Drugs to Forget – Blog Tour and Review

Yes, yes..another blog tour!  Most unusual for me to have 2 in one week, but this book sounded too good to miss – and today is publication day in paperback!

With many thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroup for the opportunity to be included in this book tour in return for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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Natalie Thompson is an investigative film director, tasked with making a documentary on the threat of bioterrorism.  She is quickly made aware of an Ebola outbreak in central Africa which is being kept under wraps by the authorities, and the journalist in Natalie seeks to find a way into the local healthcare system in order to search for answers.  She gains the trust of medical staff by posing as a film maker for a Western aid charity who wishes to learn more about their vaccination programme.  Whilst in Africa, a contact introduces her to a Zimbabwean terrorist group and she must take on yet another undercover persona, posing as a blogger and Western African rights sympathiser.  Is it possible that these terrorists are really planning to give the West a dose of “African disease”?

Meanwhile in London Tom is a new rookie to the investigative film world and is set to work doing research for Natalie’s project.  He uncovers suspicious activities in a laboratory in Java and soon finds himself dispatched off to investigate – and with a minder in tow!  They make contact with a young chemist who is concerned about the research work that she is being asked to undertake. When Natalie and Tom touch base with each other, they find that there are various strands to their stories that are linking to each other and to the terrorist group.  Certain names in pharmaceutical companies keep cropping up too, alongside studies into Alzheimer’s disease. Now the question is do they continue with the sole purpose of making a documentary or should the authorities be alerted to the very real prospect of a bioterrorist attack?

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Action, suspense, intrigue, danger, fear, excitement…..just some of the words to sum up this novel.  I believe that Natalie Thompson has appeared in several other novels by the author, but this can be read as a stand-alone book – I haven’t read the others.  This novel is so current and the author’s background in investigative documentary films is very evident with the detailed descriptions of both fieldwork and the editorial offices.  The devastation of Ebola has been on our television screens for several years now and the Western world is well aware of the havoc that it can wreak.  Add to this the recent happenings in the UK with the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, this storyline becomes completely plausible and for that reason more frightening.

I do love the fact that the lead character is a woman – but then I would say that, I suppose!  Natalie is gutsy, strong, intelligent and driven.  At times I was fearful for her when she appeared to be reckless in her actions, but this for me is an indication of the great suspense that Mr Granger conjures with his writing.  The complexities of her character develop as she becomes more involved with the medical programmes in Africa and meets the real people who are affected.  She is empathetic and finds herself conflicted between the story that she is out to uncover and the other very human stories that she is finds thrown into, including research trials into drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. Essentially, she is lying to people who believe that she is there to help and I like the fact that I can feel her grappling with her conscience when recording in an undercover capacity.

The other characters develop nicely through the story too –  young Tom who finds himself in dangerous situations that he would never have dreamt of and using his sexuality to win the confidence of a source; Nick the ex-soldier sent to babysit Tom who has useful contacts within various police/ authorities; and Geoff the boss, who is spinning so many plates in his office that it feels at times that he can’t possibly keep everyone happy and produce a great programme.  I learnt so much about film production from the great descriptions of the actual filming to the editing and beyond.

The author does cover moral and ethical conflicts that I imagine are a daily occurrence for any documentary maker.  In this case the issues are around the findings of the investigations as it becomes apparent just what the terrorists are planning and just how the pharmaceutical companies are linked.  Should the team continue filming in order to get a fantastic story?  Just when is the right time to inform the authorities what they have discovered? What happens if the authorities in other countries don’t listen or are just too corrupt themselves to act?  Then Mr Granger introduces us to the legal implications!

I loved this book from start to finish.  The fact that at times my heart was in my mouth for me shows how well it is written – the suspense created through the investigation was great.  For an action-packed, exciting, believable investigative read with a twist in the tail, I would definitely recommend “Drugs to Forget” – this gets full marks form me! Now I am off to find the other books from this author.   5 stars.

Available from:

Book Depositary

Amazon: on Kindle & Paperback

Publisher: RedDoor Publishing Ltd (31 May 2018)

About the Author

Martin Granger

Martin Granger HeadshotMartin has been making documentary films for thirty years. In that time he has won more than 100 international film awards. His work has ranged from directing BBC’s Horizon to producing a BAFTA nominated science series for Channel 4.His novels, although fiction, are based upon his experience in the film industry. He lives in Wimbledon with his wife Jacqueline.

Find Martin here:

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Blog Tour & Book Review – “Just Sam” by Kristy Brown

With many thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroup for the opportunity to be included in this book tour in return for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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Sammy is growing up within a loving family and just showing herself to be a real tennis talent.  Her future,as she enters her teens, seems set when her world is blown wide apart in the cruellest way and her mother is diagnosed with and dies from cancer.  Life will never be the same again as each member of the family – Sammy, her father and her older sister – deal with their own grief and the difficulties of living on.  A house move, a new school and new peers all present Sammy with additional challenges, alongside an increasingly distant sister and a father working long hours.  Her love and enthusiasm for tennis, which was encouraged by and shared with her mum, suddenly feels meaningless so she stops pushing herself and misses out on a big chance for sponsorship.

Her life feels like it is spiralling as she tries to navigate the uncertainties of the secondary school playground, new friends, romantic friends, the school prom and her tennis.  Added into the mix is an eight-year-old girl who comes to Sammy for tennis coaching and an unlikely relationship develops.  But without her mother how can she possibly cope?  She needs to become a different person and to do this Sammy becomes “Just Sam”.

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This is a poignant young adult/teen novel which tells a story of love, loss, grief, relationships and moving on during the tough years of adolescence.  The author explores tough subject matter and there is no sugar coating.  Sam’s grief is raw and tangible, but it is also very private and not something that she wishes to share.  Without her mother to be her cheerleader through life, she feels unable to move forward, so it is a nice touch from the author that it is a young girl, lavished with all that money can buy yet starved of parental attention, who helps Sam reconnect with the important things in her life.  The family dynamic is well examined as Sam, her sister and their dad all grieve individually, in the mistaken belief that by not talking about their feelings will protect the others.  No spoilers but there are several nice twists toward the end of the story.

The teenage relationships are depicted well with rival friendship groups, petty jealousies, miscommunication, envy, sexuality, feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.  Ms Brown has built a rich cast of real teens, not from a glitzy teen soap opera, but rather young people with flaws and problems, hopes and dreams growing up in ordinary, often dysfunctional, families.  They feel deeply, as only teens can, and struggle to balance their relationships, school, home life and hormones.  The romances are full of teenage joy and angst in equal measure – the feeling of first love for Sam as her heart beats loudly when she glimpses the neck of a particular young man or how one youngster feels after trying to discuss sexuality and coming out with parents.

As mum to three adolescents (and having been one myself although they can’t believe this!) I do relate to this story and I really enjoyed it.  I can empathise with the situations that all the parents face – they are all very different, yet all very relevant. I enjoyed watching the young characters grow, particularly Sam as she learns for herself the importance of moving forward from her mother’s death.  With time her increasing maturity shines through as she accepts that her tennis isn’t something to hate because of the connections to mum, but rather her success in her burgeoning tennis career is a wonderful way to honour her mother’s memory.  The characters all move on in life – as we all do – and the younger cast are learning to go forward no matter what is thrown at them.  If I were to be very picky, I would say that for an adult novel I would have liked the end to have been fleshed out more – but I would describe this as adolescent/YA fiction and as such the tying up of loose ends is entirely appropriate.  This is just the type of book that I would have loved as as a teen – great antidote to the literature syllabus!

I definitely recommend this novel and applaud the author for tackling some difficult life situations – bereavement, loss, love, sexuality, eating disorder, mental health, relationships – but giving young readers a very positive message for the aspects of life that cannot be controlled.  A well written, sensitive, heart-warming and insightful look at the informative years! 4 Stars

Available at Amazon

Paperback:

Kindle:

About the Author

Hi I’m Kristy and I live in the U.K. I have always written short stories and poetry. I went to university to study acting which I loved, but my real passion has always been writing. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo now I write the kind of stories I would have wanted to read when I was a teen. “Kiera’s Quest-Awakenings” is my first ebook. There will be four in the series. I have written the chapters like scenes in a film, with the action cutting to different characters. It’s fast paced! Book two-“Sacrifices” came out August 2012(Muse It Up Publishing) Book three, “Perceptions,” was released in May. Book four, the last, was out Feb 2014. My YA contemporary romance book, “Just Sam,” Is available on Amazon in print & on Kindle. “Summer’s End,” a YA Paranormal series will be out shortly with ‘Muse It Up Publishing.’ My dream is to have them in print someday! I love reading YA angels,vamps etc. I love my kids and hopefully one day they will enjoy my crazy tales!

Find Kristy on

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This Zebra becomes a Film Star!! #EDSAwarenessMonth #EDS

OK not quite a film star!  I might have mislead you slightly in the title, but I hope it got your attention.  Hollywood is not calling any day soon, and I don’t think the beautiful girl is destined for a career directing or behind the camera, but we did laugh whilst doing our bit for “We Are Zebra Strong”!  I tried very hard to involve the younger zebras from the PainPals house, but when I suggested appearing in front of the camera the response was along the lines of “in your dreams”!

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We are nearing the end of Ehlers Danlos Awareness month – and awareness month for many other chronic illnesses – but for those of us living with these bedfellows the awareness is a daily reality, not just a month rolling around annually.

Chronically Jenni has once again put together some videos sharing lives of fellow zebras – in fact she had so much material this year that she made 5 Youtube features.  If you watch closely you might find yours truly in the mix!

 

 

 

 

 

Please take a look – bookmark for later – share with friends and family.  Just getting the name out there raises awareness for us!  Details of fellow zebras can be found on Jenni’s channel.

Find Jenni here:

Youtube

Instagram

Twitter

Blog: https://chronicallyjenni.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/chronic-illness-weekly/

Facebook

Thank you for watching!

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Here we are in the UK celebrating another bank holiday Monday, and in the south east the weather is glorious..AGAIN!  I can’t recall a time when both May bank holidays have been sunny – 2018 will be one to remember.

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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

This week in the PainPals house exams have taken centre stage with the student engineer taking his final “Finals” exam – hooray – and the lovely girl sitting the bulk of her GCSEs.  There is just a group presentation to be given on Wednesday and then he has finished…4 years really have flown by!  Fingers crossed now that he gets the results he wants (and deserves).  The lovely girl is still revising, but feeling a lot less stressed and is creating a pile of books and notes ready for her bonfire at the end of exams!  Prime place is given to Mansfield Park which she hates with a vengeance.  Have I ever mentioned that Jane Austen is one of my favourites?  She keeps speaking to us in German though…this will continue as she plans to take German A level, but we haven’t got a clue what she is saying.  I am enjoying our latest German TV show though that we found on Amazon “You are Wanted” – she listens to the German whilst I read the subtitles.

Mum and the student engineer’s boyfriend (must find him a name, that is too long!!) celebrated their birthdays this week, on the same day, so we all enjoyed a night out at the local tapas restaurant.  I would love to share a picture with you, but the couple that I managed to take are truly awful and as my mother reads this, I really cannot publish them as she would never speak to me again!  The student engineer has planned a night out tonight (most unlike him) – and I can’t say any more in case his other half reads this before they get there. Stop typing, Claire..it is a surprise!!!!

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So what have I found for you in the blogging world this week?  It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that four letters have been huge this week – GDPR – and I have included one post that is really useful.  But there is also a little something to tickle your tastebuds for wine day, a lovely piece from Happiness and Food titled “Asphalt and a Leaf” and flamenco..yes, flamenco dancing complete with a video!  I love the last post that talks about the giving and receiving of traditional letters and cards, delivered by the postman.  I take part in a designer’s card swap within the We All Send Cards site (where my girl has designs for sale) – it is so lovely to open a card with a message just for me!

So sit down, maybe with a glass of something cold and refreshing on this lovely day, and enjoy some great blogger’s posts.

https://www.unfoldandbegin.com/how-a-beautiful-traveler-found-herself-at-school/

https://thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/hallo-burbach/

https://johnrieber.com/2018/05/25/its-national-wine-day-2018-toast-to-natures-magical-elixir/

https://www.london-unattached.com/uk-blogging-gdpr/

https://www.fromnicole.co.uk/blog/2018/5/26/stop-blaming-me-for-walking-away

https://croneconfidence.com/2018/05/24/the-best-contribution-you-could-ever-make/

https://www.happinessandfood.com/asphalt-and-a-leaf/

https://www.mostlyblogging.com/sites-like-stumbleupon-mix/

https://www.mecfsselfhelpguru.com/2018/05/me-cfs-flamenco-dancing-and-adaptation.html

https://www.graphic-organic.com/single-post/2017/12/18/Why-Traditional-Mail-Is-So-Important-In-The-Chronic-Illness-Community

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A card through the post made my day!

Please comment, like and share – make someone’s day!

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

GDPR & Me!

So here it is – 25th May, the great GDPR day and I am none the wiser, PainPals!  I think I am right in saying that as a WordPress blogger who does not have direct access to your emails, it is WordPress who has responsibility and accountability for your the storage of details and therefore for a privacy policy.

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My understanding is that if you like, comment or share a post on this blog, you are permitting the use of your information by WordPress and their service providers.

The WordPress privacy policy can be found here.

The Jetpack policy can be found here.

Masha on A Sweeter Life Blog has generously allowed use of her words which cover this blog too:

“You may have by now gotten other emails regarding the GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation which was designed to protect internet users from breaches of trust. However, now the GDPR is making giving your data, consent to use your email and other data information optional, requiring websites to inform you within 72 hours of a breach.

So I just wanted to inform you that I’m a blogger, I don’t have a newsletter and I don’t have an e-commerce site, so this doesn’t really apply. But, I wanted to reach out to you and assure you all that you are receiving this email because you had previously subscribed to my blog giving your consent to receive my emails.

PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT I DO NOT SHARE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WITH ANYONE.

 And you always have the option to un-subscribe from receiving my emails.

Please feel free to get in touch with me for any questions you may have.

As always, I’m very grateful that you’re allowing me to share with you my insights and inspiration.”

COPYRIGHT MASHA G. ELLMAN 2018

Thank you for your continued support,

Claire x

Review of Books in Divided World Series by G. L. Cromarty – Divided Serenity & Serenity Falling

Divided World Series by G.L. Cromarty

Divided Serenity (book 1) and Serenity Falling (book 2)

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I was fortunate to be given copies of these books through The Book Club on Facebook and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Serenity.  A world that is divided.  The Aterran people live inside a “virtual” wall with a land is progressive and based upon technology.  Outside the wall live the Shadowlanders and the Jaru, two groups of people sharing as much hatred for each other as for the Aterrans.

Bill Bremmer and John Tanis are sworn enemies, once best friends.  Bremmer is the leader of the Aterran people whilst Tanis has been banished from Aterra and is now a fully-fledged Shadowlander.  When the normal pattern of war between the Shadowlanders and the Jaru seems to have changed, and Bremmer receives intelligence that there might be Aterran technology within the hands of the Shadowlanders, the already shaky status quo is threatened.

Aterran technology is maintained with the help of so called “ancient technology” stations situated beyond the wall in the heart of Shadowland.  When one of these stations misfunctions and power the Aterran is lost, teams of field agents and scientists are sent to repair the technology.  The youngest and brightest of these scientists is Hannah Duvall, who is in a relationship with Bill Bremmer and has never been into Shadowland before.  The question is why is the Aterran leader sending his partner to near certain death? Or is there more fuelling Bremmer’s motives, such as his intense hatred for Tanis?  Is his need to see John Tanis dead taking over everything?

Hannah and her party must ride on horses to the station, making their journey perilous and prone to attack.  But who will attack the small group and who will accompany them to the station?  Jaru or Shadowlanders?  Can Aterrans be accepted in the Shadowland and how will Hannah fare when she comes face to face with John Tanis, half Aterran half Shadowlander?

I could continue with a plot synopsis, but I can’t write more without giving away spoilers!

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This is not a genre that I would normally reach for, but since joining various book clubs I am enjoying reading different styles of storyline – plus my children have introduced me to Game of Thrones type dystopian fantasy in both books and television!  Initially I struggled to get into the story as it felt slow and slightly disjointed – but after a couple of chapters, once Hannah was in Shadowland, I was completely hooked.  Honestly, I could not put these books down and read them back to back.

Once the story got going I found the plot to be pacey and action packed with some very complex characters. Warning: this is not for the squeamish as the battle scenes are described in great detail – there is blood and gore in copious amounts, and life has little value amongst the soldiers.  The characters really develop throughout the novels and are fleshed out as their past is disclosed to the reader.  Bremmer remains an unlikeable man and as the story moves into the second book, it becomes increasingly apparent that he is a deeply flawed character.  Tanis should also be equally unlikeable, with his apparent lack of emotion and his bloodthirsty warrior gene, yet for me I felt that I started to understand him and actually empathise with him the more I found out about him.  Hannah, as the only female main character, seemed weak and too naïve early on in the story, particularly regarding her relationship with Bremmer.  However, it is her character that probably grows the most and the quickest, to show an inner strength and steely core that surprises Hannah herself.

Secondary characters include the geneticist mother of Tanis, disabled genius scientist and mentor to Hannah – Dan, Hannah’s sister Ella, Tanis’s half brothers and father, and the mysterious Theo and Nate.  The fate of all the characters became important enough that I wanted to know what happened to them!

The premise of the story is good, and for me the book is well structured and well written. The fine line between a world entirely led by technology alongside one that is so primitive is explored well with a survival of the fittest theme, and I love the idea of the virtual wall.  The conflict, the power struggles, and the personal emotions spilling into the professional world is fascinating and could just as easily be in our world as in this dystopian land.  I am itching to get my hands on the third book.

A fast, exciting, bloody read – 5 stars

Available on Amazon:

 

Barnes and Noble

 

About the Author

(from the author’s website – GLCromarty.com)

g l cromartyBorn in England, G.L. Cromarty grew up exploring castles and watching Star Wars. As an avid reader, she has been influenced by a wide variety of writers ranging from Tolkien to George R.R. Martin and Anne McCaffrey, and Harry Harrison to Isaac Asimov. Now living in Perth, Western Australia with her husband and two oddball cats, she spends her spare time writing. Divided Serenity is her debut novel – her latest writing blog post is here

 

Follow me on Twitter @TheLittleBod

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

It has been a momentous week with a royal wedding that broke the mould, the British weather behaving itself, a couple of little football matches (Blue supporters in my house very happy….well royal blue fans anyway) and the Bloggers’ Bash and Annual Bloggers’ Bash awards.  Well our golden invite was lost in the post, but tickets were already booked for the Bash so we would have politely declined anyway – who would have turned down the opportunity to meet good friends in person?  So hubby and I set off for Chiswick, with the dulcet tones of Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2 keeping us updated on the beautiful day unfolding in Windsor.

Monday Magic (21 May)

We arrived to be met by those giants amongst bloggers Shelley and Hugh …. at the George IV pub and then the game of spot the blogger began in earnest.  Hubby was completely out of his depth, having only ever glanced over this blog, so to be surrounded by so many other bloggy people left him reeling!  But with the wonderful Geoff, resembling a curious reverse version Papa Smurf with his blue beard, and his partner in crime, Graeme overseeing the smooth running of the day we were in for a treat!  Bloggers’ Bash Queen Sacha took to the stage to welcome us and introduced the whole committee: Shelley, Hugh, Geoff, Graeme, the beautiful Suzie Speaks, elegant Helen and last, but by no means least, Adam.   Thank you to the whole committee for a fantastic event and your hard work this year!

I was delighted to meet my heroine Ritu – she also had a non blogging hubby with her, so we left them talking football, curry and kids – along with old online friends and new blogger pals.  The day flew by with laughter, food, drink, sunshine and more laughter.  There were even a few awards given out!!!  The diversity and talent of all the nominees is wonderful to see (and read!) – and the number of people who took the time to vote is testimony to the fantastic movement that Sacha and her team have built up.

So without further ado, and as I am much later with this than normal, the blogs for this week have to be the Award winners!

Best Overall Blogger:  Linda’s Book Bag

Funniest Blogger: The Tattooed Book Geek

Most Inspirational Blogger:  Ali – the Dragon Slayer

Most Informative Blogger:  Jennifer Gilmour

Best Book Review Blog:  JoandIsalovebooks

Services to Bloggers:  Compulsive Readers

Hidden Gem: The Quiet Knitter

Newcomer Blogger: The Beardy Book Blogger

Best Pal: Being Anne

So check out some fantastic blogs and for a full list of the winners and runners up go HERE!

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

Most Informative Blogger Award goes to…..Jen Gilmour! #BloggersBash #AnnualBloggersBashAwards “Clipped Wings – Hear Some Stories of Survival” Book Review

REBLOGGING THIS TODAY AS THE WONDERFUL JENNIFER GILMOUR WON THE MOST INFORMATIVE BLOGGER AWARD AT THE ANNUAL BLOOGGERS’ BASH AWARDS YESTERDAY!! #Bloggersbash

Pain Pals

Clipped Wings – Hear Some Stories of Survival by Jennifer Gilmour

I was fortunate to be a given a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“Our wings were clipped, our restrictions were made, our boundaries were tested but now we are free, aren’t we?

We look above in the sky at the birds and hope to be free.  But the birds make their nests in the trees high above, to protect themselves from predators.  Free birds must keep looking over their shoulders the same way all of us have to.”

As we reflect upon another year and celebrate the beginning of a new one, I want to share a slightly different book review with you.

519PUzFxnmLJennifer Gilmour is a young mum, entrepreneur, wife and author.  Her first novel “Isolation Junction” was published in 2016 and during the course of…

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Nurses’ Reunion, Remembrance, a very special place: The Fitzrovia Chapel

Dedicated to Kate

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Last weekend I gathered with a group of special ladies to celebrate 30 years since we had started our nurse training together.  Our school of nursing has long since gone, nurse training has changed beyond all recognition and neither of our teaching hospitals are in existence in their previous state.  But half of our nursing set gathered together in London, travelling from as far afield as New York, for a trip down memory lane and renewing/strengthening old friendships.

We trained at Bloomsbury College of Nursing and Midwifery and spent the majority of our time living and working between University College Hospital and the Middlesex Hospital, situated on opposite sides of Tottenham court Road.

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UCH opened its doors on the Gower Street cruciform site in 1906 and this Victorian red brick building remains imposing, if impractical next to its modern day counter part on Euston Road.  A wonderful lady, Lucie, gave up her day off in order to show this group of old nurses around a building that closed as a hospital in 1995, but for us still holds so many memories….UCH 1tunnels beneath the buildings from nurses’ home to hospitals, cockroaches (Yes, REALLY!), endless stairs and the founder’s portrait on the staircase encased by wooden panelling and doors.

It was written into the Night Sisters’ contracts that at the beginning of their shift they must close these doors, for if the doors were left open there would be 3 sudden, unexpected deaths in the hospital that night.  The building is now used by the medical school for research labs, but it was lovely to see the preserved nursery rhyme pictures on the once children’s ward and the stunning architecture.

 

Sadly the future of the beautiful old Middlesex Hospital building on Mortimer Street was not so secure.  It opened in 1757 and had further wings added in 1766 and 1780, but the whole hospital was rebuilt in the 1920s only to be closed in 2006 with the opening of the new UCLH. The building was demolished in 2008 and due to the financial crash, the site remained undeveloped for several years.The Middx

The only part of our building to still be standing in the newly developed Pearson Place, is the grade II listed hospital chapel and it was here that we gathered for remembrance, commemoration, cream teas and Prosecco!  It felt strange to walk into the sleek lines of Pearson Place (also known as Fitzroy Place).  So many memories surrounded us and we brushed shoulders with many ghosts – including one of our own, to whom this post is dedicated.

 

The Middlesex hospital chapel was a place for patients and staff alike, situated in the middle of the hospital, stunningly beautiful, unconsecrated, without denomination and open to all.  We saw laughter and tears, fear and pain, marriage and love within that small pocket of calm situated in the midst of a busy teaching hospital.  I remember singing in there during night shift breaks – not allowed I’m sure – and hiding out after my first patient death.  In order for the space to always be welcoming and never shut away, the main doorway had a special glass door fitted to comply with fire regulations (I believe) and yet to be visible every hour of the day, open for all.

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Still part of the hospital, unrestored….spot the glass door!

Today the newly named Fiztrovia Chapel has been restored by the developers and has a cultural focus, overseen and managed by  a charitable foundation.  During the period that the site was undeveloped, the old chapel was closed up and reopening it, introducing the outside air pressure and movement actually caused damage to much of the original gold leaf decor.  A huge restoration project followed and the foundation to maintain the chapel was founded.  It was through the foundation that we were able to visit the chapel and were given a wonderful historical “tour” by the lovely manager Sarah.

She gave us information about the history of the building and archive material that she continues to uncover, and in turn we were able to provide stories from our time during the 80s.  Whilst there, a group of physiotherapists who worked in the Middlesex Hospital 50 years ago arrived to view the chapel and share memories.  This little Gothic place of beauty, full of gold mosaic and stunning stained glass restored so lovingly by a local firm, costs £10,000 per month to maintain – but to so many of us it is priceless.  If you are ever in the vicinity of Mortimer Street (just off Oxford Street), or are looking for a wedding venue or a film location – the Fitzrovia Chapel is well worth a visit. IMG_1648

Emotions were high on Saturday – for memories, for each other, for friendship.  We worked hard and we played hard – there weren’t many central London night spots unknown to us. Anyone remember the Dreamboys? We do!  We lived together, we grew up together  and we probably shared some of the most intense times of our lives.  Many a time we found ourselves thrown in at the deep end at such a young age.  Our life experience by the time we qualified in our early 20s was way beyond that of many of our peers – we were pretty street wise!

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Have we changed?  No…not really!  At breakfast on Sunday one of the others said that although the saying goes that people change, actually it isn’t true.  Despite marriages, children and whole different lives, we all slipped back to being twenty year olds without thinking.  I had been anxious about going and the day before the anxiety levels were growing.  Whilst my first back surgery was whilst I was a student nurse and I had always dislocated, had migraines, anaemia and fainted – only one of my peers has actually seen me “disabled” by my condition.  It still feels like a big thing to get my head around, and whilst they are nurses and can care for me, I actually don’t want my mates to have to take me to the loo!  So hubby became an honorary nurse for the weekend – he knows them all anyway!

So life goes on and we all leave behind our own little stories carving out a slice of  history.  When the very fabric of the buildings that you made that history in have changed beyond recognition, the emotions are so mixed.  The memories of the nurses’ homes – one at UCH and one at The Middlesex – will always be with my friends (refreshed as history repeated itself when we got in to trouble for setting off the security alarms 30 years on – a stunned student let a group of middle aged women declaring “we used to live here” into the building!), alongside friends & colleagues, patients and relatives, skills gained, calamities forgotten.

The Rockerfellar

The entrance to the nurses’ home – the security guard arrived soon after!

I felt that those familiar yet different surroundings triggered feelings and long buried memories,  hopes and dreams, the best and worst of life.  Is this a familiar sentiment for everyone at particular stages of life?  I wonder if sometimes we get so caught up in the minutiae of what is happening today, that the amazing things already achieved and shaping our lives are (unintentionally) forgotten. Maybe one or two of those ghosts that we all have, be they loved ones or for us patients, would even give us a pat on the back and tell us we did make a difference.

Hoodie!

Complete with set hoodie, adorned with our nursing badge and red hood lining – the same as our nursing capes!

I know that some of my set read this.  Ladies, I say to you that it remains an honour to have shared my informative years with you and last weekend just reminded me how much I have missed you all (I always felt rather disconnected from the set on my return after 6 months away for back surgery).  To don our hoodies and reconnect was a privilege – always have been and always will be ordinary girls/women doing extraordinary work.

This is in honour of Kate, who died when her career was only just beginning.

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Happy Monday, Pain Pals, and a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all in the USA.  I have just had a really busy weekend – that I plan to write about this week -and am struggling to sit upright today, so I’m not writing my normal preamble about life in the PainPals household. I’m not sure how much sense you would get out of me….

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! 14 may

 

So I will launch straight into the blogs that I have found for you….there is a wonderful life lessons post from 100 year olds, a letter to the person feeling suicidal, a letter from a mother to the child she carried but never met for Mother’s day and a practical post about moving your blog to wordpress.com.  I really need to sort this out myself!!  Finally I could not let the opportunity go by to slip another a zebra post for May – this book review is fantastic and I could not do better myself for the book that has become our family bible (no offence intended to anyone).

So sit back (I have a cuppa and slice of my Dad’s gluten free coffee birthday cake – made by mum!), relax and enjoy some fantastic bloggers’ writing.

https://www.mymeenalife.com/signs-need-new-rheumatologist/

https://writedownthemidddle.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/pointing-to-myself.html

https://illness-to-wellness.com/2018/05/10/whylive/

https://thepurplealmond.com/2017/03/02/life-lessons-from-100-plus-year-olds/

https://weeklydoseofsue.com/2018/05/13/gob-stopping-comebacks-for-nitwits/

https://awriteradolescentmuse.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/monday-memoir-unforgettable/

https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/transfer-your-existing-domain-to-wordpress-com/

https://thisgirlsgotcurves.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/pathology/

https://wordsthroughthedarkness.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/mothers-day-2018/

https://scienceoveracuppa.com/2018/02/11/book-review-understanding-hypermobile-ehlers-danlos-syndrome-and-hypermobility-spectrum-disorder/

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Please share these posts and leave some comments or likes – make a blogger very happy!

I look forward to writing you some more when the brain and body start to function…in sync!

Have a great week, Claire