Guest Post: Medical Advice From Gavin

Gavin has good advice about the prevention of choking on food, using his many years of experience in the Ambulance Service in London, and New Zealand.

Hi folks, 2 things I feared most when I was in the ambulance service. One was asthma & the other similar was choking. I was the first in NZ to teach the Heimlich manoeuvre & got into trouble for it. I’m pleased to see in the video in the news story courtesy of Wellington Free, they have brought it back.

(This is not the video clip mentioned, just an illustration of the technique-Pete.)

Some advice
Never sneak up on someone while they are eating or give them a fright, such as saying HI by slapping them on the back. Eat small bites of steak and not chewy bits – no need to be polite, spit them out. And don’t forget Oranges. The meat on that is a regular choker as the acid can make you gulp. For children, eating oranges like we did at half time is safest, not peeled or Mandarins are better.

Only advanced paramedics have the equipment & can do cricothyroid punctures, certainly not in rural areas. An off duty doctor would struggle without the right gear but a midwife did it successfully in the Hawkes Bay a few years ago.


Can anyone offer help or advice to Lorraine? She is a blind blogger experiencing great difficulties in managing her blog to her satisfaction.

Every morning my emails from WP come through from blogs that I am following. There are all the usual challenges in there and also other bloggers’ responses to challenges. I so much would like to join in these challenges but as a newly blind person I find I do not know how to get to them from my emails. Are there any blind people out ther who can help? Or anyone else for that matter. My activities on WP are so limited now and it irks me. I can make my posts and with help reply to comments but I cannot go to other peoples’ blogs and read and comment although when I have help I can get my cursor into the reply boxes and type out my own response. Is there anyone who can help please?

I am using an iPad and voiceover by the way.

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How to Market Your First Book: The Ultimate Guide

Great tips for authors from Nicholas. And also good many reasons why I have never published a book! 🙂

Nicholas C. Rossis

Market your first book | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

So, you’ve completed your first book. After pouring your heart and soul into your first masterpiece, the rest of the world surely needs to appreciate your accomplishment as much as you do. This landmark moment in your life needs to be shared with the world. But how? You might have no idea how to market a book.

Fortunately, technology has developed to the point where there are now many avenues for sharing information if you’re a new book writer. The trick, of course, is finding the RIGHT channels to reach your desired audience. You can post things on Facebook Ad Nauseum, for example—but if your target group isn’t part of your following, you’ll get nowhere.

Here are some tips to follow for effective marketing of your work!

Follow the experts

Before you get started on your own marketing efforts, it would be wise to take a look at successful writers…

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An Alphabet Of My Life: K


When I was quite young, I don’t remember the exact age, my Mum gave me some advice.

“Be kind”.
“Be kind to animals”.
“Be kind to people”.
“Help people when you can”.
“Kindness costs nothing”.
“If you cannot say something kind, then say nothing at all”.

I took those words to heart, and have tried to live by them since. I went into a career as an EMT that required kindness as ‘stage one’ of any treatment. I was always kind to any animals or pets I encountered, and treated them with great respect.

When I felt I could say nothing kind to someone, I tried to be constructive or helpful instead.

Over 60 years later, I am still trying my very best to put kindness first.

Thanks, Mum.

Weather Warning!

As most people know, the English love to talk about the weather. It is a conversation starter between strangers, and most people I know follow the weather forecasts on the news with a religious fervour.

Now we really do have something to talk about, as we face the hottest temperature EVER recorded in Britain.

On Monday and Tuesday, temperatures in parts of England are set to reach a possible 41C. That is almost 106F, a heat unheard of in this country and never recorded previously. In the area around Beetley, we are being forecast 39-40C on both days. The last day when it got anywhere near that was on the 17th of June, when we saw 33C in Norfolk.

News reports and weather forecasts are full of dire warnings. They are expecting that thousands of people with underlying health conditions will simply die from the heat. The government has issued a ‘RED ALERT‘ weather warning for the first time in our history, and it comes with a lot of advice on how to ‘survive the heat’.

*Pets should be kept in, and dogs walked before sunrise or after sunset.

*People should make alternative working arrangements to avoid going outside.

*Rail travel will be badly affected as rails will buckle in the heat next week.

*Everyone should drink lots of water, and stay inside if possible.

*Do not wear dark colours, or restrictive clothing.

*Windows and curtains/blinds should be kept closed, to stop sunshine heating up rooms and hot air coming inside the house.

*We should avoid using cars as they will overheat in traffic, as will their drivers.

*Look out for signs of heatstroke if you have to go outside.

*Do not swim in cold lakes or rivers as the change in body temperature could be dangerous.

*Some schools will be either closing during the heatwave, or sending pupils home early.

For those of you who live in countries where such Summer temperatures are normal, you might wonder what all the fuss is about, I understand that.

But you have to consider that Britain is generally geared up for ten months of winter. As a result, houses are mainly brick built, with insulation in the walls and roof spaces. Most of us have carpeted floors, and many of us (me included) do not have airconditioning in the house, or in our cars. Few houses have very large windows to open, and fewer have shutters on the outside to stop the heat from the sun.

Britain was a cold country, and still is for much of the year. If it gets to 25C here (77F) we think it is a ‘hot summer’. Now temperatures are on the rise in summer months, and even winters are slightly warmer. We have not planned ahead. Houses are still being built in the same way, and transport systems have hardly changed in fifty years.

People get so excited by a hot summer that they rush outside to sunbathe on beaches or have barbecues, only to get badly sunburnt.

So the government advice sounds very strange to us. And what of the people who have no choice but to go out? Shop-workers, emergency workers, self-employed trades with jobs booked. My wife has to go to work on both days, as she works for a Doctors’ practice. She cannot do her job from home, or make ‘alternative working arrangements’.

There is going to have to be some future planning to cope with the ever-increasing heat in Summers to come. However, I have not yet heard a single politician coming up with any plan that includes that.

So we will have to see what happens on Monday and Tuesday next week.

Blogging Observations

2022 seems to be a rather quiet year for blogging. After the surge in new bloggers during the pandemic lockdowns, WordPress appears to have less new bloggers than ever before. Not that I am concerned, but this year has seen less new followers than I would have got in one month in 2021.

It could be that they tried it, and didn’t like it. Or the recent changes to WordPress plans with far less space allowance and higher charges for upgrades might be putting off potential new bloggers.

Perhaps it is just my blog that feels quiet? Is anyone else noticing this trend?

Luckily, we already have a well-established community, developed over many years. But it does seem a shame not to see so much ‘new blood’ appearing on WordPress.

With that in mind, if you are hesitatnt about staring a blog, or feel it is all too complicated to tackle, reach out and ask for help. Bloggers are friendly and helpful people, and most are hpapy to offer advice and tips, as well as supporting new bloggers with guest posts or features.

You can always contact me by email if you have any questions, so I will start you off with an email address.

If any others in our community feel they are willing to help new bloggers, please add a link or contact details in the comments.

My Driving Licence: A Positive Update

The DVLA has still not been in touch, and my licence has not arrived. I have not heard back from my Member of Parliament as yet, so yesterday I decided to email the Norfolk Police and ask for their advice. They replied last night, a great service from our local police force.

It seems I can drive until my new licence arrives, as long as I meet the following conditions.

You have the support of your doctor to continue driving
you had a valid licence
you only drive under the conditions of the previous licence
your application is less than a year old
your last licence wasn’t revoked or refused for medical reasons
you’re not currently disqualified
you weren’t disqualified as a high risk offender on or after 1 June 2013″

I do meet all those conditions, so as of today I am going to drive again. I have a printout of the email to keep in the car, and a note of my DVLA application reference.

Just a pity that I didn’t think to ask the police on the 17th of March.

If anyone who is affected by the DVLA delays reads this, I suggest you do the same thing, and then you will be able to drive legally.


Surviving Eunice

Today the British Isles have been hit by Storm Eunice. Supposedly the strongest winds seen in this country for thirty years, with gusts of up to 100mph in some areas.

In the Republic of Ireland, a man was killed by a falling tree as the storm swept in from the Atlantic.

1,800+ homes in Scotland are without power.

Schools that are not on half-term holiday have been closed in many regions, and people who can work from home have been advised to do so.

Major bridges are closed all over the UK, and rail services to and from the West Country area have been cancelled.

Many sea ferries and some coastal shipping have also been suspended, as only the largest lifeboats can be used in this weather.

The rare ‘Red Alert’ has been issued, and the residents of London have been advised not to leave their homes.

Trees are being ripped up by the winds, especially in Wales, which has been hit hard. Despite serious warnings, and some precautionary evacuations, there have been no reports of severe flooding so far.

Trampolines and garden furniture have been blown out of back gardens, fences flattened, and many parked cars wrecked by falling trees overnight. Government advice is not to drive on any roads anywhere in the country unless it is essential.

Here in Beetley, it is a case of so far, so good.

The force of the wind in the early hours has caused some power cuts locally, which we have not experienced so far. I cancelled a trip to the Vet in Swaffham to collect Ollie’s repeat presciption, as the journey involves a major road used by many large trucks. Being close to those in such windy conditions can be hazardous if they are blown over.

But Ollie has to go out, so I am just back from Beetley Meadows and Hoe Rough. A few of the smaller, thinner trees are down, though the large Oaks seem to be riding out the worst of it, despite losing lots of small branches and twigs. The river is at a normal level, so there will hopefully be no flooding locally.

Checking the weather news, I note that we are still due to get the worst of the winds after dark, until at least 9pm or later.

Wish me luck!

New bloggers: Following Back

This is some advice for all new bloggers who think it is ‘normal’ to ask other bloggers to follow back, once they have followed someone’s blog.

Try to remember that many of the blogs you decide to follow have been around for a very long time before you discovered them. That means it takes up a great deal of time to not only produce content for the blogs, but also to reply to comments, and read and comment on the blogs they already follow.

Imagine my own blog, with 8,000+ followers. If I had followed back every one of those, I would need to live five lifetimes just to read their posts and leave comments.

When we have been blogging for five years or more, it usually means we have already followed as many bloggers as we can possibly cope with. In my case, that is close to 120, and some other bloggers follow as many as 300.

So when you follow another blogger, PLEASE do not automatically ask them to ‘Follow Back’. I try my best to help any new bloggers with advice and tips, and always comment on the blog of any genuine blogger who follows me. I am also happy to receive emails asking for help and suggestions. But that doesn’t mean I will automatically follow you back, so presuming I will do so will leave you feeling disapointed. Especially when you ask me directly, and I decline.

If you only follow my blog because you want to boost your own follower numbers, then perhaps it is best not to follow me in the first place.

Blogging is not instant social media, and that’s just not how it works.

New Bloggers: A Helping Hand

It seems that a lot of the new bloggers who have arrived on WordPress this year are keen to read about some tips and advice to help them get a start in blogging.

My three recent posts on the subject have received well over 2,300 views in a very short time.

Now we all have different ideas about what makes for good blogging, and also different views on blogging ‘etiquette’. For the new people to become part of any community will take some time of course. Meanwhile, we can all help them along the way with any useful tips and advice that might spring to mind.

I won’t be asking everyone to put up a post on the subject, don’t worry. You are all busy with your own blogs and lives, so another suggestion from me is the last thing you need.

That said, adding a comment to this post won’t take you long. It might help a new blogger, encourage them to continue to blog, and eventually grow this wonderful community that we all enjoy being a part of.

So all I am asking is that if you have any blogging rules you swear by, or some valuable tips that you have yet to share, just add them as a comment below.

The post will stay up, and hopefully be found by many of those new bloggers.

Thanks in advance, and best wishes to everyone. Pete.