A NEW RECRUIT’S TERROR – @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11

It was on a busy night shift, on the male surgical ward of the first hospital I’d ever worked in. Still enrolled in my nursing training, I was nervous about everything.

That night, I was working with a male nurse and a female auxiliary nurse; both a good deal older and far more experienced than me.

The ward was full and very busy that night; but not too busy for the male nurse {Tommy} to start telling all sorts of scary tales that sent me into a bit of a spin.

Out of all the stories he told, one stands out all these years later.  The story of Mr. Danny Wright. Danny was a charge nurse, and, in those days, he was known as simply “Mr.”

Tommy told us that Danny Wright had decided to play a trick on the new porter.

A patient had died, so the nurse in charge called the porters’ lodge to ask for the porters on duty to come and take the body down to the morgue, known as Rose Cottage.  One of those porters was the new recruit.

In the meantime, Danny Wright zipped down to the morgue, laid down on a slab, and covered himself with a white sheet.  Unbeknownst to the porters, the very live patient was collected from the ward, and transported to Rose Cottage.

While the porters were opening the door to enter the morgue, Danny Wright began slowly sitting up from the slab that he was on.

“Have you got the time please?” he asked.

Terrified, both men dashed away, screaming, leaving the corpse sitting at the door to the morgue.  Danny Wright could hear them screaming to each other as they ran away asking, “What the hell was that?”

The newly recruited porter left the hospital that night never to be seen again.

After hearing that story, I was petrified that some prank or other was going to be played on me, being a new recruit myself.

Fortunately, it never was.

Have you ever been scared straight by a prank?  If so, did the memory of it stick with you years later as mine has?

Rest In Peace, Our Queen @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11

I wanted to share with my American friends at RRBC, my deep sadness of the death of our Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, on 8th September 2022.

An early memory that I have of this splendid lady, was when as a schoolgirl, aged eight years old, we were all marched up to a street in Folkestone, to see the Queen returning from a trip abroad, by boat.

 As she sat in her open carriage waving to us kids, I well recall how beautiful this young woman looked with her perfectly applied make-up and lustrous outfit. I cannot remember who was with her.

In later life, I was asked if I would be prepared to go to one of the Royal Garden parties, held each year for those who had given service to the community. It was my nursing role that would have afforded me this honour. I went through the vetting process; did I have any I.R.A. connections, and other pertinent questions were asked.

 I always maintained that I was paid for the job I performed, therefore, I was no more deserving than the next individual who also served others. Anyway, I purchased an outfit in readiness for the trip – one that I can still get into thirty years later. In the end, I was not to be the nurse selected to go to Buckingham Palace.

I did not mind as I was delighted for the girl who was chosen.  She was a close colleague of mine.

Tonight, I think about how much I would have loved to have seen this amazing Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and our Queen, up close.

R.I.P. H.R.H. QUEEN ELIZABETH 11   

Joy G.

A Memory From 1965 @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11 #Nursing

What does one write when you have no idea of what to write that will be of interest to anyone?

Well, today I decided to have a go at it by beginning my nursing history series.

The beginning of my career started in 1965.  I had a strong desire to care for people, and nursing would enable me to do so.

Another reason I went into nursing was to remove my two-year-old son from the influences of my over-doting mother-in-law.  She was spoiling him rotten, and as a result, he was becoming a very naughty little boy.

The hospital where I began my training was close to my home, which we shared with my first husband’s mother.  Because she lived with us, it was difficult to keep my boy out of her clutches.  Fortunately, the hospital had a nursery, at a cost of two shillings a week.  This would enable my boy to be looked after in a different, more improved environment.

The training was tough.  I was only twenty years old and not long out of secondary education. My ability to learn and retain still existed, which was also helped by my strong desire to succeed.

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My training lasted three years.  I also worked part-time during that time – 28 hours a week.  I did well.

I was a night nurse and one of my memories of being in that position was the endless counting we had to do of all the bed linen, towels and bed socks.

One night while on duty, a night Sister rushed up to me and said, “Get down to Accident and Emergency right away!”

I dashed down the stairs to find a scared father standing in the corridor with a white, limp baby flopped over in his arms.  A Sister took the child and placed him in my arms, while she stuck her hand down the child’s throat and pulled out part of a baby’s dummy, which was blocking its airway.  When we walloped the child on the back, and to our relief, he began to yell.

The father stood there looking shocked and perplexed at what he had just witnessed.  I walked over to him and touched his arm.

“Tonight, your baby was saved by our lady in blue,” I said.

The sister, whose name was Nancy, and I became firm friends. Her nursing skills never failed to amaze me, and it was with great sadness that I learned of her death last year.

What memory stands out most to you from your early career years?  I would love to hear all about it.

A Hole in The Ground @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11

“Yes,” he said, “we really must use the water in that tank for watering the garden. We have a hose-pipe ban coming in soon.”

This has been one of the driest Summers I can recall.  Winter saw less water than usual.

The ground is rock hard, so you can imagine what it’s been like for a husband with a heart condition, to have to dig holes, four feet down to find one of the outlet pipes from the house guttering. Once this project is finished, this will connect to the amazing pumping system he has created.

My husband built this house that we have lived in for the past sixteen years. There is no main drainage, as it is semi-countryside. We have a sewage treatment plant about seven feet in depth, and a rainwater tank containing 9000 gallons. We have talked about utilising this tank for so long to water the garden.

The work has been long and arduous, conducted in the heat waves we are currently experiencing.  We now have holes all over our lawn, where pipes have been sought.

My dear husband dug the first hole in the wrong place, although he didn’t dig too deeply. Today he came into the kitchen and excitedly said, “I have found one of the pipes!  It was just about two inches from where I first dug a week ago.”

“That’s great news,” I replied, relieved that this heavy work would be coming to an end.

Has your spouse or significant other ever gotten into a project such as this one?  I’d love to know how you handled it.

A Thoughtful Process @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11 #Cancer #RRBC

A lady I was acquainted with many years ago was a consultant dermatologist at the hospital where I  worked.

Her skin was like porcelain, almost translucent. Her mantra was always to never let your skin be exposed to the sun.

She was white and very attractive, turning the men’s heads where ever she went.

She lived alone, and on rare occasions spent some time in London with a mutual friend.

Sadly, I learned that at the young age of fifty, she died of stage 4 bowel cancer.

How and why I kept asking, should one so young, so careful with her knowledge attained through her working life about the dangers of too much exposure to the sun, be unfortunate enough to have her life end this way?

Was it because she paid more attention to her skin than to her dietary intake?  Did loneliness play a part?  Was she simply unlucky?  Or, was it just an act of God?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Introducing… #JoyfulPussycatTales & #SpyAndVillain @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11

Introducing my latest two short stories!

The first is SPY AND VILLAIN, a short story mystery drama.

Spy & Villain by Joy M. Lilley

This is a story of love and sadness. Told by a wheelchair bound middle aged woman. She finds herself handicapped after a tragic accident when a car mounts the pavement out of control.

Spending many hours looking out of her front room window, she believes that skullduggery is going on in the house across the street. The couple who lives there, have recently moved in. One day while people-watching from her window, she is certain she sees the man hitting the woman.  When she runs into the woman soon after the event, her face is covered with bruises, and she is furtively trying to avoid her.

 Our heroine is so convinced of violent behavior going on in that house, that she badgers her own husband until he takes notice.  Her nagging leads to arguments between them, as he tells her “Not to be such a nosey cow.”

The plot gets even more complicated, eventually culminating in the truth coming to light.

***

The second book, JOYFUL PUSSYCAT TALES, tells of the writer’s rescued cats from the past and present.

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(Cover design by 4WillsPub)

Sophie Swipe made us smile over her antics with the Grandchildren.

Billy Pink-Nose was a beauty with black silky fur, and a brilliant pink nose, a boy who often got into mischief.

But the three that are still living with the writer and her husband, are 13-year-old, Lucy, 10-year-old, Molly, and 7-year-old Lilley.

Their stories are delightful, full of fun and frolic, cuddles and entertainment.

I hope you get a chance to read these quick tales, and a review would be welcome!

Our Platinum Jubilee Celebration! @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11

Here we are in the glorious month of sunny June, and we are celebrating Queen Elizabeth II, and her 70th year on the throne!  Who could have imagined that in the year of 2022, she would still be reigning over us, frail though she is?  But the years do take their toll on all of us.

The Brits love to celebrate, and we have many loyal royalists, so street parties were the order of the day from June 3rd through June 6th.

There are very few houses where we live – six, including ours. My husband decided that this year, we should hold a street party in celebration at our home – so we did!

I sent out invitations back in February. Everyone was excited and agreed to come. The entire block would be there with the exception of our nearest neighbours, who would be on their honeymoon in South Africa.

My stepdaughter who lives two doors away from us, was the stale wart girl she has always been.  She helped me tremendously with the preparations.

We spent an age buying, sorting, and giving instructions to the guests of what they were required to bring to the party.

The celebration was held in our garden, because as you can see from the pictures of the road with the tall trees lining the golf course, the street would have been unsuitable to use.

The big day arrived with black clouds threatening to bring a torrential storm.  Fortunately, it stayed away until the latter part of the day when the drizzle began to fall.

Most of the guests braved the cold temperatures outside.  It was 14 degrees C.  I managed to get a few of the menfolk into the lounge where great political conversation flew back and forth, with just a tiny bit of discord.  However, three brave souls remained outside in the drizzling rain for the duration of the party, culminating in a little too much imbibing.

All in all, a jolly time was had by everyone in attendance. Many of them suggesting more parties in the future.

Hopefully, next time it will be held in someone else’s home.

Enjoy the photos!

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Revelations @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11 #Italy #LeaningTowerofPisa

A recent trip away with my other half prompted the writing of this piece.

We were on a long-awaited cruise; cancelled twice because of COVID19.

The trip was to take us over 786 nautical miles from Southampton docks to Rome and back. We visited seven countries, including Vatican City, areas of Spain, France and Italy.

I shall focus on the two stops we made in Italy – the first being the Field of Miracles, where we found the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the second, the Vatican City, sitting in the capitol of Rome.  We chose these two places because they interested us the most.

We did not leave the ship to visit all ports on the itinerary, but Pisa and Rome were two of the three that we did.

For different reasons I want to tell you about these wonderful places.

THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA

Pisa is in the Provence of Tuscany, Northern Italy.  We headed to the Field of Miracles where the Leaning Tower of Pisa sits (and lean it does, as you can see below):

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There were crowds of visitors that day, but the sun was shining, and the sky was blue; we were also happy to get the exercise.

Held within the same area stands two grand structures made in part of the famous Italian marble. They all exude grandeur. The cathedral in the picture stands to the left of the tower on entering the complex.  You enter from the far end of this scene…

Pisa’s main tourist attractions are the leaning Tower Cathedral, Baptistery, and Campo Santo. All are close together and comprise a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Pisa Cathedral is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral.  It is the oldest of the three structures in the Plaza. Its construction began in 1063 and was completed in 1092.  You can see the cathedral behind the tower above.

You may be interested to know that a number of famous people were born in that region of Tuscany:

Leonardo Da Vinci
Galileo Galilei in Piza
Andrea Bocelli
Michelangelo
Giacomo Puccini

THE VATICAN CITY

The second stop in Italy was Rome.  We took a trip to the Vatican City, the smallest country in the world.  We walked from our coach to St. Peter’s Square.

See the photograph below showing the lovely architecture within the square, and straight ahead you can see the window where the Pope stands to deliver his Sunday message. [See the top window slightly to the right of my head.] We had just missed the highlight of the Pope delivering his Sunday address, as when we arrived, visitors were leaving in throngs.

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We regret not having enough time to visit the museums or the cathedral due to long queues.

Within the square stands a glorious sculpture dedicated to migrants called “Angels Unaware.” It is a boat cast in bronze by the Canadian artist, Timothy P. Schmalz, depicting 140 migrants ranging from a Jewish man escaping Nazi Germany, to a Syrian refugee, fleeing the civil war. The boat faces in the direction towards St. Peter’s Basilica. The statue depicts the inclusion of every migrant experience over the centuries. Humanity has always experienced migration; inclusive of all races, cultures and religions.

The 20-foot sculpture is the most awe-inspiring piece. The artist was influenced by the passage, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

I was profoundly affected, not just by the amazingly beautiful Vatican City, but also by this bronze cast statue. It serves as a reminder of all the migrants fleeing countries suffering conflict today.

Joy M. Lilley (aka Joy Gerken) May 2022

A Tale of 3 #Kitties! @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11 #Cats #Kittens

Happy belated Easter to you all.

I am giving a little insight to my lovely furry friends

They are all rescue cats.

And all live under the same roof with hubby and me.

They range in age…

-eldest is Lucy, she is thirteen. Taken last Summer…

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-Molly is nine. Shown here when she was a kitten…

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-Lily is the youngest and she is seven. Taken 2 years ago.

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Look out for stories of these three and other kitties being written as children’s tales/tails.

Stay safe and well!

…And Then I Went Shopping! @JoyGerken @4WillsPub @4WP11 @RRBC_Org

Hello, friends!  I’ve a little update to share.

I have just been to get my second COVID booster jab. The nurse who gave it to me was a colleague of mine in the Emergency department where we worked together some thirty years back.  She shared that I will be called again in the Autumn.  The government really is pushing forward to have a population resistant to the disease.

I was concerned that the dose given to me was not Pfizer pharmaceuticals, but Moderna Spikevax; with a name like that, one would be a little perturbed.

However, I have been assured that no data prevails to suggest that this drug does not work with other vaccines. Relieved at that news, I trotted off to do some shopping!

For your own confidence in the booster, I’ll share that the only discomfort I’ve experienced has been a slightly painful injection site.

Maybe we should expect to have these booster jabs for many years to come.  Hopefully, if we ever get to once-a-year inoculation, as with the flu vaccination, they will be given simultaneously!

Have you had a fourth booster yet?  I’d love to know!