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Sun 2nd Feb: Swallowed by the Green Machine. Not nearly enough shouting going on for this to feel real. Lots of getting kit on and off the bus (especially when Ades and Barber realised two of their bags were missing - they turned out to have got caught above the cab of the lorry used to move it to Chilwell).

Chillwell is where RMTC is - I can't remember what it stands for, but it's where the TA goes through the process of turning from a civilian weekend warrior to a full time soldier. There are legal issues - we come under a far stricter military law than normally applies to TA soldiers. There are pay issues - most of the WDs work in London and so earn considerably more than their junior TA ranks warrent. The army is good enough to compensate but it's not a simple process - most units have a few individuals who exceed the ceiling 'extras' provided as standard, but two thirds of the WDs qualify. There is kit to be issued - although this seems somewhat random given we already had the usual TA issue, and we aren't getting any desert kit. My newly issued C95 jacket is two gazillion sizes too large, just like my last one. I'm still using a frayed castoff I bought second-hand from Basement Barry during recruits. There is a medical test to ensure we are fit to serve - although Pete who is virtually blind in his right eye passed the vision test...

What a load of kit

What a lot of kit

The current plan is to finish the mobilisation today, go to Grantham for five days training, then two days (!) to prepare the vehicles (Wolf Land Rovers!) about two weeks NBC training, possibly possibly some leave, then off.

We've got new A2 rifles - they feel better, tighter than the looser old ones, and they've been resprayed... I have a SUSAT which is rare, so perhaps someone thinks my shooting needs some assistance. No bayonet though, which is also rare, so perhaps someone thinks I shouldn't be given blunt knives to play with.

A big screen in the 'waiting area' has just broadcast the shuttle disaster. [I used to work in the space industry, writing satellite control software, and it's always fascinated me] - this latest tragedy will hurt an industry already suffering from the failed low level comms constellation failures.

It's wierd being back - the same humour. All remarkably relaxed for now despite whatever emotions went tearing about last week. Some early marriages. Some babies are on the way (not necessarily the same people). Few are telling close friends about the possibility of leave - do you raise hopes to be dashed? Do you not say if there's the chance?

A few have failed their medical tests which must be difficult - to psyche up for callup and then get sent home.


Grumpy Andy demonstrates what you have to do when away from your wifeSkill at arms with Ades morning and afternoon - killing time as Grantham aren't ready for us yet. Good talk from Andy B about the problems in being away from home amongst the same group of people for a long period, and of going home. It's handy having been away in remote areas before, and not having a wife and children at home.

Conn did his MTC training at Chilwell and thought at the time 'Fuck me if I have to go through there'. If this is a film, someone who saw it before was laughing. Black humour about who will die tragically (ie someone with a baby on the way) and who is the canon fodder who'll be played by unknown actors.

No ciggarettes all day! Nothing like a war to focus on your health and anything that's going to affect your performance!

Still trying to sort out pocket order - especially as I intend to get an assault vest, and we won't be wearing jackets in the Gulf.

Grumpy Andy signs his life away.  Again.

Andy signs his life away. Again.

We've been away for a TA weekend so far - it's Sunday afternoon and time to go home, change into civvies and return to work tomorrow morning...

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