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A watched watch … November 6, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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A watched watch never ticks !

A word to the wise folks. Never, ever buy a seemingly perfect, pristine condition, still in its box, fancy looking watch from a street hawker in Spain. Or anywhere for that matter. I mean, I knew the thing was fake of course, but I wanted one anyway because I might get a few months out of it.

Having got him down from €50 to €10 (and yes, the alarm bells did ring at that point), the bloody thing stopped working after about ten minutes. Just long enough for the hawker to close his suitcase and feck off around the corner to hassle some other gobshite tourist.

It appears I bought one of those watches that works fine while the seller shows you how great it is and what all the buttons do, and then – hey presto – you buy it and walk around the corner and check the time ! And it’s banjaxed … dead as a whorehouse rat !

You’d think it’d be more expensive for these guys to buy or make watches that didn’t work that to get ones that did ? So be careful … everyone can see past a broken, shady looking Rolex knock off bought for a tenner …. everyone except me, it seems !

We can learn from Spain November 1, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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We can learn from Spain as far as health care goes. I won’t blag on about it but given the positively 4th world health care system here and the belligerent refusal of the HSE or anyone in authority to even recognise the issue, I feel I should share with you our experiences of a trip to a Spanish hospital last week.

Thanks to the wonders of scheduled posts (and I finally twigged the secret) it may have looked like I was indeed blogging away as normal for the past week or so but nay, we were in northern SpainVigo to be exact – enjoying a few days with the father-in-law.

To cut a long story short, the child became ill at the start of the holiday and worsened gradually until we had to go to the doctor. Now we had just realised, prior to leaving Ireland that our E1-11 cards (or whatever they are called now) had run out. Cue a mad rush last minute to the social services to get replacements, in the form of a photocopied renewal form, to prove we had applied for them. It was the best we could do.

So we walked into the nearest Spanish health centre and were seen within 10 minutes – no appointment necessary. It was busy but everyone got seen to. Some had appointments obviously but others did not. Everyone was treated the same. They even had people employed to entertain the kids in a play area while they were waiting to be seen. In and out with our diagnosis (thank God the wife speaks Spanish) and away to the pharmacy to pay the princely sum of €8 for anti-biotics for the baby. I nearly threw the €8 at the chemist given the price of them here – and she was apologetic saying she had to charge us because we didn’t have our current health cards …

And so the situation declined and now the family, having to be content with looking at the 4 walls of the hotel room – tried to make the best of it. And then the puking started. So we, through the hotel (wonderful hotel), rang for a doctor to come out but they thought better to call an ambulance. In came the paramedics within 5 minutes (seriously!) and brought the baby off to hospital and we were checked in and waiting in Emergenxia within another 10 – even without our bloody health cards.

After 5 minutes of waiting -and that was the same for everyone – we were seen and the child thoroughly checked and diagnosed etc. and away we went. Seen, treated and medicated within an hour. HSE, eat your heart out !

All is well now, thank God. It’s never nice for a child to be sick but when it happens in a strange country it’s even worse – but fair play to Spain – we could learn a lot from them – not least in the area of customer service and thoroughness.  A big thank you to all in Vigo …

Wishful thinking that such a situation might happen here, I fear … although I am glad (cough, splutter) that Bertie has gotten a pay rise of €38k a year – if he can get away with it, why not ?