Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Good Man Down


Speccy has it better than I can, with a good video clip:

I was planning to tell you about the sea bream I caught in Table Bay off Cape Town this afternoon, but it can wait.

Friday, 22 February 2008

One for The Tuscan Boys


"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose girl"

The priest asks, 'Is that you, little Joey Pagano?'

"Yes, Father, it is."

'And who was the girl you were with?'

"I can't tell you, Father, I don't want to ruin her reputation"

'Well, Joey, I'm sure to find out her name sooner or later, so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?'

"I cannot say"

'Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?'

"I'll never tell"

'Was it Nina Capelli?'

"I'm sorry, but I cannot name her"

'Was it Cathy Piriano?'

"My lips are sealed"

'Was it Rosa Di Angelo, then?'

"Please, Father, I cannot tell you"

The priest sighs in frustration. 'You're very tight lipped, Joey Pagano, and I admire that. But you've sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months. Now you go and behave yourself.'

Joey walks back to his pew, and his friend Franco slides over
and whispers, 'What'd you get?'

"4 months holiday and five good leads."

Friday, 15 February 2008

The HMS Apollo Incident

Some months after the Argentine surrender in the Falklands, Idle was commanding a settlement called Fox Bay West on West Falkland. This was a relaxing role, as a mile of cold South Atlantic water separated us from the company headquarters at Fox Bay East. I posted a soldier as lookout, and we sprang into action only when a RIB started bouncing across the bay. By the time any boat containing the company commander arrived, we were behaving busily and looking efficient and soldierly. Otherwise, I preferred intense periods of relaxation; we were never more than a fortnight away from a live-firing exercise in the bogs and hills.

One day, at the weekly Orders Group across the bay, the company commander announced that the Royal Marine detachment on HMS Apollo was going stir crazy and needed to come ashore to do whatever it is that Marines do. One officer, an NCO and six men were invited by HMS Apollo to take their place for a few days. This was a plum opportunity to get away from sheep-shearers' accommodation and army cooking, and everyone wanted to go.

The three platoon commanders were invited to give their reasons as to why they should be chosen. I kept shtum until the others had spoken, and then quietly offered the fact that my father had been First Lieutenant on board HMS Apollo about thirty years previously. (Now, this Apollo was almost certainly not the same boat, but a modern destroyer or mine layer or something, but I left that bit out).

To cut a long story short, I found myself one evening playing poker in the officers' mess (they call it a wardroom) after dinner on HMS Apollo, somewhere in the South Atlantic. A knock came on the door, and a Petty Officer requested the presence of the infantry officer in their mess. The RN officers smirked.

As we entered the PO's mess, the fellow asked me my christian name, which struck this Highland officer as unconventional. He said the rules were that I walked in and walked out of their mess as an officer, but niceties were suspended whilst they entertained me.

We got drinking and chatting and I was closely quizzed about my Aberdonian credentials. The Royal Guard at Balmoral came up. Suffice to say that I foolishly backed myself to remember the first dozen heirs to the throne, in order. I got it right, I think, but had to toast every one of them with a shot of navy rum (that dark and pungent stuff, not the delightful golden nectar of Mount Gay or Appleton). Soon, I was gibbered.

At this stage, they said, it was time to play a game. A teaspoon was produced, the end of its handle tied to a length of string. I was instructed to take off my trousers and underwear, and the string was passed round my waist and tied in such a fashion that the bowl of the teaspoon hung about two inches below my dick. Then they stood me legs well apart on a coffee table, introduced me to their mess champion, facing me in the same exposed condition on his own coffee table, and produced two lit candles in their sticks, placed between our legs. Then they blindfolded us (or was it only me?)

On the command "extinguish!", I crouched down and swung my equipment back and forward, in an attempt to douse the flame. Go too far, singed gonads and bell-end. You can imagine it, I'm sure. I swung and missed like a hopeless golfer, and suffered several discomforts. In my panic and confusion, I could hear the click of cameras amongst the roars of laughter. Best of five, the PO won 3-0 and I was reintroduced to my clothes.

I walked out of the PO's mess and embraced life as an officer again, albeit a nauseous one. Nothing was said about my ordeal, not even by my sergeant, who was in the PO's mess throughout.

When I am returned as the honourable member for Chichester, having won a shock victory for the No Nonsense Party, I am sure the photos will emerge, at least in the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, maybe even the Petersfield Post. Until then, my modesty is intact.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Things They Didn't Teach at Sandhurst in 1980

"An officer should be comely, spratly and above all else, confident in his own dress and bearing. He should, where possible, eat a small piece of meat each morning with molasses and beans. He should air himself gracefully when under fire and never place himself in a position of difficulty when being shot at. He should eat his meals comfortably and ahead of his soldiers, for it is he whom is more important tactically on the battlefield and therefore he who should be well nourished. His hair should be well groomed and if possible he should adorn a moustache or similar facial adornment. When speaking to his soldiers he should appear unnerved and aloof and give direction without in any way involving himself personally in the execution of arduous or un-officer like duties. He should smoke thin panatellas except when in the company of ladies where he should take only a small gin mixed with lemon tea. He should be an ardent and erudite gentleman and woo the ladies both in the formal environment and in the bedroom where he should excel himself beyond the ordinary soldier with his virulent lovemaking prowess. These I say to you are the qualities of an officer that set him apart from the lay person and the common soldier."

Lt Gen Hubert Worthington, Commander In Chief, 5th Royal Indian Mountain Division, Bombay, 2th December 1907