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The Bacon Tree and other stories

I started writing this in 2007. I was laid up in the med centre with D+V. Anyway, I thought I'd stick the first bit on here. It's un edited and a bit rough around the corners, but I thought you might find it interesting......

THE BACON TREE AND OTHER STORIES

INTRODUCTION



My dad said I should start writing things down. I think I’ve always been good at telling a story so I decided that straight after my R&R, which is now, that I would.
Besides if I get killed by a mortar like that poor sod from the RAF God rest him, at least there will be some kind of epitaph as to what happened to CPL. ********* of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.

When I was a Crafty back in the late 90’s, I was based with the Royal Artillery at Woolwich. I remember there was a problem with the transport that was taking my Battery complete with fitter section to the ranges and then on to exercise down at Lydd and Hythe on the South Coast. The BSM told us Toms to de-bus and go to the NAFFI and wait there till the waggon got sorted.
So there we were all queuing up for a brew while the VM’s took a look at the Bedford 4 toner-that most auspicious of conveyances- to see if they could get it on the road (I was an electrician at the time).
As we were queuing up for a cup of tea/piece of toast/bacon butty etc. there, about two people in front of me, was a fella on the fruit machine.
“Fuckin ell,” he says, “I only wanted to get rid of the 20p in my pocket and I’ve gone and won a tenner!”
We all laughed and banter started up as to why he didn’t want the money and how he shouldn’t look gift horses in the mouth and so fourth to which he replied;
“yeah but its my smock you see-I don’t want 10 pound coins rattling around and getting me in trouble for making a racket, besides what the **** am I going to spend it on at ranges!”
The obvious reply came from a lad called Flash from one of the batteries;
“I’ll have it if you don’t want it then” he says.
Now Flash despite what the name would suggest was not judged the most quick witted of gunners so the fella on the fruity replies,
”Tell you what then mate, you can have as many pound coins as you can eat”
Young flash eyes him thoughtfully and after a moments pause says,”ok you’re on!”
By now there is a bit of a crowd gathering and people have started egging young flash on who being a martyr to peer pressure picks up the first coin out of the money trough below the reels of the fruity.
Down it goes followed by a cheer from the growing crowd and much to the bemusement of theNAFFI bird.
The first pound is followed by the second which is followed by the third until good old Flash has scoffed the lot.
Pats on the back and cheers ensued with general merriment all round for a couple of minutes until someone notices the colour of flashes face,
“Here mate are you ok? Hey everyone flash is gonna throw up!”
Another cheer from the crowd goes up and Flashy boy forces his way through the crowd to get to the bogs
closely followed by all of us.
Now,have you ever dropped money by accident down a porcelain shitter?
Imagine the sound of poor old Flash heaving and retching followed by the splosh clunk of a pound coin hitting the u bend.
The problem was Flash had eaten 10 pound coins but no matter how much he heaved and gagged he only threw up seven quid.
By now the truck was fixed and the Battery Sergeant Major had got wind of what had gone on. After bollocking all those involved (especially flashes corporal who had taken bets on how many coins he would eat) the BSM sends poor flash to the med centre to see the MO who immediately sends the lad to A&E to have his stomach pumped.
The missing 3 quid was retrieved later that day but flash missed the transport to the ranges and so in turn missed the overnight exercise.
People thought Flash was daft but I think he had the last laugh….


CHAPTER 1



I’ve just got off the phone to the frau.I always feel bad when I rush phone calls to her but the time is about 2100- around here and that’s when the mortar monster usually comes out to play (sure enough 5 min later 3 incoming rounds-not close though).
I had gone down the Echo’s cafe in the village for my tea with Ricco, also to have a smoke and chat. Young Ricco is feeling the pace at the moment. But five months in, a’rnt we all?
He thinks he is having a hard time off his new section sarge **** and can’t see the funny side of things. I think it’s a bit to do with Ricco’s age and him being at the bottom of the pecking order in our wksp.Mind you he doesn’t help himself –at the moment he has a tendency to be a bit of a spanner mong! Anyway, I told the frau I’d try and write her a poem I had some ideas on an op in the dessert a few weeks back while I was sat in the mastiff in a Forward Operating Base somewhere near the Al Fore Peninsula. We were down there to say hello to the Iraqi Border Guards. The smuggling is out of control so we were seeing if there was anything a company of infantry and some 50cals couldn’t help ‘em out with!
I’m a mechanic so apart from looking after our trucks and driving for the lads(it frees up a dismount) I was going to see if the border posts needed any help with their genny’s or outboard motors. They get shot up quite badly by the smugglers from time to time, so the idea is for me to see if I can bodge any repairs for ‘em or scrounge bits for return journeys.
Anyroad, the poem, it was going to be mushier, but I’m not one for laying it on thick if you know what I mean;

My Wife
You don’t know what it means to me,
Having reached the age of thirty three,
To have finally found somebody,
And have the beginnings of a family.

With you all my hopes and dreams now are ashore,
My heart your heart- this ship is moored
But I’m stuck fast on a beach with no sea,
So lets smile together and see loves irony.

But hen I’ll come home, time won’t have to tell,
Me, you and the dog we’ll all live well,
On our brand new couch in the father land,
We’ll make love get drunk and live life grand!

So don’t be sad because we are always apart.
Our mutual love means we’ve got a great start,
I’m stuck out here on some politician’s wrong whimming,
But you are strong my love- so keep going- keep swimming!



It was hard work to find a rhyme for swimming that didn’t have anything to do with slimming-a touchy subject for women in general!
The swimming line at the end is a private joke between me and Frau ******s .You see I’ve only been married for two years and three months and this is my wife’s first Operational Tour. Rach deals with it amazingly, even though we worked it out on R+R that in 27 months of marriage I’ve only spent 10 months in her company. I suppose this is why we’ve got a Jack Russell instead of a baby!
When I ask her if she’s going to be alright after taking yet another bite out of the shit sandwich that gets dealt to every army wife (husband offspring etc) when there husband comes home with “the good news,” she always quotes Dorian off the Disney cartoon Finding Nemo;
“Keep on swimming, keep on swimming”………

CHAPTER 2



Tony Blair said in2003 that we were only 15 min away from W.M.D carried by an Iraqi scud. I watched it all from the Serbian border on the proposed Kosovan side on a Balkans tour with the Royal Engineers. At the time nearly everyone I spoke to(now you’ve got to remember most of these lads had done at least one Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland tour) thought that we would still be in Iraq in 2010,and guess what-it looks like we are going to be right.
So here I lie, having got myself admitted to the infirmary with the soldiers friend diorreah and vomiting (ive just got the diarrhoea and not the vomiting unlike the poor sod in the next bed space) typing my thoughts onto my laptop. I’ve got 48 hours to fill before the doc will review my abused digestive tract and I’ve already been sleeping.
Basra has just gone into meltdown again. Prime Minister Maliki has to shore up the Sothern tribes and get them to trust him and in turn vote for him. The way he is going about this is to sack his one good general in the South-Mohan-and without further ado send his half trained troops into Basra town centre with no re supply or support and then ultimately blame us, the British Army for not helping him when it all goes wrong.
Mucktad al Samir’s fighting men the Mardi army say they will observe the ceasefire only if the PM leaves Basra and so have started their summer assault and counter attack early. Meanwhile we have come under constant attack from mortar and rocket at the COB and all our plans to help and train the Iraqi army have had to be been sidelined.
Our government wants to draw down the troop numbers here and the general feeling among the troops is bitter-we don’t have enough troops to defend the base and help the Iraqis at the same time as it is. To send more troops home without replacement would look good for the voting British public. In reality it leaves the rest of us who are left here in the lurch. If Gordon Browns gamble doesn’t pay off and we get attacked at the COB we won’t have enough men available to go and patrol the mortar and rocket launching sites and catch the bad guys-in short we end up sat at the wrong end of a turkey shoot firing range unable to fire back.
Ironically for us all this means the only person who can stop the carnage downtown is the fundamental cleric Mucktad al Samir (‘scuse spelling), which I’ve just heard he has. Nice moves politically speaking for him-not too good for the Iraqi PM though.
I went to camp lick by bridge 4 the other day. I drove the OC; his regular driver was on R and R so I got to drive the boss. He is a good bloke and a tough soldier the Major, well liked by his men-he always looks after them and makes sure everybody knows what’s going on-even his mechanic! The camp itself was under constant mortar fire. I was in the Mastiff and saw one go off about 10 feet in front of me .I never knew that mortars make a double bang when they go off really close to you. One of the infantry lads told me that’s how you know you are really in the shit because you hear it bang off the tarmac before the fuse detonates-a kind of clang BANG.Nice.Anyway I got out to go and speak to the Iraqi colonel via our interpreter. He was supposed to have about 40 working BNP’s (an old style Soviet block armoured personnel carrier) – but he only had two in working order. I was going to offer to have a look at them for him and see what I could do.
So there he was sat opposite my Major with the Iraqi Colonel and the second mortar barrage came in. I pointed out afterwards when our hearing came back to the lad who told me about the clang-BANG that another way you can tell you are in the shit is because holes start appearing in walls around you and you where lying on the floor one second and seem to have moved a couple of feet with the blast the next. I never bothered with the BNP’s.
The main hospital is starting to be used for the treatment of civvies and Iraqi squaddies from the city so the guard has had to be doubled. A young mechanic called Dan has being helping out clearing up blood and guarding the nurses. A four year old little girl has just died in front of him. He told me she was just sat there with her mum .Shed been shot in the abdomen with an exit wound on her bum cheek. The nurses gave her a morphine lollypop and she seemed to be doing ok. She had a heart attack on the way to the operating theatre on the trolley Dan had offered to push. I tried to comfort Dan-he was obviously cut up about it all, it’s his fist tour ,he’s only 19 and he’s not used to this shit- who is?
All of a sudden I feel a very long way from home. I miss my wife and walking the dog. It’s the simple things people tend to miss around here. I just want to sit on my new couch and not get bombed.
There’s an empty seat in my Mastiff, as there is in most of them due to personnel shortages (the government want to reduce troop numbers in theatre as an election winner back home). One of the lads has put a sign on the empty seat saying; Reserved for Gordon Brown. When I asked about it the lad who put it there said with cigarette clenched between teeth, in a fine Glaswegian brogue;
“Aye, he can come and sit in it whenever he fuckin’ wants.”



CHAPTER 3






It’s a very unusual sensation to be shot at. For those of you out there who are bikers it’s the same sensation you get when your motorbike hits a manhole cover on a bend and you think you are going to lowside to the kerb. To all you non bikers this is kind of the same sensation as walking down the stairs in your socks, slipping and catching yourself just before you fall by making a grab for the banister. However it lasts a lot longer-the length of the fire fight and beyond. Its easy to sound flippant about this, but as far as I could see when we got ambushed the thing to do was fight.Hard.The lads I was with all the way to company level were, and still are- by Gods will- some of the toughest blokes you could ever meet, and definitely the type of men you’d wish to be with if ever you got into a tight spot.
We were heading back from Smugglers Bend on the Al Fore Peninsula all was normal, dirty, tired etc. I was driving for Jonesy.He was knackered I’d just picked the platoon lads up from an ambush they had been doing with the Iraqi army. It was a joint training exercise that was supposed to culminate in a live ambush upon a smugglers boat. Obviously the war is over and it’s not within the British Army’s remit to open fire on civilian criminals. Which is why the Iraqi army were to instigate the fire fight in the guise of Border Patrol .When the smugglers returned fire we would be embedded in with the Iraqi soldiers and we could “adopt” our rules of engagement having come under fire. A company sniper was to kill the helmsman on the smuggling vessel. We were then to open up on it with 50 cal and sink her leaving no survivors and hence no complications. Criminals don’t have many rights around here.
Luckily for the smugglers they didn’t turn up that day (1 Lancs carried out the op a few days later-they used a javelin missile instead of 50 cal machine guns the boat was sunk in the estuary-no survivors).
So there we were heading back to the COB after the joint ambush .The lads had been on the go for about 35 hours. A few weeks earlier our company had been down to the same area n the Peninsula and the weather had been wet with winter downpours. This proved to be hard going for the Mastiffs which are not the best vehicles to drive on waterlogged roads. I had spent 21 hours on the wrong end of a shovel digging a half rolled one out of the mud. In light of this the Major decided to take us on a tarmac road to save any potential mishaps. This however took us perilously close to the Shear Flats-an Insurgent stronghold and the infamous Government Road.
1 Plt were about 1km in the front acting as vanguard and clearing the route, I was in one of three Mastiffs behind 1plt driving Jonesey in 2 Plt, tac waggon and 3 Plt were protecting a tanker of diesel and a couple of other soft skinned attached vehicles and bringing up the rear.
“Charlie Charlie one contact IED! This is Charlie Bravo One Zero contact wait out!”-This basically means that the lead vehicle CB10 had had a roadside device explode at it. Luckily our Electronic Counter Measures are very good at setting roadside bombs off before vehicles drive by or over them. By saying the word “contact,” over the radio the Plt Sgt had ensured that all other call signs receiving his transmission shut up and allow him to send his contact report and request for any help that would be needed.
We were about a kilometre away and were the nearest help to 1 Plt so the Major came over the net instructing us to move up to CB10’s position and cordon the area off for them, look for secondary devices and to see if it would be any use calling the bomb disposal/forensic blokes to get intelligence on the detonation etc –all fairly standard stuff for out here.
As we drove up I said to Jonesy that I thought I could see tracer from the right of the road coming from the shear flats onto the vehicles of CB10 just in front of us at a distance of about 100m-he agreed.
And then….. BOOM! Our waggon moved a couple of metres backwards.
“Charlie Charlie one this is Charlie Bravo Two Zero, contact I.E.D,repeat contact I.E.D!Secondary device behind Charlie Bravo One Zero call sign!” shouted Jonesy over the net .An Explosively formed projectile had just gone off about 5m in front of our wagon. Obviously has been the secondary device to cut off CB10’s escape route.
At this point all hell broke loose the gunner on the intercom said he could see muzzle flashes from the flats, the wagon felt like it was being pelted with rocks as incoming machine gun rounds started to slam into our armour along with shrapnel bits of rock and mud. (It was at this point I started to feel the back wheel of my metaphorical motorbike hit the wet man hole cover on a bend-remember?)What looked like an R.P.G round flew past the rear of the wagon in front and It’s top cover gunner was returning fire with a 50 cal.
“Contact CONTACT!, all call signs fight through,” came the call over the radio which was a general call to all wagons to return fire from the Major (which to be honest was good because our gunner had already fired about 300 rounds without being given the go ahead).CB10 pushed through to the right firing rearwards and we moved up to their position to continue giving suppressing fire and cover their escape .By now the dismounts in the back had got up through the mortar hatches and started firing their SA80’s and the wagons fitted out with 50 cal machine guns had started really laying it on thick(I later asked one of them –he said he’d got through 500 rounds in under 90 seconds!).We got onto CB10’s previous position and there was a pause in the firing .The lads from 1 Plt had got themselves onto a bridge flanking us at a right angle from the front: They were putting down an effective fire base at a right angle to our position-we had basically set up a crossfire back onto the ambush site from their killing zone back onto their positions- a classic counter attack. We were drawing sporadic fire and so we got the sharp shooters up into the Mastiff turrets with their night sights on (much to the dismay of our machine gunners) but they couldn’t identify further targets safely so we started to bug out.
Just as soon as it had started we drove through and it stopped. We re-organised at the bridge and 3plt pushed through with the tanker as the last packet of vehicles. The Iraqi police force confirmed 7 dead people from the flats the next day, all were adult males of fighting age and all had weapons on them or near them-2 were known Insurgents.
Later I was talking to my mate *******, a mountain of a bloke from S.Africa and 50 cal gunner for 1 Plt, father of one and a proper gentleman. He guiltily told me he was glad no more kills were confirmed in the city that day because he hadn’t adjusted his sights when he first returned fire into the flats in all the confusion and his first 10 rounds or so were fired high-probably into the city centre(his sights were on 1000+ m when he first fired).He said he had visions of some poor guy in the town centre a mile or so away minding his own business eating a kebab or something and getting brassed up .I asked him how he felt knowing as I knew that one or more of the kills were his .He seemed okay I hope he is .He told me he misses his baby son and his partner is sick of him being away so he gets a hard time when he calls her .Without the likes of ****** laying down returning fire from the relatively exposed position of the top cover hatch on a Mastiff there would be a lot less driver mechanics left ,so selfishly I’m glad he’s here with me!


CHAPTER 4
As I’m writing this I’m sat in the derelict Shat al Arab hotel embedded with the 52nd Iraqi rifle Brigade on the outskirts of Basra. Apparently we are all Iraqi soldiers (according to the British media), as we are all supposed to be in the COB. I’ve been all over the city chasing JAM guys with Rhine Company under the guise of being an Iraqi army “advisor”-ha!
I just really hope that journalist appreciates who was waiting around the corner of the building when the Iraqi army lads went and got him out of the house. Apparently he’s not being very grateful publicly-personally I think if anyone had been killed finding him or rescuing him he should have had the book thrown at him for involuntary manslaughter-selfish sod, he was offered protection from the COB along with the rest of the journo’s but he decided to go freelance and book into a hotel down town, which lasted for all of ten minutes until he was kidnapped, blindfolded and chained to a radiator. What must his family think? Nice one for no doubt getting nominated for the Purlitzer prize this year when you write your story, but don’t forget to mention the 200 or so combined services and special forces blokes that have been constantly looking for you and risking there lives ever since you went missing.
Everyone is getting dysentery here and there are even some cases of typhoid. (Brilliant!) Our government don’t want to commit to the fact that we are back in the city and there is little chance of us moving out until Mohan’s forces are established. So no commitment from the U.K equals limited support on the new front line. We’ve got fast air cover mostly from our Yankee mates but facilities will remain minimal.8 litres of water a day per man (its 43 degrees out here at the moment mind you) and poo bags all round-you poo into a plastic bag and burn it. if you haven’t got time to burn or its not tactical enough you carry your turds.It’s quite difficult to not pee when you poo but if you do and the bag splits then everything gets covered in piss-it’s even worse if you’ve got the shits!
I am running a forward repair base for the trucks at the moment. My ASM has said that my time would be better spent setting up a forward repair base (FOB) at the derelict hotel on the city outskirts rather than driving for 3Plt as I’ve recently been doing. This is so I can look after all the Mastiff’s rather than being trapped looking after a quarter of them at Platoon strength-a job for Ricco .
I’ve been down town as force protection for the Royal Engineers with the Pipe Major’s call signs driving for Billy among other things. I think of all the Platoons I have driven for over the past six months I like driving for Bill the Plt Sgt and his lads the most. I think it’s because Bills my age and he knows what I’m on about when I start talking about Ford Cortina’s and the like! Bill’s going be the Queens piper soon I reckon. If you’ve watched the Edinburgh Tattoo in recent years and caught the lone piper on the castle ramparts- that’s Bill. He’s just as good a Plt sergeant as a piper –totally composed and unflappable with a traditional grumpy sergeants air that he puts on to keep the lads in check. When he’s not killing Iraqis he’s a keen caravaner and loves spending weekends in the Highlands with his missus , his giant dog and his three lads .I also happen to know that he really likes musicals but he doesn’t let on because it won’t fit with his gruff image. We have surreal moments driving around the streets playing name the musical and singing show tunes!
We ended up in a fire fight down town in reserve to help the Iraqis .We called in fast air for them as a show of strength and got Buzzed by a tornado at about 50 ft! Everybody crapped themselves including the insurgents as the pilot launched flares-We thought they were bomblets. It stopped the street fighting but not as much as the downpour that happened 5 minutes later. Poor Joe the armourer was top cover and because we were technically in a fire fight he had to stay up and observe-he got drenched and had a few choice words over the intercom.
So I try and either turn the Mastiffs with problems around and get them back to the platoons from Rhine embedded in the city using D SQN with Mons Company as my force protection( when available). Or I triage the knackered wagons and organise recovery back to the COB.Im spending my days with the fitter section and lads from the RDG’s which is nice because I know 'em all anyway. They are a bit pissed off because Mohan doesn’t want tracks I the city so they are on permanent standby in their Warriors waiting for it to kick off .The only time they get to go down town is with me when one of the Mastiffs in the city has an off and we take a trundle into town .This is about once a day at the moment-medieval street plans and giant trucks don’t mix. Imagine an Eddie Stobart truck trying to get through the centre of Stratford. Along with that I get to inspect the wagons when they come in for re-supply, demand any bits for them and I’m starting to get the paperwork ready for the relief in place in 22 DAYS TIME-YES!

CHAPTER 5



The worst “bogged” in waggon to date in the city was yesterday. I was sat with the lads from the RDG’s (Royal Dragoon Guards), when the ops room sent a runner to say a Mastiff was on its side in the city. The rest of the platoon in the other three Mastiffs’ were providing all round defence and force protection for the stricken truck but they couldn’t manage to drag it out on a tow strop. D Sqn were to provide force protection and route clearance for their recovery variant of a Warrior Armoured Personnel Carrier-instead of a turret and seven infantry blokes in the back it has a crane and a winch and is crewed by REME tradesmen instead. My name was put on the Warriors flap sheet (zap no. blood group donor card details etc) because I’m the Mastiff expert (don’t cha know) and off we went. The Mastiff vehicle casualty was about 5 Km’s away so off we tracked into downtown Basra. Andy the armoured mech was in command, Tiggs the class 2 mech was driving and I and Al the recovery mech were in the back next to the winch. It always makes me shudder when I travel anywhere in tracked armour-don’t get me wrong I like armour and I think we’ve got some of the best kit in the world but (I don’t want to be specific-who knows who’ll read this) the fuel tanks are on the inside to protect them. A warrior has a big fuel tank, the insurgents have failed so far to penetrate a warrior hull effectively I’d hate to be in one if a molten copper slug from an EFP got through the armour and into the fuel tank-although I imagine I wouldn’t be in it for long. In the same shape as I am now anyway.
When we arrived at the place where the Mastiff had gone in we opened the back door and were greeted with what I could only describe as the worst smelliest smell I have ever smelt. Ever. A dismounted infanteer with a shemagh (popular Arabic scarf adopted and worn by British squaddies to keep the dust off) wound around his nose and mouth indicated to Al and I where the vehicle casualty was-around a bend in the road. This seemed to be where the stench was coming from. To our left and right the high dusty walls of Basra loomed. Luckily for me there were plenty of friendly call signs with us scanning the rooftops, alleyways, rat runs and windows and the area was packed with locals not to mention scores of kids all exited by the unfolding events. One of the interpreters went into a local shop bought a load of ice cream and started dishing it out. By the time me and Al had got to the Mastiff there was practically a riot of little kids. In a way this was quite shrewd of the ‘terp. Insurgents try not to kill locals especially kids-it’s bad for publicity. So the busier an area is with locals the less likely something bad is likely to happen. The infantry lads were getting twitchy nevertheless.
We discovered the source of the smell. The Mastiff driver a lad called Jock had taken the corner in the narrow streets as wide as he could and consequently driven over a sewer pipe covered in dirt. The pipe had ruptured due to the added weight and the front right quarter of the waggon was now sat at a 50 degree angle about a metre below the level of the road covered in shit.
Al said looking at where the Mastiff was buried and the state of it, “I’m not going to go for a front end winch if I can help it.” Between gulps of breath. The situation was not helped by the 45 degree heat.
“Fair enough,” I said.
At that point as always happens on recovery jobs everywhere people want to know a lot of things at once. I let Al get on with his job working out the best “pull,” with Andy the A mech while I fielded questions from the Colonel and the RSM about how long will it take to get out? And could I hurry up, how are you going to get it out? And is the truck damaged? Etc.
A few of the infantry lads under the direction of Sgt Bill had started to chase the nippers away from the truck and set up a cordon within the cordon. The heat was like a wall and wearing full combat gear and helmet carrying a rifle meant there wasn’t a dry set of underwear on anyone.
I walked back to Al having seemed to satisfy the RSM’s and Colonel’s questions and asked him what he thought. I Andy and Al all agreed that it would be best if the truck came out the way it went in. Andy went away to guide Tigger to where he wanted the recovery winch sighting .Al and myself got busy with the Jock getting the straight bars attached to the rear of the Mastiff ready to pull.
As we winched it out the mounting bolts for the front axle snapped down he right hand side which presented a problem as it completely dislodged the axle wrecking the steering and the propshaft.The problem with this was we were about 5 streets away from getting a low loader anywhere near to the knackered truck-which had just turned into an unsteerable lump. The RSM had a point when he had told us to try not and further destroy any of Basra’s neglected infrastructures there was a lot of tarmac ripped up that day. I’ll not hold my breath for a letter of thanks from Basra council.
I can’t wait to see my wife she’s the nicest, funniest, and sexiest, woman I’ve ever met and I love her dearly. She keeps me on the straight and narrow and makes my heart smile if you know what I mean!
We’ve decided to go back to Britain in the summer .My dad is 60 this year and it would be nice to see everyone .I’ll be amazed at the difference 4000 miles and living in a liberal democracy make to your perspective or priorities for life I’m sure .
I am a bit of a “piss taker,” and “people watcher,” when on leave, much to the amusement of Rach. I do find it very relaxing and entertaining to be surrounded by people who find the price of Tesco’s fusilli pasta(its gone up by 15p according to a three week copy of the Mirror delivered to the FOB)a big crisis.
In contrast I saw a man who’d been hanged on the day I read about the pasta .I like pasta and I’d happily pay 15p more-I haven’t had fresh rations in a month, although you can keep the mental picture of the insurgent I’ve got- swinging by his neck, well dead, covered in flies with a crusted pool of shit under him that I will forever associate with fusilli .Iraqi army barracks are something else. In a way the dead insurgent was testimony to the success of our human rights outcry back at home about Abu Grade prison a few years ago .Us Brits no longer Process Iraqi prisoners-due to British public outcry at our mistreatment of them-so now the Iraqis process captured enemy Insurgents themselves .Which of course means-around here anyway-heavy beatings, hangings and torture without the fuss or inconvenience of trial .Nice one, we just used to strip them and make them dance to Steps, out of boredom not malice. Apparently it was kind of like a really weird wedding reception, or so I heard.




Thats it (or all I want to stick on here). Whaddya think?
 

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