Nicky’s blog Salamander day 4

Day Four

This is the day that, I believe, we see the biggest change in our young people. They have gained so much confidence over the week, they know the instructors, carers and their peers really well, they know the routine and where everything is, they understand what is expected of them, they are having a great time and can’t believe what they are allowed to do and they want to do well. The other significant factor is that tomorrow is Show Day and they have lots of people coming to watch – over 110 at last count!! – And they are so keen to show off their new found skills to family and friends and want everything to be perfect.

For me, even though I have done quite a few courses now, today is the hardest day as I am more aware that tomorrow is the last day. I so enjoy this week and all it has to offer and Thursday means it is almost at an end.

This morning started with the rush to breakfast. Their appetite shows no signs of diminishing and, I hope, Sheila is proud to see that everything she cooks for them is cleared at lightning speed.

The pole drop followed and just the three refusals today – one a surprise one but because of that I was on stair duty so only made the one pole drop today. I love it so they had better all have a go tomorrow – last chance. There was even a special 50th birthday treat for one lucky mum today who got to do a pole drop to celebrate her special event. Getting up close and personal to the pole made her realise what a challenge it is for our young people. It is not a piece of cake for many and we are so proud of them all. Even though some don’t complete the drop they have made an attempt and some real effort this week and it may be a challenge that defeats them but for some the challenge isn’t the pole drop but actually going to the edge of the doorway and looking down the gaping hole to the floor beneath is the challenge.

Next was the quick change and drill practice before getting stuck into the morning’s activities. There were three activities this morning:

  • RTC – Road traffic Collision (or as more commonly known by the rest of us – “cutting up the cars!!”)
  • Smokehouse – finding the baby and the minute black and white cat in total darkness and in a house where they keep changing the walls and doorways so you don’t know from one visit to the next how the house is laid out.
  • First Aid with Abi and Phil – CPR, recovery position and bandaging

I stayed with the First Aid group today and took lots of photos so only really know how they did on this activity but have had very good reports on the other ones and you will either find out in Jo’s blog, from your child or when they get the end of week reports at movie night.

I was amazed at how much they all seemed to remember about first aid. We heard numerous renditions of Nellie the Elephant and Staying Alive from Phil, Abi, the young people, Phil’s mobile and Mark. I need to be bribed to tell you who sang the best and who sang in tune – chocolate buttons is all I need – not that fiercely loyal. (If you are a bit puzzled, those are the songs to sing if you need to do CPR to help you keep the perfect time but I can also tell you, from personal experience, that you don’t remember the words when you need to do it yourself for real and the 999 Control Room do not sing along with you but they do count with you!) They then proceeded to put their saved casualty into the Recovery Position using the memorable phrase “Hi, Cheeky, do you want to get your leg over?” All very innocent and memorable and if you need a demo and explanation then please talk to Abi tomorrow as she has perfected the technique.

It was then felt necessary to practice bandaging as many parts of the body as possible and some were chosen to have the honour of having a nose bleed dealt with which seemed to spread to other parts of the body in the immediate vicinity. They all loved First Aid and though a couple disliked being bandaged they did tolerate it and were very happy to bandage others!! Jamie stood out as the CPR champion. He knew exactly what to do, had brilliant technique and was willing to demonstrate to his team. Sophie stood out as a proficient bandager of wrists and Oliver as the most in character when bandaged!!

Then, all too quickly, it was lunchtime – Tiger Loaf or Bloomer with choices of cheese, Tuna mayo, ham or egg mayonnaise (most had all) plus salad, coleslaw and a bag of crisps plus fruit for dessert.

The next hour was spent watching DVD’s from previous courses and a short doze for some – Seamus and Michael – a lot of hilarity, a lot of dancing and a lot of “It’s ……” These more relaxed parts of the day are so good for them and it is brilliant to see the personalities and friendships develop over the week. They don’t often get chance to just chill together so the enforced extended lunchtime has had an unexpected bonus for them.

Back and changed again and time to allocate jobs/tasks/roles/choices for the Show tomorrow. They do get to choose and some are chosen for specific jobs depending upon their competency but, most of all, their enthusiasm and joy for a task. No, I’m not going to tell you. Come tomorrow and find out!!!