Monday, 20 July 2009

Writers Blog and Bandage Club

I'm sure I stole that post title off Oglet, I think she's used it at some point in her blogging career....

A mixture of being really busy, laziness and just plain not knowing what to blog about has been plaguing me! Yes.

I felt my bloggage was becoming a little too 'Dear Diary', but I have some tricks up my sleeve. Now my camera is back in action I'm going to commence work on my 'Teddy-Bear Psychology' post....oh yes....continue to wait in anticipation/confusion for that one.

For now I think I'll do another little biographical post....

Some or all of you probably know that I volunteer for St John Ambulance, it's quite a neat little fun thing to do. Many people are under the impression that it's some kind of religious organisation. St John Ambulance emphasizes it's secular nature, however, it did spring from The Order of St John which was, and is still a Christian organisation.

Here's how SJA came about......

Around 1080, the Knights Hospitaller, otherwise known as the Order of St John, ran a hospital in Jerusalem which cared for sick and injured pilgrims to the Holy Land. The order was created by 'Blessed Gerard', supported by the Pope, after the First Crusade when knights and peasants of many Western civilisations came to free Eastern Christians and the Holy Land of Islamic Rule.

Soon, service was extended from simply caring for sick and injured pilgrims, to providing an armed escourt for them, this military aspect of the Order of St John grew and grew until in 1119 the Knight Templar were formed. They distinguished themselves from muslims on the battlefield by wearing a white cross against black robes, the symbol still used in the Order of St John, and by St John Ambulance today.

The order carried on happily, ruling the odd country, taking vassal states of others, until 1533 when King Henry VIII threw a hissy fit with the Roman Catholic Church. He wanted to annul his marriage to Cathrine Of Aragon (after 24 years) so that he could get fruity with Ann Boleyn (to her detriment), the Pope refused. Henry then severed Englands ties with the Roman Catholic Church and declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England, a position the monarch of England has held ever since. As a result the monasteries were dissolved and the king took possession of all Catholic assets in England, including the property of the British Order of St John, they were no more.

In 1831 the order was revived in Britain by Frenchmen, the Order had survived abroad, away from Henry VIIIs influence. It was recognised as the Most Venerable Order of St John, in 1888 by Queen Victoria.

St John Ambulance grew out of the old medical history of the order of St John, on 10th July 1877 the St John Ambulance Association was formed to practice first aid in railway centres and mining districts. St John members have been attending public events to provide first aid cover in the same way that I do for over 100 years, since June 1887 in fact.

What do I do at SJA?

Well, I belong to the Streatham and Norbury Division, London (Princess of Wales District), and I go to divisional meetings every Thursday. Oglet calls this 'Bandage Club', she's lucky she hasn't had an 18x18 dressing wrapped round her face yet :D. On Thursdays we catch up with our mates at the division and usually do some kind of training. Last week we had advanced first aid training scenarios, we had been called to a 39 year old womans house, collapsed and complaining of chest pain.....GO!! Those are always fun when you're not as highly trained as your counterparts, but it's very good educationally, you learn a lot from your ambulance-trained buddies.

The week before that we had a competition to see who could build the tallest free-standing tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows........

Apart from divisional nights we go out on duties, ranging from the small and probably mundane, to huge and very busy and exciting. I've covered kids football, an Iron Maiden concert, Crystal Palace football, village fairs, Twickenham Rugby, London Marathon, London to Brighton Bike Ride etc etc. Some days you see no casualties, other times you're inundated. It's not nice to be inundated, for obvious reasons, but it's nice to be there when you're needed :o)

Mostly for me, it's about keeping my first aid knowledge up to date, I can't think of anything worse than being at the scene of an accident and being completely useless, when just a little bit of knowledge might give that person more of a chance. Plus, you get to meet some right characters, and that's just the SJA members! :o)

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