I thought I had better post something new in case you might have thought I'd 'kicked the bucket'.
Well, here I am, very much alive and well.
I expect most of you will remember I used to be an Ambulance Man, working for a private company in Bristol. These were some of the happiest days of my life and I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the work I was privileged to do for 5 years - patient care, getting to know and love the patients, the driving, the buzz of driving vehicles like this Land Rover, working with all my colleagues, working with nurses and doctors, enjoying all the admiring glances of the public in general, waving to the ladies. I still miss the work but I do reminisce from time to time. Mostly, I drove patients to and from Kidney Dialysis Units for renal dialysis. To keep alive patients needed this for 4 hours three times a week.
I drove this blue ambulance regularly. We called it The Sunshine Bus and here it is shown overlooking a beautiful reservoir which I called The Lake. I used to walk round it during my lunch break and it inspired me to write poetry and stories while I was there. The scenery round there is stunning and on a summer's evening it was wonderful driving around watching the sunsets over the lake and the sea, nearby.
I worked also on other ambulances as a team with my friend Richard. This often involved stretcher work and carry chair lifting. I enjoyed all the work immensely.
I first posted "Silly Saturday at the Ambulance Station" in April 2009 and thought I would re-post it to highlight the fun we used to have at the station - particularly one Saturday morning when our sometimes over developed sense of humour plus a surplus of testosterone almost caused things to go out of control.
This photograph shows all is quiet at the Ambulance Station - some vehicles have returned - but most are still out, some on their missions ferrying renal patients to and from hospital and renal units for dialysis, and some for longer hospital to hospital transfer of patients.
All appears perfectly normal, yet a few hours before one particular Saturday morning things were so different, for on that day we all went absolutely bananas:
It was wonderful!
An ambulance was parked very badly blocking the exit of the station - someone wanted to get out. Five crews were ready to go - all vehicle checks were completed satisfactorily and we were free to 'go mobile' as the phrase says.
I was in a sixth vehicle driving the blue sunshine bus, without blue lights or sirens, and another colleague was driving just an ambulance car, acceptable for some jobs. We all were blocked in.
The driver in the offending vehicle suddenly became the recipient of a loud horn blast from a large ambulance behind, followed by several other horn blasts and shouting, "Come on, mate, get your finger out, we can't get out!"
When the chap in front gave us a rude hand gesture (in fun I hasten to add) the horn noises escalated significantly and short siren bursts emitted from the vehicle behind, followed by a chorus of similar blasts from the other ambulances. By this time everyone was in fits of laughter and all were making rude signs to each other with clenched fists shaking at one another.
Then someone switched on the main siren with blue lights flashing wildly. Of course this was followed by all five ambulances, making a dickens of a din.
Unfortunately all I could do to join in the party was to switch on my hazard warning lights and blast my horn whilst shouting and shaking my fists - quite feeble really.
Then someone turned on a microphone in a vehicle. A loud message boomed across the station, "Get out of the way, you silly old fart!" which elicited a sharp response from the offending vehicle, "Who the 'ell are you calling me a silly old fart! . . . . you just come over here and say that and I'll floor you!" "What do you mean? how dare you!". Everyone went mad!
More loudspeakers were turned on in chorus uttering obscenities which are best left unsaid, as you may well imagine. The noise was deafening! Male adrenalin levels headed ever skyward! Inland Seagulls on the roofs around scarpered for safety! The women drivers and attendants joined in with their shrieks and they were in uncontrolable hysterics, generally siding with the chaps they liked best!
We were all falling about laughing by this time. To me it looked so comical to see all these ambulances with expressionless faces arguing and fighting with each other - with sirens and microphones at full belt and my little horn feebly attempting to join in.
Above this glorious chaos, with ever rising crescendo, a loud PA speaker sprang into action from the control desk, "What the b_ _ _ _ _ 'ell is going on out there? You! get that b _ _ _ _ _ ambulance out of the way so you can all get out . . . . and all of you b _ _ _ _ _ off and get to work! Now!"
Richard seized his opportunity to score a point shouted through his microphone, the loudest, "I've got a bigger one than you!" I got out of my vehicle and rushed over to him in mock battle, shaking my fists and everyone joined in. We all ended up in the middle all falling about laughing.
Then as suddenly as it started all was quiet and we resumed with the business of the day. Normality had returned.