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What a waste of time.
Friday morning was another fairly dismal one and I headed back to the Pavilion in Ramsgate for breakfast when my mobile (cell) ‘phone decided to relay a voicemail message to me that had been sent on Wednesday. I should explain that the signal in Broadstairs is notoriously bad and it is not uncommon to see people in the oddest looking positions trying to get their devices to work. Thankfully, I ensure that I am not so reliant on mine as to make it a serious issue although in this case it was to prove to be a major inconvenience. My provider (Vodafone) is notoriously sketchy here and although it is improving I regularly used to get “welcome to Belgium” messages as it could pick up a signal from the Continent better than one from a few miles up the road.
The message was from the haemophilia clinic at Canterbury Hospital telling me that if I could get to the QEQM hospital on Thursday afternoon (i.e. the day before) the haemophilia and thrombosis nurse who I had seen previously could supply me with a prescription for a further supply of the anti-coagulant syringes which were by now running low. That had obviously been and gone and so I ‘phoned the clinic which proved less than simple as the signal kept dropping out even in Ramsgate and I ended up standing virtually on the beach to maintain contact. The upshot of it was that I had to go all the way to Canterbury to get my prescription and I decided it might as well be that afternoon so I walked back up to the Harbour and caught the bus.
On the way to the bus stop I took a couple of images which you can see above. One is of a scaffolding fence on the pier that had fallen victim to the recent high winds and taken out a lamp post in the process and the second was of the Queens Head hotel and it is another example of why it is always good to look up as I mentioned in an earlier post. Some of the architecture along the seafront in Ramsgate is stunning. Whilst there has been a pub here since 1773, this incarnation only dates to 1921 although I must admit I thought it was earlier than that but it just goes to show how little I know about architecture!
I said I had to go “all the way to Canterbury” and this may seem odd to anyone who has looked it up on a map as it is only 18 miles but it is a nightmare as the bus takes the most circuitous route imaginable and stops at every hole in the hedge. It took me nearly and hour and a half to get to the bus station which is nowhere near the hospital but I decided to walk anyway on the principle of trying to get a bit of exercise when possible as medically advised. That was a mistake. It was all uphill and the rain came on when I was far enough away from the bus station that I reckoned carrying on was a better option than turning back and getting a bus up.
On the way I spied a decent looking little pub which I marked for a possible visit on the return journey although it didn’t happen as I shall explain and also spied the sad sight of another pub that I was not going to have a chance to visit. I fear the Two Doves will soon be another of my submissions to the Lost Pubs website I have spoken of here before. A little research shows that the owners applied for planning permission early in 2019 to turn it into flats (apartments) and so would have died another community pub which has been serving that purpose since the 19th century, which really would be a disgrace. All is not lost however as, in a fit of common sense not normally associated with local authority planning departments, the application was refused hence the for sale sign. Anyone fancy taking it on?
I eventually made it to the hospital and started on a further ramble as the signage seemed to indicate everything, including quite prominently the private health company that in my opinion have no business in NHS premises but gave no clue as to the location of either reception or the haemophilia clinic.
After wandering round for what seemed like an age in the drizzle I eventually stumbled on the reception desk and they directed me. After a short wait I was seen by Jeanette, the lovely haemophilia / thrombosis nurse and who took no more than two minutes to write me out a prescription. The new regime prescribed had the advantage of being double dosage so I would only have to inject myself once a day for which I was very grateful. In nine weeks or so it had gone from being slightly uncomfortable to being pretty painful with me having to use the same limited area over and over again. My stomach was considerably bruised and, frankly, I felt like a second hand pin cushion!
A couple of steps outside the clinic informed me that I was getting the bus back into the centre as the weather had gone from miserable to bloody evil, it was tipping down with rain. Fortunately the bus came fairly quickly and cost another £1:80 so I was now down £9:30 not to mention the four hours of my life I won’t get back and all for a piece of paper they could have issued at the QEQM hospital or the Health Centre if they had agreed to take me on. Of course that does not count the £9 for prescriptions which are free for the over 60’s but I had to take ill a few months shy of that milestone birthday. I could have saved myself a fortune had I waited.
There is a shopping centre right beside the bus station and I had seen a large Boots on the way to the hospital. Again for non-UK readers, Boots is one of the largest retail pharmacists in the UK. When I say it was large I really mean it, it was about the size of an aircraft hangar and easily the biggest branch I have ever seen and I thought I would have no problem getting my prescription filled. Wrong, they did not have it but told me I could come order it and come back in a few days which was little use to me. I didn’t get my prescription filled, didn’t even get to stand in line with Mr. Jimmy and if you understand that little deliberately cryptic reference then you are probably as old as I am or possibly your parents are!
I thought I would brave the elements as I had time to kill before the next bus so I set off in search of another pharmacy and found in the form of a fairly sizeable Superdrug (another large pharmacy chain) only to find their pharmacy was shut with no reason given. Brilliant. I managed one quick image of the clock tower which is all that remains of the 15th century St. George’s Church where Christopher Marlowe was baptised. The actual clock is positively “modern” dating only to 1836 and the reason only the tower remains is that the whole centre of this historic city was bombed severely by the Germans on 1st June 1942. This raid can only be viewed as wanton destruction and terrorising the civilian populace as there was little of military importance there. It was one of the so-called Baedecker raids which were reputedly planned using a pre-war German tourist guidebook of that name and which targeted historic cities. York, Bath, Exeter and Norwich also suffered.
Nothing for it then but to head back to Broadstairs and resume my search for medication in the morning as I didn’t think the small Boots in the town would have what I needed, they are notorious for being very poorly supplied. A recip (surveillance term) of the tortuous route on the bus in the rain with the gloom turning to full dark and the widows steamed up was hardly high on my list of great things to do in Kent but I got back in one piece, had a quiet night and off to bed.
Another quiet day.
Saturday was another fairly dismal day when I did very little. I decided on a Beano’s breakfast which was as tasty as ever and justified it to myself, were any justification needed, that I could pop into Payden’s pharmacy a couple of doors up which I did with complete success. I had always thought that this was a fairly local concern as I knew they had a branch in Margate but a quick check shows that they are a fairly large outfit. Still, they got the job done and I was fully drugged up for another while. Sorry, I should have said that I had sufficient prescribed medication to fulfil my health requirements. That sounds better, doesn’t it?
On my way back down the town I took the first image above which shows why I have to hump my laundry on a bus to Ramsgate. The second really pains me as it is what is left of the Lord Nelson pub where I have played so often I have lost count a long time ago. It was one of the centres of Folk Week where the lunchtime playaround sessions were held for a long time. I know the last landlady who had the rug literally pulled out from under her (she lived upstairs) when the brewery sold it off to a property developer to turn into flats (apartments) as if any more were needed in Broadstairs. It has lain like this just rotting away for some years now with all sorts of problems about planning permission and a host of other issues but it appears that at long last something is happening if the bricks outside are anything to go by.
I have included these two images as they show exactly what is happening to villages and towns all over the UK. Local retailers are being squeezed out of business and banks, pubs and post offices are closing hand over fist. Broadstairs used to have three major banks. One is now a chain coffee shop, one a pizza joint and one a bar / escape room (bloody stupid idea if you ask me) which is about par for the course. Add to this the fact that over 3,000 bus services in Britain have been axed in the past decade and the life is being squeezed out of smaller communities. If you are elderly or disabled or, like me, you choose not to drive then you are in real difficulties in many parts of the country now.
The next post is packed to the rafters with music and I fulfil a long held ambition so stay tuned and spread the word.