For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!


Monday, 8 October 2018

If at first...

There may be some correlation between my problem with the lock and the book I have just finished. This morning in the peace and quiet of my study after a refreshing night's sleep I studied the lock and bludgeoned my brain. If you look at the photo you will see the spring has two legs sticking out. The counter-intuitive solution (to me) was to cross these over and hook each onto the opposing sidebar so that they became cross-legged and therefore under much more tension. Manipulating that and holding everything together whilst replacing the back plate was akin to brain surgery, more of that shortly. Having solved the locating of the spring I found the dam thing still didn't work and I had to disassemble and reassemble several times until I found out how the circular piece of metal attached loosely to the back plate fitted so that it would pick up the inside mechanism when the key is turned but I got there in the end. I am still awaiting a reply from Securit and the lock is fitted and the other woodwork tidied up.

My version of mechanical surgery didn't have the potential for total paralysis or death risked by Henry Marsh, an eminent neurologist specialising in brain surgery, which he describes with candour in his book Do No Harm.

Brother RR who comments here suggested this book to me over a year ago and I think he thought I was too squeamish to take it on. For years I have attended a small reading group and Henry's book was suggested by one of the other members as our latest read, so I was committed. I read the first hundred pages at one sitting and rattled on through the rest pretty quickly even though it did become a bit repetitive. There are twenty five anecdotal chapters describing individual case histories intermingled with  the agonies of communicating difficult information to patients and relatives and the the burden of decision making on all concerned.

In Henry's early career he seems gung-ho, and he has much to say about his frustrations with the NHS, but experience over the years sees him becoming more tempered. I did question his motivation for writing the book, was it partly egotistical? He is obviously caring and compassionate about his patients, and he has spent a lot of time travelling to the Ukraine on a voluntary basis to assist with neurosurgery in primitive and unpleasant conditions and this is obviously altruistically motivated.

Unless you have had direct and upsetting experience of brain surgery with close relatives or friends I would recommend this book as a rewarding read. One member of our group had unfortunately had a related family experience and had been unable to read the whole book but had just dipped in but still made a strong contribution to our discussion.


Roderick Robinson said...

There's an ironic twist here. Henry Marsh's second book, Admissions, reveals that that during his spare time (the little he has) he goes in for DIY. At a high craft level.

I didn't infer you were squeamish about medical matters, you told me so on several occasions.

Why did he write the book? In order to tell the truth about a job that most outsiders tend to romanticise or, at the very least, misunderstand.

Roderick Robinson said...

Now it's 98 comments. No doubt we should have "moved on" as you suggested.

Roderick Robinson said...

Sorry, the above is now out of date.

gimmer said...

i wanted to add that this 'achievement' needs to be extracted and made a separate story in its own right, like collections of letters between historical personages - but as it would have been impertinent to, as it were, cross their T, i make it here, that thread natural successor : you cannot allow such a interesting - no, fascinating - train of thoughts and counter-thoughts - to simply lie untended in the weed choked crannies of your archives : how then, sir ?

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - Since this became a targeted mission I purposely kept out of it. Up until that point I was drawn into the unusually lengthy development, and as RR says in his last comment "dialogues are one of life’s great opportunities" but this one became, in my opinion, somewhat artificial and a preserve of the two who spawned the notion of a century. I don’t deny there has been interesting and wide ranging content from the two main contributors, and others, and I welcome that.

I make a point of replying to all comments as promptly as possible, and I try hard to include or promote further dialogue, but I don’t often get re-comments from my replies to comments, although I would gratefully say that you are an exception.

I'm not sure what format you are suggesting for preserving the opus, but whatever, I would welcome more wide ranging comments in future, although I acknowledge the subject of many of my posts is pretty narrow, generally relating to my outdoor activities, but I do try to spice these with debatable observations.

Bloggers thrive on comments and if they reduced to almost nil I would see little point in continuing.

I was dismayed to read that the 1093 posts I have published to date are now regarded as “weed choked."

Roderick Robinson said...

A dialogue is between "two or more people" that's why I used the word. After all, Gimmer contributed and was welcome, as would anyone else have been.

The target may have been "somewhat artificial" but I hope the nature of our responses to each other wasn't. There are other things besides "interesting and wide-ranging content" you know; style plays a part.

However I began to realise that rabbiting on within Conrad Walks without reference to your posts (even though walking and related matters cropped up quite frequently) might be seen as a sort of metaphorical succubus (incubus?). The concept - my fault entirely - was impolite. I broke off reluctantly since I was sustained by Phreerunner's cheerfulness and adaptability, could have reached a thousand (Would that be more or less artificial?) But I think it is now at an end.

I think you are slightly unfair to Gimmer: "weed-choked" refers to the archives not the archives' contents. But then how often is yesterday's post consulted? I may be alone in that I re-read through my own archives, agonising at the boo-boos and crowing over the bits that still please me (a diminishing asset I should add). I tell myself I do this to avoid repetition but I lie.

Gimmer's suggestion is generous but perhaps the very idea of blogging is ephemeral. The past, says LP Hartley (Some of his novels aren't half bad; esp. The Go-Between, also turned into a magnificent movie), is another country, they do things differently there. Also the past has endings and this is one of them.

But let not the idea of a dialogue die. That it should not be cut off simply by the appearance of another post.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - Your reply illuminates and defends your position well. I just felt it was better to let you get on with the project rather than have me intervening and sidetracking you from your thread with Phreerunner.

Yes, I do often look back at my own posts, partly from curiosity and partly, I suspect from egotism rather than critique, although I do find woeful and embarrassing examples. The comments are frequently more interesting than the post.

My routine motivation arises from the the Stats in Blogger Dashboard which show the number of pageviews for each post with the options for daily, weekly, monthly and all time selection. That often shows me that someone has been looking at older posts and I trawl back and re-read. The pageview stats are a mystery - I often have several hundred a day, but suspect many of them result from roaming search engines and the mysteries of Google's and other's algorithms for promoting websites to the first page.

Another mystery comes from the most frequently viewed posts of all time, and to illustrate this here are the leaders:

Photos furnish a blog
Nov 2, 2013, 5 comments

Inov-8 Roclite 400 GTX boots - review
Mar 6, 2011, 4 comments

Welsh Boundary Walk - Whitesands Bay to Abercastl...
Jun 15, 2011, 1 comment

Kinder Scout
Oct 18, 2016, 6 comments

Circuit of Killington Lake
Feb 15, 2013, 3 comments

If you want to read any of them they can easily be found using the Search box on my blog, which is a facility that goes some way to ensuring that subject matter of old posts isn't always lost forever. The review of the iconic Roclite boots is understandable, as is the title Welsh Boundary Walk, but the others are inexplicable; yes those numbers following are the number of pageviews.

Also on the subject of comments I believe that many readers never get that far. I often promote my blog to people I meet on my walks, but not indiscriminately, but I think that many never notice the small printing of the word "comments" at the bottom of each post and don't get there. Even if they do, unless they are computer savvy it is not the most user friendly procedure to put a comment up for the first time.

gimmer said...

RR - exactly - the merit of - e.g. the Iliad - and myriad others - shines through the fabled cobwebs of many ancient libraries - it just that weeds was more appropriate a word for an out-door blog.

Hard to say how to enshrine the thread - maybe a special link on your landing page - all golden scrolls and quill pens.

Roderick Robinson said...

Gimmer: As a magazine editor I often had to instruct graphic artists to come up with something that set the scene for an article. It came as a shock to discover that life in industrial publishing had scrubbed away all traces of imagination that had initially accompanied these unfortunates into art school. Left to themselves they might well have come up with "golden scrolls and quill pens". I'll credit you here with a sense of irony - would you prefer sarcasm? - while drawing a veil (another from the same cupboard) over ideas from Boy's Own Paper, circa 1910.

No need for any self-flagellation on your part. There is evidence to show that Wadham (fondly and no doubt inaccurately imagined for a passage in Gorgon Times) equipped you for more demanding fields of endeavour.