Clearing out my locker

My local station, catching the evening sun this week

After nearly sixteen years as a firefighter in my local station, I have decided to hang up my boots. It’s been quite the ride. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of… no, sorry. That’s not my speech. Apologies. My speech will be far more mundane, assuming I get the chance to make it. I’m sure I will. One thing my fellow crew members would all agree on is that I am rarely short of a few words.

My speech will be the standard stuff. There will be cake and tea. There will also be a cunning and contrived attempt to strap me to a spinal board and hose me down. Or something similar. It’s a time-honoured tradition, and few make it out the door with their dignity intact, or their clothes dry. So there is that to look forward to…

And we’ve been busy of late. Last week was a doozy (to use some imported slang). I don’t get into detail when discussing calls – indeed, if I talk about them at all. But we had two serious road accidents on Monday and Tuesday, and a particularly nasty one on Thursday morning, in the pouring rain, involving a young female cyclist and a bin lorry. I suspect that one will linger with me for a while.

And then on Friday, a young lad had a fall from what I would say was at least 30 feet, and probably more, in a local factory, which necessitated a lot of walking, climbing, searching, and ultimately rescuing and securing the casualty for transport to a waiting ambulance.

And then another crash on Saturday, when a car turned over on a local road.

So, whilst I’m not a fatalistic person, I’m keeping schtum on what other possible call-outs could be passed our way before I retire, as there are many more bizarre and outlandish scenarios that the world could throw at our little brigade here in North Kildare. I think at this stage, I’ve seen enough. I’ll be happy to spend the next few weeks putting out bin fires.

I leave on the 17th of October.

In running news, well, I profess a little bias, but the most amazing sporting feat this week (of any sport, anywhere in the world) was 37-year-old Eliud Kipchoge breaking his own world record at the Berlin Marathon, with a new time of 2.01:09. They passed the halfway mark at 59:51. When you consider the current half-marathon record is 57:31, you get a sense of the pace they were doing. Although, truth be told, you cannot truly get a sense of their pace unless you try it for yourself. On telly, it looks rather modest. At the halfway stage, they were rattling along at 4:34 mile pace, which is, frankly, outrageous πŸ˜‰

To put this in some context that mere mortals might grasp, if you could manage that pace at your local parkrun, you would now be the proud holder of an unassailable personal best of 14:11. I think I can safely say that any parkrunner reading this would be more than a little pleased with that time. So it truly is hard to comprehend the speed these guys are going at, for 26 miles and more.

Nor should I neglect to mention that the women’s race was won by Tigist Assefa with a new course record of 2.15:38.

And finally, huge congrats to my mate, Stevie Boyle, a local Leixlip man, who cracked out an incredible 2.57:50 in the same race. Interesting to note, just looking at his Garmin page, that he too strode out across the Straßen of Germany in 4.11 kilometre pace for the entire race, which would give you a nice parkrun PB of 20:55. A time many runners would be delighted with.

In running news of a more mundane nature, week two for me and my programme has drawn to a close. Tuesday once again seemed to fall foul of life’s many spanners, but apart from that minor glitch when another pace run was cut short, the rest of the schedule went to plan, culminating in a decent 12 miles with Gary along the canal from Maynooth to Ferrans Lock and back in just under the required pace of ‘easy’ nine minute miles.

To celebrate our own achievements (unaware as we were of the heroics taking place in Berlin), Gary very kindly spotted me breakfast in the square in Maynooth, and very pleasant it was too.

A fine hot chocolate
Eggs Benedict with hash brown and streaky bacon

Not that there’s any room for complacency. The programme ramps up, naturally, as these programmes do, and the runs and the pace will get trickier as we slide towards Hallowe’en, and slip past into Winter. And assuming I can stay injury-free, I will also experience that questionable state of fitness-fatigue, which is that rather odd twilight zone you find yourself in when you are in reasonably serious training. You feel good, you feel light, you feel fit… and you feel exhausted. All at the same time.

Yesterday was the Great Global Greyhound Walk, and I know this will be news to most of you. Indeed, it was news to us, too, but once we found out about it, we didn’t want to miss it, so we packed up the hounds and headed in to the Phoenix Park and Farmleigh House where over a hundred sight hounds were there in varying shapes and sizes. We also met Ernie, the 40kg hunk of loveliness that we tried fostering a few months ago. He has found his forever-home, and his new owners are lovely.

As we were a stone’s throw from Dublin, we dropped in to the flea market on Thomas Street, and had a wander, and met some of Saoirse’s tribe. Odi and Bonnie have never been townie dogs, so I suspect they were a little put out by all the feet and noise, but they behaved perfectly.

St. Patrick’s Tower, also known as Smock Tower, in the heart of Dublin.
Someone has to paint the new year on the right-hand panel. I want that job!

Famously, Arthur Guinness negotiated a 9,000-year lease on the brewery site at St. James’ Gate in Dublin. So that date is going to keep ticking for quite some time.

And so, more hound images.

The poor dears had such a long day yesterday that they were banjoed when we got them home, and they’ve slept ever since. Which is about the norm, really.

So, I’m off to the T-shirt printing place to get this on a shirt: ‘Old firefighters never die; they just lose a little pressure in their hoses…’

I’m not really. But I’m tempted πŸ˜‰

8 thoughts on “Clearing out my locker

  1. This is momentous! Congrats – and may your last weeks on the job send you nothing more taxing than rescuing a kitten from a tree and a couple of false alarms.
    As for that slogan, isn’t this more your style? “Old firefighters never die; they just stop arson around.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was just popping in for quick read and to waste 10 minutes before I have leave, and saw this. Just gotta say huge kudos for 16 years of immense service, I have huge respect for those in the emergency services. Look forward to reading about the next chapter

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We see a lot of publicity for military personnel and the service they provide and not enough about what people like yourself do for very little thanks, recognition or monetary reward. First responders see some gruesome and heart wrenching scenes so thank you for your service and I hope you are able to let go of the horror stuff you see.

    Enjoy your cake πŸŽ‚ there *has* to be cake πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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