Sunday, 4 October 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Since I posted last, it has been quite a busy time. The two week camp has taken place and I have been back at work for almost two weeks.

Two days before the camp started, I finally received the letter that I'd been waiting for, although it was claimed that it had been sent to me on 12th August. This was the letter offering me the OC's post, which I accepted. Now I just have to wait for the Personnel Office to catch up and send through my promotion!

Personally, I think that it was a good time to be offered the post, as I was able to accept it and then do the job for two weeks solidly. I have also now changed my hours at work so that I am able to visit Aldershot once a week.

The first week of camp was spent in a place called 
Nescliffe, which is not far from Shrewsbury. The first part of the week was spent with everyone receiving medic training and this was all put into practice with a demonstration when the VIPs visited us.

The second half of the week was devoted to driver training at another training area in Swynnerton. This training area takes some getting used to as it was the old training ground for soldiers being posted to Germany, and so once on the training area, all traffic drives on the right, instead of the usual left. Several of the troops were able to get their licences and even the VIPs had a drive.

Fortunately, they survived uninjured, though they did worry their instructors on a couple of occasions. Their visit was rounded off with a combined Officers'/Sgts Mess dinner at a very nice restaurant in Shrewsbury.

During this week, it was early starts each morning so that everyone could do PT. The annoying thing is that, despite all the problems that I had last year, the only problem that I had with the PT was that my right knee, the one that I had the arthroscopy in last May at the start of all the trouble, is still playing up and swelled to about four times normal size every time I did something! As for the heart/chest? No problems.

At the end of the week, everything was packed up and we made the trip to Wiltshire and relocated in one of the many camps on
Salisbury Plain, just a couple of miles away from Stonehenge. This was part of a major medical exercise, with our Regiment exercising another Medical Regiment, examining the new role for the Regiments.

The Sqn therefore had the opportunity to work with the armour that we don't have and was used as observers, drivers and casualties, the latter being expertly made-up by a professional company, which also used genuine amputees.

Six of the troops found themselves attached to the Regiment that was being exercised and came back having learnt lots and having had a superb time.

There was also the opportunity for everyone to have a flight in a Merlin helicopter, as these will soon be used for casevacs. Great fun when flying straight and level, not so much fun when not, or when flying at high speed level with the trees!

The camp finished back where we started in the centre, with all the kit etc being packed away and vehicles washed, a night spent in the centre and all home at lunchtime on the Saturday. Although the camp had been for two weeks, it had gone very quickly, and plans are already in place for next year.

We were also very lucky for the entire camp, as the week that we were in Shropshire we had just one day of rain, and on Salisbury Plain it was warm and there was bright sunshine with just a couple of hours of rain (unheard of for Salisbury Plain to have no rain for that period of time!). In fact, it was positively tropical compared to the last time that I'd been on the Plain when m'Julie and I visited Stonehenge earlier this year and we'd both been freezing. Mind you, the dust.......Some people are never happy!

It was also this weekend that I got to speak to Alec, who phoned because he hadn't been paid and was skint. Other than that, he seems to be having a good time in Guyana. Its just a pity that he has no internet access, which means that his blog updates will be few and far between (a bit like mine at the moment!)

So, after all this activity, it was back to the grind after just one day off, and I was soon back into it. The only difference is that I am now taking Thursdays off so that I can go to Aldershot every week.

Unfortunately, the timing wotked out that the weekend after I got back, there was an Advanced Life Support course at the hospital that I was teaching on, so there was to be no time off that weekend either, although I did take the opportunity to stay in the hotel with the rest of the faculty and so was able to enjoy a few glasses of wine with dinner, unlike last time when I drove home after the meal.

So now, with my first weekend off in five weeks, I am putting off the inevitable course preparation for the European Paediatric Life Support Course that I'm teaching on in London next week.

Definitely no peace for the wicked!