Sunday, 9 October 2016

Hornblower and Henna

After foolishly admitting to sewing, the captain has asked me to make a red sail canvas cover for some piping on the outside of the ship. It's basically a big canvas sock with metal eyelits stamped into it. The bosun's mate is being very nice to me (or is just thrilled that I'm sewing the thing for him) and is going to teach me how to do the eyelits. He did find me a "palm" which is a leather strap that goes around the hand and has a small circle of metal in the center that you can use to push the really thick needle through quite heavy fabric.
I've given up on the palm though, because even though I thought I had man hands, they're clearly not as enormous as whoever normally uses this thing. It just flaps around my hand and gets in the way. So I'm just pushing the needle through with my fingers and mentally abusing the sailors as being a bunch of wimps for needing a palm in the first place! But I feel very Hornblower for sewing sail cloth. Also, it's quite a nice colour so I might pinch some and make myself a nice red canvas satchel.


We had another drill the other day. We’ve been having roughly one a week to make sure that we all know our muster points and how to get to the life boats etc. The most disturbing thing I’ve ever heard was one of the officers explaining that you need to get your harness on in the lifeboat because sometimes the lifeboats flip over when they’re lowered into the water. Apparently that’s not an issue, because these things are built to be self-righting. But they can’t do that if someone has fallen onto the erstwhile-ceiling that’s now the floor! Erm...what now? Flip over? Fun fact: my job as doctor in the event of a pirate attack is to secure the weather door in the surgery. Gently soiling oneself and/or crying is an optional extra!

The lifeboats

 I muster at bravo locker with the rest of my first aid team with the idea that we respond to any medical emergencies. The last three drills have been fire drills and we've not had a "casualty" so I've just been taking my first aid team for training in the surgery. They're coming on really well; we've covered basic life support, using the defibrillator and choking. Hopefully next week we can do some stretcher work and managing the trauma patient!
 It's difficult to know what skills to teach next and how in depth to be. I want them to find it fun but at the same time walk away with some useful skills. I tried to make CPR on the mannequin a bit more interesting by getting them to sing "Staying Alive" whilst their colleague was doing compressions to help him stay in time! I...think they liked it. I might start chucking sweeties around though. Regrettably their glorious leader is rather slower to pick up new skills. I'm meant to carry a radio in order to communicate with the Bridge and find out what's happening during the drill. As someone very kindly pointed out, they're sure after nine months I will have worked out how to use it properly.

As per my cunning plan of avoiding head shaving at the ceremony of Neptune, I dyed my hair last night. It’s possibly a little more Ronald McDonald than Julianne Moore, but I always felt that the clown was unfairly underrated. I was a little anxious about successfully dying the old tresses on the ship. I tend to use the henna blocks from Lush which I need to melt down with a stove top and I can’t see our cook being terribly thrilled with me splattering henna all over his galley. So I purchased some powdered henna to mix with hot water.  Apart from the joy of everyone crowding round in the bar (only boiling water source other than the galley) as I added the water to my henna and telling me that it looked like the aftermath of salmonella (thanks boys) it was surprisingly ok. I didn’t, for once, splatter globules of henna all over the bathroom, which avoided that battle to the death with a giant faecal monster look! And my roots are gone which is all to the good. Ronald is back in the saddle and hopefully won’t get shaved!

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