Thursday, 21 January 2010

I Miss My Cold War

We all knew where we stood back then (I mostly stood in front of Army Barracks in Germany with my SLR) I could pop down to a local Bar - binge drink myself into a stupor on the silky velvet Warsteiner brew us Toms called 'Wobbly' It was the norm. Work hard play hard. I suspect Brits have been binge drinking since they first discovered alchohol.

Common sense was also the norm... I worked on Armoured Fighting Vehicles that would crush a young Squaddie to pulp in the blink of an eye. I was given a Health & Safety lecture by my Troop Sergeant on my first day around the Tanks. 'Keep your wits about you' he said. That was it. No tedious PowerPoint presentation, no meetings and no risk assesments. We relied on common sense.

The bogeyman was almost real back then. He didn't have the Daily Mails Suicide Bombers lurking on every street corner.. He had the 3rd Shock Army. We knew our place and they knew theirs and our Nukes made sure we stayed in them.

There was no 'War On Terror' even though Terrorist bombs went off every other week back in mainland Britain. As a Soldier in Germany I was a soft target for the PIRA. I never really spared it much thought. I weighed up the chances of being killed by them and if I'm honest, I was of the opinion I was more likely to be killed by my trousers than a PIRA attack. It's much how I feel about the chances of being blown to bits by a beardy nutcase today.

My last 6 months were a sign of things to come however. We had to attend a 'Smoking is bad for you' Lecture given by a Major in the Medical Corp. I managed to get myself in a spot of bother with the Sergeant Major when after the 2 hour lecture the Medic asked if we had any questions. I raised my hand and said 'Any chance of a fag break Sir?'

Oh I miss it so...

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