90. We’re Busy Doing Nothing

I am so sorry, you’re probably thinking I’ve poisoned us both with all that old food and that’s why you didn’t get a cocktail recipe at the weekend. Fear not, I’ve just been remiss and neglected you all. And before JD tells me off for the title today, we are very busy. I just like the song, it’s sung by Bing Crosby in the 1949 film “A Connecticut Yankee in King’ Arthur’s Court” based (very loosely I suspect) on the book by Mark Twain. Sing along now…

Post 89 received a few comments that I should reference. “Shower caps” are available from Ikea, they look much more robust than the ones I’m using. https://www.ikea.com/ch/en/p/oevermaett-food-cover-set-of-2-silicone-light-blue-70461936/. I cannot agree regarding Hobnobs, I won’t tell you the remark that JD made but I’ll send the next packet straight through to Wiltshire! Finally, some boxes of wine do indeed hold 12 bottles but more and more I’m seeing boxes of six (unless my reputation has gone before me and they think that’s all I can handle). I was under the impression it was due to EU regulations and maximum weights, such as we had many years ago in our profession, before computer submissions became the norm.

So, what shall we get up to today?

Post 88 on 18th April, ELEVEN DAYS ago, left you waiting for a cocktail. Who guessed the magic ingredient? Not Aperol (which comes next in my alphabet) but Amaretto. You can find (non alcoholic) Amaretto biscuits as well as the drink, the word apparently means “little bitter” (I don’t speak Italian so didn’t know this). I’ve just found out, while doing my research, that 19th April was Disaronno Day last year so I’m on trend for this year! http://www.disaronno.com/en/news/disaronno-day-2019. This is the brand I like (others are available, maybe I should try them). It has a very distinctive shaped bottle which I’ve finished off (there was less than an inch in the bottom) and thrown away so no photo of it I’m afraid. Here’s a magnificent wisteria instead.

Bearded iris and wisteria

Amaretto is an almond flavoured liqueur (from almonds or apricot kernels) which I love (as well as the biscuits), especially after a good dinner in front of a roaring fire. However, there’s no excitement in that for you so what mixture did I come up with? After I’d dismissed the shots (see Post 86 on 7th April), I was left with nine possibilities, although there are many others on the internet. I’m not a fan of egg white or cream in cold drinks and the ones with tea seemed like a cheat from Prohibition. There were a few with just Amaretto and one other ingredient (lemon juice, Irish whiskey, tequila) which I didn’t like the sound of. This left me with three: Cosmic Bliss, Bad Attitude and Big Red Hooter. How to decide between three such wonderful sounding names? Let’s look at the constituents of each: the first has orange, lemon and lime juices; the second FIVE other spirits (gin, rum, tequila, triple sec and vodka) plus Grenadine, as well as three juices (cranberry, orange and pineapple); the third has merely tequila, Grenadine and pineapple juice. Decision made, I need my five a day and don’t have any pineapple juice. Cosmic Bliss it is! As I’m trying to see the Starlink (Elon Musk’s satellite train) when it passes overhead this is very appropriate as well.

Cosmic bliss!

The rest of the time has mostly been taken with routine tasks mentioned previously so of no interest. I’ve made lemon and cardamom drizzle cake as well as caraway seed cake. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m trying to use up the spices that we have in the cupboard, this is a great book to have as an inspiration for recipes. Author Dhruv Baker (what an apt name!) won MasterChef in 2010 on UK television (for anyone not au fait with such programmes, including me).

Adie has not eaten anything she should not have (to the best of our knowledge). The garden and lambs continue to grow. The vegetable seeds I ordered before I left London (see Post 84 dated 27th March) finally turned up so I’ve planted those as well as some old ones I found in the shed, we’ll see what comes up. The rain that has now arrived is most welcome. Also looking back at that Post, I see that I said I’d missed the daffodils. Not so, yesterday I came across these in the garden.

Pheasant’s eye narcissi

George had his birthday last Friday. We were expecting to be celebrating in Seattle with a crowd of sailors. Instead George is still “on his tod” in London so we held a virtual party with his Godparents, a couple of friends and us. (If you’re not familiar with this saying, it’s Cockney rhyming slang for being alone. I didn’t know where it came from so looked it up. There was a US jockey called Tod Sloane at the end of the last century. Sloane = on your own). We tried to get together on WhatsApp but that only allows three people, so George had to set us up on Zoom, while the rest of us ran around turning on our computers. Lessons learnt: as well as not trying to WhatsApp too many people, do not leave your wine in a garage behind an electronic door. If there is a power cut you’re stumped! (I’m glad to say we do not have any electronic locks so we had plenty of champagne to toast George).

And finally, in case you want to know how the lambs are getting on, here’s two of them yesterday aged eleven days.

45. Is there a doctor in the house?

This is totally out of sequence but who cares. Over the Bank Holiday weekend John and I went back down to Hamble School of Yachting to study for a four day MCA STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid on Board Ship. (For description of acronyms go back to Post 40). This was in addition to the two day course John had done with Praxes, the official supplier of remote medical support to the fleet. See the video below for brief details of this, although you’ll not see John I’m afraid.

Back to our course. Someone asked me if there is any sort of first aid other than medical. It does seem tautological when you think about it but maybe we have engine first aid or sail first aid or some such. There were four of us, three Clipper crew and me. In contrast to the VHF course (see Post 35), John was in the minority with me, Michelle and Maite being the other attendees. Neither Michelle nor Maite are circumnavigators, they just thought it would be a useful course to do, like me I guess. We had a wonderful tutor, Sue Johnson, who has two boats of her own and pulls together the medical packs for other races such as ARC (the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) https://www.worldcruising.com/arc/event.aspx

I’m not going to give you gory details, I don’t want you fainting when I’m not there to administer first aid! Although it was mostly “normal” first aid, Sue managed to make sure we were aware of special issues that could be relevant to Clipper crew. We managed to have great fun whilst learning a lot and we all passed our exams at the end, both written and practical. I’ve pulled out some of the more interesting / amusing situations for this post.

Let’s start off with John, and one bad limb. We all had to show that we could bandage a limb and use two types of sling for the arm, depending where the fracture or other damage was. There was a shot of me looking equally glum (I was told to pull my “Daily Mail” face!) but it’s gone AWOL.

I put John in a sling after bandaging him

The first thing we learnt were the three Ps (not to be confused with the three Fs who keep popping up in this blog): Preserve life, Prevent the situation getting worse and Promote recovery. It is quite easy to make a minor injury or other problem worse, for example if you move someone with a simple fracture (not open to the air) you could end up with the bone sticking through the skin and a possible infection risk. We tried to handle each other carefully to avoid this.

Michelle with a bad arm AND leg.

Having started with one limb, we then went onto two. Michelle’s arm may look over-enthusiastically bandaged but it was in order to stop too much pressure on the limb, the bandage is actually wrapped around a blanket. I think it may have been a compound fracture (bone through to the outside) this time. Once you’ve sorted out the most immediate problem (which may not be the obvious one on view) you go onto finding out what happened and how, in case there’s an underlying issue you’ve missed.

Maite ready for evacuation with three bandaged limbs!

After Michelle’s injury of course we had to go for three limbs. It was great that there were so few of us, we could all have a go rather than having to stand and watch. I think Maite said she fell down the companionway to sustain these injuries. We remembered we’d have to monitor her for a possible head injury. All the situations (heart attack, stroke, hypothermia, burns…) seemed to involve similar signs (what you can see) and symptoms (what the patient or bystander can tell you about it).

I, of course, had to go the whole hog and needed to be Medevac’d off the ship. The first thing the sadists, oops sorry, first aiders did was to tie my legs together at the ankles with a figure-of-eight to stop me rolling around (or walking off). Then they put my head in a cervical collar to stop the top part of me moving. As you can see, once they’d done that they strapped me securely to the spinal board and went off to lunch. Oh no they weren’t actually that cruel, just my imagination. They all lifted me to show they knew how to lift a heavyweight safely (note to self, must go on a diet).

Sue and Michelle

All of the above can happen anywhere. More specific to the sailing was hypothermia and what to do. The Ikea-looking bag that Michelle is being zipped into is known as a TPA or thermal protection aid. It looked pretty flimsy but is very warm once you’re inside. If you’re really cold and need extra help, a buddy can join you: there was some discussion on whether you both needed to take your clothes off but we decided this was unnecessary unless they were soaked through. Maite decided to try being the buddy and after much manoeuvering we managed to achieve this. It could be difficult if the victim sorry patient was unconscious. It looks like Michelle is being strangled here but I assure you no-one was harmed.

There is another type of TPA that Michelle also modelled for us. No buddy warming here but you probably need to be a burly stevedore for it to fit snugly.

There was lots of other useful information which I hope never to have to use, but as I’ve run out of photos I’ll stop now. I notice I’ve given you three new acronyms, maybe if I get to Post 80 I’ll do another summary of the extra ones that have crept in. In case you’re wondering of the relevance of the header photo, it was my Grandmother’s. I’m not sure I can ever be that competent but you have to start somewhere!