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Thursday 27 October 2011

Eddie's First YouTube - How To Solve The Solo Game

Today something rather different!  I have made my first Video for BlogLand.  Hope you enjoy it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that!  I expect a number of you knew how to do this already.

With all these spinsters and batchelors it is a wonder the whole family did not die out on that side of the clan.  Considering all those unmarried brothers and sisters, some already departed before this story, it is fortunate that my grandfather produced a son, my father.  From then my father was the last of the clan but he married and Maggie arrived first, then me.  I was then the last in line but married and had a daughter and a son, who is currently the last in line.  Go for it, son - but get things in the right order first LOL.

My elderly relations were, as I said, rather strange.  They had a good sense of humour, except my grandfather, who was rather grumpy.  I wonder where I get mine? I suppose Auntie Madge was the liveliest out of a rather dreary bunch but unfortunately they were all extremely stingy - I cannot recall being given a penny piece.  I remember one particular occasion when my parents were very amused when their purses were not opened yet again - had they done so I suppose a plentiful supply of moths might have flown everywhere.  This example of the worst case of 'stingyism', or should I say stinginess, I have ever known was the occasion of a relative's silver wedding anniversary.  It is usual and fitting to send a present made from silver for a Silver Wedding Anniversary - not so with my elderly relatives!  Their solution was to send a jar of Silver Shred marmalade LOL.  I am not sure how the present was received or whether they ever spoke to my elderly relatives again..

Tuesday 18 October 2011

A Highly Embarrassing Goof - Eddie's First Aid Course

I am having a short break from Painting and Decorating stories so we step into my time machine and travel 15-20 years into the future.  I had just joined a private ambulance company as an ACA/driver which did very nicely for me as a run up to my retirement.  Before any of us can be let loose with patients in any way whatsoever the basic requirement is a four day intensive First Aid course, and that is for starters, even to allow us to undertake  routine patient transport. After that we progress to more in house courses like the First Responder Course and if anyone wants to progress in the A and E area the training is very intensive, culminating with a Paramedic qualification.  I was a 'oldie' and there was no point in me having aspirations which were unrealistic, considering I was nearing retirement, so I struck with First Aid and First Responder courses plus any relevant in house course the company considered necessary.  I attended a four day residential Drive 1 course in Cornwall which qualified me to drive any ambulance up to police driving standards, but not using Blue Flashing Lights and Sirens for A and E work. That required additional training as a Drive 2 Emergency Driver for Accidents and Emergency driving.  I remember teasing someone who had just passed her Drive 2 and said that she would do in an emergency if they couldn't find anyone else!  She loved it and laughed her head off.
Anyway back to the story.  The venue for the four day First Aid course was ex house and our trainer was a lovely lady called Dianne.  She was a very efficient trainer and fortunately she had an extremely good sense of humour.  I loved studying First Aid.  We paired up as twos and took it in turns to practice resuscitation to an unconscious but breathing patient and then rolling them over into the recovery position.  My partner was Pam, who had started work on the same day I did.  For obvious reasons we could not use live partners for an unconscious and non-breathing patient.  Instead we used manikins and practiced CPR, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, where the requirement was to get them on their backs, apply two breaths into their mouth and then 30 quick compressions to help pump oxygenated blood round their bodies and notably to the brain, and keep doing this until emergcy services arrive. Several of my friends have saved people doing this which is marvellous. There is a lot of residual oxygen in the lungs of an unconcious non breathing patient, in fact 16%, as opposed to 20% in normal air and freshly breathed into the lungs, so it is possible to keep oxygenated blood circling for a while.  However the success rate of a full recovery is just 6% unfortunately.  One chap on the training course forgot he had to use a manikin and started to practice on his lady partner, whom he did not even know before that day.  This caused a high degree of amusement and uproar.

Here is a manikin just like the ones we used:

This guy is applying 30 firm chest compressions

During the second day, Dianne was dealing with eye injuries and the requirement to apply an antiseptic solution to wash any harmful grit or similar intrusions away from the affected eye. We were asked if we could suggest appropriate solutions which may be available in a First Aid situation. Various suggestions were made, all of which were entirely acceptable and then I put up my hand and was invited to offer my idea.  I said, jokingly, "This morning you said, 'Never knock urine, it is a powerful and effective anti-septic' , so why not urine?".  The whole class, including Dianne, went into hysterics with Dianne acting, "Excuse me patient, do you mind if I pee into your eye?".

Next day we progressed to shock and why it is necessary for a shocked patient to always lie down.  Shock simply is lack of oxygen to the brain, which normally takes 30% of all oxygen in our bodies.  This explains why invariably we feel sick when in shock. The stomach hates not having an adequate blood supply and if that falls short it's contents are rapidly expelled in vomit.  And vomitting is so dangerous for any breathing unconsious person and there is a vital reason why they have to be put in a recovery position. There is a real possibility if they are left on their backs they may vomit and this may be inhaled. Vomit is very acidic and corrosive and would certaining dissolve lung tissue and causae death - even in small quantities.  By placing patients on their side all vomit can drain out of their mouths. During shock a lot of blood is diverted to the greedy brain.  Nature's way of dealing with this is to fall down and lie down and that is the correct First Aid procedure.  To assist further more blood is diverted to the brain if the feet are elevated. Gosh! haven't I remembered it all well? Hope you are interested!

Anyway with all that on board the following afternoon we were taught about head injuries and if the patient is in shock as well, then it is more difficult to stop bleeding from the head injury - it's a swings and rounabouts situation. The solution is to raise the head slightly and rest it on the First Aider's knees whilst squatting. This was ably demonstrated by Dianne and a lady pretend patient.

And then Eddie drops an unbelievable unintentional clanger. In front of the entire class, with a girl as the patient lying on the floor with her head on Dianne's folded legs in a sitting position and supporting her head these immortal words gushed from Eddie's mouth:

"It's surprising what difference an extra 6 inches makes!"

Oh! to find a big hole to fall into.  The whole place errupted into a sea of laughter! The patient's shoulders immediately started to shake as she laughed. Dianne roared uncontrollably.  All the men were splitting their sides and the ladies shrieked. OMG how embarrassing!!  I even thought I saw a manikin have a little giggle. The whole class was ruined for at least five minutes and Dianne was not able to resume her teaching without breaking into laughter yet again.  Eventually she said she was going to include this in her future classes as an aid to make it more interesting.  I quickly requested royalty payments which caused another universal laugh.

Anyway we all passed our course and three years later when I was required to renew my First Aid qualification I attended a refresher course, not run by Dianne, but I saw her and we had a good laugh about the event which caused such hilarity three years previous.

I am reminded that my certificate is about to expire but I do not think I shall renew it because my ambulance days are well and truly over.  Oh! Happy memories! LOL

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Eddie Inspires A Neighbour To Paint His House . . . . But He Catches His Roof Alight!

This Painting and Decorating experience occurred during my first 'stint' at self employment in the 1980s, not long after my first job redundancy.

But first, thank you for your kind comments concerning The Sunday Roast - I suspect many more read my post than commented, which is a shame I think because I would welcome any feedback.  I am very busy right now with an extensive revamp of my study, following a lot of other decorating and garden projects. Mrs Bluelights has an extremely long whip and an even longer 'do-list'.  When sanity returns I intend writing to those kind volunteers who wish to help with the project and I shall write each of you soon. Also I will write to all 'roastees' currently in the oven and wondering when they will be 'cooked' or whether they will end up as burnt offerings..  Hopefully I can do this soon when all the on-going domestic projects are complete.

Now back to the Painting and Decorating project.  I really enjoyed doing this one.  I placed a small advertisement in our local paper and was invited to provide a quotation for painting this huge house - in dire need of extensive repairs and a face lift.  The owner was a 'big wheel' in the electricity industry and to cut the story short a couple of weeks later I arrived at the site with my trusty ladder and equipment.  Boy what a job it turned out to be!!  Just look at that horrible load of rhubarb I had to deal with.  I had already said that the gables should not be reached with a ladder because they were of plaster construction and there are tales of ladders going straight through the plaster and depositing unwitting painters into the attic. What a shock they must have had.

The owner, in his wisdom, obviously took what I said on board and thought he would be helpful.  He arranged to have a scaffolding tower erected so I could reach the gables.  Unfortunately, the window bay projected much too far and consequently the top platform was out of reach of the house.  Plus, there was a very steep slope from the house into the road and the whole thing looked decidedly 'dodgy' - I did not wish to dive into the road accompanied by a scaffolding tower so I had to order some traditional scaffolding, which arrived the next day.  As you can see there are two gables and I christened them Great Gable and Green Gable, after two mountains I have climbed in the Lake District.  The woodwork and plasterwork required a lot of attention. It was hot for the three weeks I was there and it was at the height of the wasp season.  Whole squadrons continually buzzed me all day long when I was high up on the scaffolding.  More that one colony was flying in and out of the tile spaces to what must be at least two nests in the roof space.  The plaster was pitted with little round holes and when I enquired of the owner what these might be he replied that his son regularly shot pigeons with his air rifle.  His son was a long distance lorry driver and was due to return home in a few days.  Here is another photo after I had repaired some woodwork and applied some primer to Great Gable. I had sealed the tiles with cement as well so the little blighters could not get in or out of the roof - eventually they 'buzzed off'.
The house was very interesting.  Inside the area of the smaller gable was a beautiful music room with a fabulous stereo system and a huge grand piano which I was fortunate to play a few times.  The owner liked Scott Joplin and I still have the tapes he let me copy and I was inspired to buy  three Scott Joplin Ragtime music books.  I still have a go at them sometimes today - all great fun. 

Anyway, back to the story after that short digression.  I was minding my own business, concentrating on my work and as happy as a sand boy when I looked up and saw some thick black smoke emanating from a house a hundred yards or so up the road.  Then I heard the familiar sound of a fire engine, or was it two? By then the fire had taken a real hold and huge flames were leaping into the air from the roof.  I could hear the crackle and pop of the fire and wondered how it had started.  Fortunately the fire brigade managed to get the fire under control.  I soon had my answer - the unfortunate owner apparently had been inspired by my efforts and he decided to go up his ladder with a blow lamp with the intention of stripping off flaking paint before painting the house himself.  The felt caught fire immediately - what a plonker!! What had he between those two ears doing a 'daft' thing like that.  Eventually all was quiet but I bet his Mrs was far from quiet for a long time.

Half way through repairing the plasterwork I arrived one morning to see some fresh air rifle pellets embedded in my work. It was that gun happy son shooting pigeons again. I blew a fuse and marched to see the owner who was very apologetic but remarked that his son was not quite normal - boy I do pick 'em don't I. I remember saying I hoped his son did not mistake me for a wood pigeon.  It seems his father managed to prevent any further transgressions so I managed to finish the work on the scaffolding and move on to other areas. At that time I had not purchased my triple extension ladder and had to make do with a double which was not quite long enough for parts of the job.  I remember building a platform using an old door to tackle the highest reaches of a side elevation. Eddie defies gravity yet again!  I should have been spider man.

The whole job took me about three weeks because there was a lot of work at the back of the property and high up on the side elevations.  Here is the finished job showing all the woodwork repaired  and a glossy look on the new plasterwork.  Notice the stonework was also painted after I had 'sealed' it first.

This story occurred over 30 years ago and I am sure the owner and his wife have departed to pastures new by now.  I was interested to see recently that this same house was for sale and advertised in our local newspaper.  I very much doubt whether my handy work would have lasted that long but it did look exactly the same as when I finished it. You never know - it may have lasted! Could it I wonder? Nay, it probably had been repainted two or three times I would think.