Thursday 27 October 2016

999 emergency, are you up for it?

Your partner, child or neighbour has just suffered a stroke or a heart attack, minutes matter and you call 999 and ask for an ambulance. Hopefully this won’t happen to you but if it does you’ll likely count the seconds until someone arrives to fix the problem.

Medical emergency response in the King's Blog area is run by South Central Ambulance Service who employ a large number of trained responders: doctors, paramedics, nurses, emergency care assistants, ambulance technicians and others. They also make use of trained volunteers, either members of the public or from other emergency services.

In the spring I was vetted and trained by SCAS as a Community First Responder. I’ve been called out many times since then and was re-qualified at the end of September. CFRs are regularly trained and retrained to deal with a variety of medical emergencies, life & death situations in homes, offices, workplaces (not road accidents). In my case, I’ve dealt with stroke, breathing difficulties, a fall from a roof, drug poisoning, heart attack and several other life threatening incidents.

I’m a volunteer, I’m not paid by SCAS and my responding duties fit with my normal work and leisure patterns. I have a SCAS supplied first aid kit including oxygen and a defibrillator. My commitment is to spend at least 20 hours per month on call. What that means is that, whenever it suits me, I log on to the SCAS response network as being available and I then get on with my normal routine, mostly working at home. If my response phone rings I’ll be asked to attend an incident somewhere within about 10 minutes’ drive from my house. It’s up to me whether or not I attend but, if I do, I drive safely and legally – no blue lights or traffic exemptions – to the incident and do whatever I can.

“Whatever I can” - I’m not always the first to arrive, sometimes an ambulance crew gets there faster in which case I’ll assist them. If I’m the first responder, “whatever I can” includes walking through their door: the relief on the faces of the patient and relatives is often tangible. I assess the patient’s needs and treat in accordance with my training. I’m not a paramedic or ECA but I can do much more than I thought I could do when I started. On my first live call after qualifying I was first on scene for an elderly gentleman suffering breathing difficulties. My training kicked in as soon as I arrived but it felt to me as though I was operating in slow motion, I was having to put a lot of effort into assuring myself that I knew what to do. Fortunately a very nice lady paramedic arrived shortly after me who took charge and calmly told me what to do. When I returned home I sat and thought through the entire call and satisfied myself that the training worked, the kit worked, the backup from SCAS worked and all would be well. In my most recent call I was first on scene at a roof fall. I checked the patient for alertness, bleeding and other vital signs, arranged for the scene to be cleared ready for the ambulance, made the patient comfortable and secure then assisted the ambulance crew with preparing the patient for the journey to hospital.

I am currently the only CFR active in the area. I have attended calls in Kingsley, Bordon, Liphook, Alton, Binsted and Wrecclesham. More CFRs are always needed. A friend, on being told that I was an ambulance volunteer, asked “is that because there aren’t enough ambulances?” How many ambulances would be “enough”? Can there ever be enough?

What do I get out of it? My training & experience so far has provided me with confidence that, however bad things look, there’s always a positive way to deal with the situation. I can and do make a real difference to people when life has just gone horribly wrong for them and, frankly, I get a buzz out of that. Apart from that first live call, responding hasn’t been a stressful experience for me. In a way it’s actually quite relaxing. From the moment the phone goes until I’m released at scene by the senior clinician present I let my training take the strain. There is no pressure on me, as it was put to me during initial training, “it’s not about saving lives, it’s about doing the best you can”. It’s not my fault that someone fell from a roof or suffered a stroke, I’m just trying to help the situation, I’m doing the best I can.

Does this sound like something you might be able to do? Yes you, are you reasonably fit, have access to a car, able to be on call for 20 hours a month? Have a look at, call 0800 587 0207 or speak to me.

Funding! The CFR schemes are funded entirely by public donations. It costs around £3,000 to setup each CFR and several hundred pounds each year to keep that individual trained, qualified and supplied with consumables. Perhaps you’d be willing to contribute? If so, Have a look at, call 0800 587 0207 or speak to me.

999 emergency, are you up for it?

Bob Stammers

Monday 24 October 2016

Kingsley Parish Council Thursday 27th October CANCELLED!

Kingsley Parish Council meets on Thursday, 27th October 2016 in the Kingsley Centre at 7.30pm


1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks
2. Apologies for Absence
Cllr Robin Gregory

3. Declarations of Personal/Prejudicial Interest
4. Public Question Time
Public Questions
Consideration of agenda items which will be open to public participation

5. Approval of Minutes of the Meetings held on 22nd September 2016
6. Matters Arising
7. Planning Applications
Applications ongoing:
TAG Farnborough Airport Air Space Change Proposal
20050/025 Dennard Ltd, 4 Park Ironworks, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9LY Retention of extraction flues for a paint spray booth within the unit
27706/005 Oxney Cottage Kingsley Common, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9LR Single storey side and rear extension, alteration to existing & new fenestration and existing front/side timber cladding to replace with render finish to match existing house
SDNP/16/03821/FUL Land to The South West of Sickles Lane Kingsley Alton Hampshire
Temporary siting of a mobile home and agricultural storage barn
26242/053 Dean Farm Golf Course, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NG
Conversion of former machinery shed to holiday cottage
New application:
EC/26242/054 Dean Farm Golf Course, Forge Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NG
Alleged change of use - material change of use from clubhouse to residential; first registered with Council Tax 1 Dec 2015
54919/001 Land at Kingsley Golf Club, Forge Road, Sleaford, Bordon
Erection of 7 houses and 6 flats with associated car parking and external works.

8. St Nicholas Cemetery & Cemetery Chapel
9. Transport, Highways and Road Safety
10. Commons, Village Greens and Rights of Way
11. Community Resilience
12. Environment and Biodiversity
13. Kingsley Village Forum
14. Housing, Business & Commerce
15. Review of Capital Projects
16. Communications
The correspondence received this month was listed & circulated to all Cllrs prior to the meeting.

17. Broadband
18. District Councillor
19. Procedures, Finance and Payments
To discuss digitisation of Parish Council legal documents
Preparation of budget for year 2017/18 to be accepted in November 2016
Review of Audit Commission Issues workbook
To consider actions necessary to implement recommendations from the 2015/16 External and
Internal Audits
Clerk contract of employment to be signed

Payments to be made & Accounts to accept
October 2016 Payments to be authorised
Payment Date - Payee - Payment Mode - Description - Amount
20/10/2016 SSE DD Electricity bill at St Nicholas Chapel period 25/06/16 to 29/09/16 £21.05
28/10/2016 South East Water BACS Water bill at Allotments site period 14/03/16 to 13/09/16 £147.54
28/10/2016 HMRC BACS PAYE October 2016 £3.80
28/10/2016 Karine Nana Yonko BACS Clerk's October 2016 expenses invoice 0007-2016/17 £80.50
28/10/2016 Karine Nana Yonko BACS Clerk's October 2016 salary £332.20

Date of Next Meeting of Kingsley Parish Council –
Thursday 24th November 2016 – 7.30 pm at the Kingsley Centre

Sunday 16 October 2016

Messing about in a boat

A week ago last Thursday my brother Don rang to suggest a day's trout fishing up at Hawkridge reservoir in north Somerset. One of a number of waters managed by Wessex Water, Hawkridge is a Particularly beautiful place. Not as big as some, rather long and thin, but large enough to benefit from using a boat to fish from. The water people have half a dozen boats available for hire and so Don and I arrived early both in order to get a boat and secure a decent spot for our activities. The morning was still and misty which gave the numerous valleys,through which I had passed, an almost mystical beauty. 

Having arrived early we were at the front of a small queue of fellow anglers so no problem getting a boat. The boats in question come with a set of oars but, fortunately Don has an electric motor. Apart from the battery being extremely heavy to move around, the motor, when fixed to the boat, does away with a great deal of hard work. We were quickly being propelled to our favoured spot on the water and the sun was now shining. The water surface was as smooth as a mirror and fish could be seen moving around on, and just below, the surface. At that hour, around 0830, the place was alive with birds. Half a dozen Herons were positioned around the banks motionlessly waiting for any passing fish. Ducks … Teal, Mallard, Widgeon, Tufted and a pair of Carolina's were all around the water. The latter, no doubt, escapees from a domestic breeder. There were also Great Crested Grebe and the Little Grebe or Dabchick in small groups. As we motored to our fishing station a flock of, in excess, of a hundred Canada Geese came in to join us. My goodness, are they noisy!

Having arrived at our chosen spot we set about the object of the exercise catching trout. The water is stocked with Rainbow and Brown Trout and contains some very large specimens. There are a number of options available to the angler but Don and I had gone for a full day ticket which, for the price of nineteen pounds gave a bag limit of five fish. All fish caught have to be taken and recorded, returns are not allowed. This, I understand, is to help reduce the likelihood of disease from stressed fish which are frequently caught and put back. 

As the morning progressed the weather changed and a stiffish wind blew up, not only was it stiff but also jolly cold. Coats had to be deployed. Having previously been calm there had been no need to use our anchor but now the boat was drifting and the anchor had to be dropped over the side in order that we remained where we wanted to be. 

By now we had been flogging water for several hours and not a sign of a bite or, for that matter, even a nudge. Flies and lures had been changed and re-changed but nothing seemed to tempt the trout below. Old favourites had not impressed so we resorted to some of the more bizarre creations within our fly boxes. These failed to stimulate also. Now, I have a theory, if all else fails go for black and green. Once again I changed my lure and, this time, on went a black and green hairy thing. A black body with a couple of green stripes, fished two or three feet down, this should do the trick. Well, it didn't, not at least until I had been dragging it up and down for another hour. A meal break had been taken, more to reflect than the desire to eat, and time kept creeping on without fish in the bag. Having eaten and rested we began our efforts with renewed vigour, if not expectation. 

There are times in angling when, just as one begins to think about giving up as a bad job, one is taken completely by surprise. This was such an occasion. All of a sudden my lure was hit like an express train. The fish almost had the rod out of my hand as I was so unprepared and had lapsed into an expectation of a blank day. It turned out to be a very nice two and a half pound Rainbow in quite superb condition. He fought like a Tiger. I got him to the net and safely on board the boat. It was at this point that things started to go seriously wrong. For the benefit of non-fishing readers, I should explain that the sporting angler carries within his bag an object known as a priest. This implement comes in various forms from a truncheon like wooden stick to a metal rod, to a piece of heavy pipe, or in my case, a solid length of stag horn. The idea is the priest is used to hit the fish on the head and kill it quickly and thus avoid a long and gasping death. Having got my trout into the boat, still within my landing net, I got out my priest and gave it a mighty whack. The trouble was that just at the very moment I launched my assault, the fish jumped and I placed the full force of my strike, fairly and squarely upon the large round bone in the inside of my left ankle. The shock wave was immediate and terrible. When I had finished exclaiming how painful it was and how jolly unlucky I was to have hit myself …. (well something like that!), I was half afraid to look at the damage. The pain was raw and extreme and a look revealed a very red globe like area. 

To cut a long story short we fished on for another couple of hours and both ended up with two fish each. It is now eleven days since my injury occurred and my ankle has gone through some interesting changes. Red went to blue and then black which then hinted at green on the edges and finally took on an insipid yellow colour all around the area. I resisted the frequent urgings from 'she who must be obeyed' to go and have it looked at! Worst still to go to A&E and have it X-rayed. Immediately after the event we went to Cornwall for a pre-planned long weekend and the pain came with me. Each night prior to going to bed pain killing gel had to be applied to the lump in order to get to sleep. Happily, all now seems to be getting better and apart from the annoyance of gum boots rubbing the hot spot, recovery seems well underway. So dear friends, if ever you are tempted to use a priest, make absolutely sure your aim is good. Oh, and also, don't expect any sympathy from your companion as on this occasion all my dear brother could do was to burst into fits of laughter and tell me that this was one of the funniest things he had ever seem. 

Friday 14 October 2016


Imagine that we live in a representative democracy where ordinary people elect wise men (or scoundrels) to figure out what’s best for the country as a whole. Imagine that one of those granted supreme power isn’t smart enough to bring about consensus on a range of issues among his fellow power-wielders and decides instead to let the ordinary people decide. (The normal cut and thrust of intellectual debate among the wise men to settle these things is unavailable as almost all the wise men think the same way with only a small number in the minority.)

The ordinary people, mostly untrained in the philosophies of government and the skills of negotiation and deal-making, cannot be expected to bring about consensus on the range of issues at hand – that’s why the representative democracy was established in the first place – so the entire matter is reduced to a single, simple to understand for seven-year-olds, question with two possible answers.

The elected wise men agree to provide the people with honest, comprehensive, clear, well thought-out, information on the strengths and weaknesses of both the two possible outcomes and then wait patiently while the people consider the various arguments, examine the evidence, hold open debates and make up their minds which way to vote. Once the voting is complete the elected representatives will have their answer and they can continue governing with a fresh mandate. Simple!
(It’s hard to understand why anyone would bother with representative democracy in the first place if the ordinary people can just decide things easily without all that power-broking, deal-making and deliberating that the wise men (or scoundrels) spend their entire careers indulging in but let’s get over it and move on.)

After the vote, which unexpectedly goes the way nobody at all predicted or had prepared for, the government claims a mandate in the form of the trivial answer to the trivial question on the ballot paper but, here’s the rub, what does the answer mean, exactly? That of course is where we started: Imagine that we live in a representative democracy where ordinary people elect wise men to figure out what’s best for the country as a whole.

As a consequence of the original failure to act wisely, some wise men will have to go and practise wisdom outside of politics. The remaining wise men reorganise themselves to have a crack at the original set of problems. Of course now they’re hampered by The Result limiting their ability to act, even though no-one agrees in detail what the vote actually means and even though most of the wise men think it a disastrous course of action. “The people have spoken clearly and The Result is The Result!” proclaims the new chief helpfully clarifying nothing. Worse – those who voted the “wrong” way are told by all and sundry that they must “get over it”. Apparently everyone is now irrevocably committed because of the idiocy of one wise man, now departed, and, instead of fixing the original problems (which haven’t gone away), the remaining wise men spend their time discussing whether implementing The Result should be done “softly” or “hardly”, not an easy task as no such options were offered to the people. In some circles this is referred to as “making stuff up”.
Some of the people say that The Result means one thing but others say it means something else; some of the wise men say that The Result means one thing while others say otherwise. The Result must be respected, manifesto commitments must be kept – well, not ALL the manifesto commitments, just the ones that “must be kept” - although some formerly unalterable policies are now impossible, or at least inconvenient, in the light of The Result and must therefore be abandoned. The debate moves on from merely interpreting The Result to examining the motives of those who voted. This provides much more scope for creativity as no room was provided on the ballot paper for rationale, just a simple yes or no to the motion.
In estimating the people’s motives the wise men gather information from many sources: guesswork, the “free press”, anecdotes, the occasional face to face discussion with individuals and opinion polls, which have proved to be completely reliable over the years. Of course, not everyone’s motive is worthy of respect by the wise men, only approved motives are to be taken into account; motives deemed to be ignorant or unworthy may be freely disregarded.
None of this takes place in a vacuum. The ordinary people get on with their lives as though nothing has changed, some believing that everything has changed, some believing that everything will change, others firm in the their belief that nothing ever will change. Political discussions in the pub are now untenable as everyone has a firm opinion about the technical minutia of subjects they knew nothing about just a few months before. The only thing agreed on by most commentators is that the wise men aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Foreigners are torn between pity for the millions of citizens whose rights are to be revoked and amusement that so many people could have been sold an obvious pup and that the wise men were stupid enough to have done this in the first place.
The wise men assure everyone that the losing side (who must in any event “accept The Result” and “get over it”) will shortly see the error of their ways and come to rejoice in the new arrangements, that foreigners will come cap in hand to learn about how they can bring about similar changes in their own countries, climate change will cease immediately and fairies will soon be discovered, living at the bottom of the garden.
Lewis Carroll couldn’t have made this up!
Brexit? No, I said “Imagine ...”. This is just an idea I’ve had for a novel, what do you think, is it too far-fetched?