Modelling and dentistry

RWH in the dentist's chair
Me in the dentist's chair proudly viewing my new dentures. The head of another patient can be seen immediately to the right of my head. A demonstrator is standing with hand on hip.
Why is going to the dentist like modelling for artists? There is of course the obvious similarity that you have to sit still. But another similarity appears if you are receiving your dental treatment at a school of dentistry - in my case King's College Dental Institute, Camberwell (highly recommended). You must be willing to be talked about quite impersonally. In the studio you are "the model" and when the tutor says, for example, "that leg is too thick", she is not criticising your body but criticising the student's representation of your leg.

Dentistry at King's is similar to an artists' studio in that you are in a large room with lots of people - sixteen dentist's chairs! In fact it feels reasonably private, the chairs are set pointing outwards from a central aisle and there is a low partition between each chair so you are scarcely aware of the other patients. Yes, here you are "the patient". The student who is actually treating you will discuss with another student who is assisting and they must summon a demonstrator, explain the proposed treatment and get approval.

I have definitely been one student's "project" she has been treating me for over a year. She has selected me for her clinical case presentation as part of her final exam. She has prepared an A2 size poster with all my details and before and after photos. On Monday, I have to take my teeth back to the hospital so that she can present them to two examiners, and answer searching questions about the treatment she selected.

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Holy Isle boathouse Our son George grew up as a normal secular person, into weight lifting and such like. He is also given to handing out advice whether the recipient wants it or not - I can't think where it gets that habit from! But it was a real surprise when he started giving me advice on breathing techniques for meditation. In fact he has joined up with Tibetan Buddhists and expressed the intention of becoming a Buddhist monk.
I am used to sitting still in a chair for an hour in a Quaker meeting but at the said meditation to which George had taken me, I surprised myself by sitting cross-legged with no back support for forty five minutes.


Hospital is bad for you!

It is ironic that you should not contemplate surgery unless you are completely fit and healthy. I went into hospital feeling fine and came out feeling like an old man.
I have been suffering for some time with what the doctors call a pharyngeal pouch but which Wikipedia calls Zenker's diverticulum (see picture). I went into St George's Hospital, Tooting to have it stapled shut under general anaesthetic. When I came to in the recovery room, I was told that the surgeon had had a very good look down my throat but could not "find a clean line" to staple. So I will have to go back to discuss an operation via an incision in the neck.
I am sure they told me in the recovery room that I could go home that day but the message did not reach the ward. Which was fortunate because about midnight I realised that I simply could not urinate. I called on the nurses in agony and they catheterised me. Given that I had been showing symptoms of enlarged prostate (BPH), this came as no surprise to the medics but a painful shock to me!
They said I would have to wear the catheter for a fortnight but when the appointment letter for its removal came, it was to be four weeks after insertion! Worst thing is we are in a heat wave and I am forced to wear trousers! The lifestyle section of the Wikipedia article says "decrease fluid intake before bedtime, moderate the consumption of alcohol and caffeine-containing products". Spooky - they must be thinking of me: I have been doing exactly these things so change is needed.    

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I saw something at the bottom of the hotel swimming pool, dived down and retrieved this curious thing. I could not think what it could be. The hand baggage x-ray operator at the airport spotted it, took it out of my bag and asked what it was. Fortunately it has the word Zoggs on it so I asked Google who soon revealed that its sole purpose in life is to be thrown into a swimming pool so that someone can dive down and retrieve it!
It is 19 cm long and made of soft plastic. It is hollow but there are three holes in the back so that it will flood. Even so it would be positively buoyant so there is a small piece of metal embeded in the foot. This also means that it will stand upright on the bottom making it easier to grab.
Inpiscinate? A group of school kids apparently with the encouragement of their teacher(!) added an article to Wikipedia defining "inpiscinate" as "to throw into a fishpond" [or swimming pool = piscina in several European languages]. They admited that they were trying to establish the word. We zapped the article speedily from Wiktionary at inpiscinate and from Wikipedia at inpiscinate, inpiscination and inspiscinate. But I have to admit that it does exactly fit this little creature: designed to be inpiscinated!


Bash the Bankers some more

In the 2008-2009 financial crisis bankers have come in for a lot of stick but those who appeared before Parliamentary and Congressional Select Committees were apparently not very repentant so let us bash the bankers some more! Specifically by lending money to people directly and cutting the bankers out altogether.

The current bank rate is at an all time low of 1% but Zopa is closing lending deals for me with rates as high as 12%! Zopa is true person-to-person lending. You set your interest rates and your money is chopped up into micro loans as small as £10.

If you have a couple of thousand pounds available to invest, try it! But be sure to go to Zopa via this link. I will get a kick-back if you sign up and I might kick some of it back to you!



PCO stickers

Pre-booked only PRIVATE HIRE

What are these stickers, currently to be seen on many cars in London reading "Pre-booked only" and "PRIVATE HIRE" (inside a blue version of the familiar London Underground bar and roundel logo)? They indicate that the cars are minicabs.

Regulation of the minicab trade in London was delayed for thirty or so years because the black cab trade, vociferously represented by the LTDA tried to pretend that minicabs did not exist. Eventually the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 was brought in. But the LTDA's influence was strong: Section 31 prohibits the use of the terms 'taxi' or 'cab'. In the next paragraph it allows (reluctantly one feels) the term 'minicab'.

Parliament had discussed the matter of signage on minicabs. One lady told the tale of a Japanese tourist refusing to get into a licenced hackney carriage because it was painted yellow. Another felt there should be no signs at all. It was left to the Secretary of State to make the regulations: Section 30 of the act.

The Secretary of State delegated regulation to the Public Carriage Office who had been regulating London cabs for 150 years. They decided that that this discrete disk about 12 cm in diameter was sufficient.

Congestion Charging was no problem - all minicabs are recorded in a database and they were automatically exempt.

It rankles heavily with the minicab trade that they are not allowed to use bus lanes like black cabs are nor were they allowed to even stop on a red route to set down or pick up passengers. On this latter point, Transport for London relented and agreed that minicabs should be allowed to stop. The question then arose: how do we identify minicabs.

Apparently the "discrete disk" was insufficient despite the fact that they are placed on the front and rear windows. Even more strangely, the database of registration numbers was apparently not available to the red route enforcers. So the slightly bigger and more prominent "Pre-booked only" sticker had to be added at front and rear.

Now they are actually allowing a modest amount of further signage, like showing the cab firm's name and phone number!

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The state of the roads - Croydon - update

Before TfL start moaning that I am maligning them, I will report that I drove along the Wickham Road today and was pleased to notice that at least three of the stumps I reported below now have new lamposts standing beside them.

Traffic lights in Coulsdon were faulty: 10055457. Were speedily fixed.

Possibly on the night time program only, the length of the green phase for vehicles emerging from Lion Green Road into the Brighton Road is ridiculously short - I have timed it at 6 or 8 seconds. 10056317

Junction of Brighton Road and Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon. A button appears to be stuck on these lights so that they are going into a pedestrian phase every few minutes. I reported this recently under ticket 10055457. It was speedily fixed but the fault seems to have come back. New ticket: 10056381.


The state of the roads - Croydon

This is the stump of a lampost which has been fatally injured in a road traffic accident and has been bandaged with yellow tape to prevent anyone getting near the electrics. On one short journey today from Croydon to West Wickham, I spotted no less than eight stumps like this. It turns out that they are on a red route and that responsibility for them rests with Transport for London (TfL).

Here are the locations:

  • Fairfield Roundabout - near the Fairfield Halls
  • Addiscombe Road - near junction with Elgin Road
  • Shirley Road - near entrance to Whitgift Trinity School
  • Wickham Road - outside No. 17
  • Wickham Road - diagonally opposite Shirley Library
  • Wickham Road - outside No. 395
  • Wickham Road - outside No. 421
  • Wickham Road - outside No. 590

You can all see what TfL are doing about it by going to their existing fault page and entering Reference 10050497 !


The state of the roads - İstanbul

My son George dragged me off to İstanbul for a few days recently. When I got back and showed my photos in the office, I took a lot of stick from Ulaş, our tame Turk about this picture. He complained that with all the wonderful sights and sites in the city, all I could do was photograph a pavement. This is in Sıraselviler Caddesi a reasonably main street in Beyoğlu in the centre of İstanbul. I say that a British road engineer would never allow pavements to get this bad because he would be afraid that someone would trip, injure themselves and sue the council for lots of money.

But to show Ulaş that I am even-handed, here is this example of lack of road maintenance right here in Croydon.

And here is an example from Algrve.


Farthing Way

Farthing Way
View on 2006 June 3 during construction of the bridge which takes Farthing Way beneath Smitham railway station. More details.

The stretch of new road which enables the A23 to avoid Coulsdon town centre has been named Farthing Way. The name seems particularly apt in that it suggests that the financial benefit the road has brought to the area is about one farthing! Certainly as far as the morning rush hour is concerned it has merely shifted the queues slightly.

Even the planners did not expect it to make much difference to traffic: instead of calling it a "bypass" or "relief road" which might have suggested faster movement, they called it the "Coulsdon Town Centre Improvement Scheme".

And as an improvement scheme, it has not exactly been hailed a success. The Deja New antique shop in a prominent location on the corner of Brighton Road and Lion Green Road closed, was speedily deleted and has stood as a building site for the last few months. But in other respects the effects seem to be neutral and that important measure of urban decay, the charity shop percentage (CSP) is probably still better than Purley.


PoSP 2006 walk down - stage management

Walk-down line-up
The Players of Saint Peter at St Clement, Eastcheap
Peter Evans has had a groupies blog created for him. I have given them links to the many photos of him on the web.



Thai Rory

Thai Rory or ThaiRory This guy, who calls himself ThaiRory, has just created a new myspace account and needs a bit of help to get Google to see him.

The people Rory used to work for have a jigsaw puzzle gallery at JigZone.com.



Piknik in Agdat 2000 One of Thai Rory's colleagues is Ulaş Kaplankıran (or Ulas Kaplankiran for Google's benefit), third from the left in this picture. Ulaş's brother is Barış Kaplankıran (Baris Kaplankiran). The project he works on for shifting the sewage from Istanbul has just won a prestigious award.



Curious bus in New Oxford Street

Koelnisch RM in London?!
Note the Koelnisch registration plate.


All my sites

The principal parts of my scattered web presence are:

Original site: RHaworth.net
General pages: RHaworth.me EditThis
Photo albums: fotopic multiply Photobox *
Pseudo blogs: Coal & Wine   Phreak PoSP (lists)
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Contributor to: geograph Wikipedia 
Domain names: RHaworth.com  RHaworth.me.uk

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You can contact me by e-mail to: W at RHaworth dot net

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