Wednesday, January 27, 2010

News Stories...

Here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8480656.stm) it says that NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in the UK, is recommending that all adults entering hospital should be checked for their risk of acquiring deep vein thrombosis during their stay. Well, er congratulations! When I was in hospital in Germany last year, twice, those anti DVT stockings were thrown on as soon as I went into the operating theatre, and I was not allowed to take them off till I left (the second time I did take them off a day or two earlier, but I was walking around a lot by that time). Also I got a daily injection to prvent DVT, as did certainly everyone who had an operation. Don't know about medical patients - I was not on that kind of ward - but it seems rather an easy way of dealing with this. The stockings may be expensive to buy, but they do last a long time (and can be washed and kept in the hospital for the next patient).

The other story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8482068.stm) says that the President of Haiti is planning to move into a tent on his lawn, since his house was destroyed in the earthquake. One asks oneself a) where did he stay until now, and b) how bulletproof is a tent?


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Botswana update...

My readers may be a little disappointed that I blog much less, currently, in Botswana. There are two reasons for this:

1) I work for an international organization and it is not appropriate to discuss political events in the country.

2) Nothing much really happens here!

Couple of little vignettes:

Yesterday I went to the pharmacy to buy some syringes for my injections. At the check-out desk I noticed that there were no needles. No needles? They told me I had to buy those separately..... Apparently they sell the syringes needless for giving medicines, I suppose to infants. Seems reasonable enough. I then had a choice of needles; so I could actually have bought smaller syringes as long as I get the right size of needles. (The needles on the rather dinky diabetes syringes are too short to get my stuff out of the ampoule....).

Today, on my first long weekend here, I thought I might do some baking (plums are on the market just now, and plum cake is never a bad thing to have around the house, even without cream). Put half a pound of butter on the worktop, and carried on doing what I do most of the time, procrastinating over studying and playing computer games....Later in the afternoon I saw the packet lying in a pool of liquid. Had the kettle broken and leaked over the worktop? As I picked up the packet I realised what had happened - the butter had totally melted! Now I realise why on butter packets in some countries it says that butter contains about 80% of fat; the rest is that milky stuff that is in butter. Kind of home-made ghee, maybe? But perhaps not from the worktop!


Friday, January 01, 2010

Oh Boy, Musika Humaaaaana

New Year's Eve, the Filharmonija puts on lots of concerts, lots and lots of them, and they are all sold out well before December. But....not only did I get a standing room ticket for the Musica Humana Concert in the Lutheran Church last night, in the end I ended up in the same seat, at the end of the front row, in which I always sit! Couldn't ask for more...

The Musica Humana was in fine fettle, as was the conductor, true to his rather large-ego self. There were encores in the middle of the concert, added pieces thrown in elsewhere - I, and many others, fled after 1 hour and 45 minutes sat on hard, cold church pews, before he launched into further encores.

The music was Bach and Vivaldi; well-known pieces, including 'sheep may safely graze' (did Bach really write the bass part pizzicato? that makes it sound rather cheesy), arias, a motet, concertos, a symphony by Vivaldi.... They played their usual selves well. The soloist, Julija Stupnianek had a rather unfortunate wide vibrato which does not really go with Bach (I tried to imagine 'sheep may safely graze' sung by a boy soprano, and failed) - the wobble was such that she almost doubled the syllables in the words. Shame, she does have a nice voice.

The final piece, Vivaldi's concerto for two orchestras and two organs, was rather over-ambitious. The other orchestra was sat up beside the 'real' big organ, and in the second movement, where they had an echo function, we all were at the edge of our seats, waiting, and waiting, for the echo. Also they sounded rather rough, it has to be said - though I know it was not an amateur orchestra. Quite unnecessary for the main orchestra leader, who himself sounded rather thin on his solos, to shout bravo to the other band before the applause started.

There was another piece where the flute doubled the oboe, making the combined sound rather screechy; never mind the moment when a cellist went for it, with gusto, but too early, much to general giggles. Overall, though, it was a pleasant enough concert, but it would be nice if the Musica Humana just plays what is on the programme, and once only. Then again, pigs might fly!