Sunday, 26 October 2014
Whisked away, from the Isles of Scilly
Most people can only dream about being whisked away to The Isles of Scilly but I like to do things slightly differently, I was whisked away from the islands.
The fabulous newly opened pub on St Martins, the Seven Stones Inn was ready for a party. The candles were lit and gently dripping on every table, the disco ball ready to throw out its kaleidoscope of light as the music was cranked up as the night rolled on.
Only events went slightly differently for us. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were taken ill on an off island ? There is a slight niggle that it would be the worst possible scenario and that you would simply be placed in the fragile hands of fate. How wrong you would be.
You call the doctor, within minutes the islands medicals arrive at the door in a small buggy with oxygen and take your blood pressure and generally calm you right down. The paramedic zooms over from St Marys and is met at the quay and bought straight to you. The decision is taken whether you are taken on high speed boat to the small hospital on St Marys or flown by helicopter to the mainland. It was a helicopter to the mainland and what a well oiled operation it all is. It is getting dark by now and we clamber onto the small buggy, the walkie talkies are crackling, 'helicopter ten minutes away, touchdown on the fire station field'. Be ready.
The wind is blowing, bags are bundled aboard and we hang on for dear life as we are sped to the field. There are flashing torches and then suddenly the roar of the overhead circling helicopter as it descends with the overpowering smell of the fuel fills your nostrils. We are guided firmly to the flimsy steps and the thought that I had been dragged unwittingly into a James Bond action movie did flit through my mind. The two hunky professional crew members are in vibrant orange flying suits We are strapped into the small aircraft and headphones clamped on whilst the dark distinctive outline of the islands disappear before my eyes and I wonder when they will close the door.
It's a rather good way of making a graceful exit without all the gawky and squeamish farewells.
I owe a very large 'thank you' to the lovely medical team on St Martins, St Marys and the Royal Navy rescue team at Culdrose.
Keep calm and carry on.
Photograph of the Treliske RAF rescue helicopter by Rick Ingham (I was pre-occupied)