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A World War 2 Trilogy

By FRED NATH (Novelist and Neurosurgeon)

Fred's Blog

Blog

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The Promise

Posted on 21 May, 2018 at 3:58 Comments comments (79)

Note de l'auteur


Je dois expliquer pourquoi je l'ai utilisé des morceaux de texte du livre d'Albert Camus l’étranger tout au long comme têtes de chapitre.


Il a écrit de son livre "Il y a longtemps je résume l'étranger dans une phrase que je réalise est extrêmement paradoxale. «Dans notre société, tout homme qui ne pleure pas à l'enterrement de sa mère est susceptible d'être condamné à mort». Je voulais simplement dire que le héros du livre est condamné parce qu'il ne joue pas le jeu. Dans ce sens, il est un outsider à la société dans laquelle nous vivons ".


Dans mon histoire Jean est un outsider. SOE peut l'avoir formé, mais à part les événements dans le chapitre d'ouverture, il reste à l'extérieur. Il ne parvient pas à obéir aux ordres, il va son propre chemin avec ses propres plans. A aucun moment il ne fonctionne à l'intérieur des exigences de ses maîtres. SOE a perdu de nombreux agents - certains aux autres de nazis tout simplement jamais venu à la maison et est tombé hors de la grille. Comment pourraient-ils garder une trace de tous? Je pense que la confiance était en pénurie une fois que les agents ont atteint leurs destinations. Certains ont été trahis par leurs propres opérateurs radio.


Longtemps après que je l'ai écrit ce livre, je relis l'Outsider et estimaient qu'il y avait des similitudes dans les personnages du voyage si je dois dire que Jean est jamais passive comme Meursault, le personnage principal de Camus le livre. D'une part, ne Meursault joue pas le jeu - avec des conséquences désastreuses et de l'autre, mon caractère Jean, bénéficie de son comportement extériorisée à la fin mais il prend de grands risques afin de le faire. La passivité de Meursault ne serait jamais monté mon caractère, pas plus que le caractère de Camus aurait pu être un homme d'action, mais il les similitudes et les différences cessent.


Il y a un certain chevauchement avec mes autres livres. Les noms mentionnés et événements décrits à partir d'un point de vue différent (la scène de la station de Francesca Pascal). J'espère que vous pouvez pardonner ce que - je l'ai fait parce que je ne pense pas que la vie est un fait. Nous expérimentons la vie d'une série de points de vue de notre propre et souvent deux personnes témoins de la même chose, mais l'expérience quelque chose de tout à fait différent. Leurs engrammes de mémoire ne correspondent pas à la fin.


Oh, par la façon dont j'ai grandi dans cette maison à Bermondsey et écrit à ce sujet était un peu nostalgique, en particulier car il est plus là.


Je ne peux pas dire que cette histoire a des thèmes profonds ou allégoriques - il est juste une histoire d'un gars.


J'espère que vous en avez profité!
here.

Windrush, Politics and Prejudice

Posted on 25 April, 2018 at 9:46 Comments comments (77)
The plight of the Windrush families and their British naturalisation is a topic quite close to my heart.
My father was born in India, you see. When WW2 broke out, he came to Britain, joined the RNR and as a ship’s doctor had quite a bad war in the Pacific, North Atlantic and Mediterranean. He held a British passport and settled as a GP in Bermondsey once the war ended in 1947. He obtained British naturalisation without difficulty, because he was a British subject and that did not change until the immigration act of 1948. After 1949, any foreign person whether from the Commonwealth or not, had to apply for naturalisation. There was at one time, concern that his children might not qualify for British citizenship, but this seems to have dissipated and I have had a British passport all my life. The point was, that he was here before the 1948 act came into force.
My father’s British citizenship was allowed because he came from what was then a Commonwealth country and British nationality was automatic. He always held a British passport.
The Home office according to the 1948 act have acted within the law but as in any government department they seem keen to apply the law in a draconian and uncaring fashion. Heartless really.
Many of the Windrush generation of immigrants came here on their parent’s passports. They were mostly in lower socioeconomic groups and so probably didn’t need to apply for passports early on (people didn’t travel so much in those days) and it seems for many they found the prospect of applying for a passport daunting once the Home Office regulations became well-known. They have ended up as citizens of Nowhere. Unable to get British nationality, they cannot return home either and become West Indian citizens – they have no papers.
Combined with this situation, many of them cannot afford the thousands of pounds to undergo naturalisation either. Despite this, they have lived in the UK since childhood as far back as the 50’s, contributed to the running of the NHS in various roles, paid taxes and been a valuable part of our society throughout.
The Romans treated their slaves in a similar way. If slaves had ability or knowledge, and they accumulated enough wealth, the Romans would eventually allow them to become ‘freedmen’. A freedman was not a Roman citizen and had none of the rights associated with that status. They too were citizens of Nowhere.
It is almost as if, an African shipped to the West Indies in chains becomes freed from slavery then comes to Britain and becomes some kind of second class freedman.
No rights, you see.
I saw what happened in Rwanda. Black people killing black people – no one in the international community seemed to care. I always wondered whether if they had been white or even coffee-coloured there was a greater chance of some nation stepping in to prevent the slaughter of 30,000 people with machetes and their bodies dumped in a river. Maybe, even though they were all black, if they had oil the world would have intervened.
I have a deep-down feeling that race, and skin colour contribute to the Windrush problem at its roots. It looks to me like an extension of colour prejudice. It isn’t obvious, it isn’t spoken about out loud, but I think it is there deeply embedded in foundations of this problem, like some malignant insect digging away at the roots of democracy, freedom and humanity.
And no one speaks out about it until now.
Our politicians? A wise man once said that poly is Greek for many and tics are blood-sucking parasites, but all the same, it isn’t only one party or government who have condoned the prejudicial treatment of a group of people welcomed here to help re-build after WW2; it has continued through all the governments since 1948.
I am nonplussed by the thought that there is not one of them in all those years and all those elected governments who was enough of a statesman to recognise the injustice and correct it.
Our present Government professes ignorance and hides behind that as a reason for not changing the law or at least making a specified exception to the rules. There are Government ministers who maintain that until recently they were unaware of the problem. Do you believe them?
Sorry folks, I don’t!

Dr Bawa-Garba and Manslaughter

Posted on 9 February, 2018 at 11:30 Comments comments (114)
Many will have heard of this terrible, tragic case. The doctor involved was tried for manslaughter and convicted despite serious Trust flaws which led to the tragedy.
My feeling here is rather different to the majority. I do agree that a junior doctor, left unsupervised with two juniors below her, each of whom had only a months’ experience of paediatrics, and had herself just returned from 13 months maternity leave was particularly vulnerable to a mistake being made. Where I depart from many people’s stated views is that I do not think the registrar is culpable.

After 32 years as a consultant, I know that my duty working with junior doctors is to ensure they manage every case with knowledge and insight. This is done by closely supervising the least experienced ones and checking that all the right things have been done with every case admitted under my care. Those patients admitted when I am on call are my responsibility. The buck stops with the consultant. It has always been so.
If the registrar makes a mistake then it seems clear to me that I am the one who should be held accountable, not the junior who is following my instructions. I am the consultant and the patient is my patient. If I leave a junior in charge, it remains my responsibility and I have a duty of care.

In this case, the clinical biochemistry details were given to the consultant in charge of the case, by Dr Bava-Garba before she went off shift. The matter is then his responsibility. Even had she not imparted the correct information, it remains the responsibility of the consultant to ensure the patient is safe and being treated properly.

If I have a failing registrar one must ask oneself who’s responsibility is that? Junior doctors are not a few months out of the pram, they are qualified, responsible medical practitioners, with medical and often post-graduate degrees. They are all capable of learning. Those that do not learn, remain the consultant’s responsibility and the failure is his and his alone with only rare exceptions.

Consultants are at the top of the clinical salary scale in the NHS for only one reason - because they take responsibility in the end. The registrar in this case was scapegoated and was not adequately backed up by her consultant who it seems, was elsewhere, teaching at the time. I find this below a reasonable standard, in my opinion. A consultant who knows the inexperience and limitations of the junior doctors under him, and who is absent in any case, is not doing right by the patients or staff. He should not have been allowed to be away from the hospital if he was not immediately available for the patients being admitted under his care. He must have planned the teaching, accepting that it was a commitment which once begun could not be easily left. Did he arrange for another consultant to cover in his absence? Apparently not. Accepting commitments away from work when you are on call has always been regarded as wrong. This is especially true if the consultant is engaging in private practice or other fee earning work. How is it different to arrange a teaching session elsewhere? He was on call and therefore responsible.
If the registrar in the hospital needs supervision, then that is the responsibility of the consultant. When I am on call with any new registrar, I always check with them what experience they have and what operations they have already done with and without supervision. When I am called by them I always take their experience and ability into account.

Dr Bawa-Garba, in my opinion is the victim of scapegoating to protect others who should stand up and accept the responsibilities which they assume on appointment as a British consultant.

I really hope the case is appealed once more, and others are prepared to speak out in support of this victimised and wrongly punished doctor. 

A Swedish Christmas Recipe

Posted on 22 December, 2016 at 1:53 Comments comments (267)
This is a typical Swedish recipe passed to me through my mum, who baked loads of stuff at Christmas. It makes really nice sweet bread that goes a treat with coffee especially on Christmas morning. The cardamom adds a hint of lemony fragrance.

Vätebröd - Swedish Buns - makes 24 buns or 2 loaves.
 
Ingredients:
25 g Fresh yeast or 15 g of dried

70 g butter

2 1/2 dl of milk

1/4 tsp of salt

1 dl of sugar

1 tsp ground cardamom

425 g flour (Strong white)
 

(if using dried yeast use tepid water as on packet)
 

Break up yeast in a bowl.  Melt butter in a pan and add the milk and warm gently.  (Finger temp)

Mix yeast with a little of the liquid.  Then add the rest of the liquid.  Add salt, sugar, cardamom and nearly all the flour through a sieve in stages.  Save some flour for kneading dough.  Work dough in bowl.  Let rest to rise in bowl for 30 mins.  Covered in warm place.

Put the dough onto a floured board and knead it until smooth.  

Either divide dough into two if making loaves or plaits or make little buns. 

Leave to rise for another 30 mins.  Then brush a little beaten egg over and top with granulated sugar and finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts. 

Bake in oven (temp 180 C) for 5-7 mins.  (If loaf 15 -20 mins at 180C).

 This recipe works for me! You may wish to alter the individual quantities to ensure that the dough rises.

Yorkshire Puddings Anyone?

Posted on 13 September, 2016 at 2:07 Comments comments (78)
So what’s all this hike about Yorkshire puddings?
 
For those of you who live across the pond, Yorkshire is a county in the north east of England. It has a history dating back way back when and seems to be the place the classic ‘puds’ arose. Three or four hundred years ago when they roasted meat in an oven, the fat and juices would drip off and be wasted unless caught in a dish underneath. In mid-18 century, the idea came to someone to put a simple pudding underneath and the ‘dripping’ would drip and the batter would rise – the first Yorkshire pudding!

So? I hear you say…What is it?

I use 3 level dessert spoons of plain flour to each egg. For four puds two eggs is fine. I combine the eggs with the flour using a whisk but don’t over beat the mixture – it damages the starch, I think. Yes, you want air in the mixture but in olden times they just used a spoon so an electric whisk is massive and maybe too much. I add 50 ml of milk for each egg – 100 ml in this case.
Pinch of salt, grind a bit of pepper and the mixture is done. Stand in fridge overnight.
You need a Yorkshire pudding tin. Put your fat into it. I save the fat from previous joints of meat and place 1 ½ teaspoons in each division of the tray. Pop into the oven at 200 degrees C for ten minutes, until really hot.
Beat the batter – electric whisk lowest setting for up to 30 seconds. Share out the mixture evenly between the Yorkshire pudding tin compartments. Place in the oven and cross your fingers.
My ex-wife used to do really good ones – serve with gravy before the rest of the roast dinner they are a really good crisp starter. My first attempts were dismal – like pancakes. Don’t be discouraged. Keep doing them and look for little wrinkles that one day work. The could look like this! (see picture).

I should have had The Fat Chef make them in my book , but I hadn’t learned how to make them when I wrote that book. As a single guy I’ve had to learn from scratch.  Pretty consistently good these days too.

Monday Morning Blues

Posted on 20 June, 2016 at 4:05 Comments comments (5)

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.

:-)

The Cyclist and an Inspiration

Posted on 15 June, 2016 at 1:07 Comments comments (170)

I was recently invited to do a guest blog post. I felt it was worth placing here too:

The Cyclist and an Inspiration

Fredrik Nath

The early morning sunlight flickered from behind the high clouds and reflected golden and crisp from the monument in Bergerac’s market square. Around me, shoppers bustled and in the roadway a car beeped its horn. The grey stone pillar rose fifteen feet above me, its shadow pointing away towards the elm trees that line the roadway. A smell of garlic wafted as I read those brave words that showed the strength of the French and France’s indomitable leaders. The monument was a reminder of the valour and sacrifice of those brave local partisans who gave up their lives in the struggle against the occupying Nazi forces all those years ago.

Yes, it is moving. Surely there’s a story here.

In my head a story began to form. What would it have been like to have to make the choices needed to protect oneself and one’s family yet still remain French? The main character would need to do something admirable. He would need to depart from the norm. If you became a partisan you would endanger the people nearest you. What if you were caught?

I began to think of how it would be to be the one who is rounding up the local Jewish people. Would you hate it? Of course you would, even if you were forced to it for fear of endangering your family. For a religious man it would be even harder. Surely one would do anything to avoid such ‘duties’ if you had a conscience?

The story began to form. A Vichy French policeman, a man of conscience, a family man working with evil Nazis whom he secretly hated. I created Auguste Ran, a good policeman, but in essence weak, until a certain event tips him over the edge and slowly he begins to fight back.

That’s where THE CYCLIST came from and it was my springboard for the other books in my French resistance series. Each takes a character and makes life hard for them, allowing them to become. In the end, THE CYCLIST sold 30,000 copies. It was Editor’s choice in the Historical Novel Review in 2011.

You can catch all six books on Amazon: a policeman, a teacher, an artist, a chef, a philosopher and in THE PROMISE a medical student.

THE PROMISE is the last and most recent of the series. Jean Valois, a medical student before the war, swears to his sister he will protect her. But in war, who can keep such promises? Trained to kill by SOE, in a desperate bid to save his sister Rebecca, he undertakes a mission deep into enemy-occupied Poland, risking all for the sake of a promise made long ago. A story of love, war, hatred and revenge, THE PROMISE tells a tale of courage and staunchness.

If you like drama and character-based plots check them out!

If you have questions you can reach me at:



The Junior Doctor's Strike

Posted on 1 May, 2016 at 3:26 Comments comments (104)
So, the strike went well, I’m told. Rumour has it that there were no junior doctors and the consultants had to do the routine and emergency work without the help of the juniors.
 
Think again. A number of juniors are not in the BMA. They can’t strike partly because they are afraid of losing their visas or their jobs. This meant that there were juniors working on both strike days. Elective work was cancelled – consultants can’t be in two places at once and there is no one available to look after the operated patients during the night. The Trusts won’t pay for consultants to sleep in, to truly cover the absence of the younger doctors anyway. But… the juniors were covering emergencies between 5 pm and 8 am in any case. They just had to do the day's work after 5.

Why did the juniors modify the strike to make it safe?
 
It’s because they are DOCTORS.

Unlike politicians they have integrity and they are in this job to care for you, Joe Public. I think (my personal view) that if you want to do a job then do it in a fully committed way. If you’re going on strike then do it. I believe all UK doctors should resign at once or withdraw their labour completely. The doctors did this in Australia (I think). The strike lasted four hours. Justice prevailed.

In this country however, the medical profession have traditionally never taken concerted action and stuck together. Things became worse when Margaret Thatcher thrust consultants into management roles. It was a clever ploy to pit doctor against doctor and allow the government to sit back and avoid the ‘shroud waving’ which had hitherto been the doctors’ only way of pressurising the government into providing resources.
 
If the juniors really want to make progress they have to enlist the main body of consultants and GPs.  All the doctors should work together and allow the government to reap what they have sown. Yes, people will suffer but it won’t be because of the doctors. It will be because slimy politicians are using the integrity of the medical profession against the doctors themselves. It is an abuse and it is immoral.It is what they do to policemen, except in the doctor's case it is self-impose because of moral responsibility not the law.

When will we take a leaf out of the miner’s book and fight back together?
All doctors should withdraw their labour at once. Jeremy *unt can then take responsibility for the consequences.

Phew! I feel better for that!

Moving house? Some thoughts.

Posted on 5 April, 2016 at 2:32 Comments comments (2)

I’m told that the three most stressful things you can do in life are: moving house, losing someone close to you (grief) and getting divorced. The one I’d place last is maybe moving house. Grief is grief – hard work that never ends but just becomes less frequent.

What is it Leonard Cohen says in that song? ‘Everybody’s broken, like their father or the dog just died’. I’ve been an orphan for many years now, but I still miss my folks. They are part of me and remain integral in my personality and my thoughts. That’s not to say I haven’t resolved those grief issues. If my mother was alive now she’s be over 100 years old, with one leg, blindness, dementia and a colostomy. Hell, I’d never wish that on anyone I have feelings for. I think grief is a pretty selfish thing – we are upset because we are denied that person.

Divorce, well what can I say? It depends mainly on the type of relationship you had and continue to maintain with your ex-partner. If you loved them when you split then it hurts for life. Karl Jung had a theory that in true, deep love there is an exchange of ‘self’ so that the other person becomes part of your psychological core. When you split, it leaves a ‘hole’ which we constantly seek to fill. I think the Jungian thesis is very logical from personal experience. But… And there is always a ‘but’.

Most splits end in rancour and the anger and frustration promulgated by the law and hungry solicitors (who, because they are on the breadline and need the money to feed their starving children) fan the flames and prolong the legal issues. Anger is a kind of self-defence against the pain of loss and most psychologists would suggest that it’s useful. It prevents the person from sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of depression. Maybe they’re right – I don’t know, but from personal experience maintaining a friendly relationship with someone who you used to love is hard. The stress goes on as long as you are in contact – so there can be an end to it, just accept the split.

Today, the packers are coming! Yes, I’m moving to a smaller house since there’s only my daughter and me left. Downsizing is a nightmare. Half the furniture is going to a charity and the only day they can pick up the stuff is the same day as the removal people are coming to move my stuff. I discovered I had 143 DVD’s, 100 vinyl albums and hundreds of CD’s. Sorting through one has to be vicious. I’m maybe a natural hoarder (my daughter tells me that anyway). I still have stuff to sort out and they’ll be here in half an hour. Stress, stress stress! But it will go in a week or two. I will be moved in, I will begin to relax and maybe even get back to writing.

There is always a silver lining if you look for it. Matt, my publisher is publishing Galdir IV. It should be out this week on Amazon, but I won’t have an internet connection until ten days’ time.  Funny how life always seems an emotional rollercoaster isn’t it?

Self-publish Your Book Now! (Episode 4)

Posted on 23 January, 2016 at 2:26 Comments comments (2)

If you’ve been following the thread so far, you should now have the following assets:

1.       PDF of your book

2.       .mobi file of your book

3.       .epub version

4.       PDF of the cover

5.       .jpeg of the cover.

Go to:


You are now able to create an account.

Click ‘add new title’

Name your book and select ‘paperback’ then click ‘get started’ on the ‘guided’ banner.

Input the data requested – all stuff you already know – be cool! Click ‘save and continue’.

The next screen asks if you want a free ISBN number or whether you want to use your own. I use the one they provide – it’s free.

The next screen asks if you want white paper or cream (cream is a little thicker).

You can then upload your text (MS Word) and cover files (.pdf).

Then follow all the steps and the Create Space software does it all.

You then submit the finished article and have it approved. You can order a proof to be certain what your book will look like.

At the end of the process they will take you to Kindle Direct. You need to upload the .mobi file for the Kindle version and also the .jpeg for the cover.

There are then various pricing options.

They will ask you to join Kindle select.

With the Amulet series I made the mistake of enrolling them all. It means people can borrow and lend your books for free as long as you’re enrolled. I think retrospectively that the idea is that you do Kindle Select with the first book. It then filters out all the people who don’t like your writing and the remainder buy the rest of the series at whatever price you’ve put the books. I guess one marketing ploy would be to escalate the price as you ascend the series. That way if people really like the series they pay a bit more every time. There again, I’m not in this for the money, it’s just a hobby so I’m not greedy. I just like the thought that people enjoy my books! Kindle select does have the advantage that your ranking will go up and more and more people see your writing even if you don’t make money at first. Well, I do have two day jobs you know!

The process is very simple: all you have to do is follow the clear instructions and you are then a published author.

That’s it! Best of luck to you, because the next bit is about marketing your book and publicising yourself.  If I had that info I wouldn’t be where I am now!

If you’ve found these posts of use, or you disagree and can show me a better, quicker way forward then please let me know: [email protected]


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