Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Big Ben or Queen Elizabeth Tower?

Now I have heard everything! Our elected MP's have voted to change the name of Big Ben to, wait for it..... Queen Elizabeth Tower!!!!!

I am speechless. It is challenging to find a name that trips off the tongue and everybody knows and everybody loves.  I know for I have been struggling with my names for years. Janette Miller was difficult enough but Janette Heffernan was impossible! I even tried Jan Mila for my company with no success either.

Surely renaming a major national icon to honour a very ordinary but pleasant woman who had the good fortune to win the major prize in the lottery of life is a major mistake.

Big Ben was a visual and audio focal point throughout the miseries and danger of the Second World War. Its chimes became a rallying point for allies in occupied countries and its reassuring sounds said it all. It was comforting and stood for everything the Nazis didn't. You knew where you stood with Big Ben and whose side you were on.

To rename it in honor of a hereditary monarch who has achieved greatness by reigning over us longest seems like outright toadying. Charles I must be laughing his head off.

If the Queen and the royal family knew what was good for them they would refuse the honour. They got away with the expensive shindig of the Jubilee celebrations, shot themselves in the foot with making Kate curtsey to the Royal Princesses of the blood but renaming Big Ben is a step too far.

Well you can rename the Tower, I suppose, but not the clock! That will always be Big Ben!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vintage Photos Wembley Stadium

Picture: English Heritage/PA

The Telegraph had a photo slide show of vintage ariel photos of England which readers on line have been invited to share.

Many of the photos, which range from 1919 to 1953, were so old and fragile that they were close to being lost forever. Above, the FA Cup Final Wembley Stadium on April 27, 1935. Sheffield Wednesday beat West Bromwich Albion by four goals to two. The Cierva autogyro in the foreground was flown by Scotland Yard, experimenting with air observation to monitor crowds. (Telegraph)

I found the above photo very nostalgic because this is where I spent a large part of my childhood. Yes, I used to run around Wembley Stadium. This was because my grandfather Henry Thorpe was the chief accountant and in 1926 nearly the owner.  I went to the Olympics Opening Ceremony in 1948. I was five.

Ariel photography was very rare up until relatively recently until the advent of Google maps and Earth. It was a bit of a learning curve to get my brain used to seeing objects from the top. I found it hard to find the pyramids. I knew they were on the West Bank but I have never been to Egypt.  Even the Eifel Tower is difficult to pick out from above.

I used to make the drive from Stanmore to Taplow for over twenty five years. I could trace it on a map. Recently on a dull afternoon I tried to do this on Google Earth. It was incredibly difficult and so enlightening. In fact I found it fascinating to see exacty where and in which direction I was going. London is so large there are many areas which I do not know well and to actually see the lay out from the air was mind boggling.

Pilots are used to this but again picking out London Airport from way up in the atmosphere for the first time was challenging. How they do this I can only guess.

Now I am used to looking at the world from above. Google Earth has added vintage photos to ordinary streets and I can relive the days of my youth in Stanmore when our street was lined with elms and oaks that now sadly have been cut down.

Enjoy the photos. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

FDA Warning Rantidine/ PPI

This is a warning to all of you who take anti antacid drugs regularly. You know the sort you buy over the counter at the chemist and supermarket. For years these drugs like Zantac/Ranitidine have been considered as safe as houses but now it seems they are not and the US Federal Drug Administration has delivered a waring that long term use of these drugs can damage your health as  use can lead to diarrhea and the deadly hospital super bug Clostridium Difficile.  You do not want this.

How do I know? Well ten years ago I caught this bug possible because of a hospital stay and use of a Protein Pump Inhibitor for heliobacter. CD nearly killed me. CD kills.

Consequently the hospital docs warned me never, never to use a PPI again EVER! I knew this, I have it written on all  my medical notes, NO PPI's but my GP who has now left for Australia did not think it was of consequence and prescribed one without telling me. I immediately checked on Wikipedia and found it was a PPI and I refused to take it

My oh so clever GP then prescribed Ranitidine without telling me that this was a sort of PPI! He said it was a safe alternative. He warned me I should not get well without it and that I had to take it for at least 6 months. I did not fare well on this drug. I took it for two months because my GP said if I refused to take it he would not treat me. I lost weight even though I was eating over 2000 calories a day and started to have long term diarrhea.

It got to be so bad I returned only to be fobbed off with a slightly lower dose. I felt awful.

It was only after a visit to the hospital dietician who had been very helpful when I was first ill I discovered that Ranitidine was in  a PPI and later that day to my horror I discovered that on the 2nd February this year the US FDA had issued a warning that these drugs can lead to CD. I came off it that night.

My message is  it is vital to check any drug given on Wikipedia or browse for Adverse Drug Effects before you take it. I trusted this doctor but he let me down twice and if I had not found out it could have been serious.  Obviously to be fair a GP cannot know everything. Medicine moves too fast these days but even so this is a serious warning.

Lesson. Only take an anti antacid if absolutely necessary. Even simple ones like Mylanta should be used sparingly and if you do not believe maybe you will believe the FDA

PS Twenty one days later I am feeling better thanks in due to a new diet regime I found on the web Reflux Defense. I have gained weight and slowly recovering.
This is last post on my health.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vitamin B12 Deficiency the forgotten killer

Must read! Available at

Could it be B12? Yes in my case it was. B12 Deficiency once a major killer is now mainly ignored  by the present day doctors and goes so undiagnosed leaving sufferers with a life of misery and even early death. A simple blood test and a course of cheap safe B12 injections can restore life to normal if diagnosed in its early stages.

Symptoms include fatigue, numbness of hands and feet, memory loss, irritability, depression, gastrointestinal disorders and, in extreme cases, dementia. Barring the last, as the other symptoms are of a general nature and usually ignored, it becomes difficult to detect the deficiency. (Read more at:

I was lucky but it took two months and a hospital stay before my Croatian GP diagnosed my problem. Nobody else had thought of it. A raw spotty tongue, misdiagnosed as Lie Lumps,severe weight loss and increased anxiety should have been major clues to what was wrong with me but for many doctors this rang no bells.

It seems I have been B12 deficient for many years and the lack of it had left me with  serious problems. It has been a long voyage to get the amount of B12 I need back into my system. B12 is completely safe. It is a vitamin and can be bought over any chemists counter. According to the FDA there is no upper limit to the amount of B12 that can be taken as any  B12 the body does not need is removed in one's urine. Bought in bulk B12 costs pennies and it improves the quality of life for millions of people.

Yet in NZ and UK this vitamin is harder to obtain than heroin. It appears that the governments of both countries are not prepared to fund it and many poor who cannot afford to go private are refused. In the UK at the moment there are Bills before parliament to end this situation.

I am lucky. I can fund my own B12 injections and in fact now that my body has enough I can gradually ease off until I get the balance just right for me. Others are not so lucky.

So friends, take my advise and get a vitamin B12 blood test every few years to avoid deficiency and problems. I became very thin and anxious. Because it was left almost too late I shall always have problems but I am alive. I owe my life to my GP who although less than perfect at other times gave me this simple test.

NB Before you go for a B12 test it is important you are not taking any multi vitamin supplements which could effect the results. The Pernicious Anemia Society UK recommends that the level of B12 in the body should be around 450 points and that any result below that means one is deficient. However the Medical Fraternity in some countries who may for financial reasons not wish to fund at that level reduce the levels in UK to 200 and in NZ to 170. In my country one has to be very deficient to get the injections. I was around 150 which is 300 points below what is considered normal. 

The treatment of B12 Deficiency has not changed for 50 years and is now out of date. Everybody is different and has differing needs and with B12 one size does not fit all. I and many other need much more. Fortunately as B12 is so safe one can resort to subcutaneous patches and pills that go slowly into the blood stream but these are not as good as an injection.

The enlightened treatment is to medicate as required and I am lucky as I can do so. 

So if you have any of the symptoms listed above take a B12 test. It could save you from a life of misery.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In Praise of Vitamin B12

On my YouTube Xmas message I ended by saying how much I enjoyed my life and how one never knew what was around the corner. If only I had known! In fact it was a good thing that I didn't know!

I ate some smoked salmon a day before Christmas and I unlocked the genie out of the bottle. It has taken five months to recover and I am a wiser woman as a result.

It is difficult to know where to start. Perhaps I shouldn't but it has taken ages  to get to the stage where I can just about begin to live again. This has been challenging.

My blog has suffered as I have not felt up to writing it. Nobody is interested in the illnesses of others and I have no wish to bore or embarrass so this will be the only reference.

Well that's not quite true because in my next post I shall tell of my adventures with Vitamin B12 and the subsequent of the dangers of Losec and Ranitidine as a warning to others.

Coming back to my blog I find all the formats have changed and I am back to the challenge of new technology. I hope I am up to it.