My life#6 – The Army -First days

Today is 55 years since I left home to join the Army. Would I do it again?
You bet!

Peter's pondering

This, and subsequent “The Army” entries, came about through my Niece requesting some information on my Army days. She was doing some sort of project that required a “behind the scenes” view of military life, so I started to jot things down.

I got a little carried away!

I suppose that this became the precursor to my blog, so I have Penny to thank for that!

I am offering these jottings exactly as originally presented, the only changes being the introduction of badges, where appropriate, and occasional comments, shown in blue.


I joined the Army in 1964, at the age of 16. As I was under the age of majority I had to have my parents’ permission to do so.

Despite the image of the Swinging Sixties you must remember that the majority of youth was unsophisticated, untraveled and, despite what they believed, very naïve. We had not benefitted, or…

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My inheritance

I just updated my random post generator picture and tried it out. I came across this, written 4 years ago. I like it. I hope you do too!

Peter's pondering

I love a good sentence, they’re always a joy

it’s something I learned from my dad as a boy

he left school at 14 as people did then

but always was good with a paper and pen

he used to write poems and now, so do I

they’re not very good but I do like to try

in fact, if you wait just a moment or two

I’ll write one right now especially for you

No, don’t go away, just tarry awhile

I’ll jot down a verse with a guaranteed smile

Just switch off your phone and turn up your ears

put worries aside and forget all your fears

now listen to you, switch off all the rest

listen to feelings deep down in your breast

listen to smells of the world on your skin

listen to air as you’re breathing it in

listen to images deep in your brain

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Song Lyric Sunday Theme – for 03/03/2019

img_1345-3Thank you to Jim, who who has now adopted the fabulous Song Lyric Sunday, taking over from Helen Vardati who started this amazing weekly chance to share lots of favourites, and some not so familiar songs.

Helen rightly says SLS is a community, and no longer belongs to her, and Jim agrees that he does not own it, he just hosts it, and very well too if I may say so!

I know that we all hope to see Helen back in the blogging world as soon  as she is ready. Thank you so much, Helen, for creating, and developing Song Lyric Sunday.

The theme for this week is Occupation and you can find all the great entries here.

I haven’t a single song in my collection that has the word occupation in its title, and anything that I could find online just would not do.

I have, therefore, gone with my occupation for over 28 years and offer, for your enjoyment, Soldier’s Song, issued in 1980 by The Hollies. This song was written by Mike Batt, who created The Wombles! Such a pity that he is remembered more for that, than for all the fantastic songs he wrote, and for all his great musical productions.

Soldier’s Song is Bitter Sweet and tells the story of a young soldier, going off to war, who is taken in by a more mature lady.  She takes pity on him and wishes to “make a man of him” before he dies in battle. He doesn’t die, and returns, only to find that the lady has been raped and killed in the drunken rampages of his fellow victors.

Lyrics

The smoke was slowly rising as the light began to fade
There were fires on the skyline from some distant border raid
There I was riding out at seventeen to join my first brigade
Many years ago

And I chanced upon a farmhouse where the woman took me in
She gave me food and wine she gave me shelter from the wind
She delayed me from my regiment and service of my king
Many years ago

She said, “Soldier before I lose you to the fight
Oh, my soldier, I’ll make a man of you tonight”
She took me over in the fading fire glow
On that wild and misty night she was my woman

When I rose next morning I was gone before she stood
Tore myself away from there and left without a word
The sound of distant infantry was the only sound I heard
On that morning

And in that day I aged ten years and died a thousand deaths
I learned the feel of frozen steel and fear within my breast
But the lesson I’ll remember till they lay me to my rest
Keeps returning

She said, “Soldier before I lose you to the fight
Oh, my soldier, I’ll make a man of you tonight”
She took me over in the fading fire glow
On that wild and misty night she was my woman

And when the dice of war were thrown and victory was won
My drunken young compatriots went out to have their fun
And there was no single house they didn’t burn or overrun on that evening

And I rode out to that place again as hard as I could ride
But I found her by the cradle on that lonely mountainside
In the hands of those brave friends of mine she suffered and she died
Many years ago

“Soldier before I lose you to the fight”
She said, “Soldier I’ll make a man of you tonight”
She took me over in the fading fire glow
On that wild and misty night she was my woman

Songwriters: Mike Batt

Soldier’s Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

As a bonus I’m offering Tin Soldier by Small Faces.

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 17/02/2019

img_1345-3Jim Adams continues to look after Song Lyric Sunday, giving us the chance to share lots of favourites, and some not so familiar songs.

The theme for this week is Hill/Mountain and you can find all the great entries here.

Because I was pipped at the post by THIS THAT AND THE OTHER with my choice this week, I am offering another “Hill” tune for your delight (or not). You will find this at the bottom and it morphs my SLS entry into a personal history lesson too!

Anyone who has followed my SLS entries for a while will know that my mind often goes to Beatles songs to try to find a suitable offering to present. I’m not always successful!

What I found this week is a song off the Magical Mystery Tour album. After the success of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles wanted to create a psychedelically themed film, and Magical Mystery Tour was the result. It was designed as an unscripted television special and featured 6 new songs.

It was never meant to be an LP, but the producers added existing singles to make up the numbers! It worked out pretty well.

Here, for your enjoyment, is “The Fool on the Hill”.

The Fool on the Hill

The Beatles

Day after day, alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin is sitting perfectly still
Nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

His head in a cloud
The man with a foolish grin is talking perfectly loud
But nobody wants to hear him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney

The Fool on the Hill lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Here is the extra!

This is not a song, has no lyrics, and is unlikely to have been heard by anyone reading this blog. It is, however, special to me, and is amongst the music that MAY be played at my funeral/celebration of life/throwing on the local scrap heap!

It is “High on a Hill” by the Band and Bugles of The Royal Green Jackets

I had the honour to serve with The 2ndBattalion The Royal Green Jackets, in Dover, and Omagh, Northern Ireland. I can honestly say that they were the most professional and dedicated soldiers I have ever served with. This was the one and only time I served with a Light Infantry unit and It was a real eye opener. They are different! An example is that they march at 140 paces per minute, rather than usual 116, or 120. Examples can be seen below.

Imagine doing that for any length of time, AND carrying and playing an instrument!

St Kilda – Island on the edge of the world.

Anyone who saunters through my blog will very soon find that I was, for over 28 years, an Army man, a soldier, a squaddie!

This involved living in all sorts of weird places, in peculiar circumstances, and doing all sorts of things that the average joe doesn’t get to experience.

One of the places I lived was on the remote island of Hirta, in the archipelago of St Kilda. In all I spent over 8 months there, normally on a rotational basis of 6 weeks on, 12 weeks off. You can read a little about it here, and here.

During my time there I don’t think that I ever experienced the superb 4 day block of good weather that Angus Mackie and his group of kayakers did for their trip that is shown here.

This post is not about me but it does show a place that is dear to my heart, and to anyone who has ever been lucky enough to experience it.

Just as anyone who has experienced a true desert will know  what “desert fever” feels like, those who’ve been to Kilda will be forever drawn back there, even if it is only in memories!

This expedition report is rather lengthy, and will be hastily skipped through by some, but for a few it will be of great interest. The link at the bottom will take you to a marvellous set of photos and videos. It takes a while to load as they are high resolution, and lots of interactive 360˚ shots. I hope you have time to enjoy them.

A link to a newly updated blog post of “A Superlative St Kilda Sea Kayaking Expedition with Skyak Adventures.”

St Kilda is a place of superlatives!

The remote island archipelago of St Kilda lies some 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides and not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it has the highest sea cliffs in the UK, the largest seabird colony in northern Europe and a quarter of the world’s gannet population.

It’s also an amazing place for sea kayaking…!!

 

I’m Angus Mackie, a professional forester and photographer, based just north of Inverness on the beautiful Black Isle.  I’m on the North Coast 500 and am well placed to discover most of the Highlands.  The iconic scenery of Glen Affric and the Cairngorms are close by whilst many of the wild and dramatic locations on the west coast are within easy reach.

Mountains, landscapes, coastlines….  As a landscape and panoramic photographer who specialises in 360° photography, I enjoy exploring Scotland and its wild and remote places and have discovered some of the best photography locations in the Highlands over the last 35 years of living up here.  With a broad and wide ranging knowledge of the Highlands, I still enjoy finding new locations and fresh perspectives for my photography.  The use of natural light to capture stunning scenery at spectacular locations is very much a key factor for my photography.

I’m a qualified Summer Mountain Leader, a Sea Kayak Leader and a UKCC Level 2 Sea Kayaking coach, with many years experience of leading and guiding.  I am also a longstanding member of Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team.

Copyright © 2018 Scotland360° and Angus Mackie.

https://www.scotland360.co.uk/Blog_St_Kilda_July_2014.html?fbclid=IwAR0jolFavOHKug8o9RkHNk_oxkkAcyjGYtSI-heTlQk7dehf9o-Xyo-xans

Rapid Rhyme #6

This poem was inspired by Colleen’s post Not alone. On looking back, I find that my last Rapid Rhyme was also inspired by Colleen whose magnificent blog you can find here.

If you have not read anything of C Faherty Brown’s words, nor seen her delightful, and insightful, drawings, then I would recommend that you delve into them. Her books, too, are a joy, and her latest, “The Sentinel”, also features a tree. It truly is a magnificent story which, uncharacteristically, features not a single picture. The words themselves are picture enough.

This is what Colleen inspired:

By the tree

in the tree

playfully

you and me

went on dates

__.__

Girl and boy

fun ahoy

boy oh boy

what a joy

consummates

__.__

Shared a life

man and wife

free from strife

love was rife

best of mates

PHEW – I MADE IT!

I once set about reading The Bible all the way through.  I made it! (although a lot of it was skipped through very swiftly, because some parts are boring {quite a lot}) I don’t take the Bible as gospel (see what I did there!), but it is a tremendous work by many people over many, many years.

One of the bits that many people could recount, although not verbatim, is the bit about reaching the age of 70, and guess what, I made it!

Psalm 90:10 King James Version

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

That inspired the following little offering of ageist poetry:

Well, I’m buggered

Whoever thought? Three score years and ten,

and maybe, then, another ten;

but no excitement for the morrow

for it’s bound to end in sorrow,

and even if you reach that stage

you’ll surely creak, and feel your age;

but don’t get too complacent mate,

your number’s up, it’s just too late.

So, make the most of every day

before you have to fly away!

 

I fully intend to make the most of every day, with a little help from my friends.

For those who don’t know the real lyrics here they are

Twittering Tale #66 – 9 January 2018 – The Interview

It’s time again for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge to tax our creative souls. Just take her photo prompt and write a story, inspired by it, in 280 characters or fewer.

eddie-garcia-503678

 

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution. Check out all the fabulous entries here.

“So, Mrs Slaney, you taught Peter, and his sister, at age 10?”

“Yes. I taught a lot of brothers and sisters over the years. Most were a pleasure to teach and really made great efforts.”

“Can you remember what you wrote on his final report?”

“What I always wrote, COULD DO BETTER!”

(279 characters)

Mrs Slaney really was my teacher in the final year of Primary (Grade 5). She was probably the greatest influence I had in all of my education. The very first task for every child in her class was to write, in the front of their Nature study/geography book, the following words:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Now that is a good thing to remember!

My Brain

This was written at the age of about 17, in my “sort of journal”. It probably explains a lot about me, and definitely shows up the early onset of idiocy!

In case some readers do not know what tripe is, you probably don’t want to know, but this is what it looks like:

tripeSeriously, would you eat this?

The harder I try to put my feelings and thoughts into words, the more difficult it becomes.

To write down these words, on paper, is even more difficult, nye impossible. The seeming infinity of the brain’s reasoning functions, and its associated thought patterns, far surpass the ability of man to put these resources to use.

Ever since time began, man’s brain has puzzled even the most brilliant specialists. Looking like a lump of tripe, its intricacy, yet simplicity is still not fully understood and, I think, will remain so until long after I’m dead.

With the brilliant circuits, made up of still more brilliant microscopic electronic components, man has strived to produce an artificial “brain”. However, the powers that made us, obviously did not intend us to know the “elixir of life”, for that’s surely what the brain must be.

Man can artificially produce all components of the body except the brain, and, perhaps, someday he may be granted the knowledge of knowledge. God help us when he is. Just think of the corruption it would bring.

I do not see, however, how such a wonderful collection of matter can possibly understand itself. The mere fact that it is so marvellous makes it unbelievable and, therefore, I think, almost impossible to fathom. I say almost because, in this age, specialists have successfully probed and repaired and, in one case transplanted brain matter.

I could go on for pages and pages but my lump of tripe tells me to stop, and who am I to argue with such wisdom?