Night-time in London.
I'm carrying our equipment down to the river. From this distance I can only see it as a dark ribbon against the lights of the city. It's choppy, so the lights don't reflect, it looks like ink.
The wind cuts right through my hi-vis jacket and the fleece I'm wearing underneath it. We are following a marine policeman down the steps into the dark.
We have two patients, both of which have spent time in the freezing Thames.
The boat that they both were on is docked next to them. Police and firefighters are already there, they have done their best to dry the pair off – our patients are wearing borrowed hi-vis jackets – ones that say 'Police'.
It was an accident – our first patient didn't mean to go swimming in the Thames. Our second patient did.
The first man had been on the boat enjoying a cigarette, he was leaning against the railing when he felt something 'give way'. Down he went into the Thames. Cold and dark, with fast currents and who-knows-what diseases.
The second man? Young, I'd wager not long out of school. He works on the boat, when he heard the shouted alarm he dived over the side of the boat. He was the one who kept the first man afloat while the cold sapped his muscles.
The first man – so cold he doesn't shiver. We work on warming him up, on not stressing his body. He'll get rushed to hospital on blue lights. He'll be fine, but I don't think he realises how close to dying he came.
The second man – standing by the heater, trousers off and borrowed jacket wrapped around him. He doesn't want to go to hospital – he quite fancies a warm shower at home though. I check him over and declare him fit to refuse treatment. I tell him that he probably saved the other man's life. He waves it off as if he doesn't believe me.
Every uniformed service there thinks that the second man should get a medal.
I look at the pitch-black freezing water churning against the dock.
It's that time of year, and those length of shifts, where I'm finding it hard to motivate myself out of bed – let alone blog. So if my postings get a little sparse I apologise in advance. Oh – and I also have a book I'm supposed to be writing…