Security Heightened on South Coast of England

Portsmouth Harbour Heightens level of response against terrorist threats August 2016 © Southampton Old Lady
Portsmouth Harbour Heightens level of response against terrorist threats

While visiting various ports in the South of England this weekend, it was clear that recent events have lead to increased security of our coastline and of all events that take place on them.

A random attack of a crowd in London by a mentally ill ‘lone wolf’ –  has reinforced that Britain is not exempt from what is happening in other parts of the world.

This together with recent cases of drug-smuggling fishermen and people-smuggling yachts that arrived at “less busy” ports and marinas, has led to increased vigilance.

Helicopter checks on boats that arrive at Gosport Marinas without the obligatory radio call
Prosecutors of the three men jailed in two cases of smuggling Albanians here, said Chichester Marina had no border controls


All photos © Southampton Old LadyThis post may be re-blogged, but please seek my permission to use photos not pertaining to this article.



I was surprised but not shocked, to see this Care Quality Commission rating chart posted on the window of my local GP surgery (National Health doctor’s office) with the 80% overall rating: Inadequate.

Responses to the question Are services Safe? and Are services Effective? achieved Inadequate. The only different responses on the whole chart were GOOD for Are Services Caring? And REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT for the question Are Services Responsive? None were regarded as OUTSTANDING.

All the ‘Patient Group’ categories achieved INADEQUATE. Not one single listing was marked otherwise.

Older People – Inadequate

People with long term conditions – Inadequate

Families, children and young people – Inadequate

Working age people (including those recently retired and students) – Inadequate

People whose circumstances may make them vulnerable – Inadequate

People experiencing poor mental health (including people with dementia) – Inadequate

I was informed by staff and patients gossiping at the pharmacy next door that if there are not improvements by this Autumn the surgery would be closed down.

There are no dentists in the area – I travel 25 miles to Bournemouth to see mine. This is the only doctors’ surgery in this densely-populated area for miles. I know there to be five good doctors of different nationalities at this surgery who are all under a lot of pressure.

The reception staff often have a difficult time sorting out priorities in a number of languages and have problems registering the transient numbers of temporary residents here from students to immigrant workers.

The system in place also means that it is near impossible to ever get to see the same doctor twice. The telephone can ring all day trying to get an appointment or even to cancel one. It can be an 8-week wait to get to see a doctor. If it is ‘urgent’ patients need to queue up in all weathers outside for at least half an hour before surgery opens in the morning to make sure they receive one of the ’emergency appointments’ allocated for that day only. This is no easy task for someone who is too ill to go to work, women holding babies crying in pain or people with crutches standing on one leg. Once open, appointment slots are usually filled within 30 minutes and none remain for anyone who can get through by telephone. Though if it is serious you can request a call-back from a doctor who may be able to give advice later in the day by phone. Only one type of emergency can be diagnosed each time – If you happen to have an earache when you have gone in about passing blood, then you have to make another appointment.

Prescriptions and hospital referrals get lost, not to mention whole files, and various bodily fluid samples get too old to be tested with neglect. It is no wonder that people end up going straight to hospital, which I must say are marvellous in Southampton with what they have to cope with.

Contrary to popular belief, the NHS not a free service either, the average working person pays around £8,500 per annum with their compulsory National Health contributions. With the rapid population increase and cuts to social services it is like being thrown back to the early 1900s.

There’s my rant for the day. So. What are doctors’ offices like where you live?

sign, chair, door, Nº26

Another in my ‘sign, chair, door, number’ series. I have tried to match the colours and textures this time. “Saying Goodbye to Winter”.

Anti-dog-fouling sign, Vienna, 2016 © Southampton Old Lady
Anti-dog-fouling sign, Vienna, 2016 © Southampton Old Lady
Fur-covered cafe chair Vienna, 2016 © Southampton Old Lady
Fur-covered cafe chair Vienna, 2016 © Southampton Old Lady
Door in Salzburg, Austria © 2016 Southampton Old Lady
Door in Salzburg, Austria © 2016 Southampton Old Lady
Number 26 mooring at Southampton Boat Show, 2015 © Southampton Old Lady
Number 26 mooring at Southampton Boat Show, 2015 © Southampton Old Lady


Black & White in Colour 2: The Hobbit

The Hobbit, a famous pub in the Bevois Valley area of Southampton.
The Hobbit, a famous pub in the Bevois Valley area of Southampton.

The second in my series of black & white scenes photographed in colour. I also keep meaning to do a series about pubs in Southampton, so I will also call this Pub 1.

The Hobbit pub in Southampton, named after a Tolkien character, has been going for around 24 years and draws an eclectic crowd.

It has become world famous now for the law suit: The Hobbit Pub versus Warner Brothers, The lawyers, acting on the motion picture company’s half, tried to force them to change their name just before the launch of the film of the same name. The independent pub received backing both verbally and financially from British actors Ian McKellin and Stephen Fry in the right to keep the name, which was the first case brought against them. Now there is an ongoing battle over the names of their locally crafted ale and cocktails. The cases have been going on for about four years now. The Hobbit holds annual fund raisers to help support their claim.

Customers need to be over 21 and there is a small charge to see regular bands who play in their basement.

For more info:

Sign Chair Door 26

Another post in my sign chair door number series:

Sothert & Pitt, builders of dock cranes since 1785, discarded sign at Southampton's Dock Gate Number 10. 2013 © Southampton Old Lady
Stothert & Pitt Ltd. Engineering firm of dock cranes since 1785. Discarded sign at Southampton’s Dock Gate10.   2013 © Southampton Old Lady
Torture chair with my shadow. Dismaland 2015. © Southampton Old Lady
Torture chair with my shadow. Banksy’s Dismaland 2015. © Southampton Old Lady
Southampton's Old Castle vault. 2015 © Southampton Old lady
Southampton’s Old Castle vault. 2015 © Southampton Old lady
No 26 Mooring at Southampton marina. 2015 © Southampton Old Lady
No 26 Mooring at Southampton Marina. 2015 © Southampton Old Lady



CCTV & Phoenician Eye

Weekly photo challenge: eye-spy

2 for 1:


Firstly: A winking ‘Smiley’ sign to let people know that they are being watched by close circuit television, and not to get up to mischief on Bognor Regis beach in England, UK

Phoenician eye

Secondly: A large sailing dinghy in Southampton, England. Still popular, especially in Europe, a Phoenician Eye on each side of the bow of a boat is believed to ensure safe guidance through the seas. The Phoenicians were the first that we know of to use eye symbols in this way. It was later adapted by the Egyptians who named it the Eye of Horus.

If you would like to take part the link is here: <a href=””>Eye Spy</a>