One ex-squaddie's daily struggle with life, love and bloody civies

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Breathing through yer ring

Decided foolishly to go for a run this lunchtime as I wimped out yesterday due to heat and thinking it would be a tad cooler, humph bad idea.

I decided against my usual go for it approach (run as fast as feck for the first 1/3, slow down for the 2nd and pick it up for the last) and just, well have a jog like I see the other joggers do, nice and easy along the river.

Now I have a few checkpoints around the route so I can gauge performance and when I got to my first checkpoint and was running a minute over time, which was to be expected, got to the second and was a full 2 and 1/2 mins slower, said I would take it easy.

But then I felt I was cheating, so picked the pace up a bit and by the time I got to the third point I was pretty much on time, now it was a challenge, lets go for a personal best. So I pushed it out on the final stages and, well came in pretty much on the time that I am used to, however the heat caught up with me and I collapsed in a sweaty heap at the end, so much for a gentle jog

Monday, June 12, 2006

Revisiting old ghosts

A recent comment on my last blog stirred a recent memory, in my service days I managed 5 tours in total, four in Northern Ireland and one in Bosnia. In that time I have been present at a motor attack, a improvised rocket attack, two live IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), one which went off right next to my other teams vehicle, countless fake IEDs, a limpet mine attack (which took life) and one shooting. Now that sounds a lot but mostly I just heard it, did a cordon or reacted to the incident, except the shooting. The shooting is al mine.

Early 90's before the current ceasefire, in fact before the ceasefire before this ceasefire (they have had quite a few) I was a young Lance Jack in Belfast running a vehicle checkpoint on the Laganbank, the Laganbank is a strip of land between two bridges by the River Lagan. Whilst there we got took on by a burst of automatic machine gun fire, no casualties by there was weapon strikes by my 2ic (second in command). Being shot at is a strange exeripernce, I can honestly say I crapped myself and not be ashamed, its one of those things that only those who have been through it truly understand. Anyway no one was caught and it became another statistic.

many years later once I had left the forces I found myself in a company that sent me on a job across to Belfast, when I check the location on Streetmap I was shocked to discover that its was close to my contact point. When I finally got over I went for a walk in the sun during lunchtime and strolled to the point where I stood frozen like a bunny in the headlights hearing rounds zip over my head (there's a saying for that, crack, thump). To my (pleasant) surprise the area had gone through a major facelift since the peace process started and there on my contact point I face the front doors of the newly built Belfast Waterfront Hall.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Squaddies are Different


One of the things I have noticed is that squaddies run in a different way than civies. Since I started the new job I have been running much more frequently as there is a nice little 4 1/2 mile course along the river and back as well as a few others around the area, add a shower in the workplace and its running pumps again.

However when I run I generally I put my head down and "go for it" and try and get the best time possible, whereas, I have noticed, many have a little jog and a chat and a look about etc. Now I'm not knocking that, at least they are exercising, but I just can't do that sort of run. One of my work colleagues asked me, whilst I was carrying my kit, towel and water bottle, if I was out for a jog.

"No," I replied, "I'm off running"

"what's the difference?" He enquired.

"Well its like jogging, only it hurts more"

The other thing I have noticed is that most civies don't seem to want to go for a run after half an hours sleep after a heavy night down town on the shots and alcohol jellies, funny that really.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I'm gainfully employed...(again)

AT LAST...... Got a little worried as jobs didn't fall at my feet on return but picked up a bit of work at an extremely well known company that does films and things, so it looks like I'm going home with some "acquired" merchandise. The journey is a bit of a pain but they have showers here so I have the joy of running to the train station again, fizz routine now back to normal :o)

Its one of those laid back yank companies that frown at you for wearing a suit. This adds an extra dilemma in that after years of suits and ties I have to join the daily work fashion show, so a bit of retail therapy may be in order.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Back in the land of the living

Been a while since I've blogged due to my trip abroad and having the Father-in-law with his new girlfriend to stay over Easter meaning extremely limited access to the PC (its in the spare room) but finally back.

So took a holiday and now thinking about getting another job, unfortunately for me everything I have been offered since I got back is too low in pay and too bloody far to travel. I don't actually need to work as I have sufficient funds, its just there's only so many jobs around the house on the missus list that I can deal with.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

US Military in Common Sense Shock

Saw the news this morning, apparently the US military are about to undertake a dramatic new approach to the war in Iraq. It seems the "Blow the crap out of the locals" approach is a tad unpopular, and a new approach of less troops in a supportive role is the way ahead.

No Shiite Sherlock

Also why on earth are US Generals in Florida wearing desert combats ?????

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Problem solving Arab style

Next door to my training room they are holding a seminar called “Decision Making and Problem Solving”, it seems to consist of a lot of arm waving and shouting.

Would I be out of order if I chucked in a map of Israel?

Observations of Arabian Gentlemen

Whilst in the Middle East I have noticed a few things about the men here.

  1. Arabian Gentlemen don’t seem to do any physical work, they have Indians and Asians for that sort of thing
  2. Arabian Gentlemen have a limited dress sense, its seems that white with red and white accessories are currently in (as they probably have been for the last hundred years)
  3. Arabian Gentlemen have a very novel approach to time keeping
  4. Arabian Gentlemen don’t seem to have any women, or at least I haven’t seen any since I’ve arrived
  5. Arabian Gentlemen have this jet wash thing in their toilets, not entirely sure what it’s for but have a fairly good idea
  6. Arabian Gentlemen will do anything you ask of them, provided you ask them another 4 or 5 times (and there is an Indian or Asian available to do it)
  7. Arabian Gentlemen are nowhere near as religious as I first thought
  8. Arabian Gentlemen love the sound of their car horns
  9. Arabian Gentlemen eat a lot of sweets and biscuits
  10. Arabian Gentlemen have very poor takeaways (never ever have a Dominos over here)
  11. Arabian Gentlemen like big shiny cars
  12. Arabian Gentlemen drink a lot of Pepsi
  13. Arabian Gentlemen treat other gentlemen with the utmost respect
  14. Arabian Gentlemen’s offices don’t seem to have any women’s toilets
  15. Arabian Gentlemen are genuinely surprised that there are buildings in the UK over a hundred years old.
  16. Arabian Gentlemen don’t seem to know what to do when they hear a police or ambulance siren, I think the plan is “everyman for themselves”
  17. Arabian Gentlemen’s everyday attire is see-through (shudder)
  18. Arabian Gentlemen MUST finish work on time
Arab April fool

I seriously thought on my arrival in Saudi on the early hours of the first of April that the locals had adopted the custom of Fools Day. I’m here for a couple of weeks to provide training far a set of three pieces of software, prior to my arrival everything was supposed to be in place ready for me. Well the catalogue of errors and problems that have preceded me takes some serious beating.

Since I arrived the following has gone wrong.

  • No car at the airport to take me to the hotel
  • No hotel room was booked The car to take me to the offices had to be called that morning as it wasn’t booked
  • The Software was not installed in the training room (one of the prime requisites sent over to them)
  • In fact no software at all, so even if they wanted to install, they couldn’t
  • No user rights on the machine, so I couldn’t install my self
  • Training manuals hadn’t arrived from the UK yet
  • Oh and nobody turned up for the training anyway

So all in all a great start.

Saudi Internet is pants

Quick and reliable broadband to your room the glossy brochure said, quick and reliable my arse

Got hooked up for an hour so prepare for a blogging frenzy