Friday, April 21, 2017

What we learned doing National Service

National Service - what we learned

Every now and again after some particular outrage by a young person, student, hoodie, longhair  or what have you, then some armchair ex-colonel or even someone more important like a former Lance Corporal,  will come out of the woodwork and suggest that National Service should be re-introduced instead of sending young men to university.

I have been thinking of writing a book about my National Service days sixty odd years ago, and will call it something like "Learned to drive and learned to skive".   Haven't got round to it yet but when I do......

The Chapters will include:

How to pretend to be busy by carrying a clipboard

When in a barracks, walk quickly looking straight ahead so that it would appear that you have some purpose and remember to walk around the parade ground and not across it.

All the verses of  bawdy rugby songs, even if you have never played rugby.

Swearing  in Arabic, 

 How to darn socks

Marching without kicking the heels of the guy in front so that a whole platoon is not brought down like a row of dominoes.( Never really mastered that one)

Spend long hours doing nothing either on your bed or in the Naafi if there was money left.

If it stands still paint it, if it moves salute it.

Play brag and solo whist

Get drunk, if you can afford it on ten Bob a week

Smoke by buying five Woodbines at a time.

Fire a rifle, sten gun and pistol (not a revolver!)

And most importantly....

Bite your tongue when being given orders by jumped up little squirts with upper-class accents and no brains.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fall out for a smoke

We live near a large block of modern flats and we can see some of the mainly younger residents standing outside smoking because it is not allowed inside the building.  Makes you realise how determined a smoker has to be these days.
I didn't start smoking until I was eighteen and only then when I was called up for my National Service in the army.  After almost any training activity, there was an order "Fall out for a smoke|". Well not exactly an order but it seemed like it.  Not that I could really afford to smoke on the thirty bob a week we got in the army, less deductions of course. It was always a toss up as to wether yu bought a packet of cigarettes or a couple of pints in the Naafi.
Fags though were relatively cheap and you could even buy a packet of five Woodbines.  The fags could also last longer because they had no filter tips and more often than not there wasn't time to finish before being told to fall in again.  All part and parcel of the military mind of course.

Still  as I said today's smokers need to be persistent, although at today's prices I cant imagine how anyone on the minimum wage can afford to smoke and as for the young women, why do they do it?
I recall that the late Dave Allen was of the opinion that "kissing a girl who smokes is like licking an ashtray."  Still he was a former chainsmoker who had given up so was probably biased.  Cant say if he was right or not as its a long time since I kissed a smoker.