Desperately Seeking Inspiration

In the 1985 movie Desperately Seeking Susan, Madonna plays the free spirited Susan, who is desperately being sought by Rosanna Arquette’s character, who sees her as a potential catalyst to brighten up her hum drum life.

In the 2016 blog Desperately Seeking Inspiration, the elusive inspiration is desperately being sought by a northern English bloke, who sees it as a potential catalyst for his uninspiring narrative.

There are no parallels between the movie or the blog, apart from having ‘Desperately Seeking’ in the title. Inspiration is a far lower maintenance mistress than Susan, although, if truth be told it’s singing voice isn’t a patch on hers.

Inspiration doesn’t exhibit the brash demeanour, or dress as scruffily as the drifter with no ties Susan. However, it’s absence this morning frustrates the northern bloke.

Oh, there you are Susan! Where have you been?! We’ve been looking all over for you! ……. You haven’t seen inspiration have you?!

desperately seeking susan

If you haven’t guessed already, the northern bloke is me. I’m in need of a subject for today’s blog, so am currently sat scanning the immediate vicinity, desperately seeking inspiration.

At the moment my owl-like neck rotations have not yet identified anything as a potential writing topic…….. On the plus side, I just found out I have the ability to spin my head around 360 degrees! I’m sure it’ll come in handy one day!

I’m sat in the main reception waiting area of the oncology unit (Bexley Wing), St James’ Hospital waiting for Karen to return from treatment. I’m surrounded by approximately 60 individuals of all creeds, colours and religions. However, inspiration remains elusive!…… Coming to think of it, I can’t see Susan either!

I’m estimating there are around 60 people, but if truth be told I’m guessing as I lost count. My desire to acquire an accurate head count wasn’t helped by, despite asking politely, people refusing to remain motionless until I’d completed my count!

It says ‘Inspiration Just Ahead’, but I couldn’t bloody find it!


Nearby, patients sit pensively and in many cases silent. Some are accompanied by their families and friends who, although not ill, are very much passengers on the thankless journey that comes with fighting cancer.

The quiet environment is being occasionally ruined by a middle aged man dressed in full cricket whites standing to shout “Howzat!” ……. Look, I have to fill my time in somehow when I have writers block!

On the drive to the hospital, Karen and I talked about the hundreds of hours we’ve graced the Bexley unit in the last five years.  The consensus of opinion from us both, is that it can’t be long now until the unit entrance gets renamed the Strachan Revolving Doors!


revolving door

It’s only Wednesday, yet this is our fourth visit to this state of the art oncology wing this week. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining as, despite sounding mercenary, the very fact we are at this unit, with it distinctive light green facade, is good news.

That may sound a callous, uncaring observation bearing in mind the nature of my courageous spouse’s illness. However, the fact this sickening disease is incurable means that this current situation is the best case scenario; as it has been since November 2010.

Therefore, as daft as it seems, our regular visits to the Bexley are positive news, as it means she is still with us!

The calming atmosphere in the reception has just gone up a notch with an elderly guy plays the grand piano. Sat close to the (soon to be) Strachan Revolving Doors, he seems an accomplished advocate of the instrument, which he plays tunefully and with apparent joy.

I’ve got to be honest and say I can’t quite place some of the melodies he’s performing, but his enthusiasm while tinkling the ivories is infectious.

Of the tunes from his playlist that I can make out, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and “I Do Like To Be By The Seaside” are not without artistic value and were performed well. However their relevance in early February, in the city of Leeds which is a 90 minute drive from the nearest coast, is questionable.

Despite my tongue in cheek comments above, I’m not mocking this lovely old guy who is a very affable chap, who is giving his time making music to raise money for the Yorkshire Cancer charity. I must ensure I make a donation to this inspirational man on my way out.

Right, Karen’s finished her treatment and is heading towards me, so I’ll bring this narrative to a close. Surprisingly, despite being bereft of subject inspiration, I have managed to write over 700 words.

I may have not found inspiration, but I think I’ve just located Susan. She is stood next to the old guy on the piano, singing “I Do Like To Be By The Seaside”!!

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