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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sleeping Out

I'd been camping before I joined the army. In my foolish and naive mindstate I think I honestly believed that being on exercise (i.e out with the army in the countryside) would be a bit like camping. More fool me. I must admit I enjoyed my first night sleeping out with only a thin plastic sheet between me and the stars. Waking up with dew on your face was almost worth doing. Getting woken up to walk around the area that we were sleeping in with a pick handle to ward off any intruders wasn't quite so cool, especially at three in the morning. Neither was presenting all our equipment in a pristine state the following morning, an easy task back in barracks but not so much fun when there is mud, dirt, dust, leaf mould, and any other number of natural "dirty" products in close proximity to your kit.

Still at least it never rained...........


Block Job - cleaning task assigned to an individual to be completed every morning. Usually inspected by an NCO.

N.I.G - depending on who you listen to this either stands for New Intake Group or New In Germany. The etymology of the word is irrelevant - it means new bloke.

See here for more information.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


I blame my mother - and now I come to think of it my father as well - I guess he is equally responsible for my genes. Anyway one of my legs is shorter than the other - or maybe the other one is longer - well whatever it is it means I can't march for shit. That's my excuse anyway - maybe I just have no sense of rhythmn.

How hard can it be to put one foot in front of the other?

In fact it's not putting one foot in front of the other that's difficult it's just doing it at the same time as everyone else. And this is before you start to complicate things by changing directions or having to do anything complicated with your arms like salute someone.

I just thank my lucky stars I don't have to do it very often now.

(And at least now I don't end up running around the parade square with my rifle above my head - although must admit that focused the mind)


I'm now trying to remember how I changed from being a civvy to becoming one Her Majesty's finest. If truth be told I can't remember at what point the transition took place. I remember lot's of confusion and lots of shouting. I remember folding clothes in my locker until they were all the same size, I remember ironing creases where I'd never put creases before, and I remember making things shine that surely had no reason to shine...ever. I also remember things being thrown out of windows because they weren't the same size (I beg to differ), they weren't ironed properly (I beg to differ) or they didn't shine enough (I beg to differ).

Today they might call it bullying - I never once felt bullied. Hard worked perhaps but we learnt what was required. We learnt who could iron and who couldn't - those who stayed were generally the ones who learnt who could do what and helped each other.

At any rate - whenever it happened I changed - and it didn't take long.

Off The Train

It was twelve years ago almost to the day that I got off the train. It had been fairly obvious since London who was going where I was. It wasn't so much the short haircuts, which were to follow, as the out of place accents and frequent interspersions of F**k and C**t. Over the next 10 weeks they became second nature to me and unfortunately have stayed with me ever since.

We got off the train at the appropriate stop and there he was. If I was writing this during the First World War I would say he was as smart as a carrot - in fact I can't think of anything else to say about him. Without doubt he had presence. I probably didn't notice at the time, and even if I had I wouldn't have known what they meant, but he had two stripes on his arm. He certainly knew who we were - if he didn't then some unfortunate civilian ended up on the mini-bus that took us to the ATR (an Army TLA (Three Letter Abbreviation - blog to follow on that one) for Army Training Regiment).

We passed through a barrier and wire fence topped with nasty looking barbed wire and after that I've never been the same since. Top of the British Blogs