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A Potter's Moll: A Soft-Top In The Rain

…I asked if I would have to make another visit the next day even though it only necessitated taking a box of tablets down off the shelf – I could see them. The answer was yes.

It’s hardly as if the pharmacist is grinding away with a mortar and pestle for twenty four hours! Next day when I went I was told to take a seat for ten minutes while they got it ready – slow motion to move a box into a paper bag.

While I waited I allowed myself to be further annoyed by a badly-worded notice which read: ‘Please would patients queue to the left for your prescription.’…

A trip to the local health centre pharmacy can be an irritating experience, as Liz Robison reveals.

To see samples of the work of Liz’s internationally-famous potter husband Jim Robison please visit
http://www.jimrobison.co.uk/

The MG Owner’s Club Snowdon Run that I mentioned in my last column began at Llandudno in lashing rain with a grey sea whipped up into white horses. More like November or February.

On the mountain roads you could see wide torrents pouring down the hillsides and the rivers at the bottom were in full spate. Very dramatic, but not what you want in a soft-topped sports car in August.

It did stop raining eventually, and our last stop was at Nant Gwrtheyrn, a tiny cliff-top hamlet near Nefyn where there was a gravel quarry working until the 1950s. It is now restored as a Welsh language centre, the quarrymen’s terraces used for accommodation, the chapel as bookshop and gallery and the manager’s house houses the teaching areas.

The setting is haunting and dramatic; beautiful in an awe-inspiring way, with the vast sea sloping away to the horizon.

The road down is called Screw road, and it has now been re-graded but when the quarry was working, goods were brought down on horse-drawn sledges. The women used occasionally to hitch a ride on the boats taking the gravel to Liverpool to do their shopping.

I’ve been grumbling this week about our local health centre. You now have to announce your presence by touching a computer screen, even though the so-called receptionist is sitting inches from you behind a glass screen.

The Pharmacy seems often to be closed (lunch hour, training afternoon, etc) When I asked how we are supposed to know all these things I got the monosyllabic reply: ‘Flyer’. I had ordered a repeat prescription and when I tried to collect it next day I was told that there was a two-day wait and that too many people are trying to get them after one day!

So I asked if I would have to make another visit the next day even though it only necessitated taking a box of tablets down off the shelf – I could see them. The answer was yes.

It’s hardly as if the pharmacist is grinding away with a mortar and pestle for twenty four hours! Next day when I went I was told to take a seat for ten minutes while they got it ready – slow motion to move a box into a paper bag.

While I waited I allowed myself to be further annoyed by a badly-worded notice which read: ‘Please would patients queue to the left for your prescription.’

I came out thinking National Health Service, bah, humbug! Not an experience calculated to keep one’s blood pressure down, which is what the medication was for.

In one of our local supermarkets they now have four self-service checkouts – soon we will never actually have to speak to other people at all.

On a brighter note, this lunchtime we finished a course in potter Jim’s studio for eight students who were anxious to improve their potting skills. These days brought out all that is best about human communication: good teaching, eager learning, much progress and jolly good fun in the process.

How sociable eating and drinking are when you have worked hard, and the conversations are always fascinating.

We had a lady from Denmark, one born in Sri Lanka but now living in Pateley Bridge, friends from York, one was born in Newfoundland, the other is a professional garden designer. Sarah is a teacher of autistic children and Tim is a retired headteacher who is about to embark on an MA in ceramics.

One of the real stars of the group is about to retire as a squadron leader in the RAF where she has been since she was seventeen. She has just got another job organising celebration events for the combined services in London. She was in charge of logistics at Kabul airport until recently. Fascinating!

We all had fun helping the Danish lady ‘improve’ her English. She now knows to say ‘I’m pogged’ when she is full, and knows several uses of the catch-all Yorkshire phrase, ‘Ey up’.


We are keeping our fingers crossed for fine weather this weekend – my son is best man at a wedding and we’ve loaned two fields for the reception marquee and for camping. It’s been fascinating watching the process of erecting the marquee and all the other paraphernalia that goes with it – generator, toilets, water bowser, catering tent etc. The yurt for the bride and groom to spend their wedding night in arrives tomorrow morning. More from me in a fortnight.

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