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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Monday, 22 September 2014

Serving the Queen 1

RAF NATIONAL SERVICE 1955 - 57
Bradford Mechanics Instititute. Coir matting in the room corner is suspiciously dark. Others standing there, filling a sample glass, must have been over-generous. I strive for control.

RAF Cardington, processing camp. I receive shirts, underpants, KFS and other oddments but no uniform. At 6 ft 1½ in. I am too tall and must wait for my tailor-made working blues and best blues. I have a mug but the tea is intolerable. I must learn to drink it.

RAF Hednesford, basic training ("square bashing") – see pic. Communal life, 24 to a billet, doesn't suit me and I am detested by my peers. I apply to be an officer in order to have a room of my own but lack leadership qualities. We march on a parade ground with alarming contours, caused by coal-mine subsidence.

RAF Hednesford. Preparing for an inspection I use my bare hand to clean beyond a lavatory U-bend; my effort goes unexamined. In a lecture by the padre, through which many sleep from exhaustion, we are told why Bertrand Russell the philosopher is at fault. I want to argue but I too am exhausted.

RAF Hednesford. Foolishly I argue with a screaming drill corporal and am condemned to clean rancid fat from cooking trays. Thereafter I shovel coal. Coal dust adheres to my fatty overalls and I become a Great Depression caricature.

RAF Hednesford. Irritated by my mouth organ playing six of my peers hold me down while a seventh abstracts the instrument. The abstractor, a puny fellow, comes from Lancashire and I feel no pain as he kicks my shins during the subsequent scuffle. Thrilled by my audacity I overwhelm him and he is forced to return my Hohner.

3 comments:

Ellena said...

You also learned when not to stoop.

mike M said...

Oh dear. I've just looked up "lavatory," and it seems there is a "British" definition. He's not talking about a sink trap, people.

Roderick Robinson said...

Ellena: Are you suggesting I might be disrespectful to my Monarch? Perish the thought.

MikeM: Surely you didn't have have to look up lavatory? You've read enough English authors, haven't you? What's more important is that if you were subjected to some strange time-warp, and you found youself in the present-day armed services, you'd be prepared to do for Obama what I did so effortlessly for Queen Elizabeth II, Fidei Defensor, etc, etc, long may she rumble.