scribbles tagged ‘social infrastructure’

when your life’s in a mess

Sunday, February 12th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Take the National Express

I used to enjoy the long distance bus rides when I was a student. A National treasure, so cheap and comfortable and everything the Divine Comedy says…. I must find an excuse to use them again.

Though cheerful, the setting of this video felt a bit spooky given my recent hospital visits:

when your life’s in a mess
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Finding the Maudsley

Friday, February 10th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Centre for AnxietyMaudsley Hospital EntranceFinding Maudsley Hospital was straightforward especially with a sign that says ‘main entrance’ and an ‘i’ for information

The “Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma” sounds like just the ticket for Tiger.  He’s been talking using phrases like “I get very anxious” and “it was  traumatic” since before he even got to hospital. The sign label for the centre clearly maps to his, and my, more colloquial language

The entrance area was deserted except for a young man who looked of African origin sitting behind a desk wearing headphones. I could hear loud music escaping from his headphones. When he noticed me walking towards him he took off the headphones, switched the music off, turned to face me and gave a wonderful big smile. He was both cheerful and helpful. The place feels small and personable despite it’s obvious size

CorridorThe walls are covered in photographs of key influential people in the history of the hospital and patients doing all sorts of things, mainly smiling. Natural daylight falls into the main corridors. Walking the corridors doesn’t feel like being trapped in subterranean tunnels – my normal experience of big hospitals. The architects have clearly thought carefully about helping the building provide things that raise spirits like natural daylight. throughout the building there were many more windows than normal in hospitals or other buildings of this period

Speak UpSubtle signs demonstrate that this hospital genuinely listens to their patients and treats them with respect

Wouldn’t it be good if all hospital architecture, signage and decor could create this kind of caring supportive impression for their patients

Finding the Maudsley
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One flew over the fairy’s nest

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

As a child, I remember falling in love with Richard Dadd’sThe fairy fellers’ master stroke“‘ when I first saw it, in the Tate gallery. I went on to read about Richard’s exceptional and tragic life. When studying for my psychology degree I recognised some of his paintings on the covers of books about mental health

Richard Dadd stayed in the hospital that is now known as the Maudsley hospital. It’s probably the oldest (1247) psychiatric hospital in the world!

Tiger is now an ‘informal‘ patient here. Informal means that theoretically he consents to being there – he can leave. He believes that he would be sectioned if he tried to leave. I’d be scared if he didn”t have 24hr  professional care nearby

One flew over the fairy’s nest
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beep beep machines

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

The Beep Beep MachineThe ACCU (Adult Critical Care Unit) was full of Beeping, flashing, colourful, dynamic machines. Gadget heaven. The nurses were all very modest about their ability to read and use these fancy computers.

This is Tiger’s very own beep-beep machine. The yellow light at the top-right changes colour from green through yellow and finally to red when any of the meters plugged into Tiger measure something out of acceptable ranges. As we watched the beep-beep machine Tiger gradually learned how to make his vital signs move from yellow to green. Awesome!

The nurses could gather an impression of the patients status just by listening to the beeps. They could tell which machine, patient, from the direction of the sound and quickly check the lights and displays visually for confirmation. All very imrpessive

Unfortunately the noise keeps Tiger awake… and the songs of all the machines on the ward are sending Tiger messages. He thinks they are saying more, and more sinister, things than patients vital signs

I found the noise rather hypnotic, strangely calming. It was easy to imagine professional dancers swirling and leaping through the isles, coordinating their movements to the beep-beeps. My imagination is more kind to me than Tiger’s is to him

beep beep machines
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Identity crisis

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Identity CrisisIn the ACCU (Adult Critical Care Unit) I found Tiger with 3 identity label tags on his wrists

Two wristbands were identical and accurately stated his name and date of birth. He’s the same person 2 times. Split personality?  The other wristband was placed on him when he arrived, when he was unconscious and alone – they didn’t know who he was. This wristband had his date of birth as 1st January 1900 and named him after the mouth of a river – Delta

Looks like Tiger has a 3 way split personality and is looking good for being 112 years old

Identity crisis
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follow the breadcrumbs

Sunday, January 29th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Urgent CareWendy: Which ward is he in?

Hospital receptionist (HR):ACCU

Wendy: Does ACCU mean something?

HR: Adult Critical Care Unit

Wendy: So I should come to the hospital and ask for the ACCU?

HR: 4F ACCU

Wendy: Does 4F mean something?

HR: Floor 4

Wendy: OK, I think I can remember that, any other advice for a visitor?

HR: follow the signs for ‘Lift Core 5’

Wendy: Does lift core 5 mean…

 

The signage at the hospital was new and thorough. I found this hospital sign interesting because it has an ecclectic structure which makes scan-reading it quickly more difficult. If it had a clear structure I could anticipate the approximate locations of the labels that I am looking for – find them quickly

My guess is that the

  • top item is arranged by ‘importance’ – put there to be found quickly, including the sticky-tape apparant afterthought of the ‘Urgent Care Centre’
  • the next 2 items are arranged by ‘Frequency of use’ – most people want to get out and use the underground at the end of their stay or visit.
  • Below the top items they are arranged alphabetically, with the exception of the sticky-taped “GP out of Hours” which may have originally been something else.  The main problem with Alphabetically ordered lists is that the reader has to know the name of what they are looking for. For example, that “Day Unit” comes before “Haemetology” and “Reception” comes after “Transport”

The sticky-tape was really facinating, I wanted to peel it off to find out what’s underneath the “GP out of hours”. I resisted the temptation and followed the trail to lift core 5…

follow the breadcrumbs
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Cornish bus

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

speedy bus to HelsonCornish bus drivers would check when people got on their buses that they knew where to get off and how to get back.

The passengers slept thought the journey while the buses dodged the plants which grabbed at them from the side of the high hedgerows encroaching from either side of single-lane roads.
sleepy passenger on Helston bus

Cornish bus
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bussing solutions

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Wedding specialFor all your wedding-guest transportation from church to reception veunue needs.    A red London bus wedding special.   As you can imagine,   this was the highlight of the wedding for me.

The reception venue in a cricket pavilion, while a match was in progress,  was also so wonderfully English that soppiness abounded.
Pavillions

bussing solutions
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going to bus full

Friday, December 5th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

sat at the back of a bus heading to bus full,   approaching the Wendy House.   A man in front (MIF)  rises, stands looking at the packed standing passengers in the isle.

Wendy: are you getting off at the next stop?

MIF: I don’t think we’ll make it (looks at crowded passengers in the Isle)

Wendy:   If we start now we could get half way to the door,   I’ll follow you

MIF: (steps into crowded Isle and stands still)

Wendy: (offers my seat to a person standing and asks to swap places with a person ahead in the isle)

We start to make our way down the bus,   politely asking each individual to swap places with us…  …slowly we make progress.   We manage to get off near the Wendy House.  

Once again,   bus full is a destination  that has evaded discovery.

going to bus full
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bus full

Friday, October 17th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Bus fullDespite the provision of FREE buses to get from downtown Reading to the Thames Valley business Park (TVP)  I regularly walk.  

This has the fabulous side effect of keeping me fit,   for FREE!

bus full
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justified force

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Excerpt from BBC article:

A woman who was seen being punched by a police officer in CCTV footage has said she is disappointed after it was confirmed he will not face charges.

Punching a female suspect (guilt undetermined) five times  while the suspect  is on the floor after having fallen down a flight of  stairs,  while colleagues watch,  is legally acceptable according to the ‘Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)’ who stated that the police officer being investigated used

“justified and proportionate force”    

Watch the BBC  video  footage  which includes a brief explanation of legitimate subdue techniques that include punching.   I had naively believed that the Police are trained to act  in concert to  restrain suspects using a range of effective techniques prior to resorting to  punching.    

The BBC article is at pains to state that the victim boes not think she has been racially abused.   Unsuprisingly, whether this is an act of hate against females is not raised.

justified force
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FCO travel advice for Greece

Sunday, June 15th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

The Foriegn and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides helpful advice for British travellers.   In a weekend moment of pragmetism I checked-out the FCO advise for travellers to Greece.   They report that of the 3 million British people that visit Greece in a year.  

main types of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Greece in 2007 were: replacing lost or stolen passports (nearly 500 cases); hospitalisations (over 400 cases); dealing with arrests and detentions (over 270 cases); and deaths, mostly from natural causes (over 140 cases).

You should maintain high standards of public behaviour in Greece.   The Greek police will not accept rowdy or indecent behaviour, especially where excessive alcohol consumption is involved.   Greek courts impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently.

Hoorah!  

Can we borrow some of these Greek Police?

Once I’ve applied for a free ‘European Health Insurance Card’ (EHIC) I will be entitled to medical treatment and services in Greece equivalent to those provided to Greek Nationals.   Splendid.   Though the FCO aren’t to impressed with the service standards compared to the NHS,   they caution ‘The standards of nursing and after care, particularly in the public health sector lag behind what is normally acceptable in the UK. The Public Ambulance Service, which will normally respond to any accident, is rudimentary.  There are severe shortages of ambulances on some islands.’

The Scottish  NHS,   thats not English or Welsh,   publishes vaccination and travel health advice.   I’m assuming that the Scottish advice would align with the English so I’m covered.  

Excitedness levels are still Amber.

FCO travel advice for Greece
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YouBus17

Saturday, June 14th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Watch people on CCTV cameras,   LIVE,   on the number 17 bus!

Distributed social responsibility by having lots of witnesses to any naughtiness on the buses.   Everyone knows they are being watched.

Distributed snooping,   snooping in public, taking people watching to the next level.   The bus company will have witnesses to incidents,  

Reading bus services are cutting edge,   except perhaps for the requirement to pay to ride.   Using cash and having the exact change.   How archaic is that?   Why can’t I just have my retina scanned by one of these many inplace cameras and have the money directly deducted from the bank account of my choice?

YouBus17
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buggy bus

Thursday, May 1st, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

The free Thames Valley Park bus service is outstanding.   It not only provides free wireless internet access,   it also provides signs to let you know where the internet access might be  a bit buggy.

buggy bus
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mirror buses

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

The buses here are so clean and shiny they just give me a warm feeling all over,   its sweet,   though it will never replace the sheer jof of sitting over the driver on a double-decker.   yay!

mirror buses
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cro n c urt

Friday, November 23rd, 2007 | tags: , , , ,  |

In the UK the crown court is a criminal court.   The security guards asked “are you coming in or not?”     to explain my loitering “I’m a tourist,   can I come in?   I have a camera” they helpfully  direct me  to check my camera into their lockers.   Without a camera I felt naked.  

Wendy:   can you recommend a court with an interesting case?

receptionist:   I have no idea what counts as interesting

bewigged-lady:   there’s a grumpy judge in court 1 and he’s probably going to shout at me

besuited lady: there are some ongoing cases in courts 5 and 6

The bewigged and besuited ladies started discussing the merits of the various court rooms.   I wandered off to court 1 to discover  an appeal against  the police-revocation of a gun licence.   The appellant had originally declared his previous criminal conviction for car theft when applying for,   and receiving,    the original gun licence.   The police admitted that they had not checked  how the stolen car was subsequently used – in an armed robbery.  

The police  had new information that they believed made giving the appelant a gun licence a very risky proposition.   The appellant’s right to  natural justice  required that their appeal  could address  the information that the Pollice used to make the revocation decision.   The police did not want the appellant to know the information they had used in this judgement.   This case was unique and the lawyers introduced lots of similar, yet different cases as they discussed how to proceed.

The character witnesses in the public gallery behind me,   looked like UK versions of the Soprano’s.   Posh suits,   short haircuts,   regional accents.   Phrases I overheard from the character witnesses included

they’re talking about whether or not he’ll find out  what the police have  got on him

that will cost him another 20k

his ex-wife must have talked

The judge appeared genuinely concerned about the appellants ability to exterminate vermine being curtailed by having  his gun licence revoked.   The witnesses giggled.

In the courts people wore wigs,   held bibles above their hearts and swore poetic oaths,   bowed to the judge,   debated points of law.   All dressed ‘well’,   even the juries.   I was undoubtebly the scruffiest person in the building in my anachronistic mountain equipment jacket.

cro n c urt
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Visiting time at the BRI, 1968

Saturday, June 9th, 2007 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Mumsie packed older brother (9yrs) and I  (5yrs) on a public bus for a 40min bus ride to the Marlborough St. City centre bus terminal.  

Exciting.   Adventure.   Upstairs on a double-decker bus without any adults.   Going to the big city.   Bother held my hand as we left the bus.   We walked up the hill towards the   Bristol Royal Infirmary.  I knew the way because I came on the Bus with Mumsie every Thursday when she came to the city to shop.  

Crossing the road,   very scary.   Mumzie always held my hand,  checked for traffic.   I didn’t know how to cross the road.   I still find it particularly tricky.   I held my brothers hand tightly, walked fast and close to him as we crossed the road.   Once in the hospital I had no idea where to go.    My brother read the signs and found my other brother (6yrs) in the childrens ward,    who promptly started crying.  

What a wuss.   Here in this interesting big hospital with lots of fabulous toys and other children to play with and all he does is sit in bed  crying!   I wandered off to play with the other children and big toys.     One of the children  was bald.    Some wacky children in here.   Then dad turned up and we left crying brother in the hospital,   crying even more now.   We rode  home in Dads pale blue Ford Corsair car.    I was allowed to  sit in the front seat because Mumzie wasn’t  there.  

All in all   a fabulous adventure.

Visiting time at the BRI, 1968
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Redmond Park & Ride Bay 1

Sunday, January 21st, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

Bay 1 is popular!   Why?

  1. children arriving and leaving with their skateboards for the nearby park.
  2. there are 377 car parking spaces across the road by the only other bay,   Bay 2.  
  3. frequent, cheap, fast, buses to downtown Seattle.
  4. buses have bicycle carriers (Redmond is rumoured to be the Bicycle capital of the NW USA).
  5. Redmond Library,   Police Station, Courts and shopping facilities are within 3 blocks.
  6. the outrageously innovative, wild, humerous naming strategy used for this Park and Ride.   I fell off my chair laughing.   I’m going to write a poem about it.   Really.   I am.   I AM.  

Bay 1 doesn’t have a  fancy  ‘Robobus’.   It does have an open-fronted   wind-rain shelter painted brightly with pictures that look like a cross-between graffiti and children’s pictures that might be posted on a Fridge.     The quick, cheap, warm, friendly ride on the 545x to downtown Seattle is simply adorable.   It costs less than downtown parking!   The bus drivers are cheerful helpful people.   Wonderful service.

Actually,   I go there  to hang-out at Bay 1.  

I  like  riding on  buses

Redmond Park & Ride Bay 1
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Privy pro

Monday, November 20th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

The UK Government has a department called the ‘Privy Council” that looks after professional  institutions that are incorporated by Royal Charter (e.g. Univerisities,   the BBC, Opera houses, Cities) and acts as a court of appeal for overseas territories.   Royal charter  makes these organisations  ‘incorporated’ which appears to mean that they have the rights of an individual.    Privy is a UK slang term for ‘outhouse’ or TOILET.  

Privy pro
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Teachers behavioural code. Ohio 1872

Monday, August 28th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |
  1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys
  2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and scuttle of coal for the days session.
  3. Make your pens carefully,  you may whittle nibs to the individual taste of each pupil.
  4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
  5. After ten hours in school, teachers may use the remaining time reading the bible or other good books.
  6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
  7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of their earnings for his benefit during declining years so he will not become a burden on society.
  8. Any teachers who smokes,   uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth,   intention, integrity and honesty.
  9. The teacher who performs his labour faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of 25 cents per week in his pay providing the board of education approves.

From a set of rules published on the wall of Granny Joe’s, Vermilion, Ohio:

 Granny Joe's

Teachers behavioural code. Ohio 1872
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Vehicle emissions test

Saturday, May 7th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

Today my 1995 Honda had its ’emissions’ tested to check that they are consistent with the standards required by the county where the car is registered. A Vehicle emissions test is a necessary pre-requisite to obtaining “tabs”. Tabs are small coloured plastic labels showing a ‘date’ when they ‘expire’. They last one year. They are attached to the car license plate to indicate that Road taxes have been paid for this vehicle and it has passed an emissions test. The UK equivalent of Tabs comes in the form of an “MOT” and tax disc. Washington state does not check the road-worthiness of the car beyond the car emissions. This was a shock to me. Realizing that road vehicles are not checked for road-worthiness beyond their emissions. The MOT is a very effective way of ensuring lack of accidents due to poor car maintenance, it probably saves lives.

What’s the process like?

  • The local “DOL” (Department of Licensing) sends the registered vehicle owner a letter to remind them that they need to renew their tabs every year, sometimes (not annually) it includes a requirement to have emissions tested. This letter arrives about 2 months before the Tabs expire.
  • You find a vehicle emissions test center. They publish current ‘wait times’ online (that rocks!). You drive your car to a station. They actually recommend that you warm the engine-up with a 15 minute drive and keep it warm to increase your likelihood of passing.
  • You sit in a line of cars leading to covered, outdoor checking station (in my case). The cars are generally older, the smell of all the ‘running’ engines is not pleasant. Even though the test center is outdoors I noticed it was supplied with multiple, large, fans. They weren’t running today.
  • As you drive from the line in the street, to the line in the forecourt of the testing station you take a ‘ticket’ this ticket is stamped when you are tested. This provides the ‘wait time’ information that is published on the web-site.
  • You pay, you park the drive-wheels of your car over some ‘rollers’ and get out. A tester puts a long cable in the exhaust pipe of your car and plugs a computer of some form into your lighter-socket. He then drives your car (without moving) over the rollers. He watches a TV display (which I couldn’t see) that presumably gives some sort of ‘live’ feedback. Then he gets out of the car, unplugs everything, and gives you a print-out of your results. The actual test only took about 5 mins.

I think an MOT would be quite a cultural suprise to americans, both in terms of ‘time’ to get the test completed, the sheer breath of things tested, and of course – the cost!

WET – Wendy Emissions Tested

Vehicle emissions test
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UK Police Van – Mobile CCTV

Monday, March 28th, 2005 | tags: , , ,  |

UK Vacation 12

In recent years the Police have started to ‘dress’ their vehicles in bright yellow and blue checks that make them unmissable. When I was a kiddie they used to have a black and white check stripe called a “Panda Stripe”. Police cars were called “Pandas” or Panda cars because of this black and white decoration. I wonder if the name still holds for yellow and blue?

The CCTV Police van pictured below stopped to let my parents cross the road in front of it before pulling up to the junction. Very polite. Maybe they were filming us through the dark-glass window?

CCTV = Closed Circuit Television.

Evidently the UK leads the world in CCTV technology. There is a debate emerging around the lack of legal regulation of use of CCTV’s and their impact on civil liberties.

UK Police Van – Mobile CCTV
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