Friday, 1 January 2016

The second half of September 2015

On Sunday 20th September, Lucy and I went to Kettering Ward for church. The young women there are absolutely lovely, and they knew I had my Fire Fighting written exams coming up. After church they get together each week to say a prayer for people, and they invited Lucy to join them. She told me afterwards that they had prayed for me in my exams, and I was so touched!

On Monday 21st September, I went along to one of the local fire stations for an information evening about On-Call Fire Fighting. There were about 10 of us there, and we had an informal presentation (I was already familiar with most of the information), then a tour round a fire engine (or 'pump' as they are called!) It was quite a good evening, but really I just wanted to make sure there was no information I had missed, from my own research. 
Harry had given me a female Fire Fighter from his Playmobil set!

On Tuesday 22nd September at 5pm, after practicing all summer, it was finally time to take my written exams!
We had to go to Fire HQ in Huntingdon to take them, and I arrived first, closely followed by another lad taking them. I was pretty nervous, and had only managed to gulp a bit of soup and bread down for tea, in the car park just before. I'd taken some headache tablets, because I'd felt pretty rubbish all day. (My period, with stunningly good timing was just starting, and I had a headache and felt very muzzy headed!)
We got shown through to a cafe area to wait while the other candidates arrived. I chatted with everyone - there were 10 of us, all applying as On-Call Fire Fighters to different stations. One guy was on his third attempt! I was the only girl, and the oldest.
We got taken into a room with individual tables set out. I sat at the back of the room next to the clock.
We did some preliminary stuff, then did our first exam, the 'Understanding Information' one. I'd not let myself get too worked up, and as soon as I turned the paper over, it was like windscreen wipers went over my mind, making it feel really clear and focused. I honestly felt like that was an answer to prayer. The time for the first exam was pretty tight, and I only had a minute or two to go back over the questions I was unsure about. All the exams were multi-choice, but we weren't told the pass mark, so it was very hard to judge how I'd done on it.
Then we had a short break, before the next exam 'Working with Numbers'. I wasn't sure what to expect with this test, because some of the practice papers I'd done were OK, and some were really hard, and I'd run out of time doing them. Thankfully, the test went well, and I didn't struggle with it much, plus I had about half an hour left to go back and check all my answers.
The last exam 'Situational Awareness' like the first exam was hard to prepare for. I had to say what my response would be in a wide variety if situations, but often more than one of the options would seem perfectly logical. Time was tight on this one, and I had very little chance to go back over it.
It was a relief to get them over with!!! I felt I'd done OK with the maths one, but really couldn't tell for the other two (especially when you have no idea of the pass mark! Some people online speculate that the pass mark is around 80%, but that it can vary.) I didn't chat much with the others, and then drove to church to pick up Harry. I saw Brother Guy in the car park, and let off some of my nervous energy telling him about it. He was just smiling and said I was 'unique'! Then I went and found Scott to tell him, then took Harry home.
I spent a restless night thinking about how I'd done, and desperately hoping I had passed everything, so that I wouldn't have to worry about resits.
The girl who talked us through the exams said she'd ring us all the next day with the results, so thank goodness we didn't have to wait long, because the wait was awful!
Lucy was at home on Wednesday 23rd, and was there when I answered the phone. Firstly the girl asked how I thought I'd done, and I said good in my maths but I'd had no way of knowing for the others, and she said I'd got 100% in my maths, 100% in my Understanding Information, and that I'd done really well in Situational Awareness too!! I was just totally and utterly happy!!! I knew I still had a long way to go, but for that day at least I didn't let myself think about the rest of it, just let myself completely enjoy my success - it felt good!
The next stage to get through was a treadmill Fitness Test, and Medical, on 30th September. I also had to arrange for an eye test at Tesco, in order to take that along with me, and I prepared by going on the treadmill at home.

On 25th September, my Sizzix book arrived in the post! I went through the book and I had 34 full pages of my cards! Later I spoke to my Australian crafting friend, Frances, and she had loads in the book too - between us we had done about 3/4 of the book!
These are not cards that I am super proud of - they are done to a particular style, using specific products, but none the less, it was still great fun being in print!

One of my cards. I did like how they had created co-ordinating backgrounds for each of the cards!

Also on Friday 25th September Scott's car became unusable. He'd left it at home because the gear stick was getting stiff, but said I could still use it. I drove to Donna's house, and ended up not being able to get it into reverse gear AT ALL without turning off the engine and turning it back on again! That made for rather a fun four point turn in Donna's road, in front of her, her neighbours and some work men! We had to make do with just my car for a few days after that.

On Saturday 26th September it was the Stake Youth Hike around Oundle.
I'd been worrying about how hard it would be for everyone to find parking, but it turned out fine, and we all met up with no problem at the beginning of the route.

Richard Malachowski had come up with some group challanges, so for the first part of the hike everyone split into groups and carried out their challenges, including having one team member not touch the floor!

Lucy's group.

Jack's group carrying out the 'Most Original Photo' challenge, which they won!

Getting everyone through the cows!


We were really lucky with the beautiful weather, and the hike went without incident. I don't think it was the most exciting hike, but people seemed to be enjoying it. We finished the hike at a park, where everyone hung out for ages (I was a bit fed up with Jack for going off with his friends at the end without knowing what was happening, and not coming back when I told him to. When I spoke with him later though, I understood his reasoning a bit better.) I walked back into Oundle with President Clayton as he had some things he wanted to discuss.

On Sunday 27th September, I had planned to go to Bedford Ward, but had to go Huntingdon, having only one car. Scott gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting on Strengthening Families, which I thought was really good.

I took this photo on Monday 28th - definitely starting to look Autumnal!
Anna Conway was my new Visiting Teaching companion, and on Monday we visited Becki Cain, had a cancelled visit with Naomi Hooker because of ill kids, and visited Maureen Samochwal and Hazel Bridle out in March the next day.

One of Harry's Minecraft creations on the 28th. He builds beautiful things, and this was the first yacht he designed. He gave me a guided tour of it!

On Wednesday 30th, I went to St. Ives Fire Station for 11am. (Scott went to work on the colleg bus, with all his students!) I had a Medical exam with a doctor first, which included various prodding and poking, and he looked through my eye test results, which said my eyes are better than average - 25/20. I then did a hearing test in a little booth, which I did totally wrong at first - pressing the button every time I heard a single beep, rather than than holding it down for the entire duration I could hear the beeps! The nurse just said to press it when I heard it... I can be rather literal!! The nurse was a bit brusque with me, but I did it again and scored in the top hearing band. I then had a lung function test, which I did wrong (I was NOT impressed with the clarity of the nurse's instructions), but I got above average lung function. Then it was time for the bit I was most nervous about - my fitness test. I had to go on a treadmill for 12 minutes with the incline being increased every two minutes. I was a bit out of breathe at the end of it, but it was fine, so I had passed everything. I was told to start getting my Hepatitis B immunisations, and I also joined the local gym that day, to get better prepared for the next lots of Fire Fighting assessments in November.