Monday Morning Blues
A World War 2 Trilogy - By FRED NATH (Novelist and Neurosurgeon)
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Monday Morning Blues

20 6 16

5 am. Dog wakes me – need to go out. Oooooh groan. Dressing gown, slippers stumble down stairs – fresh air on my face.

Damned funny time to get up. Start to think… Could I be more productive? Apportion my time…

Bed beckons. But… and there’s always a ‘but’. Can I?

Full-time neurosurgeon, prolific medico-legal expert, published author, house person to my daughter or was that slave? More productive?

But work never seemed to be ‘work’. I always enjoyed it. Never felt that even at 3 am. opening someone’s head that it was hard work. Loved the surgery all along and the rest was a means to an end. If you don’t do clinics you don’t see enough patients to operate on. If you don’t operate then who are you?

I used to wake up in the morning on Thursdays and think, ‘Great, got that aneurysm to clip or that tumour to take out.’ Difficult, dangerous stuff – adrenaline monkey maybe.

 But I’ve done other stuff too. At school I worked in the holidays. Shop junior at Irvine Sellars on Carnaby Street. Served Tom Jones once – he always carried a huge wedge of cash in his pocket, I recall.

Oh, yes – hospital cleaner at the now defunct St Olave’s Hopsital. I remember doing a night shift and cleaning a ¼ mile corridor down one side, scrubbing on hands and knees. I watched as a junior doctor walked all the way up on the wet floor, leaving footprints all the way, so I started again.

Plumber’s mate at a building site in Findus, Sweden one summer. They called me Dr. Findlay as it was the only British medical thing they’d ever heard of.

Delivering books for a book store in Sweden – Kilberg’s Bokhandel. Driving around in a two-stroke Saab – great fun, but reverse gear was a bit tricky.

And the Post at Christmas. That was fun. All those cards.

The thing about all those jobs wasn’t the money, though to a student it was welcome. It was the people. All kinds of people. Nice ones, bad ones, poor people, rich people. They made the work a pleasure.

I wonder now whether the characters in my books aren’t based on my experiences of people where I’ve worked. Each of the French Résistance books are character-based but apart from one I haven’t consciously used anyone I’ve met.

5.30 am. Breakfast, run with the dog, rest, shower – to work.

All work no play, makes Jack a dull boy.

All work no play, makes Jack a dull boy.

All work no play, makes Jack a dull boy.

All work no play, makes Jack a dull boy.

All work no play, makes Jack a dull boy.


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