My short career as a soldier

Soldier On

Soldier On (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had only just moved there. For the first few days it rained. I felt trapped inside the house, aching to play outside. I could only have been three years old and I drove my mum mad as I complained of boredom, hunger and about the rain. At last the rain stopped and I ventured outside into the garden. “Stay close to the house!” mum warned.

Before long, I noticed the shed. I had seen dad take stuff in and out and my curiosity was piqued. Prying open the door, I looked inside. An Aladdin’s Cave of tools, buckets, paints and old bits of wood lay haphazardly around the inside of the shed.

Some were covered in spiders’ webs. I steered clear – I don’t like those infernal creatures. One item stood out amongst the junk; a bright red paint pot which looked to me just like a soldier’s helmet. I tipped it over and put it on my head wrapping the handle round my chin like a strap. It felt very heavy and I struggled to keep my head upright.

I marched like a soldier into the kitchen to show mum, expecting her to be pleased. She screamed. The red paint had seeped down over my hair looking like blood. My dad grabbed me and began washing my hair using white spirits. They felt cold and stung my eyes.

I cried. I only ever wanted to be a soldier.

Pack up your troubles

English: Royal standard of members of the Brit...

English: Royal standard of members of the British Royal Family without their own standards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In one of the few remaining countries with a reigning monarch, any royal event is bound to be significant. People sometimes question the wisdom of paying large quantities of money from the civil list to various brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins third removed that make up the Royal Family. Advocates always point to the tourist revenue generated because of the Royal family and the hard diplomatic and charitable work that the main Royals undertake. Detractors make the point that many of those tourists would have come anyway and that the work could be done much cheaper. For me, there are bigger things to be concerned about.

In the world today, there is a lot of worry. In the UK, we worry about recession and lack of growth. The Americans are worrying about their level of debt and losing their grip on superpower status as younger countries catch up. The Europeans are worried about the Euro and the nations that are both figuratively and geographically clinging onto Europe. In Germany, they are worried about the final bill for a working Euro whereas in Greece they cling on to Europe with the finger of one hand whilst waving goodbye with the other.

Everyone worries about the atrocities in Syria and the simmering conflict between Israel and Palestine. Are we leaving Afghanistan too soon or too late? Despite the supposed destruction of Al Qaeda, terrorism remains at the back of our minds. The Chinese worry about losing control of their people. In Japan they are rebuilding their country following the dreadful Tsunami that we all watched in high definition. In Africa, people are either starving or fighting (or sometimes both).

This Summer in the United Kingdom, all of the worries in the world will be forgotten temporarily. With the Queen’s diamond jubilee and the London Olympics taking place this year, the British people will do as only we know how. Today, a pageant containing 1,000 vessels headed by the Queen will make its way down the Thames. Despite all the misery in the world, we are going to have one hell of a party…. in the rain.