Sling and arrow

In 1972, in the 4th year of my Tooting grammar school, we had a term learning First Aid.

A few lessons of Latin and suddenly everyone thought they could be a doctor.

Sadly, we were so badly behaved in these eight-weeks, the only thing we learned what to do was make a sling. 

Broken leg; typhus; West Nile Fever?  We’d have been quite hopeless – unless any of these conditions could have been cured using an old Cub scarf.

These days, most homes will have sophisticated First Aid kits.  With the contents, you could carry out minor operations – although you’d have to keep your work surfaces clean – and clear.

Growing up in the ‘60s, if your ailment wasn’t treatable with Germolene, Friar’s Balsam or three miles of lint, you’d be put on the cart the moment it entered your street. 

If you broke a limb playing sport at school, the deranged PE master would tell you you’ve got another one.  The school First Aid kit consisted of a sponge; a bucket filled with water from the River Wandle and a junior hacksaw from the metalwork classroom should anyone have gangrene before the master put them on the 155 bus home.

To paraphrase Robert Duvall, “I love the smell of calamine lotion in the morning.”

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