book club: this is going to hurt

From cover to cover in 2 days. 2 days. I could not get through the comedic chaos written into this book quick enough.

As someone who has an interest in the medical profession (and who still wants to ‘someday’ be a paramedic – whenever ‘someday’ is) I was intrigued by this book, even before it was recommended.

So why on earth it took me the best part of a year to buy, who knows!

If I’m watching TV in the living room you’ll hear it a mile away. There’s usually the sound of sirens, telephones and beeping machines, along with screaming patients and lots of swearing. My obsession with medical programmes is hard to miss.

Whether it’s 24 Hours in A&E, 999 What’s Your Emergency?, Helicopter Heroes, Countryside Rescue, Ambulance… you’ll not be short of gory injuries and tales from medical staff. My fascination over guts, gore but also the intricacies of the medical world have left me with a serious interest that’s now spanned most of my life.

Picking up this book, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d enjoy it. The topic alone I knew would be interesting, and Kay’s inclusion of terminology and explanations had me convinced it was going to make my top 10, if not 5, all time favourite books.

And I was right.

There is a clue is in the title, though. It is going to hurt.

From humorous anecdotes to matter of fact statements that left me shocked and upset, Adam Kay has mastered my emotions and left me reeling, but more importantly, grateful and passionate.

Passionate about our National Health Service and all it takes on and delivers, and passionate about one day being a tiny cog in the mechanism of it all. (Yep – it didn’t put me off.) Instead of persuading me that joining the NHS would be a bad thing, it did the opposite.

I empathise wholeheartedly with Kay, and his execution of the book is heroic. He demonstrates the reality of life in the NHS, spanning the six years he worked as a Junior Doctor.

“I should have had counselling — in fact, my hospital should have arranged it. But there’s a mutual code of silence that keeps help from those who need it most.”

As a rebuke to Jeremy Hunt’s remarks about pay and working conditions, the rhetoric tells the brutal truth of what the workforce of the NHS are up against. The book gives a rare and honest insight into the life Kay had, and his comedic personality leaves you laughing out loud or unsure if he’s joking, or if it’s that bad.

Kay reflects that the hearts of those working in the NHS are holding it together. The ‘good few’ dedicated individuals who have energy left after all the overtime and double shifts. It is an incredible story of the reality of anyone working in the medical profession. They’re humans. Just like us.

Hats off to Kay, and to doctors everywhere, NHS or not, for taking on such a commitment.

Whether you love the NHS or find it painful and frustrating, this book is definitely worth a read.

love sophie

a letter from: bath

It’s been far too long since I stepped foot in the beautiful city of Bath, and this week made up for that completely. With a double dose in one week (both Graduation and a Kilimanjaro reunion weekend) I am well and truly cream crackered.

It has been blooming lovely, though.

The sun shone, I got to meet up with people I hadn’t seen in faaaaaar too long, and see my words in print as part of our MA Anthology (which was epic!)

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Graduation was lovely, as was seeing all my lovely course friends and writing pals again. It’s surprising how close you get to each other and how much you help each other through the process. It was amazing to celebrate altogether, and surprisingly emotional to be reunited again.

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There’s so much to do in Bath that if you don’t really know the city, just wandering aimlessly means you’ll see beautiful things and stumble across some absolute gems along with gorgeous architecture.

Having lived there for four years, it’s amazing how much I still haven’t seen. We’re famous for never being tourists in our own cities, and I’m exactly the same with Leeds. But, there’s always a favourite place I stumble back to, and the cobble streets and golden stone buildings will always scream ‘home.’

Mr B’s Emporium is one of my favourite places in Bath. Unfortunately (and typically) it was closed for renovation over the days I was there so I didn’t get to step into the bookshop of reading delights (a shame but my purse was pleased!)

We also popped across to BookBarn (my absolute favourite place) which I last visited in June. It’s a twenty minute journey from the centre of Bath, but if you love books (or vegetarian food) it is a real treat. We were even treated to a reading by Dan.

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Most books are £1 (and there are over a million), there’s an open fire, and the freshly made food and tea make it a lovely place to spend a few hours. There’s a kids reading nook, and it’s all enclosed so you can sit in the cafe and leave them to feel grown up, playing or reading to their hearts content.

The Darwin Room is a relatively new addition, boasting spines that are hundreds of years old, alongside first editions and collectables. Unfortunately these aren’t £1!

In between the rugby matches on Saturday, we even managed to sneak in a tower tour up Bath Abbey which was amazing, and a must do – such great value and such great views.

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The journey up is just as good, and the winding corridors and little nooks and crannies you can see and squeeze through make you feel like a kid again. We even got to ring one of the bells from the top! (…I promise I didn’t wear the same outfit the whole time.)

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Glorious sunshine hitting Georgian stone is such a beautiful thing to witness. Visiting Corsham Court after my graduation ceremony was something I’m really glad I did. I was fortunate enough to call it campus for a year and it really is beautiful, more so in the sun!

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(I ditched the heels for my Docs as soon as the photos were taken – if you know me, you know!)

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It felt very good to go full circle and I left Bath with a very cheesy grin on my face!

Let’s hope it’s not too long before I go back for another adventure!

love sophie