Monday, 13 May 2013

What's in a Name?

A shop on Pavement, York, the bowed timber frame is not a camera distortion - it's really like that

I  had occasion to have half a day out in sunny and ancient York with a friend recently, well actually it was cloudy and cold, but it didn't spoil the day. The purpose of the visit was to go to the York Dungeons in Clifford Street. I booked on line and saved 30% of the costs with no queueing. There's a window of opportunity to go, so you don't have to be there on the dot. This is a guided tour along the lines of the history of York, through the eyes of a number of actors playing characters from certain periods in York describing the conditions of the time. 

There was comedy as well as pathos to get the message across. The tour took us through a number of scenes, a court house, a living room in the plague time, a public house, the cell of Dick Turpin and a few others aside. In total the tour took over an hour and was good value for money. It isn't for the feint hearted, but it isn't horrific either as the name suggests. It's informative and fun - my advice by the way is to say nothing and you won't get volunteered for anything in the exhibitions - enough said!

We had tea provided by a charity in little St Crux Church Hall, built on the site of a once great church  at the end of the Shambles. St Crux was not a person; the name is a corruption of "Saincte Crusses" - Holy Cross Church. Following which we had a walk around the Shambles and the open market there accessed through one of the little snickets.

The Shambles
The Shambles was once known as the Great Flesh Shambles, due to the huge number of butchers shops down this ancient street. Some of the timber framed buildings come from the 14th century . According to Wikipedia, in 1872 there were 25 butchers shops in the Shambles, Today, there are none at all. Some of the buildings overhang and when I was a kid, they used to say neighbours could shake hands across the street from their respective bedroom windows. I'm not sure if that's true but its a great story.

We came across Whip-ma-whop-ma-gate, the shortest road in York (which measures about 30 yards-ish). What an extraordinary name but in fact it means 'What a Street!' and is the modern version of the original Whitnourwhatnourgate first seen around 1505.

Our final close up view of York was the Merchant Adverturers' Hall standing resplendent in the view from the bus stop to the Park and Ride.  This medieval wooden framed guildhall was built in 1357 and given a Royal Charter in 1430 and is still used today in this largely unchanged building for its original purpose by the Company of Merchant Adventurers of York for promoting business.

Merchant Adverturers' Hall
I recently went for a walk on the south bank of the Humber one evening just to the west  of Barton Upon Humber, a pleasant place to be on a nice day. There is lots to see in terms of wildlife, birds in particular, in the reeds and on the mud flats. There is an abundance of insect life too. Situated on the side of the river is a working brickyard/factory and I took a picture of this fascinating wall surrounding the premises on the river side made almost entirely of roofing pan tiles.

Pantile wall
Finally my last few paragraphs are reserved for those unpleasant members of the public who delight in exercising power by abusing receptionists. My best friend is a doctor's receptionist. It's a stressful and busy job, I've seen it in action, and of course by and large, they deal with people who are not very well.  I can imagine therefore what stress some, but not all, patients are under. They think they can get what they want (instant appointments where none exist for example and important prescriptions at the drop of a hat for medicine that they should have ordered in advance but forgot.)

They have the choice not to abuse receptionists and sometimes that abuse is vile. Swearing, threatening, physical intimidation, false allegations just to prove their power over humble receptionists who work within the confines of the rules of the surgery and the NHS. Occasionally receptions bend over backwards to help those desperately in need who approach them at short notice and of course no-one faces a life threatening situation without help being available - even if it is to be directed to the local accident and emergency. But no, because they can't have what they want immediately at the expense of others they kick off and intimidate, bully and harass until they get what they want.

Whilst I accept that the occasional receptionist can be perceived as rude or unhelpful, that is not the rule - it's rather the exception. Managers should have the courage to stand up these horrible people and strike them off their patient list, but too often, the worn out excuse that the patient is under stress is trotted out as an excuse in turn not to take action. I pity receptionists and the other patients in waiting rooms who are also under stress who have to witness this behaviour but choose to act with dignity and restraint. It's about time we challenged this arrogant, nasty, bullying attitude.

Chat soon 



  1. I love York, it's a favourite place of mine and hubby's. Interesting point of view about receptionists, recently hubby made an appointment to see the Nurse practitioner at our local practice and was told that yes, she would be there, so a week later hubby turns up for the appointment and the Nurse practitioner was on holiday! surely the receptionist would know if staff are on holiday the following week? This happened a few times now, another occasion the nurse was off sick, which is fair enough but you would think that the practice would phone hubby up to let him know and arrange to see someone else rather than let him turn up for the appointment only to be told she is off sick, there are always posters in waiting rooms that mention about 'x' amount of missed appointments, surely things should work both ways?

    Josie x

  2. Hi Josie
    Good to hear from you. I absolutely agree with you. The surgery should provide an efficient service and that committment goes both ways to expectations on both sides. I bet your hubby wasn't nasty or arrogant though, even though they had made a mistake. We all get cheesed off, but we dont act like moronic demons though like the famous few do.