This weekend hailed the approximate mid-point for the year for the doctors on August to July rotations at Maidstone Tunbridge Wells. The team running the mess very kindly invited me down to take photos at the ball held in honour of the tail end of winter. Here are 25 of my favorite photos from the evening! The full album is available for download from my Site or if you just want to see the photos head over to my Facebook Page.
At the tail end of my first year as a doctor we held the final big mess event of the year for QEH – the summer ball. As the president of the mess the buck stopped with me to organise the gig and with a little manoeuvring we managed to pull the event out the bag. Ultimately both the summer and winter balls required someone to grab the event by the horns and In both cases (to no small time expense) the job fell to me. However sales were significantly easier that the winter 6months ago which had given me so many sleepless … “how the hell can we find £2000?!”. By now I knew almost everyone in the hospital and so pushing tickets out was quite a simple process….. Furthermore we were more financially stable on this round having had a full 6 months of income to buffer the coffers.
Now – as regards the venue we chose – The HMS Belfast a grand retired battleship, permanently moored on the Thames as part museum and part function space. Overlooking Tower bridge directly and being in such a central location on the Thames held an inherent appeal aside from the pure idiosyncrasy of having a ball on a battleship! It certainly twisted the idea of a “boat party” in an interesting fashion…. which is so often the fall back for summer parties as the chance of a clear night on the Thames is theoretically higher. For me at least there’s something rather lacking in appeal to be trapped on a boat with no definite means of escape not least for the reason that one is obliged to hand over wads of money to keep up with the alcoholic pace so required on these nights out. The Belfast on the other-hand may sway and rise up and down with the tide but has its permanent bridge linking to the London-town.
The bowels of the ship have a distinctive smell of waxed models – evoking childhood trips to the imperial war museum. For those of you who have been to the “trenches” or “blitz” exhibits as a child will remember it well. Our event was split over two areas – the external bow deck for the dinner and reception and a debunk to one of the larger internal function rooms to dance the night out with the hire-band. A useful tip-off from one our resident F2s managed to connect us with a great covers quartet who provided the nights major entertainment for the afters.
The early part of the evening was challenged somewhat by a tropical storm detectable earlier in the day by the pregnant tension in the atmosphere. An amusing adjunct to our festivities was having members of staff with poles prodding the heavy sagging canopies to unload their collections off the side of the boat.
The food – a “buffet” style service was reasonable and I people enjoyed the balance we provided to have unlimited drinks in place for the first 3 hours versus a formal sit down meal – which of course has its place but does formalise a restriction to keep to the seating plan and consequent formulaic chat with people who you don’t really have anything to say to.
Overall it was a great night and afterwards we decanted to a “classy” joint just adjacent to London bridge to dance through till closing with our F1 colleagues. Friends for a year working the front line in Woolwich together soon to be scattered to the winds across the south as summer’s turn saw our upgrade from house to senior house officers.
As usual photos are on my Facebook page and are also free to download from my website. Enjoy!
In the summer 2013 Lewisham hospital mess held a ball in the very same undercroft of the famous “Painted Hall” in Greenwich as we had had our winter ball… I stole in as an imposter from the “Dark-side” (QEH) to take the photos. In the dissolution on South London Health Care trust in the coming autumn Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital were to join forces – much to the chagrin of most of the Lewisham lot. Much of the talk that evening pertained to the coming uncertainty. Most famous of the merger was the battle to save the A&E department of Lewisham Hospital and the successful repeal of the directive to have it closed.
Anyway a few of my favourites from the the event.
Every month the Consultants at QEH pay a small amount of their monthly pay cheque towards throwing a party at the end of the year for all the junior doctors they’ve been working with. For my year at QEH the location of the party (as is the apparent tradition) was the Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich. A beautiful location and as you can see from the photos – a fitting and light and night to say adieu to our consultants from the year the year. I was particularly glad to be able to have a last and in some cases first informal chat with the “big bosses” who we’d all been working for. My three jobs had allowed me to get to know most everyone in the hospital. I filtted through the event and took a few staging photos whilst enjoying the canapé tours through the modest crowd together with the odd glass of red wine. The evening later accelerated and we danced the last of the hours of a permissible “late” closing in Greenwich away in the bowels of “North Pole South Pole“.
It’s always said that your first year as a doctor is your most poignant (before you become a jaded depressed cyncic)….The nostalgic kickback is quite smarting as I sit here now midwinter betwixt A&E night shifts in the Outer rim banlieue ajacent Maidstone hospital – in reverie listening to Who Knows where the time goes? by Fairport Convention.
As usual the Photos are available on my Facebook page