Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And now there is five

She had them!

After a couple of days being off her food, and intermittently nesting, Lucy (our cat) went into labour at 6pm. She delivered 4 kittens, all looking grotesque for their first 10 minutes, then becoming progressively cuter. I had to cut the cord for number four as Lucy was just so knackered.

The first little one is black, the second black and fat, and the third has a cool white stripe over his face and forehead, that looks gingery at the edges. And number four… well he’s a feisty little one. He was the one she didn’t have the strength to clean properly, and I cut his cord. He’s littler than the others, but damn strong. He burrowed right in to get a teat. So we’ve named him ‘Commando’, and the one with the stripe ‘Flash Gordon’. The other two are Fatso and Numero Uno

Obviously we’ll pick better names when we know what sex they are, and what they’re like as cats. We’re keeping one, and we’d all like a boy kitten. The names on the table are Angus, Flynn, and Attila. I personally LOVE Attila, but we’ll see.

O, and its my little brother’s 19th birthday today, so very well timed by Lucy!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ah, I had such a lovely weekend.

It was a long weekend, the second of the May Bank holidays, and my mate Jenna’s 21st birthday. Her parents threw a party for her on her actual birthday, the Sunday, and I was invited. Only thing being, Jen lives near Sheffield. And I live in Sussex. To complicate matters, I arranged a concert for Saturday night. In Birmingham.

So it was the weekend of much travel.

The concert in Birmingham on Saturday night was a small one, more of a recital really. Felicity, my friend and the organist at our church, St Andrew’s, is raising money for the Poplars Church volunteer work in Romania. She was hoping to go out there this summer, but her plans were thwarted at the last minute. We performed solos and duets, and took turns in accompanying (which means I accompanied Felicity’s solos badly, and she played for all the duets!). The program was a mix of show songs, swing standards, and a few pieces we just liked. My favourite was one of the latter, a song called ‘May it be’, written by Enya for the Fellowship of the Ring. It’s a really haunting, soft, shivers down the spine kind of song, and I knew I’d pulled it off when there was complete silence after I’d finished, for a still moment, before the audience applauded. It was magical. A few people had closed their eyes during the song, but I’m never sure if they’re enjoying it or hating it when they do that!

We also raised around £150, which I was soooo thrilled about. St Andrew’s is not in an affluent area, but the people there are so incredibly generous. Not just with money, but with time, and their kindness and friendship. I have never felt so accepted in a place.

Sunday I travelled up to Sheffield, for Jenna’s birthday party. And it was a wonderful day. Me, Mirabelle and Charlotte were the only friends of Jen’s there, the rest were family. But I’m from a big family (my rents are both one of 4, and I have 13 cousins…) so I was in my element. Jen’s parents had put together a delicious barbeque and buffet combo, and I just had godd clean old fashioned fun.

Staying the night was also pretty exciting – the 4 of us ‘girls’ shared two singles, topping and tailing. W hich caused much giggling, like being 10 years old at a sleep-over!

The journey back yesterday was fairly arduous – long, dull, busy trains. And I had to get three of ‘em. But I’m home, now and back to the work…

Currently watching: The X Factor: Battle of the Stars. My, its so damn good. I am ridiculously, annoyingly critical ofall the singing, and I love it. I want Moylesey or Matt Stevens to win. And Loos and Hewitt OUT NOW.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Boxes, dust and discharge notes...

More boring filing today. Nobody in the physio department has ever properly organised the file store (when I say 'ever', I mean there are boxes of discharged notes from 1997 in there to be sorted), and suddenly it’s all got to be put into storage, in giant containers somewhere in the West Country. Which means everything has to be in alphabetical order in 6 month blocks, in fully labelled and coded boxes. Done by me.


Currently reading: Blackberry Wine. Much more enjoyable than Chocolat, still very French, but filled with even more magic. And I like magic.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Walking the Walk...

On Saturday evening, my mum and I went up to London on the train. We went to Hyde Park and stayed up all night, and went home again the next morning.

We weren’t at a concert, or clubbing, or whatever activities that people stay up all night to do in London (minds out of the gutter people!). We were volunteering to help some wonderful people complete a marathon at night to raise funds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

We were Walking the Walk.

Our shift started at 10.00pm, and we stayed up all night, registering volunteers and handing out equipment for the teams out on the road. It was hard work, but great fun. Though it did get a little surreal at 3am… At 7am, we were very tired and very glad to hand over the reins.

The atmosphere was amazing, both from volunteers and the participants. Many people there were doing the walk in memory of someone they had known and loved, and I met a family who’d lost Joy. In her memory, her mother, daughter and niece were volunteering behind the scenes, while her husband and sister were out there in the dark walking. They were obviously a close and loving family, and they all wore badges of the woman they’d lost. It really brought home the importance of charities like this. Not only to raise money for research, but to provide support and hope and a voice to families like this one.

I am enjoyed giving up my time, but I would do it even if I didn’t. What’s one sleepless night of my life, compared to their loss?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Prizes and pregnancies

Today I went up to London, to a medical student prize presentation and lecture at the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (no, I hadn’t won a prize – this is me we’re talking about, your common or garden student, who hasn’t even started their SSM essay on Religion due in 5 weeks…). The lecture was given by Professor Lord Robert Winston, who is a LEGEND. His talk was excellent, though a little too heavy on his research work instead of his clinical practice, but still very interesting and informative. The 6 student presentations, based on their prize winning projects were all extremely interesting. I was very impressed, and a bit sad, because that’s never going to be me. I am no researcher!

It was lovely to see Mirabelle and Jenna, who came down from Birmingham to go to it. I met them in Oxford Street, shopping, after rushing in from straight. It was very depressing, asthey’d obviously had a lovely day and I’d been working.

Yes, the work is not brilliant. The people are very friendly, but filing is just not my thing! I’m working as a clerical assistant in a local general hospital physiotherapy department, and I like being on reception, answering phones and booking in patients, and I don’t even mind sorting referral letters or photocopying. What I do hate is alphabetising and boxing discharge notes from 1998 onwards…

On a more positive note, the cat is probably pregnant, which is just so exciting! We’re taking her to the vet tomorrow for confirmation of our suspicions…

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Oh dear...

Ah, the joys of being at home. Dinners cooked, washing done, new job starts tomorrow…What, tomorrow? I have to go to work? Rubbish.

I am not looking forward to 4 weeks of 9 to 5. Not at all.

Currently listening to: Micamac - Breton folk influenced by South American music. Seriously summery.

(Need a laugh? Take a peek at this or if you've the time, go see Confetti)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Toot toot!


Yes, that’s right, this girl is going to be a real life actual FOURTH year in 6 weeks time. Wow, I am amazed, scared, excited…everything. How can it have come round so fast?! I am officially over half way to being a doctor. When the hell did that happen?

Also finally finished the draft of our public health project today, and went shopping with Jen and Mirabelle in the afternoon. Then it was a rehearsal at church followed by a Chinese takeaway and chat about a new Christian group for twenty-somethings within my church. I haven't stopped all day!

Anyway, life is looking quite rosy at the mo, which is rather delicious. Hope everyone else is enjoying life too!

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Ah, my housemate had a very lovely 21st birthday. There was curry, birthday cake, drinking, dancing, and keeping me awake til 4.30am smoking weed in our living room… the joys of communal student living! I’d had a great night out, come home and gone to bed (I was getting up early for church, my other housemate for work) and then the birthday girl brought home her very loud druggy friends. I don’t fit in with them at all – they’re rude and obnoxious, and think doing drugs is coooooool. I don’t. At least last night wasn’t a coke or ecstasy or ketamine night… I can cope with weed, though I HATE it in the house. I didn’t feel like arguing with them at 3am though!

Tomorrow is results day. I am very very scared. This feels so much bigger than usual, but strange too. We used to collect our results at the Medschool, reading them off a big board. Results were listing by student id number, so it was mostly anonymised. There were the odd freaks who knew other peoples’ numbers but they’re few and far between, and certainly no-one cares enough to memorise mine! I’m usually Miss Average, and I’ll tell anyone who asks what I got. Why hide it?

However this year, due the data protection act, we have to receive our results my email. So I’m going to be checking all day, without a definite time. It’s very nerve wracking. At least I can sit in my room and cry about it before facing anyone. That’s a plus.

I really don’t want to have failed. It will screw up my summer job, and also probably cause me permanent damage from stress. I will be really gutted if I fail Integrated Medicine and Surgery, but I have no idea how I’ve done in Clinical Sciences. The exam was such a nightmare I just don’t know how I did.

I have my fingers crossed…

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Ooo, I love birthdays! It's my housemates 21st on Saturday, and today was allotted for birthday shopping! Me and t’other housemate hit the jewellery quarter and found a beautiful shimmery grey ribbon and glass bead necklace. We also got cake, sparklers, and cards!

We were unfortunately enticed into gross calorie consumption by the damn doughnut people in Selfridges. Spoils of which were consumed this evening with a cup of tea while watching House and Grey’s Anatomy. Does life get any better?

Currently drawing: Just finished a pencil piece of a ballerina for Mirabelle (my best friend and soon-to-be housemate). I love my new 9B pencil and blending stump!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Religion - why is it so hard?

Today I had my one and only tutorial for my Special Study Module. It’s called ‘Religious Beliefs’ and the brief is very wide. You can basically choose any topic concerning religion and medicine, and write a 4-5000 word essay about it. I picked this SSM (as second choice, alas for not getting creative writing…) for this reason – I figured it was open to interpretation…

There is about 16 students in the group, and they’re all pretty different – except that they all seem sure of their own religious beliefs. Well, at least they’re sure of what religion they identify with. And they are happy to include their religion as part of their identity.

I am not. I may go to church every Sunday, I may have been brought up as a Christian, but I am still so awkward about whether I actually believe or not, that I cannot put ‘Christian’ in my identity. As part of my social and cultural identity I can accept Christianity. As a personal and spiritual identity, I am still unsure.

I am unsure of:

1) Is God really there?

2) Is Jesus really the saviour of the world?

3) All the bits of the Bible I haven’t got a clue about?

4) All the bits of the Bible that contravene my fundamental moral/social beliefs?

5) Why I don’t want to be identified as Christian? Is it fear, or because I think there’s something a bit stupid about it?

6) Why I spend so many hours sitting in Church going ‘what a load of rubbish’ yet feeling ‘healthier’ (in the head and heart) for being there?

7) The patriarchal system of the Bible. Where is the mother goddess type figure? And I don’t except the Virgin Mary as a substitute. Sorry, but that ain’t cutting it for me.


I hate having religious conflict in my head. Once upon a time, many years ago, when I was a wee thirteen year old, I did believe. I prayed, I identified myself as a Christian, I got confirmed. But in the intervening years all that belief has drifted away. Floated out of my head and my heart while my back was turned. Possibly while my head was in a text book...

Although I’m not one of those who thinks that science excludes religion. If anything, learning more about science, especially the complexity of the human body and its functioning, has made me look with increasing wonder at the world, and feel more certain of a higher power. How could such perfection have been created by sheer chance?

(Or is it that my poor little brain can’t deal with the fact that such perfection could be chance? Do I want to feel more important than that?)

I also think that there are so many unexplainable things in the world, that this cannot be it. There must be something more – even if it is not perhaps as simple as heaven and hell.

I hope this SSM will help me to think about religion in the context of me, and try to work it out. Some people at my church in Birmingham are trying to start a young peoples group (ie 18 – 30. Just like a Club Med holiday, but with less sex and more bibles…). I am keen to go to talk about this sort of stuff, but frightened of looking like an idiot, or being made to feel small or embarrassed by my lack of belief. I’ll think about going… maybe if I can persuade Felicity to go too!

Oh, and I’m either going to write my essay on psychiatry and religion (though that may be a no go due to the fact I can’t spell pyshciatary), concentrating on religious crises vs pyschoses with religious content (ie mad or talking to God?), or look at the issues surrounding female genital mutilation, which is a hot topic, especially as its becoming more commonly encountered within Birmingham obs and gynae services.

Expect more posts on these topics soon…you lucky lot!