Brownie baking 

For the last few months I have been distracted and busy, under a moderate amount of stress and with little time for the domestic pursuits that I usually enjoy on my days off. 

However, this week I am back in the mummy zone. I have been organising play dates, purchasing birthday cards and gifts to stock up the “present drawer” and baking.

I have made some chocolate brownies, an expensive exercise if you follow Nigella Lawson’s recipe; £12 it cost me to buy all the ingredients and I already had the vanilla and flour. Baking is such a soothing and enjoyable way to spend time. You may think that it is utterly unlike surgery, but in many ways it is the same. 

Firstly it doesn’t always turn out uniformly every time and generally the ingredients are the key to success. Also, there are many different ways to do the same thing, much like chocolate brownie recipes. 

I needed brownies because I was making cakes for work, to try and bring some happiness back to the team. I was on nights and was intensely irritated with one of my juniors on night shift, a girl I hadn’t met before said “it must be really hard to be a woman in surgery”. This pissed me off intensely and killed the conversation dead as I said “no it isn’t actually”.  I was infuriated by her next statement that she “couldn’t be a surgeon because she wanted kids and a life”….(This woman is wrong, mad and I couldn’t even be arsed trying to contradict her, I hope she enjoys her miserable shit career and her as yet unborn children).

The theme of my night shift was sadly “women acting like idiots”, the two female juniors were inept (resulting in tears), our nurses had a fight with other nurses from elsewhere (resulting in tears) and the bank nurses that were meant to be supporting the gaps didn’t turn up (resulting in, you guessed it, more tears). 

I have a strong sense of myself as Mrs James Barry, I don’t cry at work because of things I’ve fucked up (not that this happens often) and take criticism on the chin because it is a fact and part of learning.  I had to gently chastise one of these girls about a number of mini disasters, most related to failing to communicate with her senior and making odd decisions and she burst into tears on me. Snivelling, weeping great big sobs. It was truly appalling. I was extremely nice and gentle about it, “Ok, you’ve not done the right thing here, let’s sort this out together. No harm done but you could have caused damage and you should have told me about it”. That sort of thing, quite kind and nice really and I was not angry, shouty, nasty, I was very, very nice. 

Apparently though I am very intimidating and they are all scared. Bless them, poor babies. Let’s be completely clear that these women are doctors, they are getting paid over £2000 a month for way less hours than I did at their stage, they have minimal responsibility and are closely supervised. 

I have no idea what to say to make this better, so I have made chocolate brownies and am hoping that their deliciousness will somehow make it all ok. 

How would a man solve this situation? I have no idea, but I’m enough of a girl to know that cake and chocolate are worth a try. 


Teaching season again..

  I’m not an official academic, I have an honorary contract with the University of Bighospital that means I get an extra badge and a ridiculously grand sounding extra title of “honorary lecturer” when in fact all it means is that I give lectures and teaching for free. 

I do a lot of teaching as I enjoy it and I like talking to young and enthusiastic students. What gets me down is the few who don’t give a shit and think that they are funny and clever because of it. 

I was lecturing last week, a whole year group, sitting in the very lecture theatre where I too was a student. Ninety percent of them were listening I think, hard to tell when all you see is 180 glowing apple symbols from the back of their MacBooks. (I know, students nowadays, they have no idea. I got the bus and used a pen and a notepad). 

There were a few visibily bored, tired and yawning and a few who were determined to talk and disrupt their neighbours. I had spent many hours on this talk and I had come in on a day off to give it. I had tried to make it interesting and intermittently funny. It is not my job to do this, I volunteered because the university are so desperate for lecturers and I like it and of course it looks good on my cv. 

The talking students really annoyed me, in fact they made me feel small and silly. When I was a student I was constantly chatting to my friends and if mobile phones had been around I probably would have been messing about on snapshagger or whatever they are on. 

They have no idea that I am an unpaid lecturer, no idea I have spent  hours preparing this in my own free time and they also don’t care. I wish I wasn’t so upset by their disregard but I am. Maybe I will get used to it, I’ll have to as my teaching schedule is ridiculously heavy this year. 

All they have succeeded in doing is turning me into a reserved and disinterested lecturer who no longer will try and make my talks engaging  or fun, because rejecting the dry facts and talking through that doesn’t hurt me at all. 

It’s going to be a long year…