Well…first year ambulance placement is over. It was a laff-riot shot through with all sorts of sadness, madness and tragedy. I know it was pretty much the same for all my cohorts; to varying degrees and intensities. In that time, we found ourselves front and centre in local and international news stories and major incidents. But it's never about what the reporters say, or don't say, or just flat-out concoct; that's actually another thing that becomes apparent rather quickly even after only a few weeks on the road.

The first tranche of placement – for me at least – passed in a whirlwind of baby delivery, a hit-and-run with HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) on scene, a veritable plethora of DIBs (Difficulty in Breathing), a smattering of panic attacks and one sickle cell crisis that I think about every day.

There was lots more besides.

Being a first year Paramedic Science student sometimes has an air of make-believe about it. We dress proudly in uniform for skills classes but we are by and large untested. And sometimes – particularly now, just ahead of placement – the restlessness this generates is practically palpable.

Don’t get me wrong; the scenarios we play out in the skills labs mightn’t exactly be Shakespearean tragedies – they’re usually just ordinary human tragedies but they’re no less gripping for all that.

That eerie zone one enters

Where the slightest of miscalculations 

Will result in almost certain death; 

Or at least a bloody good maiming.

It’s not necessarily that time slows down. 

It’s only that the germane presents itself.

What a week it’s been; first we had the English High Court make an official nonsense of Theresa May’s ludricrous tautology ‘Brexit means Brexit’ on 3 November and then across the pond on the 9th, we had the unedifying prospect of a Trump presidency crystallise into crazy reality.

Even though Euro-scepticism is very much the default position up here in Croppy Towers, the Brexit Referendum result in June was still received with more than a little despair by this venerable organ.

The dispatches from Croppy Towers have been frankly scant over the past couple of years and for that I apologise. Indeed, it's hard to know where to start after a hiatus of this magnitude but if there are still readers out there: they are owed some kind of an explanation; however mealy-mouthed such an excuse might be.

For openers, I no longer reside in sunny sarf east London. Of course, my heart remains in County Deptford but for now, Croppy Towers have relocated to Chelmsford in Essex.
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Some hoary and perhaps whorey old readers may well recall that yours truly will happily admit to being a former altar boy (what can I say? I was young and I needed the money). But joshing aside, I was indeed an altar boy as a youngster and what's more, I even read at Mass, but only on week days; you had to work your way up to a reading at Sunday Mass you see.

One day, the priest came into the school.

With the vote almost upon us, there isn't a great deal that we in Croppy Towers can really add to the acres of print that have already covered the subject. Others, with greater eloquence and more at stake, have made the arguments under both constitutional and compassionate headings and they have been well made.

For those among you considering a career in contract killing, the recent release of a paper entitled 'Becoming a Hitman' by the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University, could provide some handy hacks...

The paper, which is published in the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 'discusses what might motivate someone to become a hitman'.

But before we get into any trouble with those nice Birmingham criminologists, we feel honour-bound to say that we're just kidding.
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