North Howard Street. Dover Place. Peter's Hill. Townsend Street. Just some of the reasons never to visit Belfast. Still, being amonst the City's tightly-packed red brick streets was probably preferable to being down in the Falklands, which was where the QOH were, no doubt shivering their arses off on the first tour after the invasion, with work to do but all the glory missed. Like the last raw prawn on the barbecue that's lost it's garlic butter marinade. The old hands who'd been on the battalions last tour of NI, at Bessbrook back in '77, had ragged us new lads about all the new kit we'd been issued back in Hemer. 'You bastards don't know how lucky you are', 'it wasn't like this in bandit country', 'can't wait til the Provos see the state of this bunch of sprogs depot have sent us', 'if I see you down town I'm going to put your head down the shitter you little cunt'. We flew out from Germany in August '82 and into the mess that was Ulster. The place where you take your dog for a walk on a Sunday, have a taste of that area. The tour would prove to have some pretty sticky moments, including a rocket attack on Springfield Road Police Station in late September, which left most of the lads thirsting for a pint of Fenian blood. I remember shortly afterwards feeling totally disillusioned with war, the army, Northern Ireland and life in general, especially after a pretty stiff firefight just off Northumberland Street caused a bit of destruction to the poor people living in the area. However, my depression was to be lifted by an incident just a few days later. We were patrolling the lower Shankill and were invited in for a cup of tea by the pastor of the Christian mission just off Peter's Hill. It was always nice to be treated with a bit of decency rather than to be totally ignored, which was the usual reaction of the local populace. Our section packed into the recption area of the mission building, with one eye on the road outside and the other on the Jamaican ginger cake and the warm teapot on the counter. The pastor asked us about our tour so far and we gave him the sanitised version, which he saw through straight away. He must of sensed our gloom because he offered some words of comfort before coming out with a profound statement that almost brought tears to my eyes: 'In this world, a faint scent of marmelade prevails throughout'. That has stayed with me ever since.