Thursday, February 07, 2008

Doctors and dead neighbours

A couple of great pieces in the g2 section of Monday’s Guardian. In the first, a number of anonymous doctors were asked to spill the beans about the secrets of medical practice. The article included a glossary of jargon. “Rule of five” is apparently a reference to the fact that someone is about to travel to that great infirmary in the sky, where all the angels are…er….angels. It comes from the observation that if you have more than five of your orifices obscured by tubing, you have little chance of survival.

In another spread, a lady called Mary Horsley recalled the thrift that her mother displayed in the years following the Second World War. As well as restricting Mary’s use of Izal toilet paper (a greaseproof product that was still kicking around at my school in the 1970s), her mum used to scrape mould off jam and recycle macaroni in nut roasts. Her crowning glory came after the clearance of the next door property after the death of an elderly neighbour. She found some embroidered name tapes and felt they shouldn’t be wasted, so she looked for someone in the phone directory with the same surname and initials and gave them a call. It’s hard to picture that conversation, isn’t it? “You don’t know me but my neighbour’s just died and I was wondering…”

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