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Showing posts from September, 2013


DEFINITELY NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH! Action on Bladder Cancer I have recently discovered an article which was published in 'The British Medical Journal' of 1892 which I feel should be placed alongside my personal account of 21st Century surgery (see, 'The Tale of a Tumour' ).  I am cognisant of the fact that the current procedure for bladder cancer has not advanced significantly over at least three decades and 21st century surgeons on both sides of the Atlantic will readily confess to the fact that progress has been slow. (Though as time goes by I might yet be required to remove these words - I hope so!) At the last count, it is still required in the majority of cases that a sharp knife be taken to open up the torso in order to detach the little devils, often casting out important and precious anatomical organs - which we always wanted to retain! - in the process. The reports which I have reproduced from the journal are a spine-tingling example of such proce


A Wistful Contribution       Recently, I came across a passage of correspondence within a collection of ' Letters to the Editor' in an archived newspaper and was immediately struck by the nostalgic tone of its writer and especially, of the subject being addressed.  As I scanned the long newspaper column I discovered that it was a wistful contribution from a retired 'gentleman' resident in Scotland who was now in his seventies and probably retired from a long life of work: It proved to be a beautifully crafted effusion of the writer's still-vivid memories of childhood days spent in Melton Mowbray.  I pinched myself when I realised that he was recollecting an era now two centuries past, when he wrote of his observations on the gay celebrations held on the day of the coronation of the controversial King George IV on the 19th July 1821.     Those interested in the history of Melton should especially find the piece interesting and I resurrect and repro


Blackberries and Prose T here is nothing more likely to indicate to us folks in the temperate climate of middle England that Summer (if we have been lucky!) is coming to an end, than the arrival and full ripening of the wild blackberries ( rubus)  growing in public - usually neglected - spaces.  This particular Summer has borne a plethora of green growth and a lot of excellent fruit has followed due to the wonderful combination of extremely rainy days interspersed with more than its usual quota of hot and sunny ones.  I was out in the fields near to my house just the other day and saw that the blackberry brambles were absolutely rampant and overborne with fruit. Their heavily laden stems are reaching far above the grasp of the average picker and offer a challenge to those acquiring the supreme prize of gathering in the fattest and most luscious berries, whilst avoiding the ever pernicious and unforgiving thorns! As the ripest and juiciest black specimens are carefully p