Wednesday, 29 August 2007

the voice of time

the autumn sky is lit tonight
the moon at full, sheds dayless light
over ayrshire, riding high
an august moon now rules the sky
i stand in night, more than undark
i hear the urban foxes bark
i breath the sea and dream the salt
the traffic calm, has reached a halt
and now the velvet touch of night
embraces me with moon glow sight
stars shine, time flows, she moves
and gathers lifetimes in her grooves
each day the ticking of time's clock
inviting entry to death's flock
yesterday i was a child
young and free, running wild
tonight i hear the voice of time
reminding me to join the line
the line which moves now, slow but sure
ever closer to death's door

death breathed chill upon my neck
until i realized "what the heck"

my heart still pumps
my blood runs free
my lungs still work
quite beautifully
my arms still hold
the ones i love
my eyes still see
the sky above
i hear the sounds
of kids at play
i love the smell
of fresh cut hay
my mind still works
the words still flow
i don't believe
it's time to go

so, time and death must wait a while
i need to love, to laugh and smile
don't keep my place in the long queue
i've too much living still to do

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

life, truth, the pursuit of happiness

life, truth, the pursuit of happiness ... a matter of perception

i wonder why it took me so long to realize ... life simply "is". through my childhood years, the traumatic teenage times, in fact, most of my adult life, i believed. i believed that if i was "good", prayed fervently and believed without question, the world would arrange itself to suit my needs and desires. i was fortunate, for many, many years my life unfolded in a deliciously satisfying way. in 1994 all that changed ... lesson time ... hard times, sad times, chaos ruled.some things, simply are, life simply is. i have the ability to, love, strive, cogitate. i may even attempt to influence the circumstances of my life. the unpalatable truth is ... i am master only of my thoughts and emotions, even they are prey to hormonal flux, to pain and illness. eventually i have found my answer, my peace, in acceptance. i am who i am, life is as it is. my road to contentment now by passes such questions as "why me?", my map reads "why not me?" i still make plans, i still live with hope, i have learned not to insist that my way is the right or only way. when companionship, love or passion are offered i will relax into them with great joy. life's ramble will always be easier and much more fun if someone is there to hold my hand and share my road.

truth ... i believed was an absolute. not so, another lesson... truth is a variable. my truth is influenced by the circumstances of my life, my perceptions and memory ... as is the truth of every living soul. you and i may experience an identical situation, i will believe myself to be an innocent whilst you may well believe me to be an imbecile. neither person is wrong, neither a liar, nor a manipulator of the truth.we both speak the truth, we differ only because we do not share a common perception of the incident. perhaps the biblical directive "judge not, lest you be judged" refers to this unenviable situation. "the truth" is not an absolute, truth is a living, changing essence. you will generally speak "your truth" with honour, the fact that "my truth" differs does not make either one of us less than honest. perhaps as very young children, with a clean slate when it comes to the experiences of life ... perhaps then we might have blurted out "the truth" on occasion. other than in those circumstances i very much doubt that "the truth" exists.

the pursuit of happiness ... i would hazard a guess that "the pursuit of happiness" might well be an enormous waste of time and effort. chasing happiness, even stretching out a hand in an effort to grasp the darn thing is probably a wrong move.happiness is an elusive emotion which arrives and leaves our lives pretty much under it's own steam. some folks have very little ...and yet, they are satisfied, content with their lot in life ...happiness often comes to rest at their centre. then again, we have enormously wealthy people, disatisfied with their life and circumstance ... bound and determined to be miserable. happiness would tend to skulk warily beyond their boundaries. happiness is an empirical emotion both precious and fleeting. i would suggest that happiness is the state of being over which we have the least control. an emotion of the moment, learn to live in the moment. striving and wishing will not add the value of happiness to our lives. seek the quiet certitude of contentment, allow serenity to rule, enjoy that which you have and love where your heart leads you. lend your strength to those who have need, draw strength from those who offer a strong shoulder to lean on.
open your ears to the young and the elderly, listen and hear... wisdom without piety. make yourself a safe and welcoming destination for happiness and it may well decide to settle.

we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.
-Anais Nin

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

herbivore, omnivore, carnivore ... vegan

herbivore, omnivore, carnivore ... vegan

recently, my life path has led me to meet, interact with and learn to love, those of the vegetarian and vegan persuasion. in my personal belief system, i strongly believe that very little in this life is left to chance. i feel that those i meet along my road impart value to my journey. they are my teachers and my guides.

i am neither a vegetarian nor a vegan. i believe that all things living, are in some way, part of the food chain of our beautiful planet. i do not even feel that sentience makes for superiority. i mean, damn ... who are we to decide which is more important ... the soil which feeds the plants, which feeds the herbivore, which feeds the omnivore and the carnivore. the caterpillar or the cabbage....

i am human, i am sentient, i am part of the food chain. certainly near the top. fortunately not an over popular part of most creatures diet! for thousands of years, my species has been busy ridding our world of animals which pose a threat to us.these creatures are now few and far between and when they survive it is most often in a protected park or wilderness. when i step into their world , i am at risk. if they feel threatened they may kill me, if they are hungry ... they may eat me. they have every right to do so, a human is merely a wiley, well protected part of the food chain.

the 21st century, homo sapiens straddle the dizzy heights of the food chain. our ambition and intelligence has driven us out of our caves and huts and into villages, towns, cities. once forced to hunt and forage endlessly to maintain our bodies, we now pop down to the nearest supermarket for supplies. we have domesticated quite a few species of animals, we breed and feed them as a protein food source. we dose them with anti biotics and hormones to encourage health and growth.we breed, grow and kill in an endless chain to supply the first world with more than it needs. we plough up acres of virgin soil, smother it in weed killers,we fertilize the soil with chemicals, forcing weary soil in need of rest to produce ... more. we plant, we grow, we spray our crops with toxic insecticides. scientists labour in the field of genetics and dna to alter and improve our crops. we have forgotten how to respect our food source, many of us take more than our fair share, we grow fat, idle and ill.

organic foods ... give me a break, i was brought up on organic foods. the veggies in the extra expensive section of the supermarket green grocers, do they remind me of the family meals i enjoyed as a youngster. no, not really ... perfect lettuce sign of sharing with nature here.the slugs and snails which so enjoy sharing most things grown in my garden do these organic farmers keep the little critters at bay? i often wonder if organic cauliflower comes with the added advantage of additional protein as it did in my youth, one was almost guaranteed to find a worm or caterpillar whilst preparing cauliflower! i remember the last time i found a living creature in the delightfully pre washed and neatly sealed...ready salad section. south africa ... must have been either the late eighties or early nineties ... emptied one of those prepacked, prewashed salads into a salad bowl, about to add salad dressing, i found in my rather expensive salad, from a rather decent shop ... a tiny little frog...alive! i was totally impressed, how fresh that salad must have been, my little optional extra had survived, washing, packing and the cold chain. amazing!

so ... where am i going with all this flummery, am i attempting to make a point, indeed, is there a point? homo sapiens of the first world grow greedy, we are no longer satisfied to take only that which we sustain us. we import delicacies from around the world, these delights are trucked and railed and flown to a store on our doorstep. we pollute our world with our outrageous desires, with plastic packaging. we have become the wastrels of mother earth. we grow and mature, insulated in our cities, far from the world of nature and basic necessities.

our position at the very tip of the food chain, involves a delicate balance. in our arrogant belief in our iown ntelligence, we tend to forget ourselves. we imagine we are inviolate, in control of our world.we need to relearn respect for the soil, the green, our fellow creatures...the living earth which sustains us.

i am an unashamed omnivore, i probably always will be. but i thank my vegan friend for the inspiration her thoughts and words offer me. i am grateful for the doors she has opened in my mind, for the light of new knowledge which shines through those open doors.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

when wishes are granted

recently i read a blog about a girl child who shows and jumps horses. the blog was written by a vegan in search of answers. started me thinking, which started me remembering ...

i have no idea how old i was when my obsession with horses began, as far back as i can remember, i wanted a horse of my own. every time it was wishing time, i wished for a horse. blowing out the candles on my birthday cake, stirring the silver tickeys and christmas charms into the christmas pudding bowl, see a falling star ...
i always made the same wish ... "please, let me have a horse".
my parents did not ride, i had never ridden a horse. in our family we never wanted for life's little necessities but riding lessons never fell into the category of necessary. in my folk's minds, riding lessons probably did not even figure in their 'nice to have' list!
so i wished and wished, i read books about horses, i adorned my dresser with horse ornaments, i spent my pocket money buying cheap framed prints of ...horses.
i was eleven when my dream came true, the circumstances of our life collided in the most serendipitous manner. my folks had built a house on the six acre smallholding we owned in pietermaritzburg, my godmother knew someone who was looking for a new home for a horse. my lucky day, whiskey came to live with us.

when it comes to horse riding, i guess it takes two to tango! the horse as a youngster is "broken", nasty word! he is taught to accept the bridle, a saddle and a human on his back ...preferably a human who knows what they are about when it comes to horse riding. i now had the horse and the bridle, no saddle and no idea of how to ride a horse. none of this mattered to me, i was eleven and my dream had come true.i learned to ride bare back, i never learned how to control my beloved whiskey, he was definitely his own horse. he would come when i called him, he would allow me to put on his bridle , he would allow me onto his back, i think he quite liked me, i adored him. truth was, the horse sensed my lack of experience, he was bolshi and stubborn, he went when he felt like it and where he felt he had a need to go.
there was a very long earth road leading to our house, i would mount whiskey and my younger brother , rod, would walk in front with a carrot or some other sweet horse temptation. at the bottom of the driveway whisky received his treat ... at which point he would turn his nose to home and thunder off. fairly often he would stop halfway ... without warning and i would go flying over his head. whisky was always very conciliatory after these little events, he always waited for me to haul myself to my feet or to regain consciousness. he would stand over me, breathing horsey breath and nudging me!riding without a saddle, one is in pretty close contact with the horse and horses have their own wonderful horsey smell. drove my mom crazy ... "eryll... you stink of horse!!!"

every year in pietermaritzburg we enjoyed varsity rag, a day students went crazy, drum majorettes marched and wonderful floats paraded through town ... all to collect vast sums of money for local charities. william, a varsity student who lived on the smallholding next door to ours ...asked to ride whiskey in the float parade. his group of students had built a huge dragon float and william was to be st. george on his trusty steed defeating the fire breathing dragon. luckily, william knew how to ride and whiskey must have had a history of performing somewhere in his background. what a show ... he pranced, he danced, he tossed his magnificent head at the crowds ...william and whisky fought the fire breathing dragon, over and over. as a treat, rod and i were allowed to ride inside the dragons belly, together with quite a few rather inebriated students! what a wonderful day!

eventually ny mom aka moving min decided we had sojourned on the small holding long enough. time to move into the suburbs! it is remarkably easy to find a new home for a horse and whisky went to live on a rather grand farm...with stables...
his new owner was a girl called peta, she had endured riding lessons and knew how to ride, whisky would be pleased. of course, my heart broke a little...i lost the smell of him, the feel of him, his company and his love. i have never lost the memory of my beloved horse and those halcyon days.

Monday, 13 August 2007

the way familiar

today i took the way, i drove from north to south, one hour and twenty minutes. i filled my tank in saltcoats, exceedingly grateful that my lady rav required only pounds twenty five to slate her thirst. i was accompanied by a big bowl of potato salad, the makings for a green salad, a bottle of south african peppadews and a nice little californian chardonnay. one thing about the hart and oellermann clans, when we meet up to celebrate or even to chat ... we eat, drink (mostly coke, sprite and fanta!) and love to be merry.

it was a grey old day ...who is surprised....
past irvine, love that town ... so many shops, motorway all the way to ayr, good road, seventy miles an hour, loads of traffic ...not a problem. red light held me up at the big traffic circle on the outskirts of ayr, once more noted the restaurant proudly proclaiming "ben and frankie's new york style restaurant" hmmm, must remember to try that one, maybe it will be like a diner, with stacks of pancakes and canadian bacon and maple syrup. maybe the burgers are really big like back in the states. perhaps even gherkins and yummy coleslaw. man, i love american food!

leave ayr behind, the country starts to change, more rolling green hills, more cows, more sheep. there are three villages between ayr and girvan ... minishant, where they have turned a beautiful old church into an indian restaurant, decorated in red and gold, not really to my taste. however i am reliably informed that they do a great meal. if we are brutally honest we will admit that the inhabitants of this green isle are a lot more interested in feeding their stomachs than feeding their souls. so perhaps turning abandoned churches into restaurants is merely a sign of the new generation...
easier to have faith in a finely spiced chicken korma than in the god of abraham...

maybole next, ah maybole... driving through that place requires nerves of steel. the roads are so narrow and there are cars and trucks parked everywhere. one can actually see drivers holding there breath as they weave their beloved motor through this mayhem! there is a large sign attached to the wall of the big old barn, on the left side of the road as you enter maybole. "support the by pass" ... no need to ask me twice maybole... you really need that by pass! my dentist, out of maybole. i was lucky to find him, nhs dentists are a dying species in our neck of the woods. joe is great, reckon he is the fastest dentist in the uk...if not the world. plus he smiles, jokes and is mega cute...what more could a girl wish for in a dentist.

leaving maybole, my rav and i weave our way past the ruins of crossraguel abbey. the old abbey always brings my muse to mind. we spent sometime exploring there during her last visit. if my memory serves me i was being my old obnoxious self that day ...very the hell in and probably exceedingly grumpy! my new self is obnoxious less often ...well that's my story and i'm sticking to it. i wind my way up and over the hill until i reach the "otters take care" sign, if there are any otters, they are a lot more road wise than the sign makers give them credit for. i have never come across an otter on that or dead. i always look out for them, beautiful winding, downhill road, woods on both sides, leafy branches reaching across to form a shady canopy in the summer time. under the narrow bridge which has a sign saying " vehicles approaching in centre of road"...this never made sense until i actually met a large vehicle approaching in the centre of road! seems the bridge is not quite high enough and the heavies have to use the centre of the road in order to fit under the bridge.

kirkoswold next, what can i say about kirkoswold...hmmm. there is a garage which is no longer a garage, it now sells and services lawnmowers. i personally would not chose to live there, i daresay at least a dozen people would disagree with me. there are quite a few houses built of wood, they have pretty gardens with lots of rose bushes.not that i actively dislike the place, it just does not grab me no "wow" factor for me.

ok ok out of kirkoswold, along the road, up the hill, reach the crest above turnberry...there she is. ailsa craig...the sweetest volcanic plug in the world! she moves you know, the whole island moves...depending on the day she will look close enough to touch or far distant, sometimes she even disappears.she is beautiful, she is magical, she is the sentinal who guards the ayrshire coast. our family feel sure that she sits on the back of a giant turtle, which would account for how she manages to get around!

take the turn to the left and travel the coastal road, through the village, past the cannery...real farming country now, beautiful coastline. up the really scary hill of twists and turns and down the other side. point of pride never to touch my brakes! big, big rock to the right with a sign painted on it "jesus died to save us". really scary hill that,pretty easy to plunge off the cliff and into the sea, best not to lose concentration... just as well to have a few words about salvation...

coming up to girvan now, i love girvan...know it like the back of my hand. omg! there is a new robot (traffic light) and the new asda is up and running... i could be working there. thank mickey mouse i am not! through girvan, funny, familiar...turn right at the traffic circle...
the coast is so beautiful, hard to concentrate on driving. new crops growing.... sunflowers and maize... what the heck is going on! maybe this climate change story is not just a rumour. down to 40mph, slow through lendalfoot, respect for the home parish...up the hill, caravan park and spa to my right, hope they are making money ...i would never have built a spa there, in the middle of nowhere.
ah... the farm road "balsalloch" and "north ballaird", almost there. the road is shocking, must have had a lot of rain, the potholes have all become small lakes. the boys aka beef cattle have churned parts of the road into deep mud. slip sliding, glad of my 4x4 rav. good to see the boys again, even though they try my patience by blocking the road and impeding my journey. good to see the bunnies, even good to see the suicidal pheasants. why are those poor birds born with such an inbred deathwish.
there are the fields and the wild flowers,the hills and the ocean, the owl and the island. i am here, i have reached my little piece of heaven.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

tagged with a meme

several weeks ago mary "animal person" martin me with a meme and I must first post the rules:

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. i was challenged to share... with my readers, five pieces of information about myself which i would not normally share

ok, ok... information about myself i would not normally share. heck man, that is an uber challenge. enough already! the whole challenge has left me tongue tied and wordless.i have an incredible case of writers block, i now have a file full of unfinished articles, half written and then abandoned ...the guilt of an unfulfilled challenge driving me from my computer. i spend my days wondering, remembering...searching for eight elusive facts i would not normally share...
now... my life is an open book, the experiences of my journey are the compost from which my writing feeds and grows. so ... obviously i will need to dig deep...

when i was in standard three, aged about nine i guess, i had a teacher called miss day the class was very unruly and the boys kept asking to be excused to visit the toilet.our teacher became rather enraged and informed us that now no one would be allowed to go to the toilet, we should not even ask. as we all know...i am ruled by my obedience gene, i was also busting to go to the loo. what did i do..held it in until i no longer could. wet my class...
i carry the humiliation with me to this very day...

i inherited my father's legs. i have really big strong legs and wonderfully thick english ankles. manfred used to tell me ..."babe, with those could kick start a boeing!"

i always believed that my younger brother enjoyed some type of power, that he exerted a magical influence over my parents. if i wanted something or wanted to go somewhere, i would always send my poor baby brother to ask the old folks. manipulation with a capital M ...well what can i worked!

i was fifteen when i met gareth mcg at a party...he was so cute, tall, blond and slim and very handsome. we danced and smooched and a wonderful time was had by my teenage self.the following day i was informing my folks ( life was always an open book!) of what a great evening i had enjoyed and how, when gareth had held my hand i had felt an almost electric shock move up my arm.
ah, the innocence of youth...
my dad muttered something which i really did not understand until about forty years later... "probably so exciting because holding hands with gereth is like holding hands with a girl". hmmmm...did my daddy have doubts, about my heterosexuality?doubts which only occurred to me at the advanced age of fifty six!

i really, really love unleavened bread with spicy baked beans and,melted cheese on top.

i am a born and bred south african of the paler variety. when my youthful, rebellious, progressive stage ended i actually believed apartheid was a "good" system and voted at least twice for the national that is something to be ashamed of!

i once became so frustrated while arguing with manfred ... that i threw an iron at him.fortunately for me, he was a man of cat like reactions! he managed to insert the kitchen door between himself and the iron. well...he could be very annoying ...he never lost an argument...
it was a beautiful iron, it was never the same again...kind of leaked and hissed a lot after the collision with the kitchen door ...
and anyway ...did i ever claim i was perfect?

as a child, my third oldest sister pat was my idol. pat was twelve years older than me and, in my considered opinion a wonderful, wild, woman. when i was about five years old, pat must have had a boyfriend with brown the time there was a record which she played continually..."beautiful, beautiful brown eyes,i'll never love blue eyes again" my eyes are blue, my small nose was a little out of joint... 'nuff said!
when my second oldest sister maureen was married, i adored maureen...
i was so mortified by the fact that i was not allowed to sit at the bridal table with her that i howled and howled. loud and long...until she called me to sit next to her...sorry maureen! well, i never denied it, i have always enjoyed being the centre of attention....

there, finally done...surely now my writers block will lift. they do say ...confession is good for the soul!

afraid i am unable to tag eight people as i only know three people with blogs mary is one of them and judy has already been tagged by mary! still i will tag ... in no particular order ;-)


Saturday, 4 August 2007

the obedience gene... an attempt to elucidate

the obedience gene ... an attempt to elucidate

i was born with the "obedience gene", a fact of life. it made me easy prey for tyrannical teachers,i hated school! perhaps it is time that someone ... in this case, myself, propounded on the subject of the hitherto ignored "obedience gene".

time to reveal the truth ... there are children who are born obedient and there are children who aren't.obedience is a matter of nature not nurture. you may wish to disagree, feel free to do so, fortunately my obedience gene does not prevent me from freely partaking in argument or debate with anyone i consider my equal!

so...what is the effect of being born with this particular mutation? why dear reader, it produces a natural inclination to stay out of trouble by behaving oneself. the possessor of this gene will seldom make the same mistake twice. we approach the world with an innate sense of wariness. we are sensitive, careful and we frighten easily. we live to please those in authority over us, we seldom need chastising, a sideways glance will have us writhing with guilt, our obedience infected brains searching for the best, most humble way in which to make amends.

as children we obey our parents, we listen to our teachers, we are aware that actions have consequences. as adults we come to a dead stop at stop streets, we pay every penny of our taxes, we never run a red light or pirate a video, give us too much change and we will inevitably give it back. do we sound noble ...unfortunately nobility has little to do with our behaviour, it is our obedience gene which encourages our conformity, our respect for the rules and regulations of society.

i have five wonderful grandchildren and i am a doting granny! but within their rather interesting family dynamic lies the proof of "the obedience gene"! my three older grandchildren are adopted, they grew within my daughters heart, the two youngest are their biological children, they grew under her heart.

joshua, mairin and alaska, do not carry the obedience gene. they elbow their way through life with very little regard for the consequences. of course they do not particularly care for the consequences when they occur and will wail and set up a great hullaballoo when the inevitable end to such actions comes to be. no use at all giving these sweethearts a stern look, without the obedience gene a stern look is but a grimace on the face of ones elders. a good "TALKING TO" will illicit very little response other than fidgeting and eye rolling. these are perfectly normal, sometimes sweet, often kind children, they just do not have the obedience gene! liam and savannah on the other hand were born with the family penchant, the need to please ...the much maligned obedience gene. they to are perfectly normal, sometimes sweet, often kind children.however, should their behaviour displease you ... a glance is enough to reduce these little ones to tears of contrition!

the education system under which i grew and suffered, made no allowance for the sensitivities of an obediently inclined child. no one ever realized the fear engendered in our hearts and minds. a frustrated teacher, (after hours of battling with a class consisting mainly of non-mutants)would raise his or her voice and utter a mild threat of punishment... should the chaos in the classroom not subside.the terror felt in our obedient hearts could often be painful, our eyes would grow large and our palms sweaty. a rabbit staring down the barrel of a shotgun would probably endure the same degree of panic.

time to tie ourselves to the old school railings! time to object vociferously on behalf of future generations of obedient children. psychological tests should be introduced! separate schools for obedience gene carriers. no longer should obedient children have to suffer at the hands of worn out and irritable teachers. no longer should obedient children have to live in fear of the wrath of the educators. now is the time...stand up and be counted!

or perhaps ... we could offer words of wisdom to our young mutants...after all, it worked for me.
toughen up kid... deal with it....

Thursday, 2 August 2007

on moles and the nhs

i once had a delicious wee mole on the left side of my once wonderfully flat belly. i would lie in the sun in a somewhat skimpy bikini, beautifully summer tanned... damn...i looked good, those were the days my friend. the sexy mole was the cherry on the top! i have always believed, if you have it you should flaunt it...why not? a young body is a thing of beauty and unfortunately, usually carries an expiry date.

so that was then ...
i am no longer possessed of a flat belly, nor even a summer tan
i still have the mole, oh yes indeed! it may not be the same flat, delicious, object of desire it once was.... , but, it is still with sits there now, on my thickening midriff... an ugly blob, no longer small or brown or even actual fact, the damn thing is starting to look ever more like a pinky brown nipple!

my beloved, who assures me that she expects to wake up one day and find nothing left of me,except a giant mole beloved has spoken "that THING must come off!"

i am eternally grateful to the nhs, health problems no longer mean waiting till the last possible moment to seek medical advice. of course no one wishes to be ill, but only the uninsured will understand the feeling of utter panic, which twists the gut at the thought of "something wrong"...
translating immediately to medical bills beyond the ken of your average uninsured yokel.

i was brought up to believe in capitalism...still do. must admit though the yoke of british socialism lies easy on my shoulders.the state of civilisation required to allow no one to be uncared for while ill...i find amazing. yup, maybe they sometimes "get things wrong", perhaps you may be treated faster in another country (once they have decided you have the credit worthiness necessary to be admitted to a hospital!) least the uk has a plan, a wish,to treat all citizens with respect. children and the elderly at the very front of the queue, exactly where they should be. in the uk it is possible to grow old in your own home... with pride and dignity intact.

so yes, i'll be off to visit an nhs doctor! i will not have to pay for this necessity. if he finds something he does not like, my doctor will refer me to a specialist, if necessary...i will be offered treatments and operations. i will not be made bankrupt by endless medical bills, i will not have to endure sleepless nights wondering how i can possibly afford the treatment i need.

the nhs may be far from perfect ... at least it exists! i for one am proud to live in the united kingdom, a small island country, where all are entitled to equal medical treatment.