February 2023 : Tell me ma, I won’t be home for tea!

Feb 20, 2023 | Stuart's Patient Newsletter

At the moment, half the North East are seeing the world not through rose tinted spectacles, but through Black and White ones!

As I am sure a lot of you are aware next Sunday, 26th February, sees Newcastle United take on Manchester United, at Wembley, in the League Cup Final. A truly momentous day, as it’s the first time Newcastle have reached a cup final, of any description, since 1999.

I watched this year’s semi-final on the television and it was just great to hear the crowd chant, before the final whistle, the classic lines of:

“Tell me Ma, me Ma,
I won’t be home for tea,
I’m off to Wem-ber-ley!”

But this year I am not going to Wembley. Two reasons; firstly, I don’t have a ticket as I gave up my season ticket several years ago due to work and family commitments and secondly, I feel if I am not there, they stand a better chance of winning! I think I am something of a Jonah when it comes to Newcastle and cup finals.

I’ve probably told you that I’ve followed Newcastle since I was a very young lad. In the early 1970’s I used to go with my late Father; getting to the ground at least an hour and a half before kick-off, I used to get passed through the turnstiles as I wasn’t strong enough to open them and we had to find a crash barrier for me to sit on so I could see!

So, I have managed to see Newcastle in three Cup Finals; 1976, 1998 and 1999. In all three they lost and I came away from all three-feeling very deflated and disappointed.

The first one was the worst; 1976 –I was only 12 years of age and I was wearing my lucky Black and White shoes, which I had worn to every game that season and had never seen them loose, so how could we possibly loose in the final? – played at Wembley against Manchester City, we lost 2-1 and to make matters worse the winner goal for Manchester City was scored by an ex-Sunderland player! ……devastated!

So, I really feel that if I stay away this time, then they have a better chance of winning, but rest assured I will be watching the game on the television.

The 1974 Final was the last time I watched Newcastle in a cup final on the television – against Liverpool. Mum, Dad and I, were at a Caravan rally in Tynemouth and Dad and I had “just nipped home” for a couple of hours to watch the game. The two things I remember about that day was it was the first time I swore and it was also the day I found out how fast Dad could run.

I don’t remember much about the game except Newcastle lost 3 – 0 and that they never looked like winning! but what I do remember is going back to the caravan rally and as we got out of the car, bumping into Mrs Charlton.

Now, Mrs Charlton was one of the other caravaners and she was also a retired Headmistress, who knew absolutely nothing about football! She made polite conversation with Dad about nothing and then turned to me and said,

“So, Stuart who won the football?” without thinking I quickly answered “Bloody Liverpool!”

She looked totally aghast at my comment, but the look on her face was nothing compared to the look on Dad’s face!

I knew I was in trouble, so I just started running for my life. I hoped that Dad would run out of breath before I did, as he suffered from Asthma, but unfortunately my little legs weren’t quite as quick as his over 20 yards. Dad caught me and I got a good walloping! I also had to go and apologise to Mrs Charlton – strangely, she never quite saw me in the same light again!

Years later we were talking about the incident and Mum admitted she’d found it very difficult to keep a straight face. She’d always found Mrs Charlton very strait-laced and she said that if I had managed another 10 yards, Dad would have run out of breath. Apparently, it took him a good hour to recover from his exertion!

So, I wish the whole Newcastle team every success and I really hope the fans have a brilliant day at Wembley and that they see them win the cup. It would definitely be worth missing your ‘tea’ for that.

Newcastle’s Clean Air!

We have had several patients ask about the ‘Clean Air Zone’ signs which have appeared around Newcastle over the last few months and whether you now have to pay to drive into the city centre.

Rest assured if you are driving your own car into Newcastle you DON’T have to pay.

‘Clean Air Zones’ are a government initiative to try and improve the air quality in city centres around the country. There are similar schemes in London, Birmingham and Bristol being trialled as well. The government want to reduce the number of high polluting vehicles using the roads so, private cars, motor bikes and other vehicles that meet the minimum emissions standards DO NOT have to pay.

The vehicles which do have to pay are older taxis, vans, buses, coaches or heavy goods vehicles.

If you want more information, you can visit this website.

So, I hope this reassures everyone that it is still ‘free’ for private car owners to drive into Newcastle.

Recommend A Friend

As I have said in the past, we have great practice staff, many of whom have been with us for a very long time.

At Christmas they kindly gave Maria and myself some vouchers for a lovely new restaurant called ‘Rebel’ which opened in Heaton last year.

It is run by one of our patients Lindsay and his business partner Mike and if you like restaurants which offer a ‘tasting menu’ then check out their website here.

Maria and I went a couple of weeks ago with Matt and Miriam when they were up from London. Rebel catered brilliantly with our dietary requirements, including pescatarian and gluten free, and we all had a great night out and will definitely be going back.

I mentioned in my last Newsletter that most of our new patients come from personal recommendations from other patients, such as yourself.

We are hugely grateful for this and as a ‘thank you’ this year, anybody who Recommends a Friend or relative to see us will be entered into a draw for a meal out at Rebel, courtesy of G.T. Harvey and Partners! (The winner to be announced in the December newsletter).

As a reminder, if you’d like to Recommend A Friend, there’s a link to our “New Patient Welcome” website. All your friend needs to do is book an appointment and tell us when they’re here that they were recommended by you.

Now just to keep you updated, the work on Saville Row is still going on! Unfortunately, even after 10 months they are still not finished.

As you can see from the picture below, we still have full access but it has been a challenging 10 months! Fingers crossed it will be completed soon and life will go back to normal!

Brand New Frames Range

Last month saw us take delivery of a very exciting new gents and ladies frame collection called Bellinger House.

These are a range of frames; designed in Denmark, very stylish and with just the right amount of colour and fashion.

We have been totally overwhelmed by how well these have been received by our patients. So, if you are looking for a new pair of spectacles make sure you see this range.

Care For Your Dog Spectacles

In the past we have given patients advice, in great detail, about how to care for their new spectacles. However, I have a friend with a practice in Manchester, who advises his patients to treat their spectacles as they would their dog so I thought I’d share it with you.

For instance;

  • Don’t leave your spectacles (or dog) on the dashboard of the car for several hours in the sun and …… expect them to be in good condition when you return.
  • Don’t take your spectacles (or dog) into a sauna. The heat will damage them …… significantly!
  • Don’t put your spectacles (or dog) in the dishwasher ……. they won’t like the soap!
  • Don’t leave your spectacles (or dog) on top of the car and ……. expect them to be there when you stop.
  • Handle your spectacles (and dog) with care in a boat …… especially if you want to still have them when you get back to dry land!

So, if you wouldn’t do it to your dog …. don’t do it to your spectacles!

See also: How To Clean Your Glasses

The Meaning Of Words

Having been qualified now for over 35 years, there are not many situations that have taken me by surprise or even left me lost for words in that time, but one incident happened at the end of last month.

I was examining a 7-year-old little lad, for the first time and he was a little nervous. So, to try and settle him down I started asking him what I thought were easy, straight forward questions, as part of the history and symptoms section of his eye examination.

“Can you see the white board at school”? I asked. “Yes,” he replied.

“Can you see the words in your books at school”? I asked. “Yes,” he replied.

“Do you have any regular headaches”? I asked. “No,” he replied.

So far, so good. Next, I asked about his general health.

“Are you healthy”? I asked. “Yes,” he said.

I quickly followed this up with “Any tablets”? “Yes,” he said.

At this his mother rapidly intervened “No you don’t” she said. He retorted “Yes. I do.”

His mum became quite indignant with him, that he had no tablets, to the point she said to him “What tablets do you have”?

His answer, I have to say, left me smirking. “I have an iPad” he proclaimed!

It just shows how the world has changed over the last 35 years and how I need to be very careful with my questions!

Well, I am off to have my ‘tea’ and dream of black and white success at Wembley – Que, Sera, Sera!

I hope you are keeping well and look forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes