Hi everyone

Many apologies but life, the universe and grandchildren got in the way!  But here I am with another post.  And with no new charity shop finds, because I have decided to buy nothing this month, I shall shop my closet as they say.

Here’s an example, it’s a top which I bought in 2018 in a brocante (bric-a-brac) shop in a tiny village in France. I rather like the sentiment of the wording and is one I hold dear in these rather challenging times!

Yes, in fact I am going through my wardrobe and de-cluttering quite a bit. It’s partly the month of February and the feeling that Spring is just around the corner – don’t you just love the daffodils that are coming up.

And the decluttering is also because I really need to have fewer clothes in my cupboard. I still look in charity shops though, but I am restraining myself. Furthermore, I am being quite successful in selling through one of those dress agency places, so I am picking my way through my coats and winter gear and saying, do I really love this item and is it a keeper or is it one I can sell or donate?  I am really good at this and then, of course, you know what happens! A year later, I say to myself, now where is that….., uh oh, I only went and got rid of it!

Hey, is anyone in the UK watching This Is Going to Hurt starring Ben Wishaw as Adam Kay a young registrar on an Obstetrics ward?  All the episodes are on BBC iPlayer. I’ve just watched the first episode and Ben Wishaw, who is usually quite winsome, is playing Kay as quite hard-bitten and sarcy and cynical. I’ve read Kay’s book, which I highly recommend, and I don’t remember him portraying himself as being quite so cynical.  Oh, but the picture of the NHS does make you wince and all of this before the underfunding of the austerity years and then Covid. Quite frightening really to think of the poor old NHS and its decline, so below I’m going to say something about, in my day…….!

Because I did find the whole episode rather gripping (Mr F, btw, thought it rather grim and is hoping that it improves) especially the scenes in the operating theatre, where when I was a nurse I became Chief Dirty Nurse which, if I remember correctly, meant laying out the bloody swabs on the floor and counting them. Because of course, dear reader, the swabs have to be counted in and counted out, and heaven help you, and more to the point, the patient, if you don’t count them correctly!

Gosh, the tales I could tell  about my time as a nurse and I am not saying that things were better, just that they were very different.  Comparing a nurse now with a nurse in the 1960s, which is when I nursed, is not like comparing apples with pears, instead nursing now is so different it’s like comparing an alien species with an apple. We were just different. For a start we wore a beautiful mid-length thick cotton dress with a starched apron (a new one every day) black stockings, yes stockings (!) different belts to denote the years of our training, starched collars with collar studs and, I kid you not, a frilly lace cap. And what was the very first thing we were taught? How to sew the said cap, which had a pork pie thicker outer edge that you drew up with thread to form the base of the cap and then on the internal side you drew up a butterfly and this lacy contraption perched on top of your head from day one of your nursing career.

I guess we were more like apprentices than the students that nurses are now, who have a 3-year degree to go through, and follow practices that are evidence-based. In contrast we had a little book and on the ward you were shown how to do things and procedures were signed off. We did have a 3-month initiation/training course off the wards and then that was it, you were not a student you were part of the nursing team, a junior one yes, but you were there playing an important albeit sometimes menial role from day one. However, every year you did have off-ward sessions of up to 3-weeks learning more about anatomy and physiology and new procedures.

I’ll tell you about one menial chore we 1st-years had to do every day in the afternoon. We had to take a small trolley and with a bowl of soapy water and cloth plus a large jug of drinking water, we had to go up one side of the open 30-bedded ward and then down the other, replenishing their water jugs and wiping their over-the-bed tables with the same water and cloth (don’t think that happens now!) You were meant to chat to patients and get to know them and it did teach you to talk to anyone and everyone. But heaven help you if you dawdled over one or two patients, it all had to be done in a certain time frame. If you were even five minutes over that time,Sister would, and did, shout at you to hurry up, nurse, you’ve got other things to do. Sister was God, you know, and you obeyed, or else!

Btw, all nurses were expected to care for all 30 patients, you might be allotted tasks for certain patients and if you were senior you might get the ones that needed the more difficult procedures but nevertheless all the nurses were expected to know the details of every single one of those 30 patients, especially so as you became more senior and were left in charge at night.

And the wards had copious numbers of staff, there was never, ever, any thought that nurses were in short supply. Each year had four intakes of 50 students, and in my hospital the training was for 4 years, the extra year being to get that Nightingale badge. But there were always large numbers of nursing staff on every shift. And all of us, even the most senior nurses, did everything for the patient including bed bathing and bedpans. Tell me if I’m wrong but I don’t think nurses do that nowadays. Well, if there’s one thing I can do it is a bed bath and I’ll tell you a funny story about how we were taught to do these bed baths.

This was during our 3-month pre-ward initiation. After the demonstration from the Sister-Tutor on a dummy, we were divided up into pairs, and we had to bed-bath each other. Ok we had a mock-up ward with a curtained-off bed. I started washing my partner, and was doing very well I thought, but behind the curtains we kind of looked at each other and said, this bit’s done, yes? The bit being our lady parts. But oh no, the Sister-Tutor announced in a very loud voice that everyone was to wash our partner everywhere, ‘and I mean everywhere, and I shall come and watch’! Well, the Sister-Tutor threw back the curtains and hovered over us while I washed my partner all over, including.… And then it was my turn to be washed… And you went around for the rest of the day feeling incredibly clean! But I never forgot how it felt to be washed like that and how the water cools down and, you know, the feeling of slight humiliation – a lesson well learnt.  But I told that story fairly recently to a much younger GP friend and she was horrified and said, that would be considered assault and you would never be asked to do that today – oh well, there you are, things change.

And back to the operating table and my stint as Chief Dirty Nurse in the main theatre of my hospital.  Interesting that it’s called a theatre but some of them do have tiers of seats in a mezzanine floor arrangement above the operating table and I did sit and watch countless operations. And you think that surgeons know what they’re doing? Not all the time they don’t.  I shall just stick to a couple of stories (although I do have many more).

When I first started my 3-month stint in this department, I was told about a particular surgeon who was notorious for losing his temper and throwing things, including scalpels and other dangerous implements, at the nurses. You mustn’t worry if he does this, said the Sister, it’s not personal, he can’t help it, he gets so frustrated, he’s going blind you know. Oh, Ok, I said, and thought nothing of it, as we just accepted that Sister was God and the doctors were above God, they were Supreme Beings. It was only years later, I thought, wow, why was he still working as a surgeon!

Sometimes I discuss a film I’ve watched with a friend and they say, oh, no I could never watch it, it’s far too violent, or no, I couldn’t watch it’s too gory. And I think, really? I don’t get it. But I guess I’m desensitised. I mean, that first episode of This Is Going To Hurt with the floor slippery with blood? Yup been there, done that. I’ve even, towards the end of my 3-month stint, held a retractor and helped pull an incision apart. It’s hard work!

I did my stint in the operating theatre quite early on in my 4-year training and if you’re only just 19 and on your first day you’re handed an entire leg… ‘ Here you are, nurse’, said the surgeon. ‘Oh, thank you,’ I replied. And took it and laid it out where it as expected to be. Then I was taught to count the bloody swabs. Yes, to some extent I must be desensitised.

However, can I say that the atmosphere in that operating theatre wasn’t grim as it appeared to be in that first episode, there was a lot of joking about and horse play, and a lot of funny backchat. You had to joke and play around, to stay sane, I guess. And what I mostly remember is that the whole experience of being a theatre nurse was fun!

I do hope I haven’t bored you with this.  Anyway, that’s all for now.  Hope you’re all keeping warm and well.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper.




45 thoughts on “It’s a buy-nothing month, plus a few memories of my nursing life!

  • 11th February 2022 at 1:31 pm

    I loved this post Penny, especially your reminiscences of your time as a nurse. Those starched uniforms and white coats did produce a feeling of trust and confidence in patients I think. I think in those days patients stayed in hospital much longer after an operation or illness so patients so some patients on a large ward would perhaps not be acutely ill. Nowadays though wards are smaller, patients are usually discharged as soon as possible to avoid infection and those in hospital are nearly all very needy. I am sure being a Sister or Consultant in your time as a nurse would be rather easier than today…….

    • 11th February 2022 at 6:33 pm

      Don’t you believe it. It wasn’t easy at all. The responsibility we took as student nurses would Terrify you.

      • 11th February 2022 at 10:33 pm

        I’m so sorry if you thought I implied it was easy – that was not my intention at all! Nursing must be one of the most difficult jobs ever, in any era, and they have my utmost respect. I was just thinking about some of the differences between then and now (I have worked in hospitals).

        • 12th February 2022 at 8:36 am

          No worries, Margaret – see my reply to your first comment 😊

      • 12th February 2022 at 8:39 am

        OMG – I do remember that once you got into your second year, if Sister was at her tea break and a third year somewhere else, you could be left in charge for half an hour. And on nights, for sure when the senior nurse left for her meal. Yes, see my response to Margaret and the example of a qualified nurse of today so unused to being on a ward, she just couldn’t get over that terror, which we all went through – and got over!!!

    • 12th February 2022 at 8:34 am

      You’re right in some ways, Margaret, as people did stay in hospital much longer, even for the most simple operations it was usually two weeks, until the stitches needed taking out. I remember that when a consultant started sending patients home after only one week negotiating with GPs to take said stitches out. We were horrified – sending patients out to be in the dirty outside world, and not stay in the clean hospital setting? Outrageous! And on nights we always asked a patient to do the tea round in the morning (honestly health & safety never came into it).

      However, it was just so different and it’s all relative, as we did have very seriously ill people on wards as there weren’t the High Dependency units and ICU’s weren’t well developed. And yes, Celia is right we took on responsibility so soon. Unqualified nurses were left in charge of wards from their second year onwards which was terrifying. But that was good as we got used to it. One of my son’s old girlfriends was a newly qualified nurse and she said after being a student for 3 years in the off-ward sense that she had gone through, she could not get over the terror of being on a ward, so she worked in a department and said she wouldn’t touch that kind of nursing ever. Well gosh you don’t want that!

      Nursing is just so different and that includes the training. What we didn’t have though was the underfunding. At that time the NHS felt as though it would expand and improve for ever – sigh!

    • 12th February 2022 at 3:55 pm

      Hello, my friend…that LIFE and those grands have a way of disrupting or turning upside down even the best laid plans.

      So enjoyed reading about your days of nursing in the 60s. What a difference from nursing today. However I bet there are still scapel slinging surgeons. My father’s best friend was a Catholic priest who oversaw a hospital where the nurses were all nuns/sisters. We spent the night in his hospital in Buffalo, Oklahoma and I was charmed by the nuns. Can you imagine young children staying at a 🏥 hospital now days as if it were a hotel?
      Need to follow your lead and get in my closet for deep cleaning this week…unless LIFE has other plans for me.

      • 13th February 2022 at 3:08 pm

        It was very different then and yes, I guess you and your family staying over wouldn’t happen now!!!

        I have been so busy and have a project on the go, that I will let everyone know about soon, that is taking up a huge amount of my time! Never enough time is there, but hey it’s better than having nothing to do! Or that’s how I see it.

        Thanks so much Leslie 😊

  • 11th February 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Fascinating,thank you.

    I have a friend who was a theatre nurse in the 1940’s but had to leave when she got married! I think sometimes nurses didn’t tell anyone they were married rather than lose their jobs…

    • 11th February 2022 at 4:12 pm

      I love stories of nursing I have a dear friend, now in her nineties who when the US joined the War she went with a friend to train as a nurse and ‘do her bit’. At the recruiting office she was advised to get a degree first she finished as a Professor of nursing at a prestigious US university and when her baby was ill she introduced the idea of parents being allowed to stay with their sick children common now. When my daughter was young we said would you like to be a doctor she said, no, a nurse, nurses help people doctors don’t. 😏

      I know you enjoy cycling you may be able to catch the Tour de Provence on some channel. Beautiful sunny scenery to cheer you up.

      • 12th February 2022 at 9:07 am

        Lovely story of your friend and good on her for doing a degree and changing practice. Our 1965 set that was 50 strong had 6 young women who were doing a degree. They were the first to do this at my hospital, perhaps in the country? Not sure. They all did well.

        Think that cycling would be on Sky Sport, which sadly we don’t have. Yes, I bet it’s lovely scenery, went to Provence many many decades ago! Don’t that far down France these days! Thanks Flora 😊

    • 12th February 2022 at 8:43 am

      I remember our 1965 set had one nurse who did get married in her third year, and as our training was four years, she had a special dispensation to carry on with her training. She was the first nurse ever in the hospital’s history to be allowed to carry on working whilst married!! Those days are unimaginable now!

  • 11th February 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Health Care assistants are unsung heroes in my book. They do all the menial tasks, record temperatures and BPs, do all the personal care, make beds etc. Overnight in hospital I heard 2 Care Assistants constantly called to a bed, over and over throughout the night, same patient who couldn’t understand the call button and was clearly confused and their patience and kindness was amazing.
    You should write a book Penny. Everyone loves a hospital story.

    • 12th February 2022 at 11:56 am

      Hi Pauline – yes I didn’t mention the Health Care Assistants who seem to do all the real nursing tasks that were just part of our role in the 60s. of course then we had very well trained State Enrolled Nurses (SENs) who were great and were practically speaking nurses in their own right.

      Nursing in those days was holistic in that you cared for and nursed the whole person and that included the bedpans and personal care. Someone will have to tell me exactly what nurses do today! Actually I know they are far more academic and research based but personal care for me is about nursing.

      I will write more of this down, it’s all there in my head! Thanks Pauline 😊

  • 11th February 2022 at 2:26 pm

    I was in a London hospital for five weeks in the 60s and I remember how lovely the nurses (and registrar) were: helpful, gentle, cheerful and amusing. I couldn’t sleep at night after a while so one of the nurses would sit on my bed and ask me to help with her exams. Handed me a book and I could ask questions. She had watched my op and said it was fascinating because the surgeon actually used Black & Decker tools (spinal fusion). And I also remember the surgeon’s weekly visit: Matron rushing around tidying sheets and bedside tables, the nurses practically curtseying and the registrar having the temerity to suggest something which the Surgeon-God immediately put down.
    But in the main it was the nurses who kept us all going with their constant attention, patience and gentle kindness. So thank you to all of them.

    • 12th February 2022 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Ann and thank you for that story! Oh yes, the consultants were very authoritarian and god-like.

      Mind you when a very junior doctor (a houseman) came on to a ward, they definitely were at the bottom of the hierarchy and I often saw a Sister and her deputy bossing them around a lot. Sisters were the top of the tree on their wards until, that is, Matron came along (very definitely a Supreme Being) and a Consultant – then they would bow and scrape!

  • 11th February 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Such an interesting post Penny. How things have changed, some for the better, some not. It led me to recall my experiences as a psychologist working in a psychiatric hospital in the 1970’s, Now most of them have closed but there were times when it recalled “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, Later on I moved to outpatient settings but practices there are very different now there as well, and even more changes since I retired. Generally less services to this population overall.
    My sister in law recently completed her training in nursing. My brother found the love of his life in his later years, and his wife is much younger. When my nephew became a teen ager she thought it was time to follow her dream. She loves the work itself but it has been difficult starting her career during covid. The worst thing has been abuse from her patients. They live in Florida, a very red state with a very pro ex idiot president governor. So many deny the seriousness of the pandemic and have become angry when told they have covid. And as she is Asian she gets abuse from this too. She had been lucky to get a day shift yet switched to nights as there would be less interaction with patients. My brother told me that there were times when she would come home and just isolate herself to cry.
    Sorry to have gone so dark. Back to fashion. I to am trying to buy less and as they say, shop my closet. Mostly I have been good lately, except for a pair of boots. That top is really special, different and with the memories attached.
    No flowers have started to bloom here in New York. At least the last day or so has been temperate enough for some walking. Always happy when a new post of yours appears.

    • 13th February 2022 at 12:41 pm

      Oh Darby, how interesting that your sister-in-law has just completed her training but awful to hear of the abuse directed at her. It happens here. And I see loonies are blockading the Canadian/US border – sigh. Apparently psychologists have said that once people believe these theories they cannot be persuaded otherwise – astonishing. We had an instance on a well-known TV programme,Question Time, of some fool arguing with a renowned immunologist. His ‘research’ was on a scrappy pieces of paper – the BBC shouldn’t have allowed him air time – although there’s always the freedom of speech argument. You and I and everyone else I know will always seek out the best and most trusted sources of information. I think social media has a lot to answer for.

      And of course, how interesting you worked in a psychiatric hospital in the 70s – so did I!!! Instead of going on to do midwifery I chose to do a second training in psychiatric nursing. Long story as to why – but very much about my experience of having a very depressed mother. Just as you’ve experienced there are now very few hospital beds – more’s the pity as people do need in an acute phase to be hospitalised. It’s all ‘care in the community’ – not!

      These are actually dark and dangerous times, so we do need the sanity of looking at what amuses us and that includes having nice clothes!

      Thanks Darby 😊

  • 11th February 2022 at 3:14 pm

    I had a good chuckle at your memories Penny, as my sister in law, who also nursed at the same time as you, tells us such stories too.

    • 13th February 2022 at 12:44 pm

      Good to know I’m not the only one that reminisces about nursing! And it’s not about it all being better, or even being the ‘best years of one’s life’ as I do remember that I was also growing up painfully at times!!!

      But nursing is a very demanding job and there are so many instances that stick in one’s mind – thanks for reading the post.

  • 11th February 2022 at 4:46 pm

    I bought a fine wool cardigan in a sale last month -short ones are so hard to come by – but otherwise no clothes for a couple of months. One look in the wardrobe sobers me if I ever think of it! Since clearing out some costume jewellery to go to charity shops I’ve been busy buying more for my collection (my excuse!).
    My sister was a nurse and midwife and although she trained in the 70’s I expect many of her experiences were like yours. She felt that it was a big mistake when SEN’s training ended. Her complaint about HCA’s was that they were trained to perform discrete tasks with no understanding of the whole picture of a patient’s care. It’s all very well taking temperatures and recording them but how useful is that unless a trained nurse is supervising. It’s interesting that although healthcare was supposed to be more becoming more holistic the actual delivery of it was being divided up into disparate parts. She did not support direct entry to midwifery (without nursing training first) because of the increasing complexity of the general health status of expectant mothers, especially those who were older or had co-morbidities. She left the profession early due to burn out, which was a great loss to her and to midwifery. Considering how much we need more nurses I was saddened to hear a young man speaking about his wish to train but he can’t afford to take another degree because he hasn’t finished paying for the first one. I think that those who want to do socially useful work should be trained entirely at public expense as long as they commit to work in that role for a minimum time of, say, 3-5 years.

    • 13th February 2022 at 3:04 pm

      Yes I nursed until the mid-70s when I expect your sister was nursing. Then gave up as my two children were born and never went back. Partly child care issues which were so difficult in those days and partly I knew I really wasn’t cut out to do it.

      The SENs were really well trained and good nurses in their own right, and the HCAs are doing brilliant work but need better training. And yes, direct entry to midwifery doesn’t make sense to me.

      I don’t say it was better in my day (!) but it sure was different and I see the old school nursing as being far more holistic than it is today because as a nurse you cared for the whole person and that included bed-pan duty. Actually you learnt a lot just doing the top ups of the water jugs and the clearing and cleaning of the bed-tables which I daresay a nurse today would be horrified to be asked to do – apologies if I’m wrong.

      I totally agree with you that those wishing to serve the public should be trained at the public’s expense. I thought it awfully stupid when they got rid of the nurses bursary. And I hope you don’t mind me saying that Brexit hasn’t helped with the current staffing situation and so many going back to their home countries because they feel so unwelcome here.

      I do hope nursing staff around the world feel appreciated as they are so exhausted and burnt out from this dratted pandemic. I wish them well and hope they know that we are so thankful. I bet your sister is glad she wasn’t nursing through it. I have to say though that the midwives who attended my daughter-in-law were marvellous to her and moreover they allowed my son to be with her over several days (she was slow to start and eventually had a caesarian). He couldn’t leave though and just stayed in her room, but he was so glad to be allowed to do that.

      Thanks Lynda

  • 11th February 2022 at 7:26 pm

    I have great respect for nurses. My sister was a nurse for more than 40 years (now retired). Most of her career was in the operating room, and she finished her career as the O.R. supervisor at a large, metropolitan hospital . . . a very stressful job. But she was really talented and hardworking in her nursing career. It’s something I never could have done. Btw, I like the shirt from France!

    • 13th February 2022 at 2:49 pm

      Congratulations to your sister for doing 40 years as a nurse. I gave it all up after 12 years. And somehow never went back – it was so hard int hose days getting the child-care. But if I’d really really wanted to maybe I would have. But actually I like the eclectic career I had of doing this and that and ending up as a freelance researcher – that’s when my writing began I think! Always enjoyed writing the report!

      Thanks re: the top – yes, it’s quite catching isn’t it the slogan – thanks Carol.

  • 11th February 2022 at 10:12 pm

    Cool top!

    Making better use of my closet has been a recent goal too.
    Covid, with the lack of event dressing has made me complacent.
    My clothes are probably wondering what happened to me in my absence.

    I would love to see a photo of you in your nursing outfit.
    Thanks for sharing memorable memories.

    • 13th February 2022 at 2:33 pm

      Oh I do love that, the clothes wondering where we are? That’s definitely what’s going on in my wardrobe!

      I searched through my photos and could find only one of me in nurses uniform. In contrast to now when we take photos all the time a photograph was often taken in a photographer’s studio or of an outside event so there are photos of me on holiday during those years but none on a ward. But I will put up that photo of me (looking like sombre pudding) on my next blog!

  • 11th February 2022 at 10:36 pm

    I trained at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in the early 1960’s and like you did my PTS Preliminary Training for 3 months. I remember one doctor tutor liked to make us feel uncomfortable, talking about corsets (and Rollons – remember them?) and how bad they were for the female body. It was the way he spoke to us, not the subject matter. We were so unworldly in those days! After PTS I did 3 months on days, mostly on bedpans and bed making and then 3 months on nights. I was put in charge of an ENT ward with visits by a senior nurse once or twice a night. I was told to look out for stenotic breathing and call for help if necessary. I did this once and was laughed at as the child was just snoring. Unfortunately when I arrived on duty the next night I was told the child had been rushed to surgery in the morning and I was extremely upset that I had missed this emergency. I was very young and unconfident and I felt so guilty – that was the end of my nursing career.

    • 13th February 2022 at 2:28 pm

      Oh no Jenny, so sorry to hear it was the end of your nursing career as it really doesn’t sound as though it was your fault. But oh yes, do I remember the terror of being left in charge of a ward, just for half an hour at first, then longer on nights.

      And thanks I’d forgotten that the 3-months initial training was called the PTS course. We were all so young and naive and oh yes, so vey unconfident. That’s why you just accepted what the Sister said as gospel and as for consultants, they were in another sphere! Hope that has changed.

      Thanks Jenny and yes, roll-ons!

  • 12th February 2022 at 1:54 am

    I really enjoyed the first episode of the Ben Wishaw series, will definitely stick with it, and will look out for the book!
    I am quite enjoying trigger point too but was shocked by the ending of episode 1. Have you watched The Tourist? That’s quite quirky, but with some shocking violence too. Loving the Green Planet and watched episode 1 of the Responder, but it seemed so grim not sure I can watch the rest!
    Highly recommend Belfast if you’ve nor seen it yet BTW.!

    • 13th February 2022 at 2:21 pm

      Yes, I will stick with This is Going to Hurt, and we’re quite liking Trigger Point. But one episode of The Responder was enough, I can only take so much reality! The Tourist is good too. Just finished two rather glossy American series on Now TV and am quite keen on finding something more down to earth. Might try Chloe on BBC iPlayer.

      Ah Belfast – I do so want to watch this and I aim to go back to the cinema at some point but cases are so high in Brighton am avoiding indoor stuff for now!

      Thanks Alison

  • 12th February 2022 at 4:26 am

    Hi Penny!……I loved, loved reading your nursing stories! You were blessed with tons of energy…perfect for the work you did. Thank you for your years of healthcare service! I feel so badly for our U.S. healthcare providers today. Trying to save lives and care for people yet treated with such rudeness and unreasonable demands. The CoVid stories are enough to scare away future healthcare providers!
    Today was a walk down memory lane for me, too! After eleven years of retirement from the classroom, I returned to speak to two classes of 7th and 8th graders regarding my family’s experience in the WWII Japanese American internment camps. My mother was 14 years old and my dad was 16. They were in different camps destined to meet after the war was over.
    I was able to use a short video that featured my sister’s observations and photos of our mother. I’m in a couple, too. My sister, Patti Workman, is on the Board of Directors of an historic Japanese garden in Northern California. This video was well done and only became available this week. I will post a link to the video here.


    PLEASE REMOVE if it is improper for me to post here!
    Good to hear from you! Love the top and its “politically correct slogan”!

    • 12th February 2022 at 4:29 am

      Oh dear, Penny! I did not realize a picture would appear from the link!!! Please feel free to remove my comment!!!
      SO SORRY!!!

      • 13th February 2022 at 12:57 pm

        Oh it’s a lovely video, I’ve watched the first 5 minutes and I have decided to watch this on our large screen television – we can sling shot things on to the screen via our Apple box. It’s so interesting – so is’s staying!

      • 13th February 2022 at 2:15 pm

        Oh, Charlene, I’ve just watched it on my big screen – what a wonderfully well done video. And I was so moved I felt quite teary. Partly the subject and partly because it was your sister speaking and then there was your mother and was that you? Was that you with your mother? I ask because Patti said, this is my mother with my sister.

        So very moved by it. Funnily enough, quite recently in the Guardian there was an article about internment here in the UK, and in Saturday’s Guardian there were three letters on this subject. Some of the German and Austrian internees were very badly treated – with some sent to Canada enduring terrible conditions. It is important to remember and honour these people. And to be constantly alert when similar situations arise.

        • 13th February 2022 at 4:27 pm

          You. Are. So. Dear. Penny!!! My heart is full this Sunday morning as I think of your kindred spirit across the globe.
          Yes, it was me. Twice. I appeared with my mother in the wooden rebuilt barrack (“This is much nicer than the original”) and I (w/large hat) appeared with my mother and sister at the threshold of the 15×15 room that my mother and her two parents lived in for three years. She will turn 95 this May. Sharp as a tack!
          After viewing this video, the approximately thirty-five 7th-8th graders, asked questions for 40 minutes. Can you believe it!? Then they wanted a photo!
          Hahaha…wanted you to know I think I was fashionably dressed with a sage-green pair of high-waisted cargo pants, white button up shirt, tan loafers. No…not thrifted 😟 but I felt so confident. Going to wear same outfit to church this morning!
          Blessings to you, Penny. ❤️

          • 14th February 2022 at 1:34 pm

            Ooohh myyyy…just read the Guardian article. Man’s inhumanity to man should not astound me. It is important for me to read articles such as these so that i see that it’s not just racial identity that causes division. It’s DIFFERENCE. Any difference.
            I try to remain engaged in mitigating these differences. It is my investment for my mixed race grandchildren. Yet, unfortunately, the foolishness of man will find some other divisive qualifier…like vaccinated vs. not.
            I’ve never read the entirety of John Donne’s work, No Man Is An Island, but the takeaway is the need for community. Yes, horizontal ties are important but so is the vertical. This is where I find my Hope.
            Thank you for this enriching conversation, Penny! Sending loads of appreciation through the internet.

    • 13th February 2022 at 1:05 pm

      This is all so interesting and important, Charlene, and I’m glad you are telling young people what happened. Great Britain during the time of the Second World War also interned many people including, would you believe it, refugees who had escaped the Nazis, some had dreadful experiences. Almost all those interned were totally innocent of any connection with the enemy. It’s altogether so important that we remember that our governments don’t always behave well. You are doing a very important service to the community – as are our wonderful healthcare providers. I think they’re very burnt out from their Covid experiences. I hope they know that the vast majority of people think they’re wonderful.

      Thanks Charlene and thanks for the link. See below at my comment – it’s staying and I aim to watch it on a bigger screen than my laptop!

      • 13th February 2022 at 4:34 pm

        I had no idea of the widespread use of internment during the war. HOW NAIVE!!!

  • 12th February 2022 at 4:33 am

    One of the things I love most about your blog, Penny, is that you write! I love looking at pictures, but I like to actually read a blog post. This was entertaining and informing. It’s so interesting to me to read about a different time and how things were done. That is scary about the surgeon losing his sight yet still operating…yikes!

    I have cut way back on my shopping, but have picked up a few things as they go on super sale.

    Have a fabulous weekend!


    • 13th February 2022 at 12:52 pm

      Oh Marsh – you’ve sussed me out. This blog is primarily set up so I can write. The writing gene runs in my family on my father’s side. I have an uncle who published, I kid you not, quite a spicy book, my dad wrote a 100,000s of words about his life in the pre-war Indian Army which I edited and eventually published. And my grandfather wrote a very lively account of the Boer War.

      I never had much time to write through my working life, but retirement has enabled me to develop what was actually always there – a desire to write. I do love retirement and have found it a very fulfilling time, especially writing my two blogs.

      Thanks so much, Marsha 😊

  • 13th February 2022 at 8:26 am

    It’s nice to hear more from your nursing life. I just spend a few days in the hospital so I certainly can tell you it’s totally different now. But they still have time for the patients and that is very nice, and important. Enjoy your Sunday in beautiful Brighton!

    • 13th February 2022 at 12:46 pm

      It’s a bit grey at the moment in Brighton. Yesterday was better and was quite sunny and very breezy!

      You take care Nancy, hope you get better soon x

  • 14th February 2022 at 3:11 pm

    Loved reading your reminiscences. We have just finished the series. I also read the book. It’s a long way from Call the Midwife! I’ll write about it in more detail in my favourites post at the end of the month. I enjoyed it, but it got me thinking that practically every time you see a medical drama, the junior doctors are bullied and humiliated by those above them and occasionally the nurses. It can’t be a fun environment in which to work. Did you notice how the private hospital nurses in the series had uniforms similar to what you wore?

    I am also buying fewer clothes at the moment, but to be honest it’s because I’m waiting for the spring drops. Unfortunately it means I’ve been buying more beauty products instead!

    Have a good week x

  • 14th February 2022 at 7:24 pm

    Your uniform sounds wonderful but the cap would have finished me off; I can’t sew! By the time I started my nursing in 1972 caps were made of starched cotton that buttoned together and were gradually replace by ones made of fine cardboard – but not in my time!

    I enjoyed your recollections and although I didn’t train as a general nurse but one for people with learning difficulties I, too, can cope with scenes of gore which I out down to my nursing career.

    I may follow your example of a no spend month for March…

Comments are closed.