Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Monday, September 25, 2006

Splashing Around On The River...

"It's time for my medication, _______"
"I know, I'll be right with you, I just need to tie up _______'s shoelaces."
"Do you know how to do my medication, ______?"

I'm glad my client finishes every sentence with my name. Because right now I need all the help I can to remember it. It doesn't help that he seems to have twigged that I don't really know what I'm doing.

Yep, it's Sunday afternoon on the canoeing trip, and I'm reluctantly starting to enjoy myself. I've spent two lovely afternoons rowing at high speed in a two-man kayak down the River Wye, very quickly bringing out my inner Viking. But the rowing was the easy bit.

Sometime on Saturday afternoon I was doing up one guy's shoelaces, dishing out a set of medication to another, using another hand to do up a rucksack whilst providing verbal reassurance when a birthday cake came past. So I managed to carry on doing all of these tasks (I did appear to have an extra pair of hands), whilst breaking into a verse of happy birthday. I'm not sure exactly how I did that, but I'm starting to feel a new empathy for parents.

It's also bizarre to be on this sort of trip as an adult. In the scouts it was quite usual to spend the weekend sleeping on a floor with 20 other people before engaging in some exhausting outdoor activity. Except now I have to keep on reminding myself that I'm a leader.

It's made even more difficult by the fact that one of the guys was clearly a policeman in a previous life. I was excited to receive a text from my lady, so I sneakily pulled the phone out whilst we were standing around a canoe in a car park, staring constructively in the way men do. As I texted back a reply, a voice commanded me:
"Excuse me, can you put the phones away please?"
"Yeah, s-" Hold on a minute, I'm staff. "_________, I need to contact the office, and I'll be with you in a minute. Is that OK?"
"Yeah, sorry."

Having been on since 6.30 two mornings in a row, and unlikely to get away until at least 11pm, this is turning into the longest shift ever. I've done an entire week's hours in just two and a half days and two sleep-in shifts. And I've got to bond with the guys pretty well, even to the point of being invited to next month's birthday party. And, yes, I've enjoyed myself, despite my very low expectations of the weekend.

Of course, I'm not telling the Chief that. I'm sure there's a drink or two in this.


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