Dear God it’s been a long day…

After going to bed last night feeling nice and warm after a little glass of that sloe gin, I was rudely awoken at about 0330 by the pager going off. Actually, I was woken by Mal after he’d turned the pagers off – I have to admit that I did consider just turning over and going back to sleep. However, we got up, wiped what little sleep we’d had from our eyes, and jumped in the car. The incident was in Llanedeyrn in Cardiff where a young lad hadn’t returned home last night. So we started searching the area – not a bad response considering, we had around a dozen personnel and 3 dog teams out. It was fairly cold when we arrived, so I put my Paramo waterproof trousers on – they’re a single layer so you can’t take them off (well you can, but you’d get arrested for it). We walked around Llanedeyrn enjoying the sunrise as the dew gradually got us soaking where we weren’t wearing waterproofs, and sweat soaked us where we were. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

So around 0700 the call came in – return to control. We headed back to find that the young lad had been tucked up in bed in a friend’s house all night and was currently being severely bollocked by his mother. We packed up and Mal and I decided to head off to Ramone’s in Cardiff for some breakfast. I changed into more comfortable trousers and shoes and we placed our orders, heading out to the back garden and just enjoying the sunshine – until the pagers went off again. What?! Another call? You have to be kidding….

As it turns out, no you don’t. This was a request to assist the Brecon team in a search for a young man injured in an RTA in Llansteffan, the other side of Carmarthen. Ramone’s quickly put our breakfasts into take-away containers for us and we ran out to the car and sped off down the M4, with me eating my breakfast and feeding Mal his as he drove. Poor Tom has had his third text of the day to update my whereabouts and my ETA at the Big Cheese, looks like I’m not goin to make it at all. I have to admit that both incidents were in my mind “serious” – a missing child, and a head injury, so I felt obliged to attend.

Anyway, Llansteffan is on my home patch – I spent many summers there enjoying [***] the pollen free air of the beach, and I know the area reasonably well. More than that, I also speak Welsh with a local accent, as one farmer found out to his joy today.

We arrived, and I was asked by Huw to stick around control, as I had “local knowledge” – a key piece of the puzzle that is a search. Admittedly, the depth of knowledge I had on the area wasn’t particularly brilliant, but I did know my way around. After a quick discussion in the control vehicle, Mark and I headed out in one of our vehicles to scout the area around where the RTA had occurred in order to determine whether a team of people or a dog would be most suited to that area. Additionally, with the recent rain, he may have taken shelter in farm outbuildings or similar, so a quick chat with the 3 or 4 farms within that area wouldn’t go amiss either. Mark and I headed off and I was busy talking to the first farmer and checking their oubuildings when the Police arrived. Apparently the helicopter had picked up a heat source in a nearby wooded area – could we assist them to investigate? So off we go and I’m about to contact control when the Police, who sped off ahead of us, asked another group for help as well, and they radio back. Control says no, the dogs are on their way there, so we continue our previous search. A nice drive down a greenlane sees Mark trying out his off-road skills, until we get a radio message – the misper’s been found, head back to control.

Back at control, the police fill in some of the blanks about the incident in the debrief and we’re invited to breakfast in Carmarthen in McDonalds. Most people head off but we now have several dogs and handlers who’ve been searching without a find, which isn’t good for the dog’s training and more to the point, it’s SARDA training day. So Mal and I run off into a field where we’re repeatedly found by dogs. Most interesting was Caroline and Tadpole – Tadpole has been trained as a tracker, a ground-scenting dog and he followed my track across the field without any problem today.

The SARDA group finally head off to Carmarthen for what is rapidly becoming lunch. A pager message comes through – panic from all corners and I think “Not again!” but indeed, it’s just a message to say that the vehicles are back at base OK. Mal and I finish, head off to my Dad’s to pick up some tools and head off home, finally arriving back here at 1730 – 14 hours after we left.

So I come in, say goodbye to Mal and joke with him – “See you in about an hour or so at tonight’s callout….” and sit down to write this post. Where you see [***] above is where I got to before the pager went off again. No, really. Area Call this time to Glynneath where a child has fallen off the falls. I quickly grab the kit I’ve just taken out of Mal’s car and put it into mine and head off. En-route, I get the stand-down and head home to finish this post off. And so here we are, 1800 on Sunday, on our third callout of the day already. I’m knackered, badly in need of a shower, and hoping for a quiet night so that I can get some sleep. I actually wish I’d stayed on Llansteffan beach in the sunshine enjoying the day. *grin*

3 Responses to “A long day…”

  1. malc says:

    Couldn’t believe that last call! I was absolutely shattered but it sounded like an interesting one. Had just got onto the A470 South so I turned around at the next junction and got to Ponty before the stand down. It sounded interesting but I have to admit I wasn’t too upset when it came through…


  2. taffyboy says:

    Heh, I did try ringing you to see if you wanted to just turn around and swing past the house again, but your phone was dead. I did think “Oh for crying out loud…can’t I get five minutes peace?!” when it went off.

    Ah well, no more complaining that it’s been Q-word for a while then. 🙂

  3. bronchitikat says:

    Just an ordinary kind of MR Sunday then? How was the Big Cheese?

    I *LIKE* Llansteffan. Beautiful place, friendly people, nice beach, the Castle’s not bad either (both the CADW place on the hill & the pub!)