Phfaffin’ About 

On Monday morning get to work and get to meet my new boss.

“Hiya you must be the new locum *my name*”

“No my name is John” I replied in my deadpan tone peering into her eyes as she scanned my face and processed my answer. 

“Yeah you’re a jokah.” She replied laughing. She was showing someone new around. I think she may be a student just starting out her training. A lot of times people train on the job here slowly moving up the rungs as they gain experience and knowledge of the job. They are lower bands and their light blue collars indicate their position in the department and throughout the hospital. This person didn’t have a uniform yet so she won’t be performing any clinical tasks. 

I had a chance to talk about nuclear medicine with the new trainee for a bit. She remarked that I knew the physics pretty well. It’s just a difference in training isn’t it. Although many of those here had some kind of formal training. There is however a difference between everyone here in what they are and aren’t allowed to do. It was a busy day and I only had a few chats with my new boss. There are some formalities to sort out. The company that is responsible for managing my hours so that I can get paid is phfaffing about because of my name. They are very particular. But I’ve had experience with them before. This sort of thing was expected. 

It was one of those days where catching up and being on time was next to impossible. I left after my finishing time but only by a few minutes. On the bus ride back to the station I formulated my plan to walk the next day from the hospital to the station. The bus ride isn’t that long. I scanned the area for geographical markers that can help indicate where I should be going. The bus takes a road that kind of follows a ridge around a hill. The road is mostly downhill from the hospital. 

There was one of those photobooths at Stafford station. I fiddled around with it for a few minutes. In order for me to buy a weekly train pass I need a photo that will be used for the ID needed to buy the damn pass. This one isn’t working. I felt kinda dumb since it took me so long to figure out that it isn’t working. On my way to the flat I stopped at one of the super shops around me. The photo department was closed. There was a big sign apologizing for my inconvenience. I’ll visit the other super shop tomorrow to see if I have any more luck. 

At the flat I eat one of my pre made dinners and write and then phfaff around for a bit before heading to bed. I would like to get a good nights rest but my neighbor made noise and woke me up at the worst time. The walls are made of something just slightly thicker than wall paper it seems. No matter sleep will come over me again and it did. 

There is a chill in the air in the morning. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy a tiny space heater for myself as suggested by my loud flatmate with whom I had a chance to have a conversation with. I never mentioned his loudness but I played the passive agressive game of being slightly louder this morning. No phfaffing about there isn’t much time in the early hours. 

The journey was quick in the morning. The coldness made me wide awake in the crispness of the early morning. The 0659 was cancelled due to a fault with the train. Good thing I could catch the 0655. The bus was just pulling up on the other side at Stoke and I was at the hospital more than an hour early. Should I just be writing? What is going on in he world? I seemed to have forgotten that there is an outside world out there. There isn’t much time to consider it. There was the customary perusal through the Metro. It was a mixture of salacious news about a footballer grooming a young girl and his hot girlfriend standing by him. They have a kid together. There was some controversy with a joke at the BAFTAs. The questions about a football game and the fall of a storied team this season. Politicians acting funny as always. There was an imposition of a contract on junior doctors. Problems in the banking industry and the implications of a brexit. People are on their way to work the hospital has its staff coming in to work the cafeteria doesn’t open until 0800 and these guys working there are quite precise with this time. I’m becoming just as precise with my work time. 

The day again had elements of getting out of hand w.r.t. time management. There are so many t’s that have to be crossed before something can be moved forward. There is not a lot of time in the day and these small delays add up. At least I’m busy this would be a lot worse if there wasn’t enough work to go around. 

  
I made sure that at precisely 1630 I was out the door. I was determined to walk to the station and according to the app it was going to take 37 minutes. The challenge is to make it to the station in time for the 1728 to Stafford. No need to phfaff about just get on with it. Geographically this city is far from a grid. All the roads follow the outline of the hill that straddles the centre of the city. A direct route is not possible as a cemetery lies directly in my way. No worry though as the roads connect and there are only a few ways that can lead me directly to the station. A big motorway, a river and the train tracks themselves lie in my way towards the end of my journey. There are only a few ways whereby I can traverse these obstacles. My pace was quite quick at some points. This was in order to see how quickly I could get to the station when necessary. In order to accurately determine my progress through the city I tracked it with an app. When I reached the station I realized that I beat the time that the other app expected it to take and I had plenty of time to get on the 1706 back to Stafford!

  
Once in Stafford I visited the other super shop the one that is slightly out of my way but it seems to have a better selection of stuff and it had a photo booth necessary for me to get the photos that I need for the weekly pass. This made me kinda happy and once in my flat I noticed that housekeeping cleaned up the place a little making my bed and emptying the trash. The kitchen looked a bit better with all the dishes put away but the caked in pot with the rice was still in its sorry state. One of my flatmates showed up with his meal as I was eating mine. We chatted for a while and he was impressed that I do Nuclear Medicine. 

  
Back in my room time seemed to slip away as I tried to call my family at home and then got distracted by reading. One article in particular seemed to hit home as it talked about the challenges facing my homeland. I’ve had many discussions with one of my aunts regarding just this topic. The trouble with conspiracy is that there is always an element of truth within it but the motivation behind them is usually ideological and not malevolent as implied. The powers that be are in a position of control because they have financial control and it is easy for them to pull the strings in their favor. They are however subject to the same rules that helped set up and the turmoil that hits the markets is taken advantage by those who still have chips to invest. We common folk barely scrape by weather the times are good or bad. Follow the money they say and it will lead you to the answers. In the current trickle down economy the money trickles down the cone to the privilidged and not the base. This will cause an imbalance toppling the whole structure down. 

  
My thinking has turned towards rest and organization. Rest for my physical being and organization of not only my immediate surroundings but life in general. This travel business to and from work is a bit of a waste of time but at the same time it’s very convenient in that I didn’t have to work hard to find it. It was found for me. Still it would be nice to avoid the travel. The travel isn’t that bad but the timing could be better with respect to the timing especially in the morning. I need to get a few months of work behind me before I think of changing jobs. The pay here is good and the cost of living is low so I would have to think carefully… It is a good department though. 

  
This morning is the beginning of hump day. The middle of the week. My eyes opened early and I even wrote down the dream I had. I noticed that I didn’t set my alarm to go off today. Good thing my biological clock is ticking away at the right pace. Since I was up I figured I’d get to the station early and get that photo ID pass that I’ve been phfaffing about getting. I got the pictures done yesterday. It took two tries and I only had one left. 

The day went by smoothly performing a lot of repetitive scans. Like clockwork they rolled by on the table and I even had time to help my colleagues out since their day was moving slowly. Their cases were a bit more involved due to all the manual handling they had to do. 

  
Outside it’s cold and miserable. The rain is falling in spurts and each raindrop feels cold when it hits my head. The hood is quick to be pulled over my head. Im still happy with this jacket. I’m glad I made the effort to get it all those months ago in Vancouver. If I remember correctly it was on offer and I was concerned about the size. The outer layer wicks water like a duck not absorbing any of it and it is really wind proof. It offers me plenty of protection against the elements that I’m faced with. 

  
The journey back after work was quick on a packed train. I made the early train just barely. The bus sometimes takes a while to get to the stop where others congregate with me. The daily trudgery is part of settling into what I am doing here. I watch the daily sterling fluctuation and noticed that it fell quite a bit lately or maybe it’s the rise of the Canadian dollar that is at play here. Nevertheless I need to move forward with my plan. First though after getting off the train I stopped into the super shop to get that space heater. As I perused the aisles looking for it I noticed that they were selling chin up bars for three seventy-five! I can’t pass up this deal especially since I was eyeing one before. The space heater was eight quid. A tiny Bluetooth speaker sixteen quid. This is probably as much as I am going to buy in order to keep myself comfortable. I would like to keep myself as portable as possible. I would like to keep my possessions to the bare minimum for the duration of my stay here in the UK. 

Looking around my room I think I have all that I need right now. The heater is doing its job and even though the whole place is dated I’m satisfied. When I was eating my dinner I had a chance to chat with the other flatmate. He’s a bit younger than the other one I chatted with yesterday. He sees what’s happened to the hospital here in Stafford. Over the past couple of years the services provided here have moved away to Stoke the shiny new hospital that the NHS is operating there. He has told me about some of the troubles as services are slowly wound down here. The promise of keeping a full service hospital here are evaporating. 

Well it’s time to quit phfaffing about and post this. 

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