Mother was a senior nurse in the St John's Ambulance service. Despite my stated desire to join the Scouts, own a knife, and dib dib around a camp fire, the family decision was that I should be trained to handle street accidents. Somehow a white belt lacked the glamour of neckerchief with woggle.
Friends in the Scouts were issued with a manual of animal tracks, camp song lyrics, and signs used by Indians; my little book detailed the bones of the human body. Should I pass a subsequent first aid questionnaire I would be entitled to wear a small folding cap on the side of my head. It looked like a paper boat. Friends wore a South African bush hat.
The meeting began with a small parade. Older, fully-uniformed members formed three straight lines and answered the roll call. ('Chin in, chest out, thumbs in line with seams of trousers'). I stood at one end and counted floorboards. Small groups then formed and questioned each other on procedures followed for various injuries. I became more interested during the mock-accident session in which a girl cadet lay on the ground to be bandaged with splints and other restrictions to movement. Anyone bandaged by me was certainly incapable of any movement, and was only released by others with difficulty.
My enthusiasm for this activity was noted by authority, and I was delegated responsibility for rewinding bandages. Most of the bandages used in practice were huge triangular shapes, but the familiar ribbon bandages were also used, and there was a small machine available to rewind them.
This apparatus incorporated several wooden gears which did not appear to function efficiently, suggesting the need for a small adjustment. Mistake. With some assistance, I eventually managed to recover most of the component items and attempted reassembly of the machine.
Asked later by my mother whether I had enjoyed my first evening, I was I think, non-committal. By the following week there was no suggestion that I attend, and a career in first aid was never again mentioned.
By unspoken agreement, neither were the Scouts.