Chapter Two – The 9.5 situation
Monday, 11th December 2017
At last I have an idea.
I have been tussling with what to call my wood working company and today it came to me.
Friday, 4th November 2016
I have had an absolutely marvellous week. It has proved that I can still do it [if I really have to – teach that is]. I had spent my week covering Year 6 and thoroughly enjoyed the bridge building topic we had been studying. So much so that I had promised them that I would make them a bridge out of wood so that they could compare the construction and joining methods with the bridges they'd made themselves. Before I did that, I just had one task to do.
I was listening to a favourite podcast – The Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show. At about 6:50am on the live show: Richie, the show's side-kick, displays his talent as a newshound. It's a segment I quite enjoy, a feature named "Hitler's Toilet" and it's part of the show which can be either inane or intelligent [generally in about equal measure]. What follows is in no way attributable to Ritchie Firth or the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show but something piqued my attention or more probably I was not concentrating as I should: as one second I was working on the table-saw the next I was staring at the bloody stump of my thumb squirting [very slowly] in time with my heart.
I remember saying, 'Oh no, oh no, oh no' with a rising note of panic in my voice. I stemmed the flow by applying a tourniquet to the base of my thumb using my right hand. As I was all alone, I needed to call for help and managed to call 999 on my mobile phone. It was on speaker and therefore managed to reapply my tourniquet. Now what happens next is neither funny NOR is it a criticism. 999 are besieged with calls by pranksters, wankers and attention-seekers. They are unable to assess or predict whether a call is a genuine plea for help or a call from some stupid mother-fucker who has time to waste. Long story short no ambulance was dispensed.
I was seriously beginning to panic, I definitely felt very alone. I went around to my neighbours' houses but no-one was at home. As I sat on the driveway, I tried my wife: no answer, I tried a friend: no answer, I tried my wife: no answer and my friend again: no answer. At last I got through to a friend and she winged her way over.
As my friend stepped out of the car, tears welled up in my eyes. I was so relieved to see someone that I knew, the emotions I had managed to quell came to the fore.
About 4:00pm the same day
The friend who had rescued me, came to visit with her husband [my school-friend].
AD: When I stepped out of the car, it looked like a horror movie.
AD quickly assessed the situation, got some cloths from the house and together we managed to get the garage closed. After trying to phone Mrs WW again, we reversed out of the drive.
AD: But what about your thumb?
WW: Forget about it, it's been in sawdust for nearly half-an-hour, forget about it.
AD: No, we have to try.
As I opened the door of the garage, the greying meat that was my thumb protruded from a mound of wood shavings and dust. She looked at me in horror:
AD: Have you got a tissue?
WW: [Mentally:] oh for fuck's sake! [Orally]: there's some kitchen roll over there…
About 4:10pm the same day
AD: [In Gujarati]: you know, if you hadn't found that tissue, there was nothing on Earth that was going to make me pick up that thumb!
We all laugh.
I can honestly say, I don't know where I would be if AD hadn't picked up her phone that day. Thanks darling, you know who you are…
To be continued…