Mrs Monk and I, as her supporting spouse, were obliged to wait for an NHS medical outpatient appointment for 1.5 hours and counting.
This article was written in the waiting room on my Samsung tablet as Mrs Monk Tweeted beside me. We had time on our hands.
The long delays created a crowded waiting room and as we waited we were entertained by the low tech informational device of calling each patient out-very-loud and ever louder as the milling crowd became louder themselves and as waiting numbers increased because of the delay.
"Paul Daniels please, Paul Daniels", said one nurse.
"PAUL DANIELS", she said raising her voice, "PAUL DANIELS please."
In this way we discovered that the Paul Daniels, so called out-loud by the nurse, is not the famed diminutive conjurer married to Debbie McGee, but another man, a tall man, and a man also in need of the attention of Mrs Monk's orthopaedic surgeon, Mr White.
Mr White had examined Mrs Monk 6 weeks before and reported to Mrs Monk's GP and described her as a "delightful woman".
As we waited to see Mr White, a small boy sitting alongside us wore a plaster cast on his left arm. He was too young to know who "PAUL DANIELS", the conjurer married to Debbie McGee might be, and so he continued to concentrate on his bag of crisps. His appetite and consumption of the crisps involved a certain amount of showboating and juggling, due to his temporary one-handedness. Small Boy seemed to enjoy the challenge of his task, and we Monks enjoyed watching his dexterity, as he skilfully ate one crisp at a time without the full compliment of hands that might be normally required to complete that task.
Thus, we Monks observed and passed small moments of our wait.
Mrs Monk also passed the time by visiting the water cooler, reporting back to me that the cooler was literally held together with a medical elastoplast.
"HARRY POTTER" was the new belted out cry; "Gary Potter please" the less vocal correction.
Small Boy immediately abandoned his crisp juggling task and broke out into a big fat smile laced with a big dose of wishful thinking.
Gary, not Harry appeared in due course with a similar embarrassed smile for he had surely been mistaken for the mystic junior wizard before. Small Boy went back to his bag of crisps. The smile lingered for a while.
"Josephine Keen" pause "JOSEPHINE KEEN Please"
This was a confusion too far because we Monks are directly related to a Josephine Keen who is my niece and who lives 100 miles away in the street that I was brought up in 60 years ago in West London.
Small boy was not bothered but what the heck......
Soon thereafter Mrs Monk heard her name in the distance and got out of her chair as if she did not need an Orthopaedic surgeon named Mr White who found her "delightful".
Since I was writing this story on my tablet I needed time to gather up my belongings and my thoughts. I was thinking, I did not hear "SARA MONK please etc....etc, therefore ....."
I caught up with Mrs Monk and the nurse, all the while thinking there had been yet another muddle of names.
We were ushered into the Doctor's office and my doubts were immediately confirmed because the man before us was not Mr White at all, but another man.
"I think there has been a mistake", I stumbled, "the appointment was with Mr White." (who found Mrs Monk "delightful" I was thinking)
"Mr White is very busy " he said. "He has asked me to see Mrs Monk."
"OK, that's fine but what about Paul Daniels, Gary Potter, and "Josephine Keen" and “Small Boy" is what I needed to say by way of not appearing to be racist. Mr White has a Caucasian name and he had a Caucasian hue. This doctor had neither and I wondered how he might have interpreted my apparent disappointment.
We got over the awkward moment and got down to business.
Both Black and White medical practitioners are the life blood of the NHS starved of funds and resources. The Tory plan for funding the NHS is about to unravel. The idea that politicians can make the world' s most efficient health service, the NHS, more efficient by making further efficiency savings is bizarre beyond comprehension.
The water cooler is sick and will stay that way under the Tories.