I got in contact with an old school friend yesterday. He's been in the Army for many years and has just returned from Afghanistan again. I have lost count of how many times he's been over there. This time it has really affected him. He's now lost 15 friends out there, right in front of his eyes. He's come home and life cannot be the same.
I can't imagine the things he's seen and done. He told me, the thing that kept him going all that time was thinking about how life would be when he got home and saw his loved ones. Not least his baby son who was born only a few weeks before he was last deployed out there. What did he come home to? A country that's moved towards a recession, everyone down and sad and not the least bit grateful towards him. What did he spend the last 6 months out there fighting for?
In a bid to help him I looked on the internet to see what is out there to help him. Not a lot it would appear, as he's not lost a limb. So what is there for him to look forward to? Another 18 months here before being sent back there AGAIN. There are no words to explain how much respect I've gained for these people in the last 24 hours.
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
It feels like an age since I posted on here. I was an absolute wreck in the run up to Christmas - too much work, ill health and general fed-upness with the dark. Fortunately that is now behind me.
Although a bit sniffly I had a good xmas. I got lots of time with the people who matter most to me, lots of yum food and great presents. Who could ask for more?
I love the time between Christmas and New Year and this year has been the best yet. Cunningly we made very few plans. This left me with plenty of time to play my new MarioKart DS game, cook and eat a lot and generally be lazy. To counteract all the laziness we went shopping yesterday to Bluewater. What a busy place! I am sure it was more busy than before Christmas. Mad groups of people we wandering aimlessly among the shops with shelves heaving with unsold Christmas merchandise.
I cannot understand these groups of parents with GIANT pushchairs going shopping at this time of year with a couple of kids also wandering about and an elderly relative also in tow. Surely they can see what a nightmare it will be before they even leave the house. No-one looks like they're having a good time. Being pushed and shoved is not a leisure activity as far as I am aware.
Today has been a curry haze. Tomorrow we're having family over for a big curry feast. So far I've made dhal, fish curry, mushroom bhaji, tamarind chutney, coconut sambal and pea & potato samosas. Phew!