These hands

The other night I was propped up in bed, playing one last game of Mahjong before turning off the lights, when my eye was caught by the one redeeming feature of my whole being … my left index fingernail. Truly, I should insure that little beauty! But then, in that weird way our brains have of darting to another subject entirely, I was taken back to the mid-1950s, without benefit of a time machine.

I was reminded of an experience during my period of training to be a nurse and how we were often thrown into the deep end of the swimming pool without benefit of the lessons which would enable us to swim, or a life vest in the form of a more qualified person to supervise and help us.

The scene was the public medical ward, and one of my patients had a tracheostomy. For those of you who may not know, that is where they’ve had a hole cut into their trachea (the tube in their throat that carries air into and out of the lungs), with a tube inserted into that hole, as a temporary passage for air flow. I can’t recall why the patient had a tracheostomy, but he couldn’t breathe normally through his nose (or mouth). 


The pieces looked a lot like the image above. The care of a patient with this in place included keeping the tube free of mucus, hence, a lot of suctioning took place. This carried the risk of introducing infection into the lower respiratory tract, and that alone was a worrying thought to a student in her first year. But what my brain had dredged up for my pre-sleep entertainment was the absolute terror of having to change that tube. 

I will go into some detail, to share the experience with you! The new, sterile tube was all ready at the bedside, with tapes in the slots on either side of the tube, their purpose was to hold the tube in place. Then, the area surrounding the hole in the patient’s neck was cleansed, and the old tapes cut. With freshly washed hands, the old tube was removed and  the new one inserted. Sounds easy, eh? I can still recall how my hands shook as I undertook this procedure. What if the trachea collapsed when I took the tube out? What if I couldn’t get the new one in? What if I somehow damaged the trachea? What if I fainted! It seems that both the patient and I survived, but I wonder if it was as traumatic for that patient as it was for me. 

And here I am, 2 and 1/2 years later, ready to unleash my nursing skills onto an unknowing populace!


People sometimes criticise the University based courses for nurses, but the old method wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. I’m sure many of my classmates would have gone through one or more experiences that left them shaking. We did learn to become quite self-sufficient, anyhow!



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Well, I never!

A not-so-idle remark from an inquisitive friend (thanks, Bert) led me on an interesting chase through Google.

Bert asked about the words that were visible on the pink cape of my previous post, the subject of which I had attributed to Clet. How wrong I was!

Here is the image from that post.

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After enlarging the image, I could discern that the words were yipiyipiyeah. A search for this revealed that Clet probably had nothing to do with this alteration of a street sign. It’s another artist (or a group thereof) from Madrid!

To quote their website (translation from Spanish by Signor Google) “The collective Yipi Yipi Yeah has painted the traffic signals of the capital in a vindictive and ironic gesture.” Vindictive makes it sound rather edgy, doesn’t it?

There are numerous examples of their work on this site:  yipi

Do yourself a favour, and have a look at the site, if you’re at all interested in being vindictive or ironic. There seem to be hundreds of Yipi Yipi Yeah’s works, so if you visit Madrid, you should be able to spot at least a few of them. I wonder what the authorities in Madrid think of all of this?

This one appealed to me, for some reason.



And, here is the Madrid version of the one I saw in Naples.




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We haven’t seen much from Clet* lately

So, I’m about to remedy that.

I spotted this in Naples. You can bet your bottom dollar I won’t be able to find it again.

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* Clet is an artist who lives in Florence. He uses removable stickers to alter traffic signs into whimsical statements. I like Clet. 🙂



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Someone left the irony on

I was taught to share, and I’ll happily do that, with another winner from BoB!

bluebird of bitterness

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It really gets my goat!

“I travelled 3500 km through some really tough conditions, just  to feature on some dumb blog?”


A plaintive and prolonged baaaa drew me to the rear of this ute*, parked on the main street of Myrtleford. The ute sported Western Australia licence plates. That’s a very long way from sunny downtown Myrtleford, trust me. Just take a look at this map:

I wouldn’t want to be the one who made that trip chained up in the back of this vehicle. Perhaps it gets to ride up front when they’re not parked somewhere? I do hope so. I hung around for a while, hoping to talk to the owner, but he/she didn’t turn up. I hope this cute little critter doesn’t have too many more kilometers to travel.


*ute: this is the abbreviation for “utility”, a vehicle with a tray back. If you don’t know what a tray back is, you must be a city slicker!




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It’s a jungle out there

And now for something completely different!

Thank you, BoB.

bluebird of bitterness

Sid was a petty criminal who’d had many run-ins with the law. He needed a job, but because of his record, no one wanted to hire him. Then a pal tipped him off that the local zoo was hiring, and that they had a good record of hiring people in Sid’s situation, so he went to check it out.

The zookeeper told Sid that he needed someone to impersonate a gorilla. “Our gorilla was our main attraction,” the zookeeper said. “But it died a few days ago, and it will be months before we can get another one. All you’d have to do is wear this gorilla suit and eat bananas and keep the visitors entertained.”

The job sounded easy, and the pay wasn’t bad, so Sid agreed. He put on the costume and did his best to act like a gorilla, beating his chest and climbing trees and swinging…

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Let’s get cereus *

I was very excited to see that one of the blossoms on the cactus (in the previous post  cactus) had left behind a little fruit, after the blossom had withered and fallen off. I had visions of savouring the fruits of my own labour. Well, I know the cactus does all the work, but let’s not get all technical, okay?


Imagine my distress when I went out next morning, to find the fruit had dropped off. This self sufficiency isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

There are a few more blossoms appearing, maybe one of them will be fertilized and having more tenacity in its being. Keep me in your thoughts and … well, thoughts will do.


* When I thought of the title, I was hoping very hard that the pronunciation of  cereus would be what I wanted.  And it was! Click on this link cereus  to hear how it is said.

And, to make my cup further runneth over, consensus has it that this cactus does indeed dwell within the cereus family. 2018 is off to a good start. 



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