There is no other part of the Gregorian calender that has engendered such fear and excitement as the run-up to Christmas Leave. The reason that Mary and Joseph couldn't get a room was because town was full of Tp and Sqn p1ss ups, and the little baby jesus was born next to the prostrate form of a sleeping gunner who was surrounded by stella cans and dressed as that bird off the Matrix. Sadly, this year I'm surrounded by civil servants for the run up to christmas. The planning of our christmas do caused quite a ruckus in our organisation as half of them wanted it to be a Lord of The Rings theme and the other half insisted that, as representatives of the UK Orc and Elf Federation, they felt that unless we do it properly, it wasn't worth doing at all - then there were issues over carrying real swords in public and an argument over whether Gandolf the Grey could be deemed a separate character to Gandolf the White. I may have called Frodo Baggin's sexuality into question and the whole meeting descended into anarchy. It took one-star intervention to calm it all down and he told them just to organise a nice pub lunch. Unfortunately we have a number of food extremists who can't eat anything but leaves and a couple of others who are allergic to, well fucking everything as it happens. Add to that the religious crazies who are convinced that an eternal power that created the universe (and is, as we speak apparently, waging a war of annhilation with the forces of evil) really gives a flying fcuk about whether they have goats cheese or chops with their brocolli, and it's all become a very good definition of a pain in the scrotum. I remember the good old days when I was actually in the army as opposed to the hideously unfunny remake of The Office in which I now reside. The 3 solid weeks of drinking that used to leave my pancreas shivering and my liver twitching like a head-shot american schoolkid. I remember how my lads used to try to dress smart by wearing ties over top-buttoned rugby shirts, how their nervous and unsure wives/girfriends would redefine the term 'overdressed' in comparison, yet still make it look good. Until about midnight, that is, when two or more of them would get into a fight about "My Darren" while he (aka Cpl Smith) stood at the bar being congratulated by his section. How I used to get paraded in front of various familial relatives who thought Lt RTFQ was directly to blame for their husband's/boyfriend's/son's recent tours of the balkans. How your real CR came when your Tp SSgt stumbled over and presented you with an odd cocktail the lads had put together, with a slurred "Here boss, drink this." Did you trust them enough to drink it? Did they have enough respect for you not to have played the "Jizz in the Boss's Drink" game? Did they hold you in enough esteem to make sure your supine, ragdoll-like body got put in a taxi headed for the officers' mess after you drank it. I'm sure many a bookish future CGS with a recently endorsed A-grade CR has woken up in a layby in Pwllheli with the bodily fluids of 30 proud men in his stomach. I remember the Officers to Sgts' Mess functions that felt like a particularly cuckoo verse from Revelations. How I nearly died in a ditch in Colchester whilst dressed as a Zulu, pulled my best driver/rad op from a bin in Bracknell and saw what seemed like an entire Batallion freeze in naughty fear when Spearhead was called during a partially clothed rendition of Silent Night. This year, however, my silly season consists of a visit to a guesthouse named after a gay dancer for a buffet meal and an afternoon disco with a bunch of tools who think 'personality' wears a bow tie with flashing red lights in it and carries a plastic fish that sings "Don't Worry Be Happy." We have to be out by 1600 for the next function. Oh yeah, another department went there yesterday and three of them got food poisoning from the tuna. Spare me. Anyone else having a sh1t run-up to Christmas this year?