Updated 15 Aug 2015
Robert Palmer's autobiography - 06
Robert Palmer's autobiography 1990-2004
1990 to 1993
Valerie had found a house Hilltop in Comins Coch close to Aberystwyth
which we bought and moved into soon after I arrived (we lived in a
rented accommodation in Bridge Street, Aberystwyth for a short time).
See the photos of Hilltop from the front (51)
and back (139),
and Valerie in the kitchen with the AGA (63).
It had stunning views
over the Rheidol valley with the steam railway running in the summer. When
I arrived we had just had the car stolen, but it was found abandoned at
Shrewsbury railway station quite quickly.
Front of Hilltop, 1990
Valerie in Kitchen, 1990
Bronglais was a bit of a shock
to the system, somewhat of a sinecure after full speed ahead of Memorial.
There were no juniors and seven Consultant anaesthetists, John Brooks,
Ralph Mucklow both in their late 50’s, Graham Housam nearing 50, Bill
Williams who was the year beneath me at St Mary’s where he had been in the
rugby team and was quite left wing, Karen Phillips and Bob Henderson who
was a locum. We did first on call at home but it was not busy, although we
did cover the “high dependency unit” which sometimes had patients on the
ventilator. There was a small maternity unit and an epidural service. We
probably did on average 4 or 5 lists a week. I wanted to do some pain
clinic work to make the job more worthwhile, but Karen Phillips resented
that, though she did allow me to do the epidurals. After a weekend on we
did the John Edwards (general surgery) list all day Monday which was not
the best arrangement, but catered to those who lived a long distance from
the hospital (Bill and Graham). As to me it was a part time job I found
extra work by going to Talgarth psychiatric hospital once a week for ECT’s,
(which was a 65 mile drive each way), and doing GP locums for Cynfab Roberts
initially in Aberystwyth. I am not sure if I was really up to that, but I
did garner a reputation and was used on occasion by other practices.
Valerie worked as a district nurse based in Tregaron, which was a Welsh
speaking area. Aberystwyth itself was fairly Welsh, but the University was
primarily English speaking. Youngest Daughter went to Comins Coch primary school just
down the road from Hilltop. The lessons there were in English but there
were also Welsh lessons. Susannah and Carla went to the English speaking
secondary school Penglais. I think they were both quite good schools. We
bought a dog, Pooch, and three cats, Twpsyn, Memphis and Camelia. Meanwhile
I did my usual things. I joined the squash club based at the University and
played for their team. I played tennis at Aberystwyth tennis club, swam at
the University and joined Aberystwyth running club and did road races.
I played bridge regularly. I reactivated my Territorial Army commitment,
my base being near Sandhurst. I was a captain. In January 1991 I did an
anaesthetic locum in Rugby. In May 1991 I did a TA locum as an anaesthetist
in the Falkland Islands for three weeks. I think I only gave about three
anaesthetics, but did battlefield tours of the Falklands including Goose
Green and Mount Tumbledown. I gave myself tinnitus by firing on the range
without proper ear protection. It took about a year to clear up. I used
to drive down to Dorset for long weekends regularly and stayed with Mum
in her Churchfield Court flat.
Hilltop from back
Meanwhile the Cage team of which I was a member won the squash league
(see 140 and article).
In the late summer of 1992
I saw an ad in the BMJ for a consultant anaesthetist with a special
interest in obstetrical anaesthesia in Portsmouth. This was right down my
street. I rang up John Moon who was head of department in Portsmouth and
who had been my SR in Poole. He said I was the wrong side of 40 but
nevertheless encouraged me to apply, which I did. I made several trips to
Portsmouth to meet members of the department (I had worked with Peter
Spreadbury and Pete Rogers at Southampton). When I talked with Bob Young
who was medical director as well as being a part time consultant
anaesthetist, I said I would not be there for more than 17 years as 65 was
the retirement age back then. In fact I was there for nearly 22 years.
After I had been short listed I met as many of the members of the the panel
who would be interviewing me as possible (Andy Dewar, Anne Thornberry,
John Bevan, Dick Bishop). By an enormous stroke of luck the college rep was
John Kerr (I was his water polo protégé at St Mary’s). I wasn’t allowed
to see him, but it wasn’t necessary as he knew me well. At the interview
in October 1992 the first thing that was said when I went in was “Hello Bob”
from John Kerr. He then asked me about my quality assurance activities in
the USA, I couldn’t have asked for a better question. I sailed through and
was ranked #1. Jane Watt Smith who I had also known at Southampton was
ranked #2, so we were both appointed as there were two jobs. In a way I was
a little sad to leave Aber, but it was rather out of the way and quite
Welsh. We arranged for Susannah to finish her last year at Penglais school.
She lodged with a friend nearby (Ros Temple). We sold Hilltop without too
much difficulty. Pooch and the cats came with us. In fact I left Aber at
the end of February and Valerie and the menagerie left at the end of the
school term in July.
Cage win Aberystwyth squash.
1993 to 1995
I started at QA on Monday 1st March 1993. I was living in York House
(or was it Connaught House) in the hospital grounds. So was Sam Bhonsle.
My first list was with ITA Jeffrey, orthopaedics, on that Monday afternoon.
I also had regular lists maty at St Mary’s Wednesday mornings, Griffiths
orthopaedics at QA Wednesday afternoons, all day maty at St Mary’s Thursdays
and all day colorectal at St Mary’s with Mike Thompson on Fridays. Mike
Thompson and Granville Griffiths were not easy surgeons to work with which
is why I as a newcomer got their lists. Maty and Ian Jeffrey were fine. I
had a wait before I was going to get into the private group so I signed up
with the Anaesthetists Agency in Lymington and got extra work (could be
anywhere, Andover, Alton, Salisbury, Southampton, Chichester, Guildford etc).
I also sometimes went back to Aber for locums. I was accepted into the
private group in September 1993 but it was over 4 years before I got full
parity so I carried on with my locum work and was known as the “Martini
Man” (anytime, anyplace, anywhere). It seems amazing now as a nearly 71 yo
arthritic how much I rushed around. I was also in 243 Wessex Field Hospital
with the TA who had a detachment in Cosham and would do weekday evenings
and some weekends with them, (see photo 148,
I was promoted to major and later to Lt Colonel). I joined the Rowlands Castle and Avenue Tennis Clubs
and joined later Havant and Waterlooville swimming club and Clanfield
Joggers running club, and Cosham bridge club. Also I was looking for a
house to buy and finally Valerie and I settled on Tower Cottage (see photos
141 of Tower Cottage and
142 of the kitchen).
Valerie and the children were still
in Aber but we bought the house for £225,000.00 in the summer and moved in
shortly after completion which was on Monday 5th July 1993. We had a family
cycling holiday in Suffolk (see photo 143).
Tower Cottage, front garden
Tower Cottage, kitchen
Susannah was back to Aber for her
final year at Penglais, Youngest Daughter was at St John’s Rowlands Castle primary
School and Carla in the sixth form at Horndean School. Meanwhile Aunt Gert
had moved to 7 Buckingham Court in Poole, (see photo
144 of her 85th birthday
in September 1993), John and Rosie were of course in 29 Sutherland Avenue.
I was regularly going to see and stay with Mum in Churchfield Court in
Poole. She was 86 now and frail, though she had no arthritis. She had been
in atrial fibrillation for a number of years. John would sit and talk with
her for hours which she enjoyed, I was not so good in that respect. I went
to stay overnight with her on Monday 28th January 1994. When I arrived I
found out that she had been admitted to Poole Hospital that day. That
evening they discharged her back to the flat. Early the next morning I
heard sounds from her bedroom and when I went in she was unconscious with
agonal breathing and died soon after. I called John and he came round right
Cycling holiday in Suffolk 1993
Aunt Gert on her 85th birthday, 1993
She had ruptured a ventricle of the heart and had a haemopericardium
which was not survivable. For a while after I would have bursts of crying
and I had a shunt in my car. I really should have had some time off work.
Of course she was a wonderful mother. See photo
145 after her funeral at Broadstone crematorium.
In my diary for Saturday 29th January 1994 I have written "the worst
day of my life", see photo 149.
When I got to her flat, Mum had died,
but she was still warm. The ambulance
got there quickly. Robert said "Say
goodbye to Mum" and I never saw her again.
For years I wished I could talk to her again.
Mum's ashes were taken to All Hallows Church in Twickenham, which
is also where Dad's ashes are. There was a service and internment
there on Sunday 15th February 1994.
The urn with her ashes in is in a crypt area down some steps in the
church grounds. As I recall Dad's ashes were buried in a little box
near the entrance into the church 37 years before, as I was allowed
to go to that.
Diary for Jan 1994
After Mum's funeral 1994
In the meantime I had two mishaps at work, the first for a number of years.
- The first was a FLK (funny looking kid) who nearly died of malignant
hyperpyrexia. She was an 11 yo girl for bilateral heel cord release in
the supine position with Granville Griffiths on a Wednesday afternoon.
Apart from her appearance and mild cerebral palsy there were no other
issues. After cannulation I induced her with propofol, sited an LMA and
gave her N2O, O2 and isoflurane. Monitoring was NIBP, capnography,
pulse oximetry, ECG, and a nasopharyngeal temperature probe. Her
temperature never went up. 25 minutes into the case she developed a
tachyarrythmia with multiple ventricular ectopics, she desaturated
alarmingly, and her pulmonary compliance decreased sharply. I called for
help and Peter Spreadbury immediately came and agreed it was malignant
hyperpyrexia. He got the dantrolene from recovery, reconsituted it, gave
it iv, sited an arterial line and sent off bloods which showed hyperkalaemia,
a sky high CPK, and metabolic acidosis. Remarkably quickly after the
dantrolene was given her compliance and O2 saturation improved. She was
given glucose and insulin to bring down her potassium, and transferred to
ICU. She developed bilateral forearm swelling due to compartment syndrome
but did not require fasciotomy and eventually after several months made a
complete recovery. Undoubtedly the dantrolene saved her life (plus Peter
- The second case was some time after but did not have a happy
ending. This was a teenage girl with severe cerebral palsy and severe
visual and hearing impairment. She had a very severe scoliosis. She
should never have been done in retrospect. Again the surgeon was Granville
Griffiths on a Wednesday afternoon. The usual monitoring was in place.
Without labouring the circumstances she had a major bleed at the end of
the case. It was an extensive procedure on a severely compromised patient.
At the end of the operation it looked reasonably dry. The incision was
closed and two drains were inserted. She was transferred from the table
to the trolley and the drains were unclipped. Both drainage bottles rapidly
filled, but we were a little slow in seeing this as she was being moved at
the time. The clips were not put back on as fast as they could have been,
which had they been it may have helped tamponade the bleeding. Griff was
out of theatre at this time. She arrested and could not be resuscitated.
Griff and I spoke with the parents. There was a coroners case which Griff
and I had to go to. The coroner handled it very well implying that she was
very high risk which of course she was. I was not called to say anything
but Griff was. The parents were very good about it. I think it was probably
hard on them looking after her, but have no confirmation of that, and I
should not necessarily presume that is the case. It shook me up for quite
some time, and I did not enjoy presenting it at our M and M.
a more pleasant subject Valerie and I went to a barbecue at the Freemans
in August 1995. I was down there for a water polo tournament. Standing
next to the barbecue was a smallish man who I had not been introduced to
and no one was talking to. I took pity on him and we engaged in conversation.
He asked me what I was doing in Cornwall so I told him about the
water polo. He seemed interested so I went on to say yes I had played in
the past for British Universities. He seemed duly impressed. I asked him
if he had played any sport. He replied that he had played rugby (rather
small for that I thought). Politely I asked him who he played for and he
answered Percy Park. I had heard of the club and said Oh thats in Cheshire,
did you play for anyone else. Yes he replied, Gloucester. Oh I said,
would that have been the second extra A team. No he replied politely, the
first team. Oh I said with a sense of foreboding, did you play for anyone
else. Yes he said England and the British Lions. Excuse me I said, I
didn’t get your name. It was
the full back who played in
a test for the Lions and of course I knew the name well but had not
recognised him. I felt a fool but recovered a bit of lost ground by
naming members of the Lions team for their tour of Australia and New
Zealand in the late 60’s. See Don Rutherford on the extreme left of photo
147 on the day I met him.
Don Rutherford (on extreme left), 1995
Major in TA
In the meantime Youngest Daughter went to school at St Margaret’s in Midhurst, which
was a private convent school (see photo
150 of her first day there in
September 1994). Valerie became a district nurse (see photo
151 of her), starting at Midhurst in 1994.
Carla finished her sixth form at Horndean
in 1995, and got a place at Durham University to do biology. She didn’t
actually start there until 1996 as she did a gap year in Namibia. Susannah
finished her sixth form at Penglais in the summer of 1994, and got a
place at Bristol Medical School, starting in 1995. Pooch the dog was
happily ensconced (see photo
of him in the bluebell woods).
I was still
keen on road races and on 24th April 1994 I did the Poole marathon, but
got a sore leg after 20 plus miles and sensibly dropped out. Photo
49 shows me in the Stubbington Green 10k in
January 1995. Age was beginning
to catch up with me for the first time and I had a sore right hip, but
after a few months it cleared up, and still over 20 years later hasn’t
returned (unlike my back and knee problems now, 2015). At work I was
involved with organising our weekly educational meetings in the department
and in continuing educational points for the department which I did in
one form or another for about 20 years. When Mike Thompson’s list was
moved from a Friday to a Thursday I was able to drop it and did gynae
lists at St Mary’s instead which were much more convivial and pleasant.
My private work slowly increased and I travelled to King Edward V11th,
Midhurst, Nuffield, Chandlers Ford, and even Andover for private cases.
Youngest Daughter Sep 1994
District Nurse Valerie
Pooch in bluebell wood
Stubbington Green 10k, 1995
1995 to 1998
In September 1995 John and I went to Moscow for a holiday. Highlights
were the Museum of The Great Patriotic War on the Poklonayya Hill west
of Moscow; the Novadevichy Cemetery in Moscow, where Anto Chekhov,
Dmitri Shostakovch, Nikoai Gogol, Sergei Eisenstein, Sergei Prokofiev,
Nikita Kruschev, Andrei Gromyko, Sergei Ilyushin and Anastas Mikoyan are
all buried; the Monino Airbase Museum with the remains of Gary Power’s U2
and the Museum of The Revolution. While there I gave a talk in English to
anaesthetists at one of the main Moscow Hospitals. One of the trainees
Victor Tregubov from Kemorovo wanted to come to the UK and he duly arrived
in Portsmouth in January 1996 and I looked after him. He is still over
here. See photo 153 of him with me in 1996.
When we flew back from Sheremetyevo
Airport John made a fuss because his bag hadn’t been checked. A Russian
lady who spoke English explained they only checked one bag in ten, and it
wasn’t JFK airport, New York City. John said God help us all. I hid.
Valerie and I had a holiday in Northern Cyprus in February 1996, and we
subsequently returned more than once. Also see photos
154 of visit to Trafalgar Square in 1996 and
155 Frances visiting in 1996. Around this time
me two ducks, Donald and Daisy for my birthday. We have had ducks, geese
and chickens latterly ever since. Brian Maugham, who I met at The Avenue
Tennis Club was a regular visitor as an “odd job man” and a friend.
Meanwhile I was doing the usual things, work, TA, swimming, tennis etc.
In the summer of 1996 I won the Otter half mile at Wargrave
(see photo SB34). Carla started at Durham University in October 1996.
with Victor Mar 1996
Trafalgar Square 1996
Carla started at Durham University in October 1996.
Valerie’s sister Barbara, who lived in Petersfield, had become ill in 1995.
Unfortunately she was mismanaged by the NHS and died in 1999. She did
receive a large settlement.
I had a cycling holiday in Ireland with John in probably 1998, which was
pretty much the end of his cycling days (he had twice cycled across America
from west to east). We first went to SW Ireland, but subsequently got the
train to Dundalk and cycled to Crossmaglen. I was supposed to notify the
army authorities but didn’t. We went into a bar in Crossmaglen and bought
a pint of Guiness for all the locals (about 12), and then stayed the night there. We cycled on along the border and over the Drumlins to Clones.
In early 1999 Aunt Yvonne died, she was over 100.
In March 1999 John and I had a holiday in Havana which was interesting.
Both Carla and Susannah graduated in the summer of 1999. See photo
156 with Carla in Durham and photo
157 with Sue in Bristol. Her boyfriend Ben
is on the left at the back in the photo.
with Frances Aug 1996
We also had a graduation party for Sue and Carla at Tower Cottage in the
summer of 1999 (see photo
158 with Roger and Linda, Frances, Anne Hughes,
and Gwen from next door).
Carla in Durham 1999
Sue in Bristol
Also Valerie and I had a canal boat holiday.
In September of 1999 Youngest Daughter started her sixth form at Bishop Luffa.
Work was progressing uneventfully with no alarms.
I was hatching ducklings (see photo
159 of Pooch with ducklings).
Meanwhile Youngest Daughter finished at St Margaret’s and went to Bishop Luffa school
in Chichester for her sixth form, starting I think in September 1999.
Graduation party 1999
Pooch and ducklings
1999 to 2004
My year at St Mary's taken at a later reunion.
back L to R
Gordon Horner, Eric Taylor, ---, ---, Richard Pearson, RJP, Roger Pearce,
Pin Seah, Phil Watts.
middle L to R
Brian Carr, John Simpson, Hassenbochus, John Isserlin, Chris Hutter, ---,
Mike Mills, Mike Bishop, John Fox.
Front L to R
Corrie Van Den Bosch, Margaret Davies, Di Smith, Sandy Siddons, Monica Spring,
Janet Kean, -, Gill Carrington.
In my year and not in this photo were:
Nick Walker, Cliff Bailey, Ian Brown, Alan DelMar, Roger Evans, Tom Fletcher, Don Forster,
Jacqui Freeman, Bob Jones, Hugh O'Donnell, Graham Orr, Richard Perryman, Ray Rault,
Ian Rennie, Angela Jeffs, Andrew Simmonds, Wynne Weston-Davies, Arthur Wightman,
Dave Goldstein, Alan Greenwood, Susan Tegwyn-Davies, Andrew Hay, Brian Hopkins,
Sally Hughes, Patrick Jeffrey, Huw Penry, Wynne Griffiths, Roselle Hewlett, John England.
As of February 2015 those no longer with us are:
John England, Roselle Hewlett, Wynne Griffiths, Roger Pearce, Huw Penry,
Graham Orr, Nick Walker, Tom Fletcher, Bob Davies, which is 9 out of 47".
At Bishop Luffa Youngest Daughter studied biology, psychology and Spanish. In 2000
Valerie had a 50th birthday party (see photo 160).
In 1999 our department took over Haslar Hospital and we started going
there. We also did call there for which we were well paid for not doing
very much, though it did have its moments. I remember a young man with
terminal alcoholic liver failure whose life I tried to save to no avail
(there was reluctance to treat him all round). My regular day at Haslar
became all day Monday Ian Jeffrey. It continued until Haslar closed in
2009. I was still doing maty Wednesday mornings, Griffiths Wednesday
afternoons, maty on Thursdays and gynae on Fridays. Tuesdays was my day
at BUPA hospital. I remember doing an on call maty the night of December
31st (I am not sure which year) and being on television with an epidural
around midnight. Susannah was starting junior hospital jobs in the southwest
I seem to remember Carla worked
for the GAP organisation in Reading. She had met Wesley when she was at
Durham University and was still seeing him. She did a postgraduate degree
in physiotherapy at Glasgow University. It was a two year course if I
remember right. Wesley meantime was working for Standard Life in Edinburgh,
and after graduating from Glasgow University Carla worked as a
physiotherapist in Livingstone. In September 2000 Valerie and I went to
New England for an anaesthetic meeting and met up with the Groves, Dunns
and Malcolm Dunkley while we were over there. Back in the UK I went to
Old Masonians meetings, both at The Gun in London and Wessex OM’s meetings
at various locations. Around this time I had a cycle with Mike Freeman
(see photo 161)
Valerie's 50th birthday
and also see photo
162 of supper with the Northmore’s and Taylor’s.
Cycling with Mike Freeman
I was playing tennis regularly, swimming. We had our short open air pool
in our front garden which got a lot of use over the years. I played
bridge at Drayton on a Wednesday evening with Frank Cochran. We had a
Burmese lady, Kik Kin Wynn, who turned up out of the blue one day to
join the department. Getting out of Burma was not easy, and she had left
her husband and children there in the hope that they could join her later.
We put her up for the first few nights (see her graduation photo
163 and the note on the back
164 dated 2001).
Valerie's 50th birthday
Kin Kin Wynn
Back of KKW's photo
On the swimming front I was selected to swim for Hampshire
(see photo SB35 and
SB36 in scrapbook),
and in 2001 did the Otter mile at Windsor
(see photo 36B in scrapbook)
and in 2002 came second in the Otter half mile at Henley
(see photo 34B in scrapbook with Roger Sharpley).
My left knee became symptomatic around 1999 or 2000. Not good news.
In 2001 Valerie and I had a holiday in Bruges (though we stayed in a
“travel lodge” type acommodation which was not a good idea on my part
though of course it had a swimming pool). In the summer of 2001 we had
a flotilla holiday in Greece with the Desgrands
(see photo 165).
Paris cycling 2005
I also think I had a cycling holiday in Ireland with Roger. Susannah and
David Lewis went to Australia and New Zealand for a year. They both worked
in Sydney. The TA camp in 2001 was in Edinburgh. In early 2002 I went to
an anesthesiology meeting in Florida. While there I stayed with the
Dunkleys in Naples and the Fletchers in Lake Helen. Somewhat ill advisedly
I bought some land in Lake Helen, which like my subsequent acquisition of
the chalet in Wilmington, Vermont, became a millstone round my neck. I
managed to sell it for around the same sum I had bought it for a few years
later (as also happened with the Vermont property). In spring 2002 we went
to the Guernsey swim meet
(see photo 166).
Shortly after this I had a cycle holiday with Nick Barnes and his mates
(see photo 167 of me in Paris).
Then in the summer I went with Roger to Chamonix where he had a chalet.
We did a lot of walking which I remember was starting to be problematical,
especially going downhill. It seems as if I was having non stop holidays,
but of course I was working fairly hard also, and doing the PAG rota which
was quite a lot of extra work. Nothing of note happened clinically. I was
also meeting up with John Garland and Ian Carey.
In September 2002 I won the open mens doubles tennis with Peter McDowell
at Rowlands Castle tennis club for the second year running
(see photo 175).
Between 1994 and 2013 I won 10 tennis doubles titles in all
at Rowlands Castle tennis club.
In November 2002 John and I bought the acreage along the Stour at an
auction in Blandford. I was the only bidder (it had flooded just before
the auction and the horsey types who were prospective buyers all backed off).
It was £70,000.00 I paid and then John bought his future oak plantation
from me (it was part of the acreage at the auction). It was a Godsend for
John and Rosemary, and they have done a monumental job in planting the 240
oaks, clearing the millstream so it can flow again, and turning my portion
of the land into a nature reserve with many boards outlining the history
of the land. We also subsequently bought a Shepherds Hut (more to follow).
In late 2002 I went to the over 50’s water polo tournament in London and
damaged my right shoulder. It was my last game of water polo. I got a
frozen shoulder which took 2 years to clear up and was very debilitating,
though I managed with difficulty to carry on at work.
In January 2003
Aunt Gert died (of old age I think, she was 94).
See the photo 168 of us at her funeral. She had far
outlived the rest of her family (her father died
at 53, her mother at 49, her brothers at 45 and 51 and her sister at 70).
Aunt Gert's funeral, 2004
In February 2003 Valerie and I went to Sharm el Sheikh for a holiday,
though I was unable to swim because of my frozen shoulder). In March 2003
Youngest Daughter and I went to Massachusetts and Vermont. This is when I bought the
chalet at Wilmington as I mentioned earlier.
In early 2003 I was called up to the second gulf war. I was due to report
to Strensall which was the camp near York where we were got ready for
deployment. I was horrified. I couldn’t stand Tony Blair who I always
thought was a bit deranged, and I could see no justification for the war
apart from supporting the Americans, and Al Gore should have been president
as he really won Florida I always thought, and the Democrats would not have
gone to war. I did not believe there were any weapons of mass destruction,
or any connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda; and the 45 minutes
to destruction claim by Tony Blair was absurd (I was later proved right on
all counts). I also considered it illegal in international law. I applied
for revocation based on the fact that a number of Portsmouth Consultant
Anaesthetists were full time military and consequently had been called up
which meant as a DGH we had exceeded our quota, and therefore I should
never have been called up in the first place. A couple of my colleagues
(Damian Timms and David Desgrand) effectively accused me of cowardice
which was not the case (I had volunteered for the Falklands War in 1982
which I considered just when I was in the USA, but I was not taken up.
Anyway I was packed to go to Strensall when 36 hours before departure I
was granted revocation. All the Iraq invasion has achieved is destabilising
the country which is now infiltrated with ISIL, and turning the Islamic
people in the Middle East against us. We had a locum from Baghdad a couple
of years later who said that he didn’t like Sadam, but he and his family
were safe under him; but after the invasion some 20 of his consultant
colleagues had been killed, and he and his family had therefore left.
Meanwhile Tony Blair is a multimillionaire and peace envoy in the
In the summer of 2003 Carla graduated with distinction in physiology
from Glasgow Caledonian University
(see photo 174).
In November 2003, Valerie
did a Clementine Churchill and went by herself to the antipodes for 6 months.
She did some “woofing” in New Zealand.
On New Years Eve 2003 Roger and
Linda were killed in a road traffic accident in South Africa. Roger had
just turned 60 and Linda had bought them a top of the range walking holiday
in the Drakensburg mountains.They were travelling in a Mercedes minibus.
In the front were the driver and the tour guide, both wearing seatbelts.
There were 11 clients in the back of the minibus which had viewing windows
but no seat belts. A black man ran in front of the minibus (which was
pulling a trailer carrying everyone's bags). The driver veered off and the
trailer jacknifed and hit the side of the minibus which rolled over and
over. 8 of the people in the back including Roger and Linda were thrown
out of the vehicle through the broken windows, and all 8 died (5 quickly
including Roger and Linda and 3 died on the way to hospital). The black
man was killed but the driver and tour guide were unhurt and the three
in the back who weren’t thrown out only had minor injuries. See my diary
entry 169 “one of the worst days of my life”.
In January 2004 I went up to
the Isle of Lewis to join John and Rosie. Towards the end of the few days
John asked me if I had noticed anything. I said not really. He then showed
me his left hand and I noticed the ring on his left ring finger. The penny
eventually dropped, they had been married a few days before coming up to
the Isle of Lewis. Later in 2004 I went on a cycle trip to Normandy, see
photo 170 left to right of Nick, Gary and Jonathan.
In the summer of 2004 I had my 60th birthday party at Tower Cottage.
In the photo 171,
Brian Maugham is in the foreground on the left. Sadly he died of Ca bronchus
about 2 years later.
Also I went to the Vermont chalet.
Conceived, written and copyright © 2014, Robert PALMER,
All Rights Reserved.
Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, and hand-coded
2014 by John PALMER,