My good old friends on Radio Four tell me the Home Office is warning that we are about to be inundated with Eastern Europeans, stealing our jobs, filling our hospitals with their elderly and infirmed, crowding out children from our schools... raping, pillaging, that sort of thing. It seems they all bought into the whole counter-revolutionary capitalist propaganda we bombarded them with for decades and actually feel that "The West" or in this instance Dear Old Blighty, is the land of milk and honey, so now they actually have freedom of movement and are joined to us at the hip via the EU they are going to up sticks and relocate the whole of Poland inter alia to SW1.
Now to me this is a cause for celebration. To think that I live and work in a land that is so highly regarded that almost the whole world wants to come and join me is quite the most fantastic news. It almost helps me to forget that I now apparently live in a "Rabbit Hutch" according to at least one fellow blogger. (No I'm not going to elaborate. I believe she knows who she is...). Or it might just be the usual protectionist hyperbole stewed up by the "chattering classes" aided and abetted by the Barking Nutter Party an UKIP.
Yes, what is it?
*You promised us Tiggers, then you started ranting and using all those posh words, and then you mentioned Rabbits House but still no Tiggers.*
Yes, I know, just try to be a bit patient will you, and do stay away from that hunny, it's medicinal and very expensive you know....
Now, where was I? Oh yes. The Ambridge experience of Eastern European migration.
We have had a small Polish community nearby since the last Great European Unpleasantness. As they got older and intermarried with local gels the character of the community became a little diluted, and there was a small schizophreenic subgroup of Polish refugess sons and daughters marrying the Italian offspring of fomer POWs as they found their shared Catholicism more of a bond than their previous national allegiances, surrounded as they were by the heathen Borsetshire yeomen.
That little community has been quite stable for almost six decades now and is thoroughly integrated. Shortly after I joined the practice we had a new influx. Again refugees. This time from Kosovo. They were a rag tag bunch of single young men and a few older men with families. They had horrors in their heads they could not tell us about. But as the years have gone by and the children have started in local schools, the men found work and an intriguing "working man's" vocabulary of colloquialism and invective, they too have been integrated, excepting the ones who have been deported.
*Ahem-- don't mean to worry you, but there's a small rather sticky looking yellow bear here that wants you to get to the point*
Yes, sorry. Nearly there I promise.
Now, as our erstwhile janitor would attest, we have seen an influx from Poland in the past couple of years. Mainly young adults in excellent health. Some with young families, but mostly all still single. They speak fractured English for sure, but hey, you should hear my Polish... and they do menial jobs for wages the locals won't take. Often two or three jobs all at once (well in shifts obviously, but you know what I mean).
But in their flats they continue to speak Polish, drat them. And especially so to their three year old offspring apparently. I know. Honestly. Whatever are they thinking, talking their own language to their own children. They'll have the Home Office to answer to 'ere long I'll warrant.
*what is the right emoticon for a sticky bear scowl? Whatever it is, insert it here if you will*
My point is.... and we would honestly have got here quicker if it hadn't been for the constant interruptions, looking at nobear in particular, nor the anonymous reader who indulged him, they then bring said Polskiphone (if that's not a proper word it should be, so there) to the Big Scary Doctor. Now, I imagine kids of that age in Poland are looked after in much the same way they are here. Namely jabbed at almost every available opportunity. This must make a trip to the Doctor quite scary enough, but when the Doc then won't even sooth your fears in a way you can understand, how much the more frightening must that be?
So when little Jaroslaw was brought by mum today because he had been coughing all night, he was tired and fractious and scared.
How could I tell? Well the rise in decibels of his plaintive cries as I got within jabbing range was a bit of a clue, even to my non-polskiphone ear. So, enter out hero. A little plush Tigger with magnetic paws long since surplus to requirements at home. Now I consult with him on all my difficult toddler patients. He guides my stethoscope, and confers with me on the findings, or claps himself to their collar / hair braids / other convenient appendage.... and hangs on for grim death whilst I go about my work. And the beauty of this is that he works in all cultures. Even for kids brought up in lands where there are real tigers to be had.
I'm not quite sure if little Jaroslaw was delighted by Tigger or just stunned to see a grown man, and alleged professional, pratting about in such an unseemly manner, but my colleague and I got the job done in total and acquiescent silence thereafter.
Tiggers truly are wonderful things.
Yes, as are Pooh, Piglit, Eeyore, Rabbit, Wol, Kagna, Blot, Smudge, and all the others.
Gotta go now.
*Wot he forgot to tell you wos that Paediatric Grand Rounds are up herehttp://drfleablog.blogspot.com/2006/07/fleas-three-ring-circus.html and he's in them again*
*Personally I can't see what all the fuss is about but then perhaps if I had brain instead of fluff and sawdust...*
But they are, and they're jolly good to. You should take a look if you're interested, or if you're laid up after, say, trapping a toe in the door of a DeLorean.