Shat Al Arab Hotel,
04th Jul 2005
Rumour has it that everything is different in the UK to how I left it, Bob Geldof is running the country, Richard Whitely is scaring the angels with his hideous jackets, No one is talking about the Lions Team, The Royal Family are all joining the Army (Fools!), but at least we all still seem to hate the French. So I can’t wait to come home.
You wouldn’t believe the excitement I had the other day. I was in my little hotel room one evening minding my own business reading a book when all of a sudden my ears pricked up and I heard a truly wonderful thing.
Not only a girl but as far as I could make out she was enjoying whatever she was doing far too much! As far as I was aware there was no one in my corridor or in fact my whole wing of the hotel that was in a position to do any bare bottom boxing, so this had to be someone new! Not only that but it seemed to be coming from the next-door room.
I was shocked, my neighbor is a particularly fat and hairy officer called Alfred, who could quite easily eat an apple through a tennis racket, and here he was dishing out what sounded like the ride of some girl’s life.
In a worryingly perverted fashion (sorry mother!) I had my ear pressed to the wall trying to hear exactly what might be going on, but couldn’t hear a thing. The rhythmic moaning was only audible when I sat at my desk. I walked into the corridor and still couldn’t hear a thing. I was very confused.
I rallied the support of a passing young officer and we set about the man/woman hunt. Disappointingly it wasn’t long before we discovered that rather than some buxom blonde getting a damn good seeing to, in fact, a family of pigeons had taken up residence in my disused bathroom. Two birds were sat in my sink cooing away rhythmically to each other. Little blighters, took me ages to clear out their nest and reseal the smashed up window, but they won’t be lifting my spirits again!
I am starting to feel as excited as a schoolboy at the end of term, finally they are letting me out of this dreadful place. I am back at the end of next week assuming the RAF get their act together and make one of their planes work, and will be in and out of London for three weeks, so hopefully will see many of you then. It also means you get a nice long break for you from my endless witterings.
Can’t wait to get home and see colour, the endless expanses of yellow are starting to make my brain believe the sun has burnt all the other colours out the spectrum. I crave trees, grass, plants, cars, clouds, clothes, food, drink and all the colours that come with them. Only ten days.
All my love
The letter above is part of a series of letters I sent home from Basrah, Iraq in 2005 republished here for the first time since they got sent exactly 15 years ago (I will try and sync them with the real dates sent)
I suppose this was my very first attempt at blogging, before blogging was ever a thing!
I was a Captain in The British Army at the time and was in the middle of an unremarkable 7 month posting to Basrah surrounded by the remarkable men of the Coldstream Guards, my regiment for 7 years. I loved and adored my time in the Coldstream and look back at all the fun and silliness with incredibly fond memories. I hope these letters go some way to show the amusing side of our tour, they are not designed to be a factual representation of the hard work, pain and suffering that so many endured. They do not talk of the ultimate sacrifice made by too many of our soldiers during that extraordinary year.