November 11th, 2009


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Damp update

So, last Monday (9 days ago) they uncovered the leaking pipe.  They, in this case, being the builders that the insurance company brought in.

Now, I'm not covered for the actual replacement of the pipe (which counts as wear and tear), so on Wednesday I phoned the builders to ask if they could do that on top of the other work.  It took me until Friday to get a straight answer, which turned out to be "No".  Or, less concisely, "That would be a conflict of interest, so we'd rather not if you can get someone else to do it."

So I phoned my normal plumbers and they came round on Monday and said "No".  Or, less concisely, "We've never done an internal drain pipe before, and if we fucked it up we'd end up in your foundations trying to find the end of it."

So yesterday I phoned another builders company, and they sent someone round today who said "Yes".  Or, less concisely, "we'll need to take out the bricks here and here so that I can get an angle grinder in.  I'll get the boss to send you a quote.  See you on Monday or Tuesday."

Which is a step forward, I admit, insofar that I'll be able to get things started then, with any luck.  Oh, and he did find the actual crack and stick a towel in it, which was nice.

But goodness knows what _this_ is going to cost me.  If any of you were hoping for nice Christmas presents this year you may want to scale down your expectations...

Remember, remember the 11th of November

I noticed today that pretty much nobody in my office is wearing a poppy, and that this is definitely a change from five years ago.

Today I am wearing

a red poppy
a white poppy
no poppy
no poppy - but my country doesn't do them.

My country has remembrance day (or equivalent)



(nearly) everyone around me today is wearing a poppy
A large chunk of the people around me today are wearing a poppy
(almost) nobody is wearing a poppy
They don't do poppies in my country

Comparing the UK and US on healthcare

Well, let’s compare the UK and US using OECD data (UK and USA):

- The UK has 2.5 physicians per 1000 people, 10 nurses per 1000, 2.6 acute care beds per 1000, a life of expectancy of 79.1 years, and an infant mortality rate of 4.8 per 1000.
- The US has 2.4 physicians per 1000, 10.6 nurses per 1000, 2.7 acute beds per 1000,life expectancy was 78.1 years, and an infant mortality rate of 6.7 per 1000.

Most people would say that the UK was marginally better than the US overall with the exception of infant mortality where it was considerably better. Why? Because infant mortality is heavily correlated with poverty and an unequal healthcare system- like the US has.

BUT the big difference? There was one stat that I left out. That is the cost of healthcare. For a healthcare system that is comparable but worse in significant ways, the US has to spend a whopping 16% of its GDP. We pay 8.4% of GDP.