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Life as a new principal - Dr Aran Gillespie meets a spirited granny and takes time out

A week as 'just a bloke'

A few weeks ago I was cheesed off. Actually, I'm being polite: I was beyond 'cheesed' and well into more 'certificate 18' language. Work was annoying, it was far too hard, no-one seemed to appreciate my efforts, and the patients...don't start me on the patients. I tried all the 'Why am I feeling like this?' ruminations, and didn't get anywhere.

Fortunately my meditations were interrupted by a week's annual leave. This particular week was my 'bloke week'. You see I have one more week of leave than my wife does, so I'm allowed to use it for selfish bloke stuff. This week was earmarked for me to go back to Ulster and spend time with my Dad. And since it was a 'bloke week' there was to be no convenient flying over to Northern Ireland. No, I drove over on my scooter. With a 50-litre bin tied to the back as a present for Dad. I'm sure it confused more than one driver as a silver bin shot past in the fast lane of the M6.

In my three whole days back in Ireland, Dad and I took the boat out, and went fishing in the sea, in the river and in a lake. We hammered around the back roads playing cat and mouse on two wheels. I also spent time with my niece. At no time did I have cause to remember that I am a doctor, nor did anyone remind me of it. I was just Aran.

At the end of my stay I scootered back in the heaviest rain I've seen in ages. My waterproof leggings failed and water found its way into my jacket. I arrived home tired, wet and cold: it was brilliant. It reminded me of my student days, when life was simple and I only had myself to worry about. It made it the best of breaks: a break from my normal life.

So I returned to work happy. And I learned that you can't always reason yourself out of a deep blue funk. Sometimes you just have to get up, go out, and do something.

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