I’ve been learning lots of things this week, some you probably already know but I thought I’d pass them on anyway. The first follows on from my article last week about beach safety; I was sent a video clip this week about what drowning actually looks like. I had always thought that I would be able to spot a drowning person; they would be floundering, calling for help, splashing about and generally drowning. The clip showed footage of a swimmer drowning, surrounded by other water users; this person was saved by the fact that life guards know what to look for. Someone who is drowning generally doesn’t realise they are in trouble until it’s too late for them to call for help. Their body becomes perpendicular, and their arm movements become small and shallow. They start to bob under the water and the body starts to close down the speech functions so that it can concentrate on getting air into the lungs. This usually only lasts about 90 seconds and then they drown. I was stunned when I watched the footage, the person, seemed fine just a bit quiet and still. The best advice from lifeguards is if you see someone quiet in the sea in a vertical position to ask them if they are OK, if they don’t reply, they’re not. Get over to them, wave for help and tilt them onto their back. Once they can start to get air into their lungs again they quickly recover.
The next things I learnt won’t save any lives but it might save you some money and points on your licence. Friends had been out walking and when they got back to the car it was obvious the driver was pooped. Her friend offered to drive knowing that she had comprehensive insurance. Like me she thought she was also insured to drive any car. When she was pulled over by the police she discovered this wasn’t the case. In the past we tended to get automatic cover for third party on other cars but gradually that element of our insurance has been withdrawn. If you think you are automatically covered to drive other cars third party you might just want to check. She got a fine and 3 points for driving without insurance.
The final thing I discovered was that English wine is now not just palatable but really tasty. No longer do you have to sip it in trepidation and then summon a winning smile and positive adjectives whilst wondering where you can spit it out. I visited the launch of a new winery and vineyard near Trethurgy – yes I know it sounds unlikely but they were seriously impressive. The have small vineyards dotted all around the area including a large one down on the Roseland. To date they have made two whites and a rose and all were very pleasant. In fact an open bottle was an empty bottle and if great wine wasn’t enough they also cook up some pretty fine dining. The only dampener on the day was some chap who listened to winemaker’s talk and then said rather pompously to his own crowd, “the chap doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Obviously this was nonsense, as Knightor Vineyard are doing amazing things but I have learnt over the years that some people can only makes themselves look big if they are putting other people down. Still I guess that’s not news to you either. So that was my week and if the sun doesn’t make an appearance soon next week’s column is going to be all about the appalling state of my vegetable plot.