Intended for healthcare professionals


Risk—the game of life

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 10 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:607
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner (
  1. Glasgow

It was 1976, and I was 9 years old. My teeth were chattering so hard I thought that one of them would surely come loose. On the boat to the mainland the swirling wind whipped my hair into my eyes. My sopping wet Afghan coat stank like a goat, and my beads rattled as I shivered in convulsions. Why on earth had my mother moved to Orkney, and why did my father live 700 miles away in London? This was the first of many trips that I would make over the next 10 years. I wasn't alone; also travelling were my three brothers, aged 7, 10, and (our leader) 12.

The train trip was incredibly dull. Caithness looked like a nuclear test site, Inverness was a metaphor for dreariness, and our beef paste sandwiches smelled of fish. It wasn't until the oil workers got on the train to go home to Glasgow that things brightened up. They took pity on us: four English hippy kids whose only entertainment was kicking …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription