Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The wonderful thing about Tiggers.....

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.

*cough, cough*

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...*

Yes. Thankyou.

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.


Chairwoman of the bored said...

When little Janusz and his sister, littler Perl go to school, they will quickly learn colloquial English which they will take home to Roman and Monika, and soon they will all be speaking English around the dinner table, and Roman and Monika will only speak Polish when they don't want the children to understand, and in 10 years time, when the children are teenagers, they'll be saying 'Do we have to to Warsaw/Radom/Przsuchla for our holidays again this year?', and a new generation of Brits will have been born.

Shinga said...

I see that you dodged including Christopher Robin - are you secretly siding with those who are seeking to replace his character with a red-haired, six-year old tomboy?

Polskiphone is good - I was originally going with Polackaphone but it was too distant from Parlaphone to work successfully.

Lots of local practices are having an entertaining time with young polish children and a rich variety of others. We have a Walk-In centre and they seem to be having particular problems. Don't know why - perhaps they need to bring in more toys?

How do you keep Tigger clean and dust-mite free? Do you bring him home at the weekend, steam-clean him and then stick him in the freezer for a few hours? If they ever saw you - how to traumatise young children even further and make them more reluctant to attend a doctor's surgery...

Regards - Shinga

PS word verification of qrbsuhff seems strangely appropriate

Anonymous said...

At last! A reasoned and sensible point of view about immigration. You would think that after the Huguenots, the Jewish, the Ugandan Asians etc etc our little island would be proud of its ability to absorb and celebrate multiculturism.

Doctor Jest said...

Madam Charwoman-- am I sensing a hitherto unrevealed facet of your pre-groupie existence here or do you just know a lot of Polish people perhaps?

Shinga-- Oh no no no no. There is and only ever shall be one Christopher Robin (though I understand for some years he would have had it otherwise). My list was taken (from memory) from the farewell letter TO CR from al the many and varied denizens of the hundred acre wood when they threw him a farewell party, so sadly he has no plce on that particular list, but as for red haired tomboys, there's quite enough of that sort of thing in Anne of Green Gables.

And as for Tigger and his trips to the freezer, my lips must remain sealed on the matter to avoid unnecessary distress.

anon-- well being a quarter immigrant myself (half if you count Welsh) might have some bearing on the matter ;-)

The Boy said...

Its odd. I am an official imigrant, born somewhere else. I just happened to be raised speaking English. Its amusing to stand by the water cooler and hear the imigrant invective then remind people that such is I and should I go home now?

I've seen some of the most lovely shades of red develop.

Geena said...

All those linked articles at the drfleablog circus thingy are too mindnumbing to cope with right now...pleeeze..I am on holiday and in non-thinking, rose-drinking, junk-food eating mode.

As to immigrants...well I am one and I think I am integrating quite well...so are my kids and C of the B is quite right - they don't identify with their SA heritage anymore...they are French - through and through and only speak French to each other (after only 27 months in the land)...drives me mad but what can I do except insist they speak English to me?

Immigrants have to make an effort to belong and to contribute meaningfully to a society - more so than the natives..and then they are still ostracised the minute one of their numer do something wrong...everyone is painted with the same tar brush...rather narrow-minded and unfair. Anyway - rabbit hutches or not, England is lovely...and I was very happy living there in my little hutch and would be happy to do it again.