The Business of Death

•November 23, 2012 • 2 Comments

A Special Sunet

I’ve been a little quiet this week. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking about the things I’ve lost, thinking about the things I’ve gained. Thinking about how nice it would be to show my mum what I’ve achieved in the years since I lost her. Tuesday marked the eighth anniversary of her death. That means I’ve spent a quarter of my life without her. Unimaginable, and yet true.

Today someone asked me to review some of their radio work, including a project that they did at university. It reminded me that I also made a mini-documentary for my Broadcast Journalism Post Grad at City, which I started the year after I lost mum. Something to get me out of bed each morning, and perhaps help me along on my career path.

When it came to choosing a topic for my piece I was still obviously thinking about all that had happened. One of the first things I thought after I lost mum was “what do I do with a dead body?”. Seriously, it’s might sound mad, but it just came into my head. I had no idea, and I had no idea how you were supposed to know. Luckily, I was at a very kind hospital, Queen’s Square in London and the staff helped me, told me what I had to do next, and I got on with it, because I had to, because I had no idea what else I was supposed to do. How to act, how to feel, how to go on.

One of the things that struck me, was just how much it cost to arrange a funeral. It’s something that we don’t like to talk about, death I mean, so it’s no wonder that this alien world of funeral directors and disbursements was a bit of a shock.  I guess it sort of bothered me that I had so little idea about what I was meant to do, and what to expect, so I turned that into this short documentary entitled “The Business of Death”. The idea was to shed a bit of light on the costs involved, and find out why things were so expensive. To talk about something we don’t often dare to mention. Death.

As I sat at the funeral director’s and they listed options and prices I was in a whirl. I wanted to do the best I could for mum. I wanted to show people who attended the funeral just how much I cared. But I also had her voice in the back of my head “Oh just pop me in the woods where I can fertilise the trees, that’ll be fine”. “How much? We could fly to Ghana and back for that”.

I knew that my mother wouldn’t want me to waste lots of money on a coffin that was just going to get cremated anyway. I asked about the eco-friendly basket options, even the cardboard box-style eco-coffins and almost wanted to shout out loud (in fact I may have done!) “how much”. I’d had this idea that I could personally decorate a cardboard coffin to make it look nice, a final gesture of love for her, but when they wanted to charge me over £1000 for a box that looked no better than that which my stereo came in, I just couldn’t do it. That voice, mum’s voice, was too strong and too clear. She wouldn’t have wanted that. I felt a pang of guilt, shame almost, asking if there were a cheaper option. What if I was being judged by the funeral organiser, what if the guests would think I didn’t care? But one thing that mum taught me was that money isn’t love. Time and thought, those are love. I stuck to my guns, opting for something that she would have felt happier with. I couldn’t splash out on something ridiculous and expensive, she’d roll in her grave – the words had left my mouth before I realised the irony…

I got over the feeling of shame. This was my mum’s funeral, no-one else’s. I know she wouldn’t have wanted the metallic pink coffin with the satin lining, the enormous wooden casket with a bad copy of The Last Supper carved into the inside lid, and I was pretty sure the painted Westham fan coffin wouldn’t float her boat either. No, we were doing this our way, she was (and is) still a part of me, and I was going to do what she would have wanted.

So there I was, sitting in the Co-operative funeral care shop (yes, there’s a kind of funeral supermarket in my area, coffins on show, pick what you like etc) and it dawned on me.

“You’re the co-op aren’t you?”


“The co-op co-op? Like the supermarket?” I asked

“Yes” said the assistant, wondering where I was going to go next.

And there it was. My mum’s voice, echoing in my head. My mum, who loved to grab a bargain and collect airmiles and bonus points.

“It’s just that my gran has a co-op dividend card, would she get points on the funeral?” I asked, somewhat timidly, but thinking what pleasure mum would get from knowing she was keeping grannie and grampa in food for a month through the bonus points.

“Well, I suppose she might” said the assistant. “I’ll have to go and check”. She trotted off, I threw my friend a little smile. I was back in control, that’s exactly the sort of stupid cheeky question that mum would have asked. The assistant came back a moment later.

“I’m sorry” she said, “you don’t get points on a funeral, but as a cooperative member, you do get 10% off”.

I realise that may seem like a very odd thing to have done, but sometimes, when the worst things happen, you have to revel in any humour you can find. I’ve never been so pleased that so many people have such awful taste as the day I went to arrange mum’s funeral. Honestly, how could you keep a straight face looking at the hideous, gaudy, enormous boxes that some people opt for. Don’t get me wrong, I understand exactly why they might do it, but I also know that my mum would be laughing with me.

Anyway, back to the point. I made this little documentary to investigate what people thought the cost of a funeral would be, and to look into the reality of it. Why are funerals so expensive. It was quite soon after I’d lost mum, so I suppose part of it was a challenge to myself, and part of it was a wish to bring the subject out in to the open so that other people didn’t get caught out and shocked like I did.

There is a health warning on this audio. Around eight minutes in I visit a crematorium and I record some sounds there. As a radio person it’s fascinating, powerful audio (I think). Personally it could upset people, but remember, I recorded this in the very crematorium that cremated my mother, and despite my initial fear, I actually found it quite reassuring.

I made this over six years ago, there are a few small things that I would change, but overall, I think that it has stood the test of time quite well. I’d love to know what you think.

Books, books, books

•April 11, 2012 • 8 Comments

Books books books

I love books. The feel of them, the look of them, the smell of them. The feeling of comfort being surrounded by them, and the wealth of knowledge, emotion and amazing tales the house within their pages.

Mum loved books too. In fact, like me, she collected shelves and shelves of them. I need to be strong and keep clearing more space, ready to make this house my own, but what do you do about books? It’s so hard to part with them. Each time I glance at a box I see another title jump out and I’m tempted to pluck it out and add it to my never-ending pile of “must-reads”.

I can’t though. I can’t just keep hanging on to everything. I’m trying to be good. I’m trying to declutter. So that means that books will have to go. I can’t just box them up and let them go though. That library of books that mum built up over her lifetime, they echo her and her interests. I feel her close when I pick up the yellowing pages of the Colloquial Egyptian Arabic Dictionary, knowing she would have spent hours looking through and reciting their contents. The Catalogue of Antiquities of the Cairo Museum and a 1960 guide to Egypt. Those are all part of the life she lead. Working in Egypt for over a year – a pioneer of the ‘year out’ you might say – learning the language, exploring the museum and all its treasures.

Then there are the craft books – silver-smithing, jewellery making, patchwork, weaving, knitting, and of course shoe-making. She did all of these things. Her wonderful creativity reflected in the many boxes of wool, material samples, beads and more. I’m yet to sort through these all properly. I’m dying to find someone with a love of stitching or knitting, who might take on the challenge of making me something beutiful that I can enjoy, in return for the rest of the materials. The eight-volume set, bound in dark green, Boots and Shoes: Their Manufacture, Making and Selling, is a wonderful repository of historical shoe-making techniques.

There are book about artists, collections of poems, one even has a personal poem inscribed inside the front cover, by the poet, and author of the book, Adrian Henri. There are novels by Orwell, Camus, Golding and Kafka. Books about teaching, introducing maths, children with special educational needs. Books about gardening, travelling, West African folk tales and from female Egyptian novelists. It’s a real mixed collection. A real reflection of some of her loves, interests and life.

So what do I do with them? I’ve got a catalogue so I can go back and read what she read one day. I don’t need the physical books. But I was always taught to treasure things. We didn’t have much when I was growing up, so we treasured those things we did have. We looked after everything, kept it nice. Saved odd bits of string “because it might come in useful one day”, recycled what there really was no use for. We didn’t really get rid of things that weren’t still useful, and books are always useful. So what do I do?

I could just give them all to a charity shop, but I’m saving up to go on an exciting university course, that I’m sure mum would be excited by too, so maybe I should try to get some money for them? I thought about a second hand book seller, but I doubt I’d get very much, even selling so many. If I’m not going to get much, then I think I’d rather see them go to good homes, people who will enjoy them at least. People have suggested I try Amazon marketplace, but there are so many, and I just don’t quite have the time to list them all and the faff with posting them out. So what should I do?

It’s hard letting go of books. Might you have a good home for any of them? If you’d like to help me get to space university perhaps we could swap? A few pennies towerds my dream in exchange for an interesting book or two? Here’s a list of mum’s books and a few others from around the house. If you’d like any, please let me know.

Kindness and true friends

•April 2, 2012 • 4 Comments

I’ll admit it. I’ve had a really tough few months. Various bits of my life which seemed secure, all developed a sense of insanity and decided to kick me in the teeth. It was alarming and upsetting. I thought it must all be my fault. My friends were there to prop me up and help me realise that I’ve just had an incredibly unlucky phase. Since I left Audioboo a few weeks back, I’ve started to find myself again. I’m no longer being ignored or undermined and people have told me I’m good at what I do. It’s been so long since I heard someone say that at work and it really knocked my confidence. I worked hard, I made things happen, but it wasn’t the right place for me. There’s a bigger story there, but that’s for another day.

This is just a short, open letter of thanks to the people who have gone out of their way to be there for me. People who really didn’t need to. True friends are there through thick and thin, and my friends have outdone themselves in these last few months, but there are other people too. People I barely know, but have taken the time to get to know me, who’ve helped me believe in myself again. Who’ve seen something of value in me and let me know. Thank you.

I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such kindness, such time and effort from people (and one of them is currently in space!), but I want them to know how grateful I am. I know that some people just see me doing all the fun amazing things that I like to do, and probably think I don’t have a care in the world. That’s not the case at all. I just know that when there are good times to be had, and adventures to go on, you might as well pull out all the stops so that you can bank those amazing memories for rainy days. I’d rather have great stories and great friends than money anyway.

Sometimes I just feel so humbled that people spare a moment of time for me, that astronauts remember who I am, that I have made friends out of business contacts, and have a network of lovely people around the world (and orbiting it). It’s important never to take these things for granted, and this is me, showing that I don’t.

I do my best to bring people along on the adventures I have. I know that not everyone is in the position to travel or take the risks that I do, but it’s nice when people – like my Granny – live vicariously through me. I’ve done my best to ensure that when I’m on space adventures I include new space tweeps in the fun, and I’ve lined up a special surprise for a Japanese lady called Kayoko who came all the way from Japan to attend a TweetUp at CNES  in France this week. It was her first trip to Europe, her first tweetup and she came all that way on her own. I wanted to find a way to reward that sort of bravery and adventurous spirit, so all being well, a special treat will arrive with her soon.

Lego shuttle!

A special treat arrived for me today. I’m overwhelmed with the kindness and thought that went into it. I’ve a Lego shuttle staring at me, tempting me away from serious work. I can’t quite explain what I’m feeling right now. A mixture of excitement, gratefulness, overwhelmed-ness and humbleness, maybe even a hint of pride. As I said when NASA administrator Charlie Bolden talked about me, “I guess I must have done something right”.

Thank you to all of you’ve who’ve stuck by me and believed in me. You know who you are and I hope you know what you mean to me.

NHS Bill Alarm Bells

•February 16, 2012 • 3 Comments

While I continue to get my head around the various complex issues raised by the Health Bill, I thought that it might be good to flag up some of the alarm bells that make me wonder about the bill even before we look at the nitty-gritty detail. If you’ve not seen my previous posts on Saving the NHS and Trying to Untangle it, do check them out and leave a comment.

Doctors don’t like it

The fact that doctors, and other health professionals with years of training and experience working in the health service are up in arms about this bill makes me think that it is something worth worrying about. I may not understand all the issues yet, but they have much better handle on things and they are speaking out. That makes me stop and take notice.

Is it just a few rogue doctors causing a fuss? No, actually, it’s the Royal College of GPs, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives who all calling for the bill to be dropped. They are not alone, the international citizen blog has created a list of all those in opposition to the Health Bill. This is no rogues gallery. There is also a BBC piece here.

They are not mincing their words either. “This bill is a burden. It makes, no sense, it is incoherent to anybody other than the lawyers” said Dr Clare Gerada, Head of the Royal College of GPs on Radio 4’s Today programme. (Whilst I’m pleased to find that it’s not just me struggling to make sense of the bill, I’m concerned that lawyers rather than medical professionals are the only ones who might be able to unravel the future of the NHS.) Dr Gerada continues: “It will result in a very expensive health service and it will also result in a health service that certainly will never match the health service that we have at the moment – or at least had 12 months ago.”

That is a massive alarm bell in itself. If you’re worried, why not sign this eGov petition, go on, do it now. Sign here!

Tories don’t like it

Okay, so if the fact that a bunch of health professionals are calling for the bill to be dropped doesn’t worry you enough, what about the fact that the Conservative Home website reports that three Tory Cabinet Ministers are also concerned about the bill, with one of them saying it must be dropped. Are they against the bill in principle or just concerned that it has the power to backfire politically and threaten their jobs? Either way, it appears that all is not well in even the close ranks of the Cabinet. That surely can’t be a good sign?

Hidden Risks

The Department of Health has a Strategic Risk Register that looks at the effects of restructuring the NHS. This would be a pretty useful thing to look at if you wanted to get a better idea of what might happen to the NHS if the Health Bill goes through. But you can’t. Despite the Information Commissioner ruling that it should be released, and despite David Cameron in 2010 saying “it is our ambition to be one of the most transparent governments in the world”, it is being kept secret.

Does that mean anything is being hidden? Maybe not. Maybe there’s a perfectly good reason. On the other hand, how much do you trust politicians? When the future of the NHS is on the table, I think we can claim any cynicism as “healthy”.

If you’d like (in the words of Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health)) to “zombie-like, send in emails”, then might I suggest that writing to your MP and encouraging them to sign the Early Day Motion (EDM) requesting that the Risk Register by published. Here’s a the link to EDM 2659.

Anyone for a kidney?

Now we start delving into areas that will need a bit more work to put properly into context, require more understanding of how competition and private contracts might work, but, since we’re just looking at alarm bells perhaps we should consider this. It is being alleged, in several places, that a company which may end up profiting from NHS contracts has admitted illegally selling kidneys. The Daily Mirror article from Nov 2011  and a more recent piece from Political Scrapbook. Now I’m not sure about you, but I’m not really okay with the idea that my tax money is going to be spent on private companies that have a track record like this. Maybe it’s just me.

Pay up

Again, we now start to reach into areas where our simple backgrounder may not be enough, but the fact that people such as Allyson Pollock, professor of public health at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, are bringing up the idea that the health service may no longer necessarily be free at the point of use  still raises the alarm and is worth investigating. We’ll get to the bottom of it eventually… perhaps. One day.

Worried? Want to take action?

Here are three simple things you can do:

    1. Sign the petition – with 100,000 signatures it has to be debated in parliament
    2. Write to your MP and ask them to sign EDM 2659
    3. Help me understand more for my next thrilling NHS Bill blog instalment – and consider sharing this one?
    4. If you’re more into sharing YouTube clips than blogs about politics, why not listen to to and share this song instead?

Attempting to untangle the NHS bill

•February 13, 2012 • 2 Comments

Yesterday I blogged with a request for help understanding what is going on with the NHS Bill so I could try to work out if it is something I need to genuinely worry about, and if so, whether there is something that I should be doing about it. I like the fact that there is an NHS and I don’t want it to come under threat.

Thank you to all the people who’ve got back to me so far and offered me assistance. I now realise that this is a bigger task that I had first grasped, and feel a little less embarrassed that I don’t understand it all. That seems to be a very common problem. I’ve started to put together a Twitter list of interested people, so I can keep across the conversation a little better, and I’ll share some of the links I was sent at the bottom of this post.

Taking a step back

Before I try to get to the nitty-gritty of the bill, the debate surrounding it, and all the political waves it is causing, I think that it is a good idea to try to understand a bit more about how the NHS really works. Then with that grounding we can start to ask questions about what is going on with the NHS Bill. In the same way that you might turn the telly on to watch Eastenders, but not really understand the workings of the BBC, I visit the doctor, but have little idea of what goes on behind the scenes. So let’s start at the beginning shall we?

A (probably over-) simplified look at how the NHS works at the moment

Ha. I wrote this sub-title then drafted something that I thought made sense. I passed it by someone more expert than I, and now I’m even more confused! So, let’s just try to see what we’ve got, and if anyone else can provide me with a simpler, more accurate, public-friendly version of the current basic structure, PLEASE let me know!

The easy bit:

There’s an election, we vote, a government is formed, they choose the Health Secretary, the Health Secretary (currently Andrew Lansley) sits at the top of the Department of Health. I think we can all get our heads around that.

The next layer:

Beneath the Dept. of Health there are Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs). The English health system is enormous so the SHAs are there to break the enormity down into more manageable regions. They sit in the middle of the organisational tree, passing legislation downwards, but also collecting information from the frontline and passing it back up to the Dept of Health. Still with me?

Primary Care Trusts:

Below the SHAs are Primary Care Trusts – these were brought in by Labour, to help bring health and social care a bit closer together, which seems to make sense. But according to Professor Greener “most social care is divided into that provided by the NHS (community health services) and that provided by local authorities who have budgets, but where care is mostly privately provided (think of homes for the elderly, care agencies doing home visits)”. Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are the ones that actually commission the services in your area. Confusingly enough, they also provide some of those services too, so are effectively commissioning themselves. PCTs are responsible for ensuring delivery of quality care at the right price.


It gets a little more complicated again at this point, because there are two types of hospital: NHS Hospital Trusts which are overseen by the PCTs and SHAs, and Foundation Trust Hospitals which have a degree of independence from the DoH and SHAs. The Foundation Trusts were meant to be the best performing, and got ‘earned autonomy’ as a result, reporting to Monitor, an independent financial regulator. Professor Greener adds “They were allegedly allowed greater freedoms for being more highly performing, but haven’t often found it – ‘freedom to do as you are told’ is how one colleague of mine describes it. Monitor will take over responsibilities for all types of trust, as well as regulating non-public provision, after the reforms so big increase in their powers”.

So what’s all this Health Bill fuss about?

Well that’s really what I’m trying to understand. I use the word “fuss” as that’s probably what outsiders are wondering, but the more I learn about this, the more this seems like a really big deal. That’s why I want to try to understand it, and that’s why I want to try to help you understand it too.

There are a few problems with this:

a) no-one seems to quite fully understand it because the bill keeps changing

b) no-one can tell exactly what will happen

c) information to help us consider the risks of the bill is being witheld (ask your MP to sign EDM2659 to get it publshed)

As far as I can tell, reading various blogs, new articles and talking directly to some NHS staff, there are a range of issues. Again, this doesn’t make it very easy for me to give a single clear cut outline of the issues, so instead I’m going to look at a few things, as simply as I can and hopefully I will get some people with more expertise to help expand on these issues one by one.

So what is the bill hoping to achieve?

Here are a few of the main things that I have seen talked about, I’m sure there are more, but this is a learning process. I’m taking it a step at a time.

1) Empower GPs to form consortia that control their own budgets and can commission services their patients need

2) Cut down on bureaucracy

3) Boost the private sector’s role in providing services, to encourage more competition and innovation

Reasons people are worried

(Disclaimer: I’m doing my very best to understand this, but if I’ve got things wrong please let me know and I will correct them. If I’ve got them wrong, it’s because there are so many different things being said, and it’s hard to sift through them and work out what’s going on.)

Empowering GPs to form consortia that control their own budgets and can commission services their patients need

The Health Bill introduces Clinical Commissioning Groups – these will be groups of GPs who are able to commission the healthcare that they need in their area.

PROS: On the face of it, this sounds like a reasonable idea – doctors know which services are most in demand because they see patients on a daily basis.

CONS: Stop for a moment and think about that, do you want your GP to spend time treating patients, or trying to work out how to secure business deals on health provision? For my money I’d much rather my GP did what he/she was trained to do, and not have to worry about anything else other than looking after their patients.

Cutting down on bureaucracy

No-one would argue against an efficient, streamlined system that gets the job done and cuts costs. We’re all weary of hearing about public services with too many managers being paid too much to shuffle paper, but what’s the reality? It’s easier to show you, with the aid of a couple of organograms courtesy of the Labour Party, since as you can tell, explaining this stuff is not easy:

NHS structure pre-2010

NHS Structure after:

Copyright Labour PartyOnce I’ve got my head around this a little more, we can go into detail, but *just look at it!*. That doesn’t look like it’s making anything simpler. Am I missing something?

Boosting the private sector’s role in providing services, to encourage more competition and innovation

I’m not sure where to start here, but one of the things that I have seen mentioned is that if companies are competing on price, rather than on quality (as I understand they currently do with fixed national unit costs) then surely corners will be cut and patients could suffer?

Also, if we’re looking at using competition to bring the price down, then can someone explain why we don’t just use the enormity of the Health Service and its purchasing power to bring prices down? I know this whole situation is complex, and so I could be missing something, but isn’t it because Tesco (for example) is such a big purchaser that it gets the best deals on products and can pass them on to its customers? Isn’t that why all the small local shops are going out of business, because they can’t negotiate on such a big scale? Why then does it make sense to have lots of itty-bitty consortia, as nice and local as they may be, instead of the might of the combined health service?


I’ve so many questions still to find answers to:

– Does anyone actually support this bill, would they like to get in touch and try to explain what I’m missing?

– If we open up the health service to competition, is that it? Can we never go back, as someone suggested to me, because it would be anti-competitive and against the law?

– If hospitals are allowed to make money by taking private patients, won’t that just lessen the number of spaces for those of us who rely on free healthcare? Will that in turn push more people to take up private healthcare? Is that the end of the health service as we know it?

– What’s with these private finance initiative (PFI) hospitals – are we really locked into contracts to pay rent and services at whatever rate the company demands?

I know that there is a lot that I haven’t even scratched the surface of, so much that I am yet to learn. That there are people who could profit from this bill, I’m working my way up to understanding how that all fits together. I feel both comforted and horrified to hear that even those in the medical profession are struggling to understand all of this.

I want to hear from you

Pick a point about the bill that worries you, or that you feel you can teach me something about. Write to me, explain it to me, help me understand. Or better, record a quick Audioboo by visiting and clicking record. You’ll get three minutes, so why not state you name, what you do/what connection you have to the NHS, the point your raising and your thoughts on it. Tag it with #nhsbill and #healthbill. I would still like to try to create some useful resource to help others understand. It’s only now that I realise that this is a can of worms.. what have I done trying to understand?!

Useful links

You can find others as favourited tweets on my @RadioKate twitter account.

Save the NHS?

•February 12, 2012 • 10 Comments

A wise man is one who knows he knows nothing

Okay, so I’m a woman, but I strive to be wise and here I am, risking ridicule, admitting how little I really know about the NHS and current conversation about the Health Reform Bill. But before you turn your nose up at my ignorance, please stop for a moment and give me some credit for a) daring to admit the holes in my knowledge and b) being proactive enough to try to change that, for that is what this blog aims to do.

I need your help

I am a fan of the NHS. I can’t imagine life without it. I’ve spent time in the US and am utterly gobsmacked by the reality of their (lack of) health system. Paying to see a doctor? It just doesn’t compute in my mind. I realise how lucky we are to have the NHS.

I know that there have been big changes over the last few years, but I don’t know enough about them. I know that there has been a lot of conversation about the management of the NHS, but I don’t know enough about the structure of the health service to know if these were positive changes. I’ve heard about postcode lotteries and a push to allow patients more ability to choose where they are treated, but I don’t know if that makes things better or worse.

I know that there is a lot of talk about the Health Reform Bill at the moment, but to my shame, I’ve not had the time to try to unpick what it is and what it means for the health service, or what it includes at all, if I’m really honest. I know there has been debate about shifting more decisions onto doctors: “they are on the frontline, they know better where the money should be spent” vs “they are doctors, they should be concentrating on using their medical training to treat people”, but I don’t know where we’re up to with that.

Twitter has opened my eyes to the unease of people in the medical profession, I follow a lot of people specifically because they have better insight and knowledge about subjects I care about. In fact it was this tweet this morning from David Colquhoun to @libdemlife that made me stop and think about just how little I know.

In my defence, I can’t be the only one, and that’s why I want to do this. I want to create a bridge between those in the know, and those of us who support the NHS, but don’t have all the answers. Who don’t have all the facts we need to put forth strong arguments against all the points raised, and if, as it seems, this Health Bill is worrying those who works for the NHS, I want to make sure that I am armed with enough understanding of the issues that I can explain it to others.

The Plan

If I can come up with a list of important questions (please feel free to suggest some) perhaps I can persuade some of those voices on Twitter to share their knowledge with me. It would be great if we could get some of these voices recorded so that I can put together a quick ‘Idiots’ Guide to NHS Reform’ podcast. Using Audioboo this would be very simple, and I’ll happily help with that side of things.

What I need to know

  • Some general background to the NHS, why it’s such a good thing to have (sounds obvious, but for the sake of making a nice podcast, good to have)
  • The current problems the NHS faces
  • A bit about what the Health Reform Bill is
  • What the split of opinions are, and who holds which
  • Why people are against the bill
  • What could happen if it goes through in its current form
  • Why people should take note of what’s going on and what they can do about it

Can you help with any of these? Please get in touch if you can – either here in the comments on by sending me a tweet as @RadioKate.
I’d like to get a range of voices, and create a useful resource for those, like me, who support the NHS, but haven’t had a chance to learn all they should about what’s going on at the moment. I know I should know more about all this, but I feel a bit like it’s a hit TV series that everyone is talking about and I’ve missed the first few episodes, I need some people to help get me up to speed. Many thanks in advance.

Beauty all around us

•January 27, 2012 • 1 Comment

It’s January. January sucks. It’s still cold, it’s still dark early, Christmas is over and summer still seems far away. It’s easy to feel glum in January, that’s why today, with the sun shining, I decided to re-open my eyes to the world and make sure that I was appreciating the little things. Even mundane things can be beautiful and so I took a few photos, just with my phone, as I was out and about. Sometimes thinking about composing a photo makes you see things in a different way, sometimes you just need to remind yourself to look.

So that’s my challenge to you this weekend, find something mundane, but look at it in a new way and find the beauty in it. If you feel like sharing a photo with me, that would be lovely. Either pop it in the comments below, or send me a tweet to @RadioKate and use the hashtag #nowpic. Have fun.

The Eternal Cycle of Life

The Eternal Cycle of Life

Rivet Rivet

Rivet Rivet

Animal print on a manhole cover

Animal print on a manhole cover






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