January 28th, 2004
Sunday January 25, 2004
What a week! It was so intense jam-packed with tons of information. Quite overwhelming at times. I think we covered about 15 subjects in four days….and we and to really know everything we covered because we had a written assessment on Friday. So, for the most part the hallways were pretty quiet because there was all sorts of studying going on after dinner. Except on Sunday night when we ran out of beer in Bryce’s room (AKA “The Lounge”) and one of the boys from Liverpool brought out his bottle and a half of Jack Daniels. I must admit that JD started to taste even better by the 3rd shot! Monday Morning was really rough and the class was pretty quite, just trying to get through the day….
However, after class, right before dinner about 9 of us made a beer run into town, where each of us purchased an 18 pack each. It was an amusing scene as each of us filed in throught the front door of the accomodation block with a case each! I even was I.D’d at the store (In England they sell booze in their grocery stores…how convenient!!) Almost everynight a few of the boys had a few beers over studying notes from the day….sometimes it got a bit out of hand….perhaps the “stress” got to them??? Well, maybe…
I tried to behave, and only had 1 – 3 beer each night.
Wenesday was by far the coolest day so far! We spent the day on the fire ground putting out real fires.
We started with the fire screen. It stands about 15 x 20 feet and its full of fire. We stand about 5 feet away with our hoses (2) in two teams of two. One team hold the fire back on one side of the screen and the other team controls the other side by sweeping the flames off the screen! I was so nervous at first cause I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hang onto a fully charged hose thats pumping out about 10 Bars of pressure. But I was fine…in fact our teams put out the fire really quickly. After lunch we moved onto putting out Undercarriage fires using different methods and found out which was best that way. Approaching the wing from the rear was the hardest because you had to get the water up and underneath the flaps of the wing to get to the fire. This means that you had to get even closer to the flames almost right under the flap itself! I LOVED IT! I was made for this! Cna’t wait til week 5 when we get to deal with an actual aircraft!!! Like I sadi this was the best day yet. Might be able to get some pictures from one of the other guys who had a camera that day.
Back to Friday (the rest of the week was just classroom and insane hours of studying), in the morning we had our final inspection (YAY! No more marching of parade inspections, ironing, polishing!!!) by a higher ranking Officer who gave us very high marks, as they have been for the past 2 weeks. Then we tried to get through our study period, but no one could concentrate so we had an early Tea. Some us us went to our rooms and had a beer….I only had coupla sips to help one of the other boys. The test went great. I found a lot of the questions were already mentioned throughout the week…so if you were sharp in class, you would have done alright! But you would still have to study. Most of the class improved from the last test, as I did. I got a 92% this time, but I worked really hard. We had about 45 mins to kill before luch so we went to “The Lounge” and had a coupla beers. It was 5 pm somewhere in the world! After lunch we went back to class to go over our tests and our marks, and we watched a video on an air disaster that happened here a few years ago…you could learn a lot from these things.
Friday nights activities included….drinking beer. We didn’t go to “Tall Trees” like last week, we went to the “Crossed Keys” because the boys felt that the women were better there. I really didn’t see the difference, and the boys wern’t much to look at. Besides, it was very expensive to drink there. I paid 3 LBS 20 for a schmirnoff vodka…. ridiculous! At least at Tall Trees you only pay 15 lbs and drink all you can! I’m going there next Friday…..screw the “good looking girls” at the Cross Keys….
But I paid for my evils on Saturday morning….A realtive of Johnny’s family picked me up to take me to York for the day and then to their house for the night. I was violently ill on the car over and asked to “pull over” How embarrassing! I think i’ll mellow out on the booze for now and let my liver recover. the City of York was stunning!!! I dont have enough words to describe the arcitecture there. It was unbelievable. I took some pictures, but it’ll be a while till I get them developed….I’ll post them on my website later hopefully! If any of you get to England, make York one of your stops…highly recommended.
I’m going to sign off…..meet the rest of the crew that just flew in today. Nine more Canadians showed up for two weeks of “Supervisor Training” They each will be in charge of a crew of 6 when we finally take over the Fire Hall at home. We are beginning to out number the Brits here…hehehehehehe!
I miss you guys….
Until next time,
January 25th, 2004
Sunday Jan 18, 2004
Sunday night: I have never been drunk on a Sunday night before….how does 1 beer = 6? I was always bad in math…. I think I am learning a few bad habits with these lads….
Monday: Drill Assessment Day, after we got over our “nerves” we actually did really well…the whole class got perfect marks! We were told that it has been a few years since any class had a perfect marks on those drills…. We spent the rest of the day in the classroom learning about Physics and Chemistry for firefighters….
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: a warning….this week gets progressivley boring…as all we did was sit in a classroom for the most part, and after we hurry back to the dorms, iron, polish, do laundry, work out, have dinner, drink beer and study. pressure is on. we covered tons of information and it had become somewhat over whelming. We are warned that next week is going to be worse.
Wednesday: this was the coolest day by far. In the morning we were playing with live fires (small ones tho) just to see what each type of firefighting media (foam, drypowder, carbon dioxide, fireblankets) will do, how they react, how the work together, which is best for what kind of fire….so much to know…i am expecting that by the end of the course we should know all this stuff pretty well, we are studying hard!
All week has been a bit high stress….no one knows what to expect on the test on friday, there’s lots of info to know, don’t know what they are going to ask therefore you try to study everything! The beer and wine has helped.
Friday: exam day. They gave us the morning to go over our notes and ask any questions in the areas that were troubling us and then after morning tea we wrote our exam. Wasn’t too bad, but you still had to really know your stuff. The areas I thought I’d have trouble with were fine and the areas I screwed up on was the info I wasn’t worried about. I must learn to read the questions very carefully because that was where I lost a few marks….then some of the questions (physics and chemistry) I attemtped the “educated geuss” plan….
In the end the Instructors were very pleased with the class’ marks, as we all scored 80% – 100%. The guy in front of me scored 100%, (i had a 81%) so I asked Paul to write really big for next Friday’s test… At least now we know what is coming for the next test and the Instructors are pretty nice about trying to “steer” us towards which questions will be on the tests.
Only one more week of Line Up and Parade Inspections…after that no more polishing boots, ironing or marching in a groupd of 20! We all have been passing inspection with perfect marks for week and a half, don’t know if it affects our final mark or not….
Friday night…..Unreal! First, couple of the boys had rented a car and we went to the nearest mall so I can get some clothes (I didn’t bring much). Then beer, and back to our hideout. Drink lots of beer, call a cab -first stop at the Black Bull (the pub was packed! You always have to walk sideways, and have a bottled beverage or you’d spill it) but the rest of the lads weren’t there so we finished our drinks and went to Tall Trees. More people here this time. Did I tell you how big this place is??? I just found out that we are only seeing half of it…they keep the other part closed cause its not that busy…..1500 people, not that busy…. aparently Tall Trees can hold about 5000 people. Its the biggest club in the country (and probably in Canada too) This time there were more girls for the boys to choose from…but still not much competition for me….hehehehehe. Found my little 18 year old friend again. Got his name this time too…rans into his buddies as well. Now I know why they all had matching haircuts…they belong to the Staffordshire Regiment….at least I know they are really 18. I really enjoyed shocking the lads from school when I was dancing with this girls dressed up as a devil and we kissed!!! What fun! I think I scared her away though….she told me that she “doesn’t do that”, she didn’t get it did she??? Neither do I, but it was fun to see the look on the guys faces!!!
Again, like last week, we shut down the club, got back to the hideout shortly after 3 am….the thing was – I had to be up at 8:30 to meet Tom to go riding up in Wooler (1.5 hours away). Saturday: Needless to say I was feeling a little rough. Hoping that maybe Tom wouldn’t show up cause the weather was bad. Not!
So tired and nauseated. Trying hard not to bring up contents of last night on the drive….great first impresson. And I rode like shit. Just wasn’t feeling up to it…rode everything they had but I wasn’t doing any of their “bigger” stunts. The other thing on my mind was that if I got hurt I could blow the next 4 weeks of school, and with that kind of shit in the back of your mind…ah well…I ‘m sure we’ve all made these kind of excuses before, I’m sure I dont’ have to explain it out…..right? here is what it looks like:
What you see is exactly what is there…. good sesh stuff!
Our boss, Arnie, arrived tonight for his 6 week course. Took three of us (only ones left in the building) plus one of the Brits out to the pub down the street (Oak Tree) and bought us a bunch of pints. threatened Bryce with a game of pool and lost not only to him, but to Mike as well….Maybe my pool playing skills will get better by the time I get home…I know my beer drinking skills have already improved tenfold!
And on that note…..’til next week then!
Have a great week all…you are in my thoughts and I miss you!
January 25th, 2004
Sunday January 11, 2004
Where do I start? The crew has survived our first week of fire training….and we had a lot of fun in the process!
The flight over was fairly uneventful with the exception of a few of us (and I won’t name names here….) pretty much depleted Air Canada’s supply of beer for that flight….I think this had an effect on our 4.5 hour layover in Heathrow. I think it made it feel longer. Then we had a short flight to Teesside from there. The other half of our crew arrived earlier and met us at the airport, got settled in, and met Arnie (our boss) for dinner at the local Pub (the Oak Tree) where I am sure that by now, we are part of the local crowd… One of these days I will beat Bryce at pool ( the tables are tiny!!) Interesting about Pubs here, you can bring your children and your dogs inside….. and the ladies bathroom in this particluar pub has urnial shaped sinks…..hmmmm.
Our group spent the next day in the nearest town, Darlington, exploring the shops, getting the lay of the land…and later some of the boys went out to some of the clubs not far away.
Monday was an interesting day cause we had no idea what was expected, where to go, what to wear, whether we’d be inspected or not…but the day ended up being a intro to what was to come. We also learned and had an opportunity to practise our line up, marching and what we needed to know for inspections. Our first crack at marching was comical…people turning the wrong way not marching right…..part of the problem was not understanding the verbal commands because of the accents….but now that we know the commands and had a whole week to pracitse, we’re finally getting it right. Every day we also have the “student of the day” where the selected person (alphabetical order of course) gets to get the line up ready and march everyone out to inspection and to and from the buildings etc…I liked this part….On Thursday I got to yell at 19 boys and tell them what to do!
The rest of the week was split between the classroom and the drill ground. We learned how to do 3 Hose drills in crews of 4, a ladder drill, and 3 foam tender pump drill in crews of 3. Lots of opportunity to practise and we get our first Assessments (test) on these drills on Monday….hope we’re not too nervous! We had a dry run through of what the tests will be like and we all did pretty good…..we’ll find out tomorrow! The group of guys I am training with are really fun to be with and we do a lot of joking and teasing whenever we can get away with it. Our instructors are cool, very relaxed, serious when we all need to be, when there is business to do, and most of all very helpful and encouraging. They are constantly giving us clues and helpful hints towards our test and what is expected of us…
We are all getting very proficient at polishing boots (though some guys on our crew are better at such things than others…so I had to employ thier services cause I just couldn’t get my boots to shine and now they hurt my retinas), pressing our uniforms (mine can stand on its own due to the amount of starch in it!) and marching…..march, march, march everywhere always in a group of 20…. Did I forget to mention about what a lucky girl I am??? I am the only girl around…mmmmmmm so many boys, so many boys….
Tuesday night we learned is “Grab a Granny Night” and some of our boys went to check it out…..what they found out is that it really is grab a GRANNY…night. They couldn’t even find a granny nice looking enough to bring home….I think Tuesdays night out for the boys is out from now on…. I think my luck might be changing……hehehehehe.
The food we are being served is pretty good…I can’t complain…well I can actually, they give us too much. I must practise self control and not eat everything in sight. My workouts in the gym are hard enough and I don’t have the time to spend half a day in the gym to work off all the food. BTW, the yorkshire puddings served here (roast dinner of course) are the biggest, fluffiest I have ever seen….must learn their sercrets…
Friday night is the night to get out to the local clubs….we had a crew of 12 staying the weekend at school so we piled into 3 cabs and headed over to Yarm and warmed up at the “Black Bull”. The pub was packed, a person couldn’t even turn around without bumping into another person…Coupla drinks there and off to “Tall Trees”. Let me tell yah, never seen a club quite like it…Vancouver doesn’t have anything like it and it should get one! It is huge! I heard there was about 3000 people there, buncha different floors/rooms, different tunes playing in each. 15 pounds to get in and you drink for free all night! Few things about my night….didn’t make it past the dance floor, left only to get more drinks (most of which I wore) or to go the the bathroom, never danced so much in my life, picked up an 18 year old boy (broke his heart tho – ) amoung others (broke their hearts too) The boys I came with checked on me constantly to make sure I was alright…But I found the English boys very, very friendly and not shy at all! I had a really good time. We all came home by 3 am and ordered pizza, which even showed up. I was sleeping/unconscious by then tho -
Sat was a write-off….evryone was dragging their asses, just wiped out from the night before. I was really sore from all the dancing I did! Don’t need to go the gym…..
That’s about it for our first week….we survived, learned a whole lot, settled in and on Monday we are into our first set of Assessments on our drills that we practised last week….
Will update ya’ll ‘gain next week sometime!
Till then -