Sunday, 26 May 2013

National Health Service - urgent care experience

No wonder NHS Accident and Emergency is said to be in crisis! Our son Robert was taken by ambulance to the Royal Blackburn Hospital urgent care unit yesterday having suffered a series of epileptic fits. We arrived around 3 p.m. and (having left Robert in hospital overnight for observations) finally got home after 11 p.m. after 8 hours with a lot of waiting about. I cannot praise the ambulance, medical and hospital staff enough. They did a thoroughly professional job and Robert has now been allowed home. However, the urgent care unit appeared to be overwhelmed. There seemed to be so many patients who had walked in; they would have a very long wait after emergencies and those brought in by ambulance. But, why were they there at all? Minor injuries should be treated locally either at the local health hub or by general practitioners. 
Unfortunately, it being a particularly busy Saturday night (I suppose they all are), the situation is not helped by those abusing alcohol and drugs who are part of the standard fare I suppose of these units. They put great pressure on the staff, who continue to be patient and professional despite the abuse and bad language, and unnerve other patients who have a genuine need to 
be there.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Northern Magic Circle

The Northern Magic Circle Council meeting on Sunday was most productive and I am looking forward to an exciting Convention next year. Plans are ongoing and it certainly looks most promising. 
I must spare a thought for my good friend and magic colleague Mo Howarth. He rang yesterday to day he had had a heart attack and had been in the Royal Blackburn Hospital for three days although was now home again. He must rest and will miss lots of magic events in the next few weeks. Get well soon Mo!
I have e-mailed all the Northern Magic Circle members and Modern Mystic League members on e-mail to let me know if they are coming to my President's Day at the Sunnybank Social Club, Helmshore, Rossendale, Lancashire BB4 4LQ on Sunday 23rd June. Commencing at 3 p.m. there is an updated lecture on Houdini v Hodgson, The Blackburn Challenge 1902, by me, followed by a buffet tea and raffle and then entertainment from some good friends at the Modern Mystic League. I am hoping it will be an enjoyable and fun day. For those travelling further there are the Helmshore Textiles Museum, the Musbury Fabrics Mill Shop and the Holden Vale Antiques Centre all nearby with cafes for morning coffee or lunch.
There is a workshop meeting of the Modern Mystic League later this week. These are always enjoyable and you cannot fail to come away without some new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.
I received the new Roberto Giobbi book this week, The Art of Switching Decks. It certainly looks good and another one to add to the list to study! 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Northern Magic Circle Yorkshire Juniors

I visited the Northern Magic Circle Yorkshire Juniors last night (following my visit to the Newcastle section last week) and had a good time showing them some of my favourite close up magic tricks and explaining them. Their enthusiasm is infectious and it is good to see them learning so much about magic. Su Jayne was there again with Stevie B (immediate Past President of the Northern Magic Circle). I am sure the juniors appreciate the time Su Jayne and Stevie give to the Junior Section. The drive over was not great with a traffic jam at the end of the M65 (which I suppose is to be expected on a Friday tea time). I thought the drive home would be easier but ended up following a convoy of fairground lorries and caravans for quite a way! Have now sorted out the tricks ready for my next visit. What a great interest magic is :-)

Monday, 13 May 2013

Northern Magic Circle Juniors

My talk to the Northern Magic Circle Junior section seemed to go well. I demonstrated some of my favourite close up tricks and then explained them. It is the first time I have given this type of lecture as opposed to lectures and talks on the history of magic. 
I am visiting the Ilkley Junior section soon to repeat the whole process. 
I am very grateful to Don & Pam Beattie who provided me with hospitality when I visited the north east. We had a lovely meal and had a great chat about many things during the course of the evening.
Su Jayne and John Russell do a lot to keep the Junior section going for which all members of the NMC should be grateful. It means that the Juniors are full of enthusiasm and keen to learn new things. These are experiences that not only relate to magic but to life itself. 

Newcastle Upon Tyne

I went up to Newcastle Upon Tyne on Friday last to give a talk to the Northern Magic Circle Juniors on Saturday morning. It is only the second time I've been back to Newcastle since I was a law student there at the University 1971 - 1974! The city is much bigger and busier than I remembered. I had a good walk around and many things have changed in forty years of course! However, some things are still the same. The magnificent view down Grey Street, for example. I walked up Richardson Road to the Castle Leazes Halls of Residence where I lived then. The Halls are still there. Did we walk so much every day to go to University? My room overlooked the main reception so I could see who was coming and going. Unfortunately the Honours Board has been stored away - I was Junior Common Room Secretary. 
Grainger Market is still brilliant with Robinson's bookshop still going (founded in 1881). There are many new buildings at the University but the Arches are still the same of course. 
There are many new shopping malls. The view of the bridges across the Tyne is still impressive. The refectory at the Cathedral contains a cafe with a refreshing cup of tea and biscuits. 
I would like to return again with Joan and spend more time exploring Newcastle and the Northumberland coast.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Rossendale Free Press

I am very pleased with the article which appeared in our local newspaper the "Rossendale Free Press" today as attached. 

This report is accurate and informative and the photograph isn't too bad either! It was taken when the Modern Mystic League (Blackburn & District Society of Magicians) paid a visit to the Bradford Magic Circle. 

Thanks to Brian Taylor who has generously scanned our book "Showmen Or Charlatans? The stories of 'Dr' Walford Bodie and 'Sir' Alexander Cannon" which has been submitted to to add to the publications already available as pdf downloads. 

I hope the mention of my website will bring some bookings for my talks!