Coming up

Wednesday April 23, 2008

Yesterday to the little old Bridgwater General Hospital for a full chest x-ray.  Like a blast from the past, this, with the x-ray department in a small side-building to the original small infirmary, almost buried under similar small side-buildings.  There had been a brave attempt to brighten the interior with a coat of pastel lilac wall paint and colourful posters on the wall warning of the dangers of x-rays while pregnant.  I wasn’t kept waiting too long before being ushered into the inner sanctum stuffed with radiological gear.  It’s a long, long time since I had an x-ray and I’d forgotten just how unnaturally cold the plate is when you have to stand resting your naked torso on it.

“Eeek!” I said.

“I know,” the nice young radiologist said.  “I’m sorry, but I did warn you. You’d be surprised how often I’ve heard similar complaints.  Not always so polite, though.”

“Not your fault,” I said. “I should have been ready.”

The shot was over in a second and I had to wait only a short time in my little cubicle to be smiled at and told that all was well.  “The Consultant will read your plate and report to your G.P. in about ten days.”

She’s not allowed to comment on the results, of course, but I reckon from her smile and body language and the length of time it’ll take before I get the results that there’s nothing wrong of an immediately apparent nature.  It is only a safety check to be sure that my obesity isn’t related to some internal failure.

And then, off into the sunshine to call Graham back from his Costa Coffee and to return home.

Graham in Bridgwater
Graham in Bridgwater

Then, this morning, I woke singing Land of Hope and Glory, and There’ll Always be an England, merry as the day is long.  It’s St George’s Day, you see.  I even dug around in my memory and found some fractured lyrical memories of Rose of England.  It’s not been fashionable to note that one is English, nor to celebrate our national saint’s day.  All of a sudden it is, and there were St George’s flags everywhere.

St George's flag; author and copyright unknown
St George’s flags everywhere

It was an odd day altogether, really, with trips to the Tanton garden centre and to the Bridgwater Royal Mail depot.  And sunshine. Sunshine all day once the early morning cloud had cleared.  Even now, and 18:15, its still sunny, and there’s some real heat in that sun.

“Hot,” said Graham, fresh from cutting the grass.

“Yes.  I have a feeling it’ll be a while now before we’re complaining of the cold.”

“Still hot.  You got any squash in the fridge?”

“I got apple juice, and apple squash.”

“Squash, please.”

“Coming up.”

And here I am, at the end of the day, still singing my Isn’t it good to be English songs. Wanna join in?

First, Land of Hope and Glory, sung by Kathleen Ferrier:

Second, There’ll Always be an England, sung by Vera Lynn:

And last, Rose of England. I can’t find a video file for it, nor even an audio one. It was a popular song from ‘Crest of a Wave’, by Ivor Novello. Everyone knew the words of the refrain when I was a kid:

Rose of England, thou shalt fade not here,
Proud and bright from rolling year to year.
Red shall thy petals be as rich wine untold
Shed by thy warriors who served thee of old.
Rose of England, breathing England’s air,
Flower of Chivalry beyond compare;
While hand and heart endure to cherish thy prime,
Thou shalt blossom to the end of Time.

Ah well. Here’s to freedom, to pride of place, and to the songs that say it for us.


14 responses to “Coming up

  1. This sounds like a pretty dumb question, but what does Graham mean by “squash”? The only squash I know (being from California) is a vegetable that I have hated since I was a child.

  2. That was going to be my question also. I know that “squash” is a veggie growing in my garden in Ohio – usually butternut and spaghetti are the types I will try to grow.

  3. What, no dragon hunts in honor of the patron ssaint? Or, and more likely I suppose, he managed to clear them all away all those years ago Nothing left now but harmless little lizards, alas. Oh, where has all the romance gone? No more fair maidens in dire need of rescue. No heroes brandishing swords. Ah, I remember them so well!

  4. Heh! ‘Squash’ is what we call a concentrated fruit juice for dilution with cold water, making an ice-cube-tingly refreshing drink. Not sure what you guys would call it?

  5. I never get to feel a cold plate as I have to wear a gown for chest xray’s. 🙂

    Off to opthmalogist so I can kiss an entry goodbye for today.

  6. I suspect, John, that what you call Squash we, without a romantic or interesting bone in our bodies, call Concentrate. Is Squash sold frozen, as our Concentrate usually is here?

  7. How sad that the “right thinkers” deem it wrong to be proud on ones country and heritage. After all England taught the rest of the world how to run a civilized country. I guess the PC idiots have as firm a grim on the UK as they do the USA.

    We call “squash” concentrate. Not too inventive but we know what we mean as do you.

  8. “Officially” in the US a “squash” would be an “ade” – as in lemonade, limeade, etc. After all, you have to “squash” the fruit to make an “ade.”

    It isn’t too common to use other fruits, like we do in Mexico where they are properly called “aguas” – agua de Limon, agua de fresa (strawberries), Agua de melon, and one of my favorites: agua de pipino (cucumbers, usually with a little added lime juice!).

  9. Vera Lynn has a great voice. With a few changes the song could be sung just as pridefully in the USA. Great lyrics.

    “I give you a toast, ladies and gentlemen.
    I give you a toast, ladies and gentlemen.
    May this fair dear land we love so well
    In dignity and freedom dwell.
    Though worlds may change and go awry
    While there is still one voice to cry

    There’ll always be an England
    While there’s a country lane,
    Wherever there’s a cottage small
    Beside a field of grain.
    There’ll always be an England
    While there’s a busy street,
    Wherever there’s a turning wheel,
    A million marching feet.

    Red, white and blue; what does it mean to you?
    Surely you’re proud, shout it aloud,
    “Britons, awake!”
    The empire too, we can depend on you.
    Freedom remains. These are the chains
    Nothing can break.

    There’ll always be an England,
    And England shall be free
    If England means as much to you
    As England means to me.”

    I am happy England is our mother country.

  10. Magnificent, John, just magnificent.

    I’m so glad that you (the plural you = England) are celebrating St. George’s Day. I had been reading news reports about various government types wanting to replace St. George because several hundred years ago some of the Crusaders had carried St. George’s flags and so Muslems might be upset if England didn’t drop St. George’s Day. (I suppose I should be relieved that we do not have a monopoly on political morons.)

  11. Ah yes, ‘concentrate’ here, or ‘ade’.

    Good to see you Mike. It’s been ages.

  12. Graham looks like he’s ready to get on a motorcycle and go kick some a$$.

  13. My goodness! Graham cuts quite a handsome figure in that photo.

  14. Rose of England should be our anthem sung at rugby matches.We lack something which all the other nations have and take great pride in. Also , as pointed out to me by a Scotsman, god save the queen is their anthem too. For the time being anyway!

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