Very nearly an armful…

I shared this phrase with my children after giving blood last week, my first in over half a lifetime, and the blank looks said it all. Young heathens – I blame the parents… When I first gave blood, everybody knew exactly to what “that’s very nearly an armful” referred, these days, nope – sorry Paul Merton, your remakes in 1996 did not place Tony Hancock’s phrases into the minds of today’s youth. But then The Blood Donor was first shown in 1961 – before even I was born, but sufficiently priceless to be popular through the 60s, 70s and beyond.


photo credit: dumbledad via photopin cc

So anyway – having spotted a Facebook update shared by a friend stating that the country is in dire need of O negative blood, and this being one of those many things I always intend to do but keep forgetting about, I took immediate action. Well, perhaps not quite immediate, but I was determined not to be derailed by the blood service website being down – I actually called them (unheard of these days, for me) to check that indeed our local bank bus was just around the corner that day.

Off I went, thinking they’d bite my arm off (!) but it was more that I had to convince them with my blood group name-dropping to squeeze me in. The bus was full of those already booked and scheduled. The dozen “drop-ins” so far were somehow fit in but then others had to be turned away. Note to self to book in future, but aside from that – just what should we do when the NHS need more blood than is being donated? The nurses in the buses work as efficiently as they can while caring and not rushing people out of the bus, though thankfully we no longer have to sit about for half an hour if we’re fine, just down the biscuits and drink.

Waiting was really rather a nice step off my usual day, people of all ages, genders and race – some mums before the school run, older people who’ve been doing this regularly for many years, some on their way home from work, it was a pleasant change to sit with neighbours, all there to do something selfless.

After drinking the water provided – very sensible – and then answering questions that might raise an eyebrow or three, one lies down and starts pumping a fist, preparing the veins to give up their precious elixir, and the nurse gently sorts out the needle then your blood flows into the bag. It is best to exercise while you’re being emptied – clenching one’s buttocks is suggested – those waiting were very polite and chose not to view this spectacle, thankfully – though t’would make for a jolly time, that’s for certain. And it]s all over within the quarter hour, up you gently get, drink and biscuits, and off you go, having done something helpful and worthy.

With each blood donation able to help up to 3 people, it surely has to be worth an hour or so of your time every few months – go on, register today and book in – who knows when you’ll be one of the 25% than needs it sometime in your life…

The NHS Blood Transfusion website has just been updated, it seems, and there you can find your local sessions and times with ease. One other thing – the call centre seems to have quite the loveliest people working there – efficient and very lovely – most encouraging, indeed.

And for those of you who’ve not seen it (or to just watch again – if only to see a very young June Whitfield):



Besides cherishing her role as editor for Blokes on the Blog, Barbara helps people use WordPress for their website and/or blog. She wishes she’d had this much male attention 20 years ago…


  1. Inspired me to see if I can give blood. It’s 30 years since the Kidney came out, the other one must surely be coping – if a little lonely!