I transferred to the Reserve from Winchester on 1989 and have continued to live somewhere near the junction of the M3 / M27 because there are no IBM mainframes between Leeds and Edinburgh where my skills might get me a job nearer home. I did a few E&E exercises in my time. One evening about 1991, rejoining the M3 at J4 to head home after my day's work, I saw a young man trying to hitch. I never offer hitchhikers a lift because my place of work was close enough to Broadmoor to hear the alarm test every Monday at 1030 (IIRC). But there was something about this man, I was in a good mood and I pulled over. As I checked in my rear-view mirror I watched him go to his knees and offer prayers to the Lord. He dumped a bergen on the back seat and sat up front, thanking me profusely and continually calling me "Sir," which kept eliciting the same reply, "Don't promote me: you can't afford to pay me. As it happens I am a Sergeant on the Long Term Reserve. If you feel happy with that, go for it, but I don't really give a toss." He was a Para recruit and he explained to me how their E&E exercise consisted of E&Eing to the Marines' base in Dorset wherever (both units have now moved so it's irrelevant) and the Booties played Orange Forces. When the Marine recruits wanted to do their E&E exercise, the favour was returned. We had a good chat on the 50-mile drive and I dropped him at Rownhams Services, then thought no more about it. Remember this was no time since I'd got out myself. Then one day Wor Lass told me that a squaddie had knocked on her door asking if he might refill his water bottle. Wor Lass knew what my job had entailed when me met so she was quite sympathetic. And over time, she reckons that two decades later she still gets an average of maybe one squaddy per year knocking on her door and looking for a water bottle refill. On one occasion she had two requests in one day, four hours apart, but otherwise, one per year is about right. None of the neighbours has ever had a squaddie knocking on the door, ever. Trust me, there is nothing about our house that says to a squaddie E&Eing by that screams "EX-SQUADDIE'S HOUSE" at them: it isn't called Dunstaggin for example and there isn't a collection of garden gnomes in the garden dressed in DPM. Indeed toward the end of my time, with PIRA active on the mainland, at mess meetings the RSM would keep banging on about PerSec, especially since he claimed there was known to be an active nationalist cell in Southampton (I have never seen any evidence mind). Any recruits from two decades ago will be late in their careers by now: maybe they are instructors. With (as I understand it) training now concentrated in Winchester and Pirbright, our LocStat remains interesting for recruits E&Eing through SW Hampshire. But WHY??? Surely the instructors aren't telling one recruit per year, "Mrs Alien at grid 1 CHPW is a good sort for refilling your water bottle"? There are several hundred similar houses on the estate and thousands in the area, and it isn't so obviously close to an E&E route down the M3 / M27 that they would find it by accident. So WHY??? Surely our address hasn't been scrawled on a toilet wall in some training establishment as a soft touch for refilling your water bottles, but only one recruit per year need apply, without having been discovered and / or painted over in 20 years? Don't get me wrong. Neither I nor Wor Lass begrudge these lads a bottle of water (and a sandwich, and KitKat or two, or two slices of toast, or five minutes in the back garden to change his socks). They are all perfectly polite (and they cannot be interested in Wor Lass, believe me). But WHY??? I'd love some insight into why we get one squaddie per year asking for a water bottle refill. If it helps, it last happened a couple of weeks ago, so we aren't expecting any more for a good few months.