Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Sizes in French and England


Something I've found really surprising since France is how the size of the populations differs. The English are significantly and obviously larger than the French. Obviously I haven't done a study into this or anything and I was only in one part of France but simply considering that the two areas are so close, have similar agriculture, similar levels of poverty and similar populations (I think) do make it surprising that I've so clearly noticed a difference in body size. Its 'easy' for me, I've inherited the skinny gene (allowing me to wear skinny jeans.......
 terrible joke I know!) and I've often defended obesity due to poverty, in Hartlepool and England it is often a sign of poverty - its a lot cheaper to live, eating fast, fatty foods and for a lot of people it isn't really a choice. Where I stayed in Rennes isn't a posh area however, I believe its very comparable to Hartlepool but the fast, fatty food isn't the cheap stuff, people aren't always eating, their lives don't seem to revolve so much around foods. Cycling and walking is more prevalent there, the roads are safer and planned for cyclists.... We've become accustomed to seeing people of a certain size here in England - and its not a healthy size, I'm biased but being overweight carries significant health consequences - I can't stress that enough and with that comes massive additional costs, to many aspects of the NHS - a company struggling tremendously already. I think a lot of the 'issue' is an attitude one, everyone knows the French have amazing, delicious food - I ate fabulously there. We didn't have tea breaks with biscuits every few hours, we ate a lot of bread - the fast food there. The hospital diet in France wasn't chips and there was fish a few times every week, the patients ate the fruit provided and puddings were fruit compote. The patients didn't have sweets and chocolates from their families piled up - their attitude to foods is very different... Do I think the UK Government are doing enough? Just something to think about... or I suppose maybe they're all just thin because they smoke a lot more...

#60 - Monday 11th


I heard on the news last night was a 'super moon', larger and brighter and just by chance I was struck by the brightness of the moon last night, super!

knitting the arms together... accidentally!

Tom to work and some time to feed the crochet obsession - one 'sock' made! Spent the morning as a housewife in training, I did a little hoovering/ironing/cleaning/tidying/washing... (hope you're reading this Mum!). I also watched a day long special of Homes Under the Hammer - who knew that was such a great programme. Jeremy Kyle however has reached new lows, don't get me started!

Early lunch and I tried to suggest an afternoon out to the girls... well there was some lack of enthusiasm to say the least! Kat and I returned to Teeside park, stopping in Hobby Craft for yet more wool.... and a visit to Morrison's to get some ingredients for a vegan chocolate raspberry cake. Realized I still wasn't completely readjusted to normal life after Orkney, Morrisons was far too crowded and it all got a bit much for me.

Sunday dinner (chicken, roasties, roast parsnips and carrots, some pretty out-of-date curly kale, broccoli, mash and some questionable gravy, veggie pie for me!) Delicious if I do say so myself... team effort really with me disappearing for a while to get Tom...

Corinne popped around, with some beautiful bright flowers - lovely to see her for a cuppa tea.... forgot the cocoa powder for the cake.... and forgot I'd promised to take Tom to footy! Whoops, home and time for bath and baking... but Kevin Macloud and Grand designs were calling instead.... Kat and I sat knitting & crocheting again! Green hat for Dave finished and Kat's made two monkey arms, a banana, and a leg - how she does it I don't know! Time for some crackers and cheese before bed....

#58 - Saturday 9th

only photographs taken today were by K, sorry Gran!

I think I'll try and continue my blog for a few weeks at least and might even keep up a couple of posts a week while in my fifth year at university... I think the blog of a final year medical student might be quite entertaining...

Breakfast... thankfully Gran found some vegetarian strawberries for breakfast - what do vegetarians eat for breakfast? Lazy morning, caught up on the great British bake off and spoke to Dad's family. Lovely morning with all the girls in the family. Lunch, Aunty G arriving just in time for Gran's chips... still veggie!

Home early afternoon and after a few hours unpacked... washing started, all spoke to M&D... Kat and I tootled off to Tesco, really struggling at first, circling aimlessly! Spicy 'Meatball' (Quorn) pasta.... with the craziest pasta (it looked like we were cooking an octopus!) Spoke to Sarah down in Cornwall - so nice to catch up with her - it feels like its been ages... in South Africa she's been cage shark diving, doing art with the locals - sounds amazing. I spent the evening sticking lots of bits into my scrapbook and fell fast asleep - two months of traveling has certainly caught up with me! (Waking up to my parents texting at 2am... )

#59 - Sunday 10th


What an English Sunday... Aunty B and I set off exploring to Teeside park, Marks & Sparks fruit only. People weren't so accommodating with the wheelchair which was a little annoying but we managed to balance skyscraper high fruit boxes and a baguette.. back to the car before half eleven ("not doing too bad.."). Typical Acey speed shopping! Had a slight not-driving-so great moment, but Aunty B was adamant he snook up too quick... Through the pouring rain we drove to Seaton for fish and chips, the weather was so bad, Aunty B couldn't see the sea - about ten metres away and she couldn't believe the price, £22 for all five of us. 

Did you know what a dogs dinner is? Hartlepool 'delicacy' I imagine... chips, peas, gravy and curry sauce - not sure I'll try that anytime soon. We needed a sweet, hence the trip to M&S and we finished the meal with apple pie and custard. We didn't/couldn't move for a while! We looked at some of M&D's Canada photos and Aunty B announced she was happy to go home....

Quiche for tea and Kat and I caught up on some 'interesting' TV, a floating home design with dragon's mouth entrance, tennis ball 'massage' bed... and then child genius final! How they were expected to spell medical words I don't know - I ought to be able to, and I hadn't a clue! Kathryn knitting and I crocheting, lovely relaxing Sunday evening....

Sunday, 10 August 2014

#57 - Vendredi 8th


(to return)

p.s. a word I cannot say in French

Up early, need to pack, clean, eat breakfast... deja vu? Long handover... very warm.. didn't understand a lot! Had my 'exam', I remembered to make some french notes, so I spoke them through in French with the doctor... she seemed impressed, we then went to see the patient... "Sarah..." ?"what?"

"Bonjour.... ca va?" The patient was adorable and looking a lot more well than yesterday, "ouiii.... ca vaaaaa."
"Avez-vous mal?" ... "nonnnn...."
"non?"... "non..."
"mal a venre? a dou?"..... "non..." She was great just smiling and nodding to me. I examined her and we looked though her blood results... pass! She signed my form (giving me a nice report) and as I left even gave me her email and phone number... in case I visit again... well who knew, maybe she did like me!

An hour and a half to shop, clean, pack, eat... deja vu? Last galette and a trip to the boulangerie (she still didn't know what I was asking!) pain au chocolat and a fabulous raspberry tart... which somehow made it through the airport and security without too much squishage! Bye to Phoebe... Anne's mum took me to the airport, she said my French was a bit better... and she stayed with me until I reached security. Plane journey - had a lovely chat in English to a young boy traveling to Scotland to play in a pipe band at Tattoo. English border control was very intimidating...very sad its become that way. Everyone looking very English, pale and moody.... Southampton airport wasn't great but I finished crocheting a scarf and started a hat. Some awful Americans at Costa... started swearing at the man serving them, their paninis weren't ready and they were boarding... well I should had said something... I still can't believe how rude they were. 

Last flight home, surrounded by northerners... back to Newcastle and picked up by my lovely family! Lovely evening at Gran Tiff's... I mean what kind of pizza can you get for a vegetarian? I enjoyed the salad... Proper English tea and a bath before sleep, my favorite bed in the world.

#56 - Jeudi 7th


to drink
labcoat - unfortunately didn't take any photos of the evening... I wanted to be 'cool'!

Not too much to say today, a day a la Tauvrais again... I took in my written differences between geriatrics/medicine in both England and France... the doctor seemed to like them! In a quiet moment a few of the new medical students spoke to me & I knew what they were asking, great, great for my second last day! Speaking to them a bit more, they were disappointed I hadn't seen Rennes' nightlife..(parce que tout seule)... Rennes is famous for drinking... (I told them the north-east too). Before I left they invited and arranged a night out for me! I had to hand around all afternoon to see a patient, who I'd be examined on, on Friday... so long for a last afternoon off! (I did make sure I could have Friday afty off - my plane was at 4pm).

An hour and a half to pack, clean and eat dinner (all the left overs) before meeting the medical students. Last ride on the Velo Star bikes and I arrived on time, with no getting lost. Even had a few moments to read my letter from Parul, stood in St Anne's Square. Eventually myself and three male medical students found a bar and each ordered a beer (mine was ordered for me, thankfully!) and I managed to speak in French (a little English) but we could converse and it worked, I worked - it was great. Watching the smaller square, with wooden clad houses slowly get darker was just an incredible way to end my time in Rennes. Two girls joined us during the evening, well girls talk a lot faster and a lot more than the boys. One laughed at my French and smoked seven cigarettes in a couple of hours. One of the guys plan is to be a laboratory doctor I think and combine this with a restaurant... take the bloods as they wait for food... we decided it was a unique idea! I didn't try the 'vegetarian kebab!'... and myself and the boys ended the night, stood beside the phenomenal parliament building talking about the English drinking tea, good for your health... and garlic good for your health in France. Apparently my fringe is very English, who knew...! (Not sure they believed me... "I was the first...")!

#55 - Mercredi 6th



Paris, beautiful city despite the continuous rain! Spent my day walking through the city, beautiful buildings everywhere. My highlight was l'orangerie, an art gallery showing Monet's waterlilies, eight huge paintings in two ovular rooms, absolutely incredible. A picture speaks a thousand words and all... so here are a good few pictures!

Arriving home to the tragic news that Aidan and Neil, two medical students in my year at Newcastle have died in Borneo. I met Neil this last year and can't imagine how difficult it must be for close family and friends.