Walking home from work in the dark last night, about half-past seven, I came across a short stumpy individual in a puffy anorak, next to the gateway into the field behind the primary school.  He was holding onto the fence with both hands.

“Can you help me?” he said. “I’m stuck.”

“You’re stuck?”

“Yeah. I came here, and then I got… sort of… stuck.”

“You mean you’re lost?”

“Yeah. Thass it. I came here, and then I got stuck.”

“Well, I’m going across this field to the estate on the other side. You know, Quaker Drive and Quaker Lane. You can follow me along the path if you like.”

“Yeah. Thanks mate. That’d be brilliant. Thanks mate. I really mean that. You’re a life saver. Thanks mate.”

So I set off along the path and he came stumbling along after me, keeping up a constant stream of drunken gratitude. “Thanks mate. I really, really appreciate it. I really mean that. Thanks a lot mate. I mean really thanks a lot. Sorry to go on about it, but really, thanks a lot mate.” At the gateway on the other side of the field he got himself hooked on a bramble – “Fucking hell! Scuse my French, mate,” but then he seemed to know where he was.

“Do you know how to find your way from here?”

“Yeah, course I do. I turn right through here, and then once I’m home, I’m home, aren’t I? Thanks mate. I really appreciate it,” he said, stumbling off the pavement into the main road rather alarmingly, as there was traffic coming, but then stumbling back on again. “Where do you live, mate?”

I was a bit worried, for a moment, that he was going to want to come home with me. “On the Goudhurst Road.”

He was horrified. “On the Goudhurst Road! Fucking hell! Excuse my French, mate.” Then he lurched onto the footpath on our right, and staggered out of view.



I keep thinking it’s Christmas Eve.

Most of my work now (this post, for example) is done on a Linux computer with Ubuntu on it. I’ve got another computer on my desk with Windows 7 on it, however, and every now and then I have to take it out of mothballs, usually because I want to use Flash, which won’t run on Linux. I’ve been doing that this afternoon to make a drawing of an office interior – I like using Flash for vector drawings. I could use Inkscape on the Linux computer instead, but I’ve never quite felt completely comfortable with Inkscape.

The other thing I’ve been doing is making blinis. Well, I’ve only got as far as making the batter so far, and I did that wrong because it’s been a while since I’ve made them, so I misread the recipe and put 2lb of flour in the bowl instead of half a pound. We normally have blinis with sour cream and smoked salmon on them on Christmas Eve. That’s part of the reason why I keep thinking it’s Christmas Eve today.

This blog

The other thing I’ve done today is install this blog. Immediately ran into the problem that it wants me to use an app called ‘Clef’ to log in, which requires me to have a mobile phone that can run apps, which I haven’t got. Bloody technology. Never mind, it doesn’t seem to be compulsory.

Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries – December 2014

Just uploaded the December batch of Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries – here’s the list of articles summarised this month:

Discontinuing drug treatments
BMJ 2014;349:g7013

Will Tamiflu recommendations change this winter?
BMJ 2014;349:g6742

Identification, assessment, and management of overweight and obesity: summary of updated NICE guidance
BMJ 2014;349:g6608

Fat doctors are patients too
BMJ 2014;349:g6464

Safeguarding children: a challenge to doctors
BMJ 2014;349:g5898

Antibiotic treatment failure in primary care
BMJ 2014;349:g5970

Diagnosing and managing acute heart failure in adults: summary of NICE guidance
BMJ 2014;349:g5695

Thinking about the burden of treatment
BMJ 2014;349:g6680

Quality in primary care
BMJ 2014;349:g6485

Self harm in young people
BMJ 2014;349:g6204

Role of fear in overdiagnosis and overtreatment—an essay by Iona Heath
BMJ 2014;349:g6123