In Praise of a Bombay Badboy ~ A Guest Blog by Mr Brown

I’m not a fussy person. I tend to get on with things. Not wanting to make a fuss. It would appear, however, that I have a sort of mental ‘Room 101’ residing in my head. If the world could hear my thoughts, I think I would be banished to a small, undeveloped desert island. Population of 1. Me.

One thing I do very well is worry. I’m one of life’s habitual, perpetual, unashamed worriers. I can’t quite tell you when it came on, it’s just always been there. When I was at school it revolved around Friday spelling tests and being late. Both of these have remained with me into adult life. Thank God that Bill Gates got together with some other like-minded individuals and invented an automatic spell checker. Without which, yuu wood stugl to make aani sens of this. (See what I did there)

Lateness is another one of my pet hates, I really can’t stand it. Lateness in any form tells me one of two things. One, you are disorganised and live in a chaotic world so unpredictable you struggle to factor in simple things like ‘travel time’, ‘traffic’, ‘telephone calls’, ‘dressing oneself’ or even ‘applying makeup’. Any of which could derail a secured meeting time by at least half an hour. The second is that you simply don’t care enough.

Other things I don’t like include complicated coffee. I make great pains to order a white coffee in any coffee shop that will have me. If my request is met with complicated embellishments, I order tea. English breakfast tea for one. As for needing my name, I have no idea why. If I was planning on running from the shop, completing a half marathon and then returning, I’d leave a name and possibly reheating instructions. Oh, and an approximate time. I’d hate to be late and keep them waiting.

Hospitals also used to be on my hit list. How many times do people say ‘they hate hospitals’? I used to say the same thing. Hospitals, awful places. Needless to say, I’ve changed my opinion.  Hospital buildings appear cold, austere almost soulless in the way their erect frames dominate the skyline. I remember visiting hospitals when I was younger. Often because an elderly relative had been taken ill. I rarely, if ever had to visit a youngster. A child.

You see hospitals are for the old, the infirm. They aren’t really designed for children. But look beyond the walls and you see true miracles. Miracles being performed in an almost perfunctory manner. Not by superheroes, but by normal folk. With normal names like ‘Jane’, ‘Martin’ and ‘Jo’. They go about their everyday business with calmness, respect and passion. A passion to make a difference to young people’s lives. To all our lives.
Without these heroes, hundreds of children and hundreds more parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties and friends, would be staring into the abyss alone. Unsure about what to do next. What might or might not happen to their loved one.

If ever you find yourself complaining about the surgery running late, or the appointment needing cancelling, it doesn’t change the fact that the people who work in the NHS are my heroes. They have saved my son, on more than one occasion. They were there when all my children came into the world. They will be there for you when you need them. So don’t worry. They are ace.

I guess the title of this blog appears slightly detached from the content so far, but bear with me for just a little longer. Pot Noodles are oddly one of my guilty little pleasures in life. Simple, satisfying, warming and easy to make. It’s also fantastic how little washing up is created. I have lost count of the number and variety of these humble noodles in a cup I’ve consumed while being in hospital. It’s possible that I have consumed my own body weight in these salty, powdery treats. That’s quite a sobering thought.

From this point on I shall always associate Southampton hospital and Pot Noodles. You see, they provided a momentary respite from the ward. A time to wander to the family room, flick the kettle on and sit. They provide instant warmth. A moment of normality in a less than normal world, where blood counts and lumber punctures are the norm. The humble pot gives up its flavour, its sustenance by design, to fill that gap. To fill both your time and your stomach. It provides a connectivity between you and the other parents who sit, drained, almost motionless over their microwave meals for one. They often signified the end of a long day. Preceding a fractious night of broken sleep and piss pots. But for those 5 minutes, I felt comfort.

To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend making them part of your next diet plan. Otherwise, you too could end up on a ward. Psychologically they were delicious. Nutritionally, questionable. It’s funny what you associate with different times in your life. I’m already thinking about which one to celebrate with when Felix gets the all clear in a little over 18 months. Maybe just one more ‘Bombay Badboy’, or I could go all traditional with a ‘Beef and Tomato’. Or then again maybe a just a tea. Decisions, decisions. Mr B.

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