Friday 19 April 2024

Doctor Jurelma


Hi Tom,

Look forward to seeing you too!  So sorry for the delay in replying. I was out of range for email/ internet

Ordering items and I should have them on my arrival. The stethoscope that is the special one for doctors is called a littmans. I highly recommend it and it will prove to be a wonderful gift. I have mine and have never forgotten the person who bought it for me. 

The cost is about £200 for all.

See you on Sunday/ Monday.

Kind regards



Hi Jo, that is so kind of you! 

Ju will be thrilled.  I have absolutely no idea how, but even I have heard of Littman’s stethoscopes!

Please send me the final amount and your bank details so that I can reimburse you straight away.  As I said, if there are things missing off the list you deem useful additions (maybe Ju was too shy to push her luck?) just add them.  Looking at the list again, has she asked for that most basic of items, the thing to measure blood pressure?  I am familiar with those.  Once clamped around my arm and having pumped a bit the doctor at the business end of the device always asks, ‘Mr. Gowans, how much do you smoke and drink on average?’ A precursor to: ‘Your blood pressure is off the scale…’

Your sharing with me the emotion you felt toward the person who bought you your Litmann stethoscope warmed my disintegrating heart.  Little stories like that are what makes life worth living; a simple present inspired you to contribute so much to Society. Honestly, I had to light up and pour myself another scotch.

Ju’s older sisters trudged the well-worn footsteps of so many girls here; teenage pregnancy, monstrous physical abuse, evil exploitation, abandonment, followed by the miserable life endured by unemployable, unsupported female single parents, forced to base themselves to succour their children. All before age 20.

I was able to pluck Ju out of this.  She is now 23, unsullied and clearing her third year.  In two she will qualify as a doctor.  She spends her free time in the Bairros offering first line medical support.

I am being beaten hard by the Malaria stick.  I had hoped that a dose of Quartem on Monday evening would sort it out. Given that I still feel awful, I guess I am in for a rough weekend.


Tom G

Thursday 18 April 2024

Ultra Security

Two programme managers ago I dodged the honour of filling a soon to be vacant slot citing verifiable financial incompetence on my part.  How ironic that I am now the one holding the Standard Bank dongle in complete financial control of a multi million dollar project. 

Well not really. Thankfully there are still people who tell me what to do but, however temporarily, it is my finger on the button and if I suddenly lost my marbles, traversing pavements could be oh so dodgy.  

Rest assured I treat the dongle and my now linked laptop as I would two barely sub critical masses of Plutonium. Fingers and thumbs? Try paralysed big toes. One misplaced comma, an inadvertent decimal point, could cost the company millions. How could this be? I am sixty five years old and if I want funds to pass from my account to another, I write a cheque, not fondle a dongle.

The power has failed and my generator is still crook (a toasted control board) so I told the boys to take the battery from the Toyota and hook it up to the inverter so we can at least have TV and internet.  

No car keys.  Where are my car keys?   I always leave them in the same place, where are they?  We called the maid.  She is a very tidy maid.  Disarray annoys her so she has a jar.  Anything small and loose, left lying around that might still be important, she puts into the jar, and then puts the jar into her cupboard.  I have been sick with Malaria for over three days so my car keys qualified for the archive.  

'Jo', I told my maid, 'do you realise how serious the misplacement of car keys could be?'  Her blank expression encouraged me to pursue my point gently. 'Jo,' I said, 'had I just died of a heart attack, Marcia would need to get my body to the clinic ASAP so that she could catch the first post sending my death certificate to the insurance company in the morning.'  '

Oh,' Jo said.  

Marcia said, 'You have life insurance?'

Seriously, I am sick as a dog but I can rest easy knowing that access to the company bank accounts is secured in an impregnable jar.