Thursday, 6 October 2016

Red Cross, Road Rescue, Rivers and Florida

Hi everyone,

I've been trying to think of something clever and insightful to write about.  I haven't succeeded.  The last day or so has been a weird mix of wanting to help people with really difficult things while not having a bunch of success with my own problems.

For starters, I'm still out of work (one of the reasons I'm still here at the SES shed after midnight is that I'll shortly go and get fuel and get a copy of Friday's Shepparton News, which has the big list of job ads).  I had a meeting today with the employment services provider I'm hooked up with.  They couldn't offer much except to put me forward for casual factory hand work at the cannery when it cranks up production in a few weeks.  I'm not sneering.  My recent applications have tended heavily towards cleaning and retail.  I still have mixed feelings about having applied for a job as a nursing assistant at the Blood Bank in Shepparton.  It's closer to semi-professional work than anything else I might be able to get.  And it plays into my pet passions for helping people.  On the other hand, I have the uncomfortable feeling of trading in my Y-chromosome.

Image from here
And then I say to myself: bugger what anyone else thinks.  I'm a little too old, too ugly and too far gone to be troubled by that.  On a related note, I went to the blood bank after I'd finished at the employment place today.  I'd had to miss my Tuesday appointment because I was tied up with tree jobs.  It was good to go in and get that done.  I like giving blood.  If I ever get tired of living I'll see if I can bribe one of the nurses to hook me up to the machine with an 8 litre collection bag and then go for a long lunch!

A photo posted by Stephen Tuck (@sdtuc2) on

On a further related note, I didn't mention that I had an interview for a further volunteer role yesterday, with the Red Cross 'telecross' program.  While I'm drawing the dole I kind of feel I should do as much as I can for the community.  It's the right thing to do anyway, but if society is supporting me I kind of feel it should get some kind of return on investment at least.  Any you never know where that sort of thing can lead.

Tonight at SES we were on road crash rescue training.  Our training officer set us the task of getting the vehicle stabilised, the tool dump set up, the glass safely removed and the driver's-side doors removed in the space of half an hour.  I'm please to say that even with breaks to explain things and demonstrate techniques we did it in 25 minutes, and under operational conditions could probably have done it in 15 minutes.  I'm rather proud of that!

Not sure how things will develop on the weather front.  Rain is supposed to come and go over the next few days.  This could see us busy.  I was told the Goulburn burst its banks this afternoon, and we have a continuing moderate flood warning for the Broken River.  I feel like I've been tracking river gauges and weather charts for weeks now.
As you might have guessed, I'm also watching the progress of Hurricane Matthew with considerable interest.  Happily it shouldn't come anywhere near Grace and Rachel.  Clearly it's a very powerful storm - possibly up as high as a Category 4.  Amy Ouelette, whom I follow on Instagram, shared a picture of people panic-shopping in Florida; I know my friends in Georgia and the Carolinas are watching the storm dead closely.

A photo posted by Amy Ouellette (@queenamy13) on

It's anyone's guess, I suppose, what will happen - whether the storm will move back out to sea, or drift over land and begin to break up as it leaves the ocean (causing of course a colossal amount of damage on the way).

I imagine I should say something profound here.  Nothing leaps to mind.  Except that when you see a map look like this, I wonder why I'm chasing catchpenny work here and there.  Surely there is enough real work in the world - helping real people with real problems and real disasters - to keep a hundred of me busy for a century!

More tomorrow.

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