… Intermediate Tortoise Wrangling.

So, the last you’d heard:  it was a beautiful summer’s day.  We’d allowed Humphrey out into the garden to enjoy some sunshine and munch some weeds.  We momentarily turned our backs, and when we looked round seven or eight short hours later Humph was… GONE! … Tortoise Wrangling for beginners You’d be surprised how fast aContinue reading “… Intermediate Tortoise Wrangling.”

…  Going For A Stroll

So where were we?  You might remember a while ago I’d decided to go on a weight loss kick. … Losing Weight Well, while I’ve been in the planning stages the paunch has sought re-enforcements and so changes need made. But finding time for exercise isn’t easy.  The efficient Mrs Dr Brown does her weeklyContinue reading “…  Going For A Stroll”

… How to be a GP.  Part 1: Diagnosis.

The World Health Organisation suggests there are over 10,000 human diseases.  And one of a GP’s main jobs is to decide which one of these the patient has come in with (though often it’s equally valuable to rule out which of the really nasty ones it isn’t). And so begins the dance of history taking. Continue reading “… How to be a GP.  Part 1: Diagnosis.”

…  Not Getting Picked for Ireland: or “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

The rugby Six Nations is back! But yet again I haven’t been picked for Ireland.  In fact, the last time Dr Brown pulled on a famous green jersey was the last time Dr Brown went to cubs.  Which is why I’m beginning to think my chance has passed. The school I went to was aContinue reading “…  Not Getting Picked for Ireland: or “It’s Not Easy Being Green.””

…Christmas for GPs:  Take One Humbug and Come Back in January if it’s No Better…

Of course you know:  Christmas for GPs actually started ages ago.  It’s not when you start hearing Slade and Wham on Radio 2 in November.  It’s not even when Tesco starts stocking Christmas puddings in October.  You’re miles out.  Christmas for GPs actually starts in about April.  It’s when your eye drifts down the annualContinue reading “…Christmas for GPs:  Take One Humbug and Come Back in January if it’s No Better…”

Remember, Remember the 31st of October: Halloween and Bonfire Night

Ok, kids…you won’t believe this, but once there was a time when Halloween wasn’t a big deal. And nor was Bonfire Night. And to be honest, I don’t really care for either of them. Which is why I’ve come up with a solution. Yes: I propose we combine the two. “Remember, Remember, The Thirty-First ofContinue reading “Remember, Remember the 31st of October: Halloween and Bonfire Night”

… Does that seem better…or worse? : a trip to the optician.

“Can you read the top line for me?” “There are lines?” “On the chart in front of you.” “Chart, you say?” Yes, folks.  This month I’ve needed to visit the optician. And like the blind leading the blind, or at very least the highly myopic leading the partially sighted, I had to bring the boyContinue reading “… Does that seem better…or worse? : a trip to the optician.”

… Soggy Bottoms and Star Bakes: Behind the scenes at The Great British Bake Off

I Signature Bake The Great British Bake Off is back! I love the Bake Off.  I always have. Actually, that’s not quite true. In the first series I thought they were just taking a really long time to establish the suspects in a Miss Marple murder set in a village fête before I realised itContinue reading “… Soggy Bottoms and Star Bakes: Behind the scenes at The Great British Bake Off”

… Tortoise Wrangling for beginners

Folks who read this blog regularly are starting to complain. “It’s all, well and good hearing about you and your low level village idiocy. But we’re only putting up with you because we want to hear about Humphrey.” We decided a while ago we wanted a pet. Future-Mrs-Dr-Brown and I had a few criteria. NotContinue reading “… Tortoise Wrangling for beginners”

… The Search For the Authentic Dining Experience

They tell me that when you choose a Chinese restaurant, the trick is to pick one that Chinese people actually go to themselves.  That way you get a more authentic dining experience. It’s not a perfect theory. You get lots of Americans eating in McDonald’s.  That doesn’t exactly make a Happy Meal fine dining. ButContinue reading “… The Search For the Authentic Dining Experience”

… the Royal College of GPs (and how not to get out of meetings on time)

For over a decade, I’ve been on the board of the North West faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). It was even my turn to be chair a few years ago, and I’m genuinely proud to have been elected a fellowship. These faculties round the country discuss issues affecting general practice andContinue reading “… the Royal College of GPs (and how not to get out of meetings on time)”

… Washing My Dirty Laundry in Public.

I quite like laundry.  Laundry is the least worst of all the household tasks. Hoovering / pretending to be the Ghostbusters definitely has its place. But today the sky looks like the opening credits to the Simpsons and that makes it a day for laundry. But, not so fast! For the true expert, laundry doesn’tContinue reading “… Washing My Dirty Laundry in Public.”

… A Nice, Sensible Blog, without rude bits.

“We like your blogs, but we don’t think it needs the naughty talk.” Warns my father. My father doesn’t like “naughty talk”. We’ll be watching TV and he’ll tut to himself. “It’s not big and it’s not clever.” “Father, that’s Stephen Fry.  He’s both exceptionally big and enormously clever!” But, OK then. A wholesome, harmlessContinue reading “… A Nice, Sensible Blog, without rude bits.”

… Losing Weight

“Can I help you at all, sir?” “No thanks.  Just browsing.” “But Sir, this is a Greggs.” Much as I’m ashamed to admit it, the time has come for me to lose some weight. Mrs Dr Brown pointed this out a little while ago. “That’s a bit harsh.” I countered. “I weigh the same asContinue reading “… Losing Weight”

… Masterchef: It’s The Final!

I switch on BBC One. I meet a couple strolling on a blustery beach in the North East, throwing a stick for a black Labrador. Perhaps one of them has a heart-warming backstory. Possibly the dog. Sharp edit to a flashy new city canal-side development where a beautiful young couple are walking bouncily, arm inContinue reading “… Masterchef: It’s The Final!”

… Litter Picking: It’s not easy being green.

I’m rubbish at caring for the environment. Maybe not full-on plastic landfill rubbish, but still rubbish. But when the greenest thing about me is the sputum of my nine-year-old son as we walk along a busy road to school, I realise something needs to be done. I console myself that I’m not as bad asContinue reading “… Litter Picking: It’s not easy being green.”

… Surviving Air Disasters (and why never to fall asleep during the safety briefing)

“Thank you for flying BudgetAir. Please pay close attention to the following safety briefing.” Unfortunately the 3 am start for the seven am flight was starting to catch up with me. I’d taken advantage of the double gift from BudgetAir of not having paid extra to select my seat, which meant I didn’t have toContinue reading “… Surviving Air Disasters (and why never to fall asleep during the safety briefing)”

… Beekeeping for the Under-Sevens.

I keep bees. That’s probably all the back story you need for this. I keep bees, and I have children. I have 60,000 bees and two children.  In that order. The opposite way round would represent a failure of both contraception and toast : topping ratio planning. People who know me wonder if I shouldContinue reading “… Beekeeping for the Under-Sevens.”

… Buying a Phone: A tragic story of unfulfilled potential.

Summer 2006… “So, how many texts do you send in a typical month?” I didn’t want to sound like a technophobe, so I thought I’d better exaggerate a bit. So I doubled it. “About twelve?” I suggested. Do you know how many extra texts I ended up paying for as part of my deal thatContinue reading “… Buying a Phone: A tragic story of unfulfilled potential.”

… World Book Day and Dressing Up for School: or “What’ve we got that would do?”

“Night night, darling.” I whisper to my sleeping son on my way up to bed. He stirs. “Night, Dad” Awwww! “Dad?  I need to go to school dressed as a Roman tomorrow.”  He rolls over and with a snuggle into his quilt, he’s asleep again. I press the button which sets off the flashing redContinue reading “… World Book Day and Dressing Up for School: or “What’ve we got that would do?””

… Sump Sprockets, Sloop Valves and the MOT.

My car is due its MOT in January. And for the uninitiated, with the technical terminology, unfamiliar equipment and the code of secrecy, I imagine it can feel a lot like a trip to the doctors. But a few weeks before the MOT I had noticed a worrying symptom.  The chest pain of the internalContinue reading “… Sump Sprockets, Sloop Valves and the MOT.”

… Visiting the dentist: Fillings, Killings and the Drool Event Horizon

Dentist: Oh, how are your wisdom teeth by the way? Me:        Guk g’huk guck,  guckoo Nurse:   Much better, thank you. Me (five minutes later, making things worse) : You see, I couldn’t speak with my mouth wide open, but I thought you were asking me about my wisdom teeth, in which case the answer wouldContinue reading “… Visiting the dentist: Fillings, Killings and the Drool Event Horizon”

… New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s face it. Nobody really likes New Year’s Eve. Well some people might: let’s say from mid-teens to mid-twenties. A period of my life not much longer than (and disappointingly overlapping with) that for which I had acne. And just like pustular acne, New Year’s Eve spent the better part of a decade popping upContinue reading “… New Year’s Resolutions”

… Christmas Markets

I’m a sucker for Christmas.  Always have been. I like the lights.  I like the music.  I like the seasonal cheer and the peace on earth and goodwill to all men. I’m the sort of person who cries at the Muppets Christmas Carol and the Yogi Bear Christmas Special.   Or when the Snowman melts orContinue reading “… Christmas Markets”

… Bill, Remembrance and Barcelona Brothels

Bill up the road died last month. He was 91. I’d always liked Bill, not least because he used to swear at me in front of my mother. “Morning, Mr. Taylor” I’d shout out on the way to school. “Now there’s a cheeky young bastard!” he’d reply, not looking round. Bill had been in theContinue reading “… Bill, Remembrance and Barcelona Brothels”

… Birthday Presents

Let me first say that Mrs. Brown is magnificent.  I am very lucky.  Dolphins have swimming with her on their bucket list. It is no surprise to the casual observer that she agreed to marry me prior to her laser eye surgery.  And when we announced our engagement, my brother said he was “not soContinue reading “… Birthday Presents”

… My Right Foot and other tales of horror

DO NOT SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM. YOU WILL REGRET IT. Well, Doctor.  You know how if you’ve watched a Rocky film or a Bond movie, you might get carried away and shadow-box a bit, or maybe burst through a couple of doors checking for enemy agents? Go on. Well, l I’d been watching La LaContinue reading “… My Right Foot and other tales of horror”

… My Street: the guided tour

I love the street I live on. I’m very lucky. But we have a dark secret.  And now it needs to come out. Our street is Slightly Posh. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but let me show you and you can decide for yourself. Mind the wobbly paving stones and the overhanging wetContinue reading “… My Street: the guided tour”

… Passwords (or “Chris Tarrant and the curse of NHS I.T.”)

This month I have mainly been getting annoyed by computer passwords. It’s like “Who Want’s to Be a Millionaire?” but with more questions and less prize money.

Me: Password64
Chris: Final answer?
Me: Final answer, Chris.
Chris: OK. You said Password64.
Me: I know.
Chris: Confident?
Me: Hurry up Chris
Chris: You’re absolutely…. wrong!
No way! Piss off, Chris! This was definitely right yesterday.
Or have I changed it?

… My Olympic Diary: Week 2

You have one new message… Message received today at four twenty six am…  Hi Rick.  It’s Clare.  Clare Balding?  I’m in Tokyo.  We’re really stuck for things to say out here.  Me and Gabby were wondering if you couldn’t knock us up another week of your Olympic Diary?  Call me.  Thanks.

…My Olympic Diary: Week 1

I love the Olympics. But because of broadcasting rights this year there has been reduced BBC coverage of the Tokyo games.  Fortunately, as a serious and internationally respected sports pundit, I got a call from Clare Balding asking me if I’d be happy with the BBC using my Olympic Diary as the focus of their broadcast this year.  I’ve got a sneak preview for you now.

…The Last Day of School: A story of built-in osbsolescence.

Seven years ago I dropped my daughter off at primary school for her first day. This week I make the same trip for the final time. And manage very poorly. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

… Football: A Guide For Those Who Aren’t Massively Keen On Football

The trick with reality television (and grow up, football fans – watching twenty-two strangers doing something unscripted for TV cameras counts as reality telly) is to actually care who wins.  Unlike Strictly or the X-Factor there’s no public vote to suck you in, but it’s still more fun if you have a favorite to getContinue reading “… Football: A Guide For Those Who Aren’t Massively Keen On Football”

… A Taste of His Own Medicine

Tuesday, 07:10 BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast interview with Nicky Campbell. CAMPBELL:         While sources suggest the NHS is considering making vaccination mandatory for front line staff, BBC figures have shown up to 20% of healthcare staff in London remain unvaccinated against Covid-19.  We ask GP Dr Rick Brown why this is.  Dr Brown:  whyContinue reading “… A Taste of His Own Medicine”

… Licences to Kill

This time of year, GP speciality training applications are opened to junior doctors seeking a career in GP.  On an entirely unconnected note, my sister-in-law works for a recruitment consultant who is trying to recruit Director General Q for MI6, the UK Foreign Intelligence service, promoting the UK’s overseas interest through “human intelligence” and deploying “clandestine operational technology”.  Some years ago these two recruitmentContinue reading “… Licences to Kill”

…Cyber Crime (or the noble art of Bullshit Detection)

After 20 years as a GP I have decided to develop a lucrative side-hustle as an international criminal mastermind. Join me as Dr Brown is Getting Better at… cyber crime (or the noble art of bullshit detection)

… The New NHS (National Hairdressing Service)

After seeing “unprecedented” and “once in a generation” queues round the block outside barbers’ shops across Britain today, I have accepted the call from the nation to lead in the development of a new NHS: the National Hairdressing Service. Unfortunately, to save on time, originality and effort on my part I am using exactly theContinue reading “… The New NHS (National Hairdressing Service)”

… Losing at Games

Is there a technique to rock, paper, scissors? Serious question. If there is a formula please feel free to leave it in the comments section below. It’s just that my daughter has started to beat me.  More than that in fact. I’m getting whooped.  Every…Single…Time. We recently played for about twenty minutes sitting on aContinue reading “… Losing at Games”

…Online Shopping

We’ve all been doing it since Covid-19 kicked in.

It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure.

Traffic on the biggest sites has gone up 300% over lockdown.

I’ve got to the point where I’m having to delete my internet search history several times a week, so Mrs. Brown doesn’t see what I’ve been up to.

Yes, that’s the one.

My name’s Rick and I’ve been buying rubbish online.

…Buying Flowers

This week I have been buying flowers.  Disappointingly, a lot of you will automatically suspect I am in trouble rather than being incurably romantic.  Don’t worry, I’m not.  In this instance it is neither.  I required a big thank-you present for a teacher and so I was sent to the florist.  And as is becomingContinue reading “…Buying Flowers”

…Getting Older

The alarm goes off. “You get up first.” Purrs Mrs. Brown seductively. “No you go first – I’m doing school drop off today.” I whisper. “COO-EEE! I’M HERE! I’LL GET UP FIRST!” Oh, shut up, bladder! And that’s the problem. I am now a gentleman of a certain age and if I ever fancy aContinue reading “…Getting Older”

…Interviews

For the first time in ages, I’ve been going for interviews. But times have changed since the last time when I circled jobs in the wanted ads in the British Medical Journal or GP Magazine, sent off a CV then got called for interviews (or not). The new all-virtual interviews are a totally different experience,Continue reading “…Interviews”

…The Nativity

“It’s not fair!” “It’s not fair!” rants the boy. “But it’s the best part!” I try to reassure. “It’s not. It’s boring. I wanted to be the donkey!” “But your part is better.” “The donkey has a song.” Yes, that’s right. This week they have been casting the school nativity and the boy doesn’t feelContinue reading “…The Nativity”