floating at the top.

Saturday 8 January 2022


I don't often write serious posts. However some of the recent goings on in the world really have tested my ability to sit back and ignore them. I'm not talking about the riot at The Capitol which might well have resulted (and might still result) in the end of democratic rule in the U.S. but in more minor and insidious incidents which gnaw away at the fabric of the Rule of Law which keeps us all in the UK safe.

Anyone who, like I, who worked with politicians all his professional life, knows that politicians are often economical with the truth. In order to save their political skins and jobs some tell downright lies on BIG THINGS as well. They always have done and always will do. On being found out the majority do not survive.

That, however, is becoming a thing of the past.

We now have a Prime Minister who is liar both as a politician and in his previous incarnations as a journalist and editor in our prestigious press. I was going to justify that statement with examples but as a friend said the PM not only doesn't try and defend himself from those incidents but, on occasion, actually boasts about his survival.  They are, in any case, very well documented.

The problem is that if the most senior person in the Government is seen to be a liar it gives a blank cheque to everyone else. If he can get away with it why can't I?

In my mid 20s I knew a lady who was a Justice of the Peace (JP, the most junior member of the judiciary). She regarded exceeding the speed limit as breaking the law and therefore if she realised she had knowingly exceeded the speed limit by even a few mph it would have been a resignation issue. Regardless of the legal niceties of breaking the speed limit  I know of no one else who has been that extreme.

However, I heard that the Chief Justice in Northern Ireland attended a golf function recently which was illegal under the current regulations in that Country. He accepted that he did it. He said that it was not a resignation matter.

How, I ask, can any member of a country's judiciary never mind the most senior one, make such a statement and then expect anyone to respect him or his decisions ever again.

I'll try not to do this again. 

Monday 3 January 2022

Two Days; Two Views

From my kitchen window on New Year's Day


Of course it wasn't like that all day on either day.