Posted on 1:51pm Tuesday 2nd November 2010
Column Part 18 I was planning to write this last epistle from the turquoise shores of Cyprus, but due to ‘circumstances beyond our control’ it is not to be. There are two things certain in this life; that some poor sap is going to hand in their ticket if they are a guest at a country house-party in an Agatha Christie yarn and that those magnificent men and their (not so frequently) flying machines will throw the odd spanner in the works. These same spanners may have been better utilised on repairing the aircraft, and the upshot being we never reached Cyprus. On the plus side I was able to spend a day in an aircraft hangar in Muscat. And so it is with a Scotch within easy lifting distance and the welcoming Yorkshire drizzle outside, that this attempt at closure takes place.
Posted on 9:32am Friday 22nd October 2010
AS I sit down to write, we have exactly a week of our tour in Afghanistan left to complete. It would be foolish in the extreme to tempt dear old providence at this juncture, so I shall resist the urge.
Posted on 5:34pm Friday 1st October 2010
We now find ourselves at the halfway point of our ‘angry camping sojourn’ in the district of Panjwa’i. Life is getting busier as what was once our own little outpost is now co-habited with a variety of others, both Coalition forces and Afghans. Do not confuse this with an uplift in convenience and quality of life, although I do tell all that their tolerance for others will make for a culturally enriched life. Sometimes I mean it.
Posted on 10:49am Thursday 23rd September 2010
Luckily for the discerning reader, I have been unable to access any means of communicating with you for the last two weeks, but as they say; ‘every silver lining has a cloud…..’ My band of merry men and I are now to be found in a district called Panjwa’i, some fifteen miles south-west of Kandahar city. Our small camp is nestled between two mountain ridgelines of Pyrenean (not to be confused with perineum) aspect, and about three hundred metres from the green zone that sprouts around the nearby Arghandab River. There is a degree of notoriety afforded Panjwa’i as a result of being the place from which Mullah Omar fronted the Taleban in 1994, and as you would expect local sympathies are wildly divided between insurgents and both international and Afghan security forces. We are currently a very tiny cog in an operation to provide security and freedom for the locals by diminishing the insurgent hold on the area.
Posted on 10:02am Monday 6th September 2010
With all the grim predictability that the White Star Line employees must have had regarding the jewel in their nautical crown about one hundred years ago, as that ever-so-tedious iceberg hoved into view, and that the fact that the ship didn’t quite have the turning circle of a polo pony, it is my duty to report that the situation has got worse. Having callously crowed that the amount of violence reducing and that a true enemy of soldiers deployed on operations was boredom, it was perhaps inevitable that the last couple of weeks have been anything but.
Posted on 11:09am Friday 27th August 2010
IT was 33 summers ago that The Minstrel, underneath Mr. Piggott won the Derby, that Elvis left the building and that I arrived in the world to much celebration and ward-wide plaudits, except from my darling mother who complained to the doctor that ‘he cannot be mine, he is far too ugly’.
Posted on 11:28am Wednesday 18th August 2010
For those with refined literary tastes and a disposition towards the witty, insightful and well crafted, my last two weeks of being incommunicado will have been a welcome reprieve. Unfortunately for you, I, having just had two weeks rest and relaxation, am now back in the saddle, with a song in my heart, a pen in my hand and a grim determination to mix my metaphors.
Posted on 10:50am Saturday 17th July 2010
When away from home, there are certain triggers that induce the longing to be in England in these summer months, and over the last few weeks these have been manifold; catching the sun-soaked snippets of Wimbledon, not losing money backing French raiders at Ascot, being sent photographs by friends at Henley CC.
Posted on 9:32am Monday 12th July 2010
A wonderful conversational reprieve arrived this week in the form of a flying visit from my Royal Dragoon Guards (RDG) brethren, Capt ‘Spike’ Lee.
Posted on 8:27am Friday 18th June 2010
Without wishing to erode the gossamer-thin veneer of machismo and testosterone afforded me by my current situation. I would like to thank my mother publicly for her recent aid-package, and specifically for the char-grilled artichoke hearts in extra virgin olive oil. Delish.
Posted on 3:40pm Wednesday 9th June 2010
There has been much media coverage in recent years over an alleged systemic failure of our military/government/whoever to provide the army with the ‘kit and equipment’ it requires in order to execute it's missions effectively and with minimum loss of life.
Posted on 10:37am Thursday 3rd June 2010
Sometimes the most innocuous comments, in the most curious of environs, delivered by the most incongruous of people, triggers envious longings and bouts of home-sickness or frustration born of circumstance.
Posted on 1:50pm Wednesday 12th May 2010
If you think donkeys had it tough in Milne’s post-apocalyptic, anthropomorphical-tragedy masterpiece, ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’, when poor old Eeyore had lost his tail, that is nothing compared to the lot of some of Afghanistan’s local mules.
Posted on 1:56pm Saturday 8th May 2010
Working as I am in a multi-national combined service environment, there is all manner of nuance, nicety and niggle that one must observe, mediate and work around.