Searching for the Sweet Spot

First published in the NASGP Newsletter in December 2020 On family outings to the seaside I always looked longingly at the candy floss stalls. But my mother wouldn’t let me have any, even in exchange for my daily sweet ration of seven Smarties. When, eventually, I was in charge of my own pocket money and …

Getting the Early Bird Jab

18 December 2020 It was the oldest queue I’d ever seen. It made the queue outside the Wigmore Hall look like a youth club. We walked the seven kilometres to the vaccine distribution centre faster than we’d estimated and arrived 45 minutes before the appointment. Many of those in the queue outside the old brick …

How Do We Let Down the Drawbridge?

First published in the NASGP Newsletter in October 2020 A year ago, who could define social distancing? Now, we’re all aware, though even people in authority seem unsure of exactly what the distance is and when it matters. Last month we took a train to Dorset, our first venture outside London since March. All my …

Learning to Live with Masks

First published in the NASGP Newsletter in August 2020 Masks are going to be with us for a long time to come. We’d all better get used to them. Masks are uncomfortable, your glasses steam up, they muffle sounds and restrict facial expressions. It’s difficult to know if you are wearing them correctly. You can’t …

Beware the Old Normal

First published in the NASGP Newsletter in June 2020 What good has come from this unprecedented social experiment? And how do we preserve it? Last Friday, on my way to the pharmacy, a young woman, mask-less, was walking straight towards me, her eyes glued to her phone. Fortunately, one of us was alert.For me, she …

Our First Expedition

Published: 13 August 2020 More than anything, in lockdown we’ve missed travel. We don’t have a car and we’re wary of public transport. So, for five months we’d not been south of the Euston Road except on Sunday mornings to visit the farmers’ market. Then, last week, for a medical appointment, we walked down through …

Doctors under Siege

First published in the NASGP Newsletter in December, 2019 Bashar al Assad, President of Syria, Damascus, April 2011 In 2011, Hamza was a young Syrian doctor learning German in the hope of going abroad for specialist training. Then the civil war broke out and he opted to stay in Aleppo, operating in makeshift hospitals on …