By: Blonde Two
Being Blonde, I had to look up the phrase, “I have the conn”, to find out what it meant (it can apparently be spelt in a myriad of ways). Most people who have watched films about submarines with holes in them (not a situation to find yourself in) will have heard it. Many of us will have mistakenly heard “com” and presumed that it meant “command”. It kind of does but is a bit more complicated than that. On a ship, different people control the different bits that make it go, stop and turn around; this means that you have to have one person who is in overall charge, one person who “has the conn” and you have to make it very clear who that person is. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if a ship was trying to go forwards, backwards, to port and to starboard (yes I do know which is which) all at the same time?
Things are a lot like this in the world of Blonde and we are (of course) very good at swapping the conn from one of us to the other. When we are on Mission Ten Tors, I have the conn and when it is a DofE assignment, Blonde One is our conning officer. As you can imagine, this system (we love a system) runs very easily when you are working with someone who thinks the same thoughts as you, sometimes even before you think them yourself. I had a bit of experience of the more challenging side of the conn on Saturday.
I had had a phone call from a student with a message along the lines of, “I don’t know where we are, there is lots of grass and a hill.” I like to think that I asked all the appropriate questions, got her to talk me through what had gone before etc and then told her which direction I wanted her to walk and for how long. All that was fine and I felt confident but once I was off the phone, the confidence ebbed away a bit as lots of very nice, very experienced people all gave me advice at once. The problem was that almost all of the advice was good … but I knew that if we did all of it, we would have had chaos and possibly more lost people on our hands.
It took a while but turned out ok in the end, this “lost” team were not actually that far away from where they were supposed to be and once I had told them to get into their (very bright orange) storm shelter, they were easy to spot. Blonde Two had kept the conn!