Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't you love NHS?

It's been a while since I have offered any advice for anyone out there planning a move to London, so I thought I would share with you the unique pleasure that is registering with a London medical centre.

As it turned out, I hadn't yet had a chance to register with my local doctor since moving to the NW, due mainly to working 12 hours a day and general procrastination on my part! So when I got sick this week and needed to see a doctor I was faced with the joy of having to register and also make an appointment to see a doctor. So on Wednesday (after having to knock on my bosses bedroom door to tell them I couldn't work that see, I start work before they even wake up!), I made my way to the doctor (once again wishing I had a car!) to register. I waited in the queue for possibly 10 minutes before one of the four receptionists managed to look up from their desks and was given forms to fill in.

I returned the completed forms to the desk and was told to then complete a medical check at their Interactive Patient Pod, a DIY blood pressure / heart rate / weight check touch-screen-thingy. At this point, with my head all blocked up, struggling to breathe properly and feeling like I had been hit by a bus, I asked if someone could possibly show me how to use it, as I have never even come across one of these before. The receptionist barely looked up at me and said, "It's very easy to use" and returned to her computer (sorry to interrupt your Solitaire!).

The Interactive Patient Pod, located, helpfully, in the main waiting room in full view of every other person there, was not easy to use and took a further 15 minutes...and I still hadn't gotten anywhere near a doctor. Once all this was finally done, over an hour later, I was registered with the doctor. Hooray! Now to make my appointment...

Yeah, uh huh! Turns out you can't make an appointment until they have had a chance to check your details with your former doctor and anyway, they didn't have any appointments until at least Friday!

So, after stopping at the chemist for all the drugs they could give me, I jumped on the bus home, where I had the time to remember my previous life in a land that made sense (aka Australia!), where if you were sick you just went to the nearest doctor who would give you the drugs you needed no matter where you lived. Fair enough, you had to pay for it, but here where the NHS generously provides free medical care (well, doctors appointments at least!), they certainly make you pay in so many other ways.

So my advice to you who are planning the move to London, don't be like me and put off registering with your local doctor. But the best bit of advice I could give you is not to get sick in the first place!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Can it be?? Could Spring finally be here?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Great London Tube Adventure

On Saturday, I met up with my friend Hannah and the kids I used to look after in the city for what L, aged 7, christened The Great London Tube Adventure. Our first destination was Tooting Bec on the Northern Line. I have wanted to visit this station that shares my name since I moved to London, and here I am:

From there, we headed to London Bridge and the Borough Markets, where you can buy THE best cookies in the world and had lunch at Southwark Cathedral.

From the Markets, it was back on the tube, this time the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf, to catch the DLR to Greenwich.

The sun was shining all day so we had a wander through the park and the kids played in the playground there. The next plan was to walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel under the Thames, but time was running out so we'll have to save that for another day. Back on the DLR, this time to Bow Church, then we caught the Hammersmith & City Line from Bow Road to Tower Hill. Time for a quick play on the tiny playground that the kids love right opposite the Tower of London, then back home on the District Line.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

This is Canary Wharf. Part of Saturday's Great Tube Adventure. Stay tuned for more.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

OK, OK. I know I said I would write more often and once again, it's been another three weeks since my last post.

There is no excuse for me!

Anyway, I had an awesome weekend, actually making it out of the house on a Saturday night for dinner with friends at the O2. As a nanny, I work probably three out of four Saturday nights a month, so it's a rare treat.

Even on Sunday, after church, as the sun was shining (nowhere near warm enough though!), I spend the afternoon sipping green tea in Starbucks, followed by chinese for dinner and Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau in great company.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I've had a proper weekend.