Travelling down the Rhine on a duck

Originally published on 25/10/2017, this is part of a series that I promised may take a while to complete. I was right!

In the Summer of 1962, at the age of 14, I travelled to Germany, with the Combined Cadet Force from my school, for a Summer Camp.

It was quite an adventure to get there. We travelled by military steam train, with the carriages being loaded onto the ferry for the channel crossing. It must have been very nearly the last such journey.

We eventually arrived at 2 Division Signal Regiment, in Bünde, West Germany, a Regiment I was later to be posted to as a regular soldier.

2 div.png

The Crossed Keys of 2 Division

 

 

There were still National Servicemen who had been conscripted into the forces for 2 years. These were the last of a dying breed as the last National Servicemen left the armed forces in May 1963.

I well remember that the soldiers took great delight in plying us with beer, probably at our own expense. That Summer, far from home, was the first time that I became extremely drunk, and extremely unwell.

We obviously overdid the cigarettes too. When I returned home I suffered, for a few days, with what was diagnosed as nicotine poisoning!

During our 10 days there we went out on exercise with the Regiment and did all sorts of, what was to us young boys, very exciting things. We helped camouflage vehicles, laid large capacity cables, helped put up radio masts, slept in abandoned barns and spent a day with the German Army.

It was during this “exchange day” that I encountered the DUKW (duck) that was to transport us down the river. (For the technically minded, more information here)

Ten very excited teenagers squeezed into the restricted space at the back and were driven down a ramp, into the water, where we progressed at a very sedate pace for 20 minutes or so, driving back up another ramp to dry land.

dukw

To be honest it was a bit disappointing, certainly not as exciting as the next half hour when we were transported at some considerable speed back up river, sirens wailing, in a fast patrol craft.

We then experienced a German Army lunch, for many, the first ever taste of “foreign” food. Tepid cabbage soup, cold würst, sauerkraut, black bread, and a strange pudding of yogurt. A new experience that was not repeated until it became more commonplace in the UK.

Postscript

In fact the river in question may not have been the Rhine. Memory being what it is, it could have been the Mösel, or even the Wëser. I have travelled on all of these, but, at the time, it seemed to be a very wide, and busy, river.

Part of the series Some things I’ve done that you probably haven’t!

With You Shortly — mused.blog

Chris, from mused.blog is a talented writer whose work should be seen far and wide. Here is an example of his very clever writing with a great twist. I hope you enjoy it!

 

This week’s photo writing prompt courtesy of Sue Vincent’s fun #writephoto challenge is entitled simply “reaching”. Much of the inspiration for this, came from the repeated phrase “I will not sit and wait for a break in the clouds” from the stunning track “Break in the clouds” by Frightened Rabbit. It literally started playing as…

via With You Shortly — mused.blog

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

View original post 106 more words

Twittering Tales #145 – 16 July 2019

It’s time again, for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge, to write a story, inspired by her picture prompt, in 280 characters or fewer.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

Check out all the fabulously creative entries here and, if you’ve never had a go, why not try a story of your own? You may surprise yourself!

img_5097Photo by Zoë Pappas at Pexels.com

He was delighted when a donor hand had been found, after his own had been crushed. Perfect!
He was delighted when there were no complications. Perfect!
He was delighted that the hand matched in colour and size. Perfect!

It was perfect in every way, but one!

It was trying to kill him!

(280 characters)

Twittering Tales #144 – 9 July 2019

 

It’s time again, for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge, to write a story, inspired by her picture prompt, in 280 characters or fewer.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution, which, this week, differs from my normal, but I like it. I hope you do!

Check out all the fabulously creative entries here and, if you’ve never had a go, why not try a story of your own? You may surprise yourself!

kitchen.jpgPhoto by Lisa Fotios @ Pexels.com

Party in perpetuity

Same house,
same party,
same day,
same time.
Every year!

Same laughs,
same jokes,
same lives,
same folks.
Very queer!

Same food,
same plates,
same drinks,
same mates.
Full of cheer!

Not the same,
we died that day,
we come forlorn,
and not to play,

but

shed a tear!

(247 characters)

Twittering Tales #134 – 30 April 2019

It’s time again, for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge, to write a story, inspired by her picture prompt, in 280 characters or fewer.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

Check out all the fabulously creative entries here and, if you’ve never had a go, why not try a story of your own? You may surprise yourself!

img_4478-1Photo by Suzy Hazelwood at Pexels.com

Special Delivery

There was no such thing as first and second class post then, all letters were important.

These, especially.

They explained why Daddy had to go away; why he couldn’t return.

Sadly, they never arrived, having been stolen by a dishonest postman.

Found 20 years later.

Delivered too late!

(280 characters)

These types of UK definitive stamps known as Wildings were first issued in 1952

In 1956 when this letter was sent, the postal rate was 2½d for up to 2oz (1 penny for 56.7 grams)

Twittering Tales #133 – 23 April 2019

It’s time again, for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge, to write a story, inspired by her picture prompt, in 280 characters or fewer.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

Check out all the fabulously creative entries here and, if you’ve never had a go, why not try a story of your own? You may surprise yourself!

img_4440Photo by WikiImages at Pixabay.com

The Stag Night (Batchelor Party, Bucks Night)

Hey guys, this was a great idea.

How did you manage to arrange the simulation in so short a time?

I guess this has to be the best stag night ever!

With so much booze, and the suit, and lights, and everything, it really does feel as if I’m weightless.

Hey guys, where are you?

Guys?????

(280 characters)

Twittering Tales #132 – 16 April 2019

It’s time again, for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge, to write a story, inspired by her picture prompt, in 280 characters or fewer.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

Check out all the fabulously creative entries here and, if you’ve never had a go, why not try a story of your own? You may surprise yourself!

img_4398Photo by Luis Quintero on Unsplash.com

The emergency survival packs had been set up for years, they were all over the city.

They held weapons, ammunition, water, food, and a radio.

Each agent had a unique access code to punch in on the keyboard, and a voice code to verify.

What the hell was the cat’s name I’d chosen?

(279 characters)

Twittering Tales #131 – 9 April 2019

It’s time again, for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge, to write a story, inspired by her picture prompt, in 280 characters or fewer.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

Check out all the fabulously creative entries here and, if you’ve never had a go, why not try a story of your own? You may surprise yourself!

img_4352Photo by Adhitya Andanu at Pexels.com

Since those huge bright globes appeared low in the sky it hadn’t been safe to venture outside.
All who tried were frazzled to a cinder.
We soon realised that we needed to keep to the shadows, but then the acid rain proved deadly too!
We’ve now used the last of the food and water!

(280 characters)

Twittering Tales #130 – 2 April 2019

It’s time again, for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge, to write a story, inspired by her picture prompt, in 280 characters or fewer.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

Check out all the fabulously creative entries here and, if you’ve never had a go, why not try a story of your own? You may surprise yourself!

img_4326Photo by Marc Schäfer at Unsplash.com

A sad room, full of empty bottles, was the only thing left by the father I’d not seen for the past 25 years.

The police had contacted me after finding an old newspaper cutting that identified me.

After settling his debts, I left the room, the memories, and the empty words, behind.

(279 characters)