Nicky’s blog Salamander Day 3

Day Three

Don’t know about the rest of them but I am exhausted tonight and am writing my blog with a welcome, cool glass in hand (and some chocolate buttons!!) before the boys get back from visiting a friend’s new puppies.

My favourite day of the week – Wednesday – for a number of reasons:

  • Everyone has gotten to know each other and are comfortable and just themselves
  • We’re going swimming and nearly everyone loves that, well I do anyway!
  • Swimming is a great leveller and the less able can become the more able at this activity. The fearless can become fearful and the fearful fearless. It can show some real strengths in some of our, less academically, able young people and they are able to help those more in need – true interdependence at work and that’s what we like
  • It’s something we don’t normally get to do and getting kitted up, being transported by unusual means and going into the water with an audience to admire and cheer us on, puts a smile on everyone’s face

It’s a lot of hard work for the instructors though before, during and after to make sure everything runs smoothly and all are safe. So thank you.

We started with breakfast and a pole drop, just one drop this morning though as we need to start getting everyone changed. This is a long and physically challenging job but this morning we did it in record time. We emerged onto the yard to find a large green tarpaulin and a chair for all with our special pegs on the back of each chair to indicate the person’s correct size kit – this is ingenious but does only work if they sit in the chair with their name on – OLIVER – they then had to put on babygros, a dry suit, shoes, buoyancy jacket, helmet and gloves. Then the hardest part of all – choosing how to get there!!

Adver Vintage Bus, RRV (Rapid response vehicle (ambulance car)), Fire Car (probably has a much posher name but that’s what fraser told me so that’s what I am telling you!) or the Ambulance. I got to choose from the fire engine too so I chose the front seat – there and back – have to be quicker next time, Jo. Just because I love fire engines and Ben came along too with his Sherbet Lemons.

 They all excelled themselves and loved having family, friends and total strangers watch them get ready and then enter the lake, swim for a bit – letting out all that warm air from their suits first- and then sitting on the walkway having a rest in the sun before jumping off the pontoon or pier depending on who you spoke to. I’m sure they will tell me the right words in the morning and I will tell you tomorrow night.

Then time to exit the lake and be hosed down to clean the suits off before returning to the fire station for the 12pm deadline. It was thought necessary to hose my hair thoroughly today because of all the dirty water in the lake and the ducking I received twice from a certain young man who will remain nameless but owes me several favours now!!!! If that wasn’t enough, I was one of the few who brought home a small pond in their dry suit which we emptied out back at the station after seeing to all the young people. I do know now though that I will always be quite wet after a visit to the lake – only stayed dry once out of 11 times – so always have a full set of clothes with me.

A thorough checking of each young person and their clothing is the first priority back at the station. Next comes the task of taking off my dry suit to see if it lives up to its name. The realisation that it doesn’t seems to make my “friends” feel that it is okay to soak me even more as I try to divest myself of my wet, dry suit in order to change into dryer clothing.

A drier, happier bunch then set off for a welcome pasta bolognaise, salad and coleslaw with fruit chaser.

Back to the classroom for DVD’s – “When children play with matches” followed by excerpts from last year’s DVD’s and lots of dancing, cheering and clapping at the most amazing volume.

We then start our Show practice for Friday. They all get changed into kit, are shown a plan of action on the whiteboard and allocated jobs and helpers. They then go back and take off their tunics as the sun is shining and start on their first rehearsal. They get into their respective fire engines and…oh, now come on, do you really think I am going to tell you and ruin their surprise – NO! You have to wait till Friday and don’t ask the kids either!!!