Two old blokes on a bench

The other day, I had an email from Dr B recommending a talk on Innovation and Improvisation in the RAMC, primarily in the Great War. The lecture given by Dr Jessica Meyer was being hosted by the Western Front Association and would be on Zoom.

The talk was on tonight at 8pm and I was all ready in my office, making the proper connections, full bottle of German wheat beer by my right hand. It was, after all, my first ever Zoom call. To say I was nervous would be a complete and utter lie. I just connected and there was our host for the evening, David Tattersfield.

And, I have to say, it was an excellent talk. Dr Meyer really knows her subject, something highlighted by her answers to the almost half an hour of questions at the end.

The talk itself was very informative and answered a few questions for me regarding what I’m researching when certain things come up on pension cards and so forth. But my favourite bit was about the Thomas Splint.

I doubt I’ve ever had call to know about the Thomas Splint. However, it was a battlefield innovation which really turned the tables on survival rates for wounded soldiers. When not using the splint, a patient stood a 20% chance of surviving. Once the splint was being used, those odds skyrocketed to 85%. Now that is one brilliant innovation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and will be joining the Western Front Association in order to hear about others. Very good stuff, indeed.

Also very good was my social engagement today.

During the long days of Lockdown, Andrew and I have been WhatsApping each other, making sure we’re still alive. After Starbucks re-opened (albeit for takeaway only) we decided to meet up and sit on a bench in the sun.

And it was glorious. The sitting on the bench and the sun. Though the sun soon vanished to be replaced by big, heavy drops of rain. We continued our chat under the arches where Tom joined us. There were many anecdotes and raucous laughter.

It was a lovely couple of hours. I’ve missed the social engagement of people and, as the Lockdown restrictions gradually ease, a chance to chat to people is becoming easier and easier.

The alley behind Boots looking a bit damp

Long may it continue.

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