Over a G&T the other night, a colleague remarked on a recent event she witnessed whilst visiting at Chilwell, near Nottingham. A number of Civil Servants on a short pre-deployment course at RTMC stayed in a local (not cheap) hotel in preference to the available Mess accomodation (several empty rooms). Apparently, the Chilwell Mess was not of an "appropriate standard for their grade in the Civil Service" and they would not stay there. I gather they claimed 'equivalent ranks' varying from Maj up to Brig. I find this all rather odd and somewhat disappointing given they are 'deploying' to theatres with Regulars and Reserves of all ranks (many of whom pass through Chilwell), but can not accept the same conditions as the military in the UK. I gather from Channel 4 News that their generous operational allowances packages (up to a reported £30k pa) are considered realistic and justified by the risk and hardship they endure. Perhaps a 4/5 Star UK hotel is considered suitable pre-deployment training? I believe that the Chilwell Mess is good enough for a variety of officers up to and including the odd passing General. Apparently, a number of good folk from a Bde HQ, an Engr Gp and the RTMC even live there permanently! If it is really so poor, why are we not also placing visiting Officers and those Livers In into local hotels with sports centres, swimming pools and restaurants? Of course, military personnel could not claim unlimited actual costs for their restaurant meals and wine - only the allowed £20-odd per day - but they would surely be happier with their lot. Sorry, I may be becoming a tad cynical? What about the Seniors' and ORs' standards of accomodation ......? If that particular Mess was genuinely not good enough for these people, it surely could not be for those Officers of 'equivalent rank' to the Civil Service! Perhaps our colleagues in the Civil Service could apply themselves to finding the cash to raise the standard to a level good enough for their very brief visit? Those of us in green at all levels might then derive some long term benefit from the efforts of our esteemed Civil Service. I always remain the optimist! Comments?