This, one of my best online prezzies, came the other evening from my amigo Mad Priest. I have to tell you I feel I've arrived, blogistically, to be the subject of one of his creative flings. I shall bear it in mind when I go tomorrow for a second attempt at getting my blood to the lab over the water. Watch this space.
While on the subject of Inverclyde Royal, I have to say what a strange institution it is. For those who have never been, you reach it by driving off the Gourock-Glasgow road just as you leave Gourock town centre; you drive up and up an impossibly steep hill and then turn into a bleak road at the very top of the inhabited area. There, in a hollow at the top of the hills behind the town (so there's no view from the windows, despite the wonderful vista from the first steep road) lies a kind of Borg ship in brown, a great cube of a building surrounded by zillions of parked cars. (I once managed to park in this car park. Never again) You drive past it and turn into a large overflow car park on the opposite side of the road. At this altitude the snow, thawing elsewhere, is still lying thick and brown. You paddle through the slush to the road, turn in the teeth of the wind and march down to the main gate. A further brisk walk over three pedestrian crossings finds you at the main entrance, adorned by the usual shivering smokers.
I remarked to Mr B as we undertook this ordeal that I very much don't want to die in this hospital. Even without getting into it you feel the bleakness of the site; inside was no better. They are refurbishing the bit I was in, and the painters, joiners and electricians were everywhere. Apparently they don't finish one area before moving on to destroy the next, so the whole X-ray department was a building site. "Keep your shoes on," I was told; "the floor's filthy."
I used to think of hospitals as warm places, where at least taking off your outdoor clothes seemed a good idea. Not any more. Just think gooseflesh, cold gel for an ultrasound, a thin cotton goonie. The only aspect of the whole visit which bore some resemblance to what we hope for when we're out of sorts was the staff. The nurses and radiologists were cheerful, friendly and sympathetic. But they are working in a desert.
And they said they didn't think there were any vampires on the staff. They would, though - wouldn't they?