19 January 2023

Another NWCRO kit check

I will not quickly forget the first NWCRO kit check I attended! It would be indoors, and even inside buildings it can be a bit cold, thought I'd brought my thin down jacket, but it was still Covid time, and for safety reasons they had the windows and doors wide open. And it was winter. It was so cold!

This winter we would have another one, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to come. But then some very subtle hint reached me via email, that we could have a little discussion about becoming controllers if we were there. So I took the hint and put it into my diary. And that morning I put both my down jackets in my bag, just in case. I was sure this time the doors and windows would be closed! But still.

I got in and made myself a cup of coffee. Then I was okay to start! But there first was some general catching up. Mainly with Nick and Jonty; I knew Nick had also been asked to become a controller, and Jonty had been on the previous training. And both work at Go Below, so they know about the most recent developments there. Miles is keeping me informed, but it was good to hear things out on their mouths this time!

Nick and I also decided to corner Dewi, who had approached us about becoming controllers. We wanted to know who the four people were that he had asked. It would really be useful to know that! And he thought he had told us, but he hadn't. It turned out that Ed and our equipment officer Tom were the other two.

But then it was time to do the actual kit check. We have a lot of gear! And we need to check that everything is in good order, and is where we think it is. As we don't get called out often, are material doesn't have a lot of wear and tear, so we don't often have to throw anything away because it is worn out, but sometimes we have to throw things away because they just are getting old. That especially holds for ropes and webbing.

Show me the highlight was noticing we have a dog harness (it is not unusual for us to be called out to try and save dogs who have accidentally fallen into a mine), and figuring that in order to check it we need to put it on a dog. And there was a dog! One of the blokes had brought one. And he was okay us putting the patient canine in the harness. That worked! We might have to make Ralph the dog an honorary team member.

By noon I was getting hungry. And I think it was about 1 o'clock when I decided to just shout at our equipment officer if he could please call a lunch break. And I wasn't the only one who was feeling that! At exactly the same time, Dewi was shouting something similar from the other side of the room. Together we had enough influence, and a lunch break was called there and then. Finally! I was starting to eye up my fellow team members as potential snacks. 

By about three we were done. That meant I could phone Guy to say I was on my way! I would drive past his house on my way back, so I wanted to call in for a cup of tea. And I did. And it was really great to see him!

And that was our kit check for this year! I suppose the next thing that needs to happen is that the four aspiring controllers get together. Watch this space for that!

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