Holland Story 2013

Some background – I was posted to NATO in Sep 2012 and due to the fact that I’m easily bored I decided to start a blog; this is it.  Treat this page as you would your lover – Start at the bottom and work your way up (it’s in reverse order).

29 Sep 13

More ramblings from Woodlice Central, or the British barrack block as you may know it, I’m not too worried as I think that when the lights go out the daddy long-legs take them on; well that’s one explanation for the sheer number of the buggers bumbling around my room.

Took a trip to the Yank BX the other week, did the usual thing, walked around and touched products laden with corn syrup and admired their portion sizes.  They have bottles of spirits which are the same price as the bottles in the Duty-Free shop on our base, but they are an extra three quarters of a litre bigger, that is to say they are 1.75 litres big; you need to be a bodybuilder just to pour out a measure.  I’ve just re-read that paragraph and realized that I’ve mixed Imperial and metric, shows how old I am.

Had a fault with my computer the other day and a tecchie came up to fix it, he was a lovely little guy, Slovenian, and his first name was Naci, but it’s pronounced ‘Nazi’; couldn’t help but wonder how the Germans felt about a Nazi coming up to sort out their faults.

We had to all go to a medal ceremony the other day, it was a three line whip so we had no choice and as a result the lecture hall was packed to capacity.  All of the recipients should have been in their best uniforms but of the five, only two were correctly dressed, the other three were in their day-to-day combats, one of the recipients was a Dutch Major and was very smart in his best uniform and as he mounted the stage the general presiding made a sarcastic* remark about how smart he was, so as the Major approached the general he gave a twirl so all could see how smart he was, the whole theatre gave him a round of applause.  To be honest, that was the highlight of the day, which gives you some idea of how desperate I am for entertainment.

The French military, as well as laces, have small twin buckles at the top of their boots and most of them don’t bother to do them up, therefore, they sound like little bells, and as a consequence, when you have two or more of them walking down the corridor it sounds as if Santa’s sleigh is approaching.

We are having the corridor fire doors throughout the building replaced, why I don’t know, the new doors are seemingly identical to the old ones.  They are all double doors and are in the main, toughened glass (I hope they’re toughened), and for some reason the builders have been going around and replacing the doors, but not inserting the glass, they are doing that a couple of days later, this shows that we don’t have a fire-related disaster lined up for the immediate future.

The other day walking in front of me down the corridor was a group of Italian officers being Italian, that is to say they were all chattering away, gesticulating with their hands and not concentrating.  As they approached one of the new fire doors one of the lead officers put out his hand to push the door open, unfortunately, he used his outstretched palm to push on the glass; however, there was no glass in the door, and before he could react to the absence of a glassy material, his face met the wooden door with a loud thump, his mate bringing up the rear didn’t help as he then walked in to him causing him to lurch through the semi-opened door and nearly fall to the floor.

As all this was happening an American officer walking in the opposite direction didn’t help matters by asking a clearly upset Italian officer with a large red line going down the side of his face, if this was the normal method of opening heavy doors in Italy.  Anyway, long story short, I learned some new Italian words that I’ll never be able to use.

On the subject of Italian officers, we have one in our division who although pleasant seems to believe that either his efficiency or his promotion is tied in to the amount of printing and photocopying he creates; sometimes I think he panics that he’s behind on his quota because he gets the clerks to print out multiple copies of whole publications for his staff, who simply nod at him when they are given them, and then toss them in to the bin when he walks out of the meeting.  The morale of this little story is that the world’s trees are being destroyed, but at least one officer will get promoted to Italy’s Defence Minister.  

Currently doing French lessons on Wednesdays in a class with BBC textbooks and some clearly dodgy BBC locally burnt CDs, but too be honest this is probably BBCs fault as they really need to investigate why they sell more text books linked in to CD lessons than they do CDs.  The French teacher can barely speak English and really struggles to get concepts across to us as she doesn’t know the words yet; she’s taking English lessons on Mondays.

One of the American colonels brings in food every day and usually washes up after himself, but this week he left a Tupperware container in the sink for about four days, so the Tupperware container wrote him a letter wherein he begged the Colonel to wash him up and to take him home and care for him, and in return the container would do his best to keep his food safe and spill free.  I slipped the note on the Colonel’s desk while he was in a meeting and about ten minutes after he’d returned to his office the container was cleaned and gone.

A gun man has run amok in America and killed a number of people, and the reason given was that he was disgruntled.  One of the American officers turned to me and said “Gee Jim, you’re pretty disgruntled at the moment, do you have a weapon?” “Yes sir, it’s in my pants.”  “Funny guy, are you going to use it on me?” “That depends sir.”  “On what Jim?”  “Easy sir, do you know what rohypnol tastes like”.  Once again Jim’s mouth unwittingly adds to everyone’s impression that he’s a pervert.

My new Turkish colleague keeps bringing in Turkish food, mainly desserts and they are pretty nice.  The other day he brought in one that looked like a sort of sausage-rolly type thing.  From a distance it looked like a milky white Blancmange sausage-roll but stuffed with walnuts instead of meat, it was all wobbly and soft and sort of gooey, and when I bit into it, it had the texture of semi-set spunk, but with none of the saltiness.

We’ve just been on Exercise for a week, we were working 12-14 hours a day and for some reason they started the Ex on Thu morning and had us working through the weekend all the way up to the following Thu morning.  I couldn’t help but think it would have been easier just to start the Ex on Monday morning and go through to Fri or maybe Saturday morning.  Perhaps making everyone work at the weekend is what the high command envisaged real war is like.  It was all very realistic, the restaurant was open from 1000 – 1800 every day, the local pizza joint delivered to the camp gate, all the coffee machines worked and we all got back to our beds every evening, so all-in-all just like Afghanistan.

My office sat down the week before the exercise and worked out our manpower requirements for the week, and concluded that Murat, the new Turkish Sergeant Major wasn’t required over the weekend; this would allow him, as the senior Turkish NCO, to organise a Saturday breakfast around his house for all the Turkish juniors and their families.

On the Saturday morning of the Exercise one of the American Colonels wandered in to our office and spotted that Murat was absent. “Where is he?” he asked.  “At home” replied me.  “Get him in” said the Colonel.  “No” said me.  This upset him, so he stormed in to the French Captain who is my boss “Get him in” he demanded.  “Non” said the Captain.  So the Colonel stormed in to the General, had a five minute closed door session.  The General came out and said “Get him in”.  “Okay” said me and the Captain.

I then had to call a Turkish SGM who was at home presiding over a large group of squaddies, their wives and kids and break the news to him.  An hour later I had a passionate Turk telling me what he thought of NATO and American officers in particular.  Anyway, the Turkish breakfast was a success, but Murat never got to see it.

I have come up with two definitions of being single and being in the military and possibly why I’ll never re-marry:

    Sterilizing your re-usable drinks bottle tops in whisky or bourbon.

    Splashing vodka around the sink as it seems to be cheaper than Bathroom Cleaner.

Translations:

    What he said: We need an Ecumenical Approach (Of or relating to the worldwide Christian church)

    What he meant: We need an Economical Approach (Prudent and thrifty in management; not wasteful or extravagant).

Latin for single man living in a barrack block is ‘Dickus Sinkus’.

That’s all for this week as I’ve now got uniform to iron. 

*Hard to believe – he’s German!

04 Sep 13

Another load of waffle from a fat man in Holland; as some of you may be aware I have moved out of the flat and into the barrack block (BB).  I had Martyn over for the weekend so we could get drunk (successfully), talk crap (definitely successful on that one), get emotional (me – successful) and eat lots of food (Ditto), so I roped him in helping me clean the room in the BB and hump and dump some furniture, poor sod earned his food and drink.  I’m visiting him in a couple of weeks or so and I’m sure he’ll get his own back.

The room I’ve selected was the same as the rest, that is to say disgustingly dirty, it took both of an hour to get it clean, just think, if Rob had’ve come and helped, it would have only taken an hour.  I am now totally moved in and just rearranging bits and pieces to make it tidier.  In theory I’ve got Sky, but it’s a bit temperamental and comes on when it feels like it.  Also due to my location I can’t get the internet, so certain habits of mine are on hold.  The BB is a lot more sociable, already I have had several people stop off and have a quick gossip and a beer or two.

If I lay down and used my belly to measure the dimensions of the room, it would come out as approximately *six belly rolls wide by about twelve belly rolls long; this is fine as a unit of measurement so long as you use my belly and not **Ruth’s, because then my room would be the size of a Rabbit hutch.

One of the guys at work has sold me a fridge and a Combi-microwave.  The fridge has been left open to stop mould and smells, but the guy practically chain smokes, so the inside of the fridge although clean, absolutely stinks of fags, just by having a yoghurt I get my daily nicotine fix.  The microwave is a German one; by that I mean the buttons/controls are labelled in German, rather than it microwaves in German, that would be horrible, every time I switched it on I’d get the sound of Panzers rolling over innocent countryside and civilians .  I have scoured the internet and found an instruction manual, but it’s in French, fantastic!

Although there are communal showers and ablutions within the barrack block all the rooms have a hot & cold urinal, or a sink as a civilian would call it.  So a word of warning to any female who is going out with a Serviceman who is living in a BB, have a quick look around the urinal/sink to check if there are any cleaning products, if there isn’t, he’s a minger and dump him, if there is, he’s a keeper.  Point of interest, I have bathroom spray and bleach.  All blokes, no exceptions, will have pissed in their sink at one time or another; I am also aware of one woman who has also done it (you know who you are!).

There is also another factor here known as Cool-Balls.  This is the condition that occurs when you are using said urinal and in order to avoid splash damage you get your meat and two veg over the edge of the sink and you end up resting your testicles on the cold porcelain edge of the sink.  The good news is that scientists have said that having them at a lower temperature than the rest of the body aids sperm production and quality.  Of course there is a downside to this phenomenon, the fact that some blokes are unable to achieve peeing pleasure unless their genitals are being cooled.

In order not to look too fat and to conceal my beer-belly when I am going to the shower, I let out all my breath, suck in my tummy and tightly wind the towel around my lower tummy, about three inches above the waist, in theory this makes me looks slimmer when I walk down the corridor, but in reality I look like a bipedal, poorly put together sausage-roll, by that I mean that all the meat (belly) is trying to escape from the pastry (towel); still, I console myself that I’m not the worst one here.

The water in the block is absolutely disgusting and that has come as bit of a surprise as all the other water in Holland that I’ve drank has been very good, cool and refreshing, tasty yet neutral.  The water in the barrack block is so shite that I think they must divert it to a special filter that taints it especially to piss off the Brits.  One of the guys is returning to the UK this w/end and is bringing me back a water filter, I hope it takes away the taste or I’m living on bottled water for the foreseeable future.

Not too sure what’s happening at Xmas, it looks as if the HQ wants somebody in Mon-Fri all over Christmas, with the exception of Christmas day and the w/ends, this will be in case there is an emergency that we need to respond to; here’s how it’s going to work:

1.  I sit in work and do Sweet Fuck All (SFA) on the days that have been selected for me.

2.  between Mon – Fri and between the hours 0815 – 1715.
3.  An emergency occurs.
4.  JOC call me to say there’s been an emergency and they need to speak to the boss.
5.  I consult the same, that is to say, exactly the same, telephone list that the JOC has and call the boss to explain the situation.
6.  The boss calls the JOC for a full picture.
7.  I continue to sit in the office doing SFA.

It seems that part of NATO doctrine is that emergencies may only occur during the working day and never, ever at weekends or evenings; however, should an emergency occur over the weekend or after the working day has finished the JOC will call the boss direct to explain, this is also current practise.  Me working over Christmas and being contacted in the event of an emergency will actually slow the notification process down by about fifteen minutes.

I have discovered a new word for disappointment – Dutch MacDonald’s Breakfast menu; well okay then, four words for disappointment. The entire breakfast menu is, Bacon & Egg McMuffin, Croissants, coffee and juice – that’s it; this is a country where you can go to a cafe and get a coffee, cake and drugs, yet you can’t get a McDonalds Breakfast Wrap or sausage and egg McMuffin.

Staying with the MacDonald’s theme, I have come across something that seems to be uniquely Dutch; screaming, misbehaving small children; it’s almost as if the family gets a voucher or some other kind of reward if they have the noisiest, whiny little git in the restaurant.  Practically every time I have been in MacD’s during the day there has been some little sod having a tantrum in the corner and ruining it for all others; you try enjoying a coffee and Kindle while a bloody air-raid siren goes off approximately 12 feet from where you are sitting.  Dutch children, from I’ve seen, tend to be better behaving than Brit kids unless they are within 25 yards of me and in MacDonald’s, and then all bets are off.

When one of our officers came in to work the other morning I pointed out to him that the badge had fallen off his beret.  He took his beret off and checked to see if I was telling the truth, he was actually wearing his beret inside out, the badge was pressing in against his forehead and he hadn’t noticed.  This man is going to lead men in to battle and he can’t tell when he’s got his beret on wrong.

We have a new Frenchman who is very nice, he wears a white shirt with the top two buttons undone, this makes his neckline plunge down to a steep V, he then clips to the bottom of the V his ID badge and pens.  This causes the V to descend even lower and shows of An awful lot of chest hair.  Question is, is it real hair or does he stick on a chest piece every morning just to show off

I had to open up a conference room the other day, so I turned up 30 minutes early with a large cup of fresh coffee, a croissant and unlocked the door and tried to open it, to absolutely no avail, pulling and pushing and pushing and pulling had no effect at all.  After about a minute of increasing panic I walked approx. 100 metres to the control desk and told them that the door was jammed and that we had a conference starting in about 20 minutes.  The Dutch guy came with me back to the Conf Rm and simply slid the door to one side, we agreed I would owe him a croissant and we would never speak of this incident again.

Part of my job is to set up and manage Video Tele Conferences (VTC’s), this is incredibly boring as once they are underway I sit in a warm darkened booth at the back of the room and press the button for the next slide when the presenter says ‘Next Slide’.  The other day we had a VTC that lasted pretty much the whole day and I had to sit there trying to stay alert and press on demand.

Halfway through the afternoon after a large lunch (no surprise there) I started to doze off and was desperate to stay awake, so I started to do incline press ups, squats and standing twists.  What I didn’t realise is that the people at the other end of the VTC in France could see me bopping around in the booth trying to stay awake, and at the next tea-break mentioned it; cue me sitting very still for the rest of the day.

When people finish a VTC the participants remain milling around and re-hashing the event, this isn’t an issue, generally, but when it comes to lunchtime or the end of the day it gets annoying, particularly since some of them can stay for up to 40 bloody minutes; all they do is go over the VTC and dissect it and then discuss the way forward and it’s taken me a while to figure out why.  Because a large majority of them are not native English speakers, it think it must be so that they are sure they have got the correct information, it’s either that or they don’t want to go back to their offices and are desperate for human contact.

Some local tradesmen are carrying out work on our building at the moment, including a team of painters and decorators, in addition to all their tools, brushes, ladders, paint etc. they also have a large bag with a Senseo machine, coffee pads, mugs etc.  Only in Holland would you get that, also maybe in Germany and perhaps in Belgium; in Britain, the workmen would be trying to cadge a cuppa off either the security guards or would be knocking off work to go to a cafe for a brew.

Translations:

I must go and warm the boss
I must go and warn the boss

We are going to a Tranny event this afternoon.
We are going to a Training event this afternoon.

that’s it for this month, I’m sure I’ll find more rubbish for next month.

 Jim

*a belly roll is where you lay down face up and then roll over so that you end up facing upwards again.
**My ex-wife.

 08 June 13

Greetings, more rubbish and self-indulgence from Holland.  I have discovered that in Holland they make toilet roll with helium impregnated; I know this because the new bog roll I have bought insists on floating to the surface no matter what.  I have had to use two flushes to get the guilty party to go away.  Remember this is a Dutch toilet, this is a toilet that doesn’t just flush, it uses mindless violence to destroy and get rid of the evidence.

I Went to a wedding reception the other day and someone who shall remain nameless said ‘I’m a 42 year old woman with an eight year old daughter and I’m having a problem getting a man, what do I do?.  I thought my reply of ‘Have you tried dating a paedophile, after all he can nail two birds with one stone?’ was quite funny; however, I was in a minority of one.

I read in a magazine/watched a documentary/just imagined it, but during the second world war one of the ways to find out if someone was a German spy was to get them to say the word ‘Squirrel’, as they apparently couldn’t get their tongues around the ‘Sq’, so I spent a morning walking around the HQ with a laminated sign with the word printed on it and asking Germans to repeat the word.  It turns out that it’s bollocks, all the Deutchies can say the word ‘Squirrel’; however, as one of them repeated, ‘James, you are a strange man’, all that in a pretty much comedy German accent.

I have discovered that American microwaves have a popcorn button, is this because they are too lazy to press more than one button to programme in the 3 minutes necessary?

When you receive an email from someone who signs off with the name ‘Gizz’ and you go and talk to them it turns out that when their name is ‘Gizz’ it is pronounced with a ‘G’ as in ‘Give’, not as in ‘J’ as in ‘Jizz’.  Anyway, long story short Hungarian women have no problem correcting your speech.

Drove to RAF Henlow for a Medical Board to see if I can stay in the RAF, they issued me with a Opal/Vauxhall Corsa and a ferry.  Top tip, don’t drive across the continent in a 1.3L diesel Corsa, it’s bollocks!!  I drove the entire distance without seeing the speedometer (it was blocked by the steering wheel), I had to rely on the SatNav, and it wasn’t until I reached Calais that I realised that there was a 7 kilometre difference between the two, roll on the speed tickets.

Let’s compare the difference between Calais and Dover ferry facilities.  In Dover there is a friendly, modern, well-lit facility with a Starbucks, WH Smith, Burger King and bright clean toilets.  Calais has a grotty corridor with two vending machines and a piss soaked, graffiti ridden toilet.  I think the ferry companies must be British, they want you remember a pleasant travelling experience; whereas the French just want to get rid of you.  Although if you think about it most of the people who travel through Dover/Calais are Brits, maybe it’s just the French being horrible to us.

Reached RAF Henlow late evening and went straight to the Sgt’s Mess, what a shit place!  The room was a throwback to the 70’s/80’s, not only was the bed covered by the same kind of bedcover as I had when I went through Swinderby, but it was issued in 1982, that’s older than my son. The cover covered a thin summer quilt which was generously laced with the pubic hair of quite clearly a large number of other people.  I took it in to the corridor and spent some calories shaking and banging it against the wall to dislodge as much as I could.
The drinking glass that had been provided looked like it was made of frosted glass, but no, it seems to have been used by the rest of the station before I got there (Reflections of Minger?), still it only cost me a quid to stay there and let’s be honest, where else can you get typhoid and willy hairs for one pound, so remember if you want to spend the night pulling pubic hair out of your teeth you now have an alternative to a gay nightclub.

Next morning for breakfast I was introduced for the first time to the wonder that is ‘Pay As You Dine’.  What a load of pants, bring back the old days.  The sausage (which is what I’ll concentrate on) was made from some kind of cardboard type paper Mache and I swear it’d been deep fried.  This sausage was not only made by the cheapest vendor, but by a vendor who was full of spite and unhappiness; after all, how else can you pack that much lack of flavour or texture in to one little deep fried package!

Went in for my medical board and they were brilliant, all were friendly and efficient, I may get chucked out but I can’t help be impressed by the professionalism of them.  But I was amazed at how much of my medical history was missing; my near-death from pneumonia and one of my hernias wasn’t mentioned at all in my records.

Drove back to Dover via the M25 which had the obligatory road-works with not a single person in sight, when I got to Dover I had a large coffee at the Starbucks at Dover ferry terminal and ended up having a large part of it down my t-shirt, it turns out that Starbucks makes coffee cup lids like they pay their taxes – badly!

Some of the officers were bored the other day and went around leaving notes telling their colleagues that they had missed a phone call and could they call the person back.  There were people phoning around asking to speak to Myva Gina, Mike Hunt and believe it or not, Oliver Closeoff; funny as anything for the first few calls but annoying as hell after a couple of hours.

I have taught the Czech guy I work with how to make English tea, which he now loves, but as seems to be usual with foreigners they have to be a bit different, so although he makes the tea with fresh water in the kettle and he lets it brew for 3 minutes (no more, no less) he then uses honey and condensed milk and takes several hours to drink it.

I know that I seem to bang on about the amount of dog shit in this country, but this is for two reasons, first I’m struggling to find anything to write about as this place is so peaceful and quiet, and secondly, there is so much of the stuff.  But, I have figured out why there is so much, it’s the Dutch version of graffiti/pavement art, but whereas we have Banksy, they have Goldie the Labrador.  Banksy uses a variety of mediums to get across his message, oils, acrylics, permanent marker; Goldie has one medium – Poo.  Banksy depicts modern life and satire in a variety of colours, Goldie depicts the same skid-mark scene repeatedly and always in one colour.

I have also worked out why Dutch women all have the same short haircut, it’s like the film ‘Don’t mess with the Zohan’, where he only knows how to do one style, Dutch hairdressers are the same, whatever school they learn hairdressing in only teaches one style; even Russia under communism seemed to have more variety.  I have a simple plan, I need everyone in Britain to find the address of a hairdresser in Holland and send them a book on all the different styles available since the 1950’s.

Quotes:
German Officer – I’m allergic to Poland!
Translation – I’m allergic to pollen!

That’s it

 

The other day at work the Poles hosted a Polish lunch for us; it was a celebration of their culture.  We had 9 different types of vodka, brown bread, salami, pickles and the usual disgusting pot of lard.  I spent the rest of the afternoon in a daze at my desk.

I think I know why there is so much dog poo in this country.  If the dog stops and has a dump, there is a pile and the owners have to clean it up due to the fact that there is suddenly a small mountain on the pavement; but if they force the dog to keep walking, the poor beast shotguns the stuff all over the pavement and perhaps because of this they don’t have to pick it up.

I think they work on the principle that many feet (mine included) squish or spread out small pieces easier and therefore make them disappear after a week or so.  Or of course I could be wrong and the poo is all part of a quiet Dutch plan that involves people spreading out the damn stuff and so raising the height of the country to above sea-level over the course of the next couple of centuries.  My theory however, falls apart (as would the country) when there is a big storm, as dog poo is not renowned as a building material; after all, when was the last time you saw a breakwater or road make from the stuff.

Roughly in May last year I went to the Medical Centre at Marham to start the process of having a Medical Board to determine whether or not I’m going to be kicked out of the RAF or be allowed to stay in with a reduced medical category, the week I got to Brunssum I went in to the Medical Centre here to chase up the paperwork, and now six months after I got here and nearly a year later I have finally signed the paperwork.  After this performance by the Med Admins I will never criticize my trade again.

A large number of the Staff Officers here deployed for a week long exercise, they deployed to get together in a remote location and thrash out a number of plans and polices that NATO will use in the event of a war.  They deployed to plan a number of scenarios, and incredibly at least 7 (that I know of) didn’t think to take laptops or any means of producing work.  As is usual it fell to my section to correct the matter, which I resented as none of the officers came from my division.  These people are in charge of planning and can’t even plan their own lives, god help us when war breaks out.

One of our Belgique officers has moved on and we had a farewell meal in one of the restaurants just off base.  It was all very nice, a long table with the officers at one end and the rest of the rif-raf at the other.  Instead of giving the leaving pressies all in one go at the beginning or end of the meal, their tradition is to have the waitress bring one out every 15 minutes or so; this is very nice and creates a nice atmosphere, but it kept interrupting my eating.

The other Sunday the RAF had a commemoration at one of the local cemeteries for some bomber crews and some Dutch Resistance who helped downed airmen escape.  The cemetery was very picturesque and there was a surprisingly good turn out from the local Dutch community; there was the whole range from small kids to pensioners who seemed to be on their last legs.

The ceremony kicked off with a load of Dutch kids, all of them from primary schools, reading out a short poem that they had written, this was followed by a Dutch priest and then a RAF priest taking it in turns to say mass, or holy words, or however it’s phrased, this was followed by all of walking around the graveyard in a big procession behind some bagpipers, and laying flowers on the graves.

All present spent a few minutes at the British graves where there was a short speech followed by the last post being played all standing to attention, saluting, etc.  When it came to the Dutch resistance graves, the Brits legged it by as quick as they could in order to get to the mini buses, this was in order to get to the village hall in order to load up on cakes, coffee and free beer.

Once at the village hall we were meant to load up our plates and then mingle with the locals for an hour in order to continue good relations with them; anyway, we did one part of that, in other words the Brits stayed in their own little huddles and trough’ed as much cake as they could without being sick.

At the end of the occasion the senior British officer stood up and thanked everyone for caring for the graves and for inviting us, he then handed over to the Dutch branch of the Royal British Legion for his few words.  That’s when the fun started.  The old Brit who had lived here for the past thirty years or so had the hump with his Dutch counterparts and started to use the time on the microphone to have a go at them; however, he forgot his lines, then couldn’t see what he’d written in his notes, restarted his speech twice and at the same time as he was doing all of this one of the Dutch pensioners kept trying turn off the mic and kept telling him to shut up.

After a few minutes of the Brit having a go, the Dutch pensioner managed to get the mic off the Brit and then sent him back to his seat.  The Brit then wandered back to his seat all the he continued his moaning under his breath.  While this was going on all the Brits were muttering ‘Fight, Fight’ and all the Dutch were doing their best to ignore the spectacle, and the Gp Capt who was with us was getting ready to get stuck in and break them up; so, all-in-all, an entertaining afternoon.

In theory, if war breaks out I have to deploy and so am doing a week of briefings; the first one I attended was titled ‘Anthropological Transitional Analysis: Theory of Social Networks and Mimetic Approach’.  I had to Google half of that before I went in to the briefing in order to understand what the briefing was going to be, and still didn’t understand it.  I thought it would be about Facebook or some such thing, but no!  After two hours I was still none the wiser other than if you are nice to people they will be nice to you.  Still, it was delivered by a very nice looking Italian lady who wore very tight clothing and (I think) four inch high-heels.

The next briefing was about Negotiation, which I thought might be useful if I have to interrogate someone or I’m being interrogated; but no, it was given by an Italian through an interpreter and was about how to negotiate in business while taking over another company.  Both briefs were delivered by civilians who I suspect were very well paid and I and the rest of the audience that I spoke to got nothing from them.

I managed to upset the Negotiation briefer.  He drew a big diagram on the flipchart and then asked the audience ‘Why do I not use Excel, or Powerpoint, or a drawing package to achieve this, why do I write it on paper?’  My reply of ‘Because you’re crap with computers’ didn’t amuse him, although it got a cheap laugh from the rest of the audience.

Quotes

I need a c*nt

Translation – I need an account (as in computer).

Floorball

Translation – Indoor Hockey.

01 Apr 13
For the first time since I’ve been here i am genuinely busy, Christie’s off training for deployment, Roman’s gone home to Czech Republic so all can meet and greet his new daughter; and this week we have been hosting a conference. So at work it’s myself and Billy, the driver, doing the work of four people.

For some reason nobody has let Billy help out at work with anything more taxing than shredding and loading the photocopier, in the best traditions of Drake, he has had a crash course in doing my job. Staying with the theme of Belgium, when the Belgique Army works during the weekends, they get paid extra for it; Billy got an extra 30 euros for going fifteen minutes into Saturday morning. This goes for all ranks, from the General downwards.

It’s no exageration to say that virtually every single week there is a conference occuring within the building that I work in, there was one the other day and it was packed with Scandanavian maritime officers; the female Norwegian ones were the most impressive, with their nice, tightly fitting black uniforms and thigh high black leather boots.

MALT has finally finished, he’s been discharged from hospital, packed up his stuff and gone home, his bedroom still has loads of crap in there and it’s minging. There are still dirty pots and pans in the kitchen from him and the bathroom is still covered in mould as is the balcony (fag-ends as well). I had a March-in the other day and the Housing Officer stopped it halfway through, wouldn’t let me sign for the place and is getting a team of cleaners in to put the flat and it’s surroundings in order, MALT will be charged for the lot.

I had to help set up an American medal ceremony the other day for one of the officers who is leaving, she’s actually getting a medal for doing her job well, I suppose it’s the same as the Brits getting an AOC’s award or something. The setting up and actual ceremony was like something from the three stooges; first the American SNCO’s broke the US flag and managed to put it together again using a bulldog clip a couple of minutes or so before the General walked in.

They had also assembled the medal the wrong way, so that when the General tried to clip it to her blouse it dropped off and fell on the floor, he had to resort to peeling off her velco name badge and jamming it under there and so pressing in her breast, finally they used a bulldog clip (guess where they got that) to clip it to her blouse.Then they committed the ultimate crime in an American’s eyes – they forgot to bring a camera, the ADC got bollocked for that.

One of the American officers got promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and we all got invited along; it was quite moving and was another illustration of how diffent the Brits and Yanks really are. His parents had flown over from the US to be there, and they were there with his wife and two daughters who were about six and seven (close anyway), and all our Division was invited and pretty much all of us attended; all the yanks were in their best uniforms. Once all the people, about fifty of us, were in place, the room was called to attention and a large black USAF female sergeant sang the Stars and Stripes with the same loudness and gusto that she would have if she was opening a Baseball game or something of that size.

The General gave a quick speech and then when it came to the actual promotion the promotee’s wife and mother came forward and removed his old rank and pinned his new rank on on his jacket; when they had done that they returned to their chairs and he (the promotee) in front of the whole room removed his jacket and went down on to one knee. At this stage I thought he was going to get tapped on the shoulders with a sword or something, but no; both of his daughters came forward and removed his old rank off his shirt epulettes and replaced them with his new rank, with some help in the end from mum and grandma.

The General then read out the formal promotion, and then the promotee handed out flowers to wife, mother and daughters and a Thomas the Tank engine to his nephew who had been good during the ceremony. All this was swiftly followed by lots of free food and drink.

Met Maxine and Lacey the other weekend in Brussels and visited the De Vinci exhibition; it’s incredible to see what he invented in wood, just think of what he could have done had metal been invented then. Brussels city centre is seemingly packed with three types of establishments, bars, chocolate shops and waffle bars; the whole of Brussels city centre is designed to wipe out diabetics.

In the Czech Republic at Easter, young boys go around the houses with special sticks and when the door is opened by a young girl she has to turn around, stick out her bottom and and allow the boy to swat/spank her; in Slovakia the boys sprinkle or throw cold water on the girls; no wonder the Czech’s make better porn than Slovakians!

Quotes:

German Officer – ‘I’m driving home tonight.’
American Officer – ‘The snow’s mucked up a lot of routes, Which way are you going.’
German Officer – ‘I’m taking the route through the Ardennes, It’ll be okay.’
American Officer -‘ Really, it didn’t work out to well there last time your lot tried to get through there.’

Translations:

Lemonade paper – Laminated paper
Fecal Register – Vehicle register
First decade of May – First week of May

News flash, a bunch of his colleagues from work are going to come in and clean the flat so that MALT doesn’t have to pay. I’m still getting all the carpets and curtains steam cleaned, but he won’t be charged for that.

That’s all folks

10 Mar 13

Well Thu night was the Greek night and I’m pretty certain that there wasn’t a single Greek there, and like all other events held at NATO it was free booze all night, beer and wine anyway. Everybody got a shot or two of Ouzo as the night finished. Anyway, I got smashed with a couple of Canuks and a couple of Yanks, one of which I wasn’t sure if his heritage was American Indian or Mexican, but I decided not to risk asking, as he had that inscrutable thing going on.

MALT Time

Since MALT has gone to hospital I’ve had a steady stream of visitors both to the flat and my office with their horror stories about him and his behaviour both at work (quite frequently drunk, or absent through drink), and in the flats (quite frequently drunk, or letting himself in to their flats in their absence to steal booze). We all give our spare keys to our neighbours to look after in the event we are locked out or back in the UK and there is a problem with the flat, but strangely enough once MALT had been caught out they took their keys back; I’m a bit miffed that nobody warned me!

MALT Time Over

They have bread product over here, it’s like a giant bagel, it’s at least 20cm across and it’s hollow in the middle (not the hole, that’s not what I mean) and it’s stuffed with cubes of Feta cheese and it’s awsome.

In preparation for Twighlight Part 5 I have watched all o the other Twighlight films back-to-back; this proves absolutely two things:
I really am not as hard as I thought I was, and
I’m probably ready for a gay relationship, and I don’t see myself as the masculine one.

Attended a couple of briefings this past week, one of them was given by a French, officer who could not pronounce the word ‘Focus’, every time he said it, it came out as ‘F*ck us’; I wasn’t the only one to pick up on this and there were smiles all over the room. The other one was given by an American officer, lovely lady but when pronouncing the word ‘Tools’ she would put a ‘w’ in there and it came out ‘Twools’, she sounded like a gangster from Brooklyn.

When the Yanks talk about their phones they refer to them as Cell phones, we, the Brits, use the term Mobile phone, but some of the locals here just to make sure there is no confusion use the term Mobile Cell phone.

Other than now having a spotless fridge and a pretty clean oven, that’s it for this week.

Bore you next week.

Jim

05 Mar 13 – MALT
Good news, MALT* has taken himself to the Medical Centre and has now been sent to Bielefeld Hospital for a couple of weeks of treatment/observation and other than coming back to clear his gear from the flat, i’ll never see him again.  The Chf Clk here will put him in singlies accom for that period so i’ll not have to spend a night with him.

Jim

*Minging Alcoholic Lying Thief – new name for minger.

04 Mar 13
How lividly angry am i?  So angry that the chances of me sleeping tonight are slim to none.
Minger Time
Well it’s official, the minger is a dirty little thief, i went to bed last night and as i was getting undressed I realised that my shaving gel can was soaking wet.  This means one of three things, either my shaving gel dragged its tinny little arse into the bathroom for a wash, or a miniature raincloud spontaneously formed over it in the evening, or the minging little bastard came into my room and used it.

The latter of those would explain the razor dumped in the sink, and remains of the shaving foam also smeared around the sink; in hindsight it may also explain why minger has had the same 250ml bottle of shower gel in the bathroom for the past month – he’s been going in to my bedroom and helping himself.  In other words the little git has been pawing thro’ my stuff. To be honest i thought that since the chat, he’d got better; but it seems that once you’re a dirty little minger, you’re always a dirty little minger!
rant over,

 

03 Mar 13

Not much this week from Holland, it’s been a quiet week. I’ve been out for two meals, the first on Monday night with one of the ladies from work; it was a last minute thing and we arranged to meet in the Dalmatia restaurant, but when she asked what Dalmatia food was, I told her it was like Greek food. We both turned up at the correct time, unfortunately she went to the Greek restaurant and I went to the Dalmatia restaurant.

Fifteen minutes later she called me to find out where I was, and in the background to her phone call I could hear restaurant noises, so walked around my restaurant staring at everybody trying to find her and intimidating an old couple in one of the booths. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that she was in the restaurant next door and so we agreed a compromise, I paid my wine bill and went and joined her.

The next day, Billy, the driver, got the hump because we’d not invited him, so I had to go back out again that night for another Greek; anyway, turns out that too much Greek food will give you stomich acid and the shits for several days after.

One thing I have noticed here that i’ve not really seen too much of in England is that an awful lot of rather large dutch ladies (RLDL’s) and old ladies have tiny yappy dogs, think pekinese and smaller; everywhere I turn I see them with these rat-like creatures on leads or being hand carried. When said little rat craps it seems that they don’t pick up the mess. The old ladies don’t pick up the shit, because if they bend over there’s a chance they aren’t coming back up again; the RLDL’s don’t seem to pick up the waste either, possibly because they simply can’t bend at the (non existent) waist or their knees can’t take the strain.

All the rest of society have real dogs and have no problem cleaning up after their dogs, it’s just the rat brigade that sprinkles the pavements of Holland with miniature parcels of smelly slipperyness. But this leads me to think of a diet plan for the RLDL’s; simply put the chocolate and doughnuts on the floor and the salad on the table*

It’s said that there’s no drinking culture in the RAF; however, I can tell you there’s definitely one in NATO. We have a bar on base that opens at four o’clock every Wednesday and on the last Thursday of every month it also opens but with a free bar for the first couple of hours. The British singlies have a decent sized bar in their barrack block which is occupied every evening; the seniors also have their own bar, but since we’re old and boring it doesn’t seem to be open much. It seems as if a large number of the other nations also have their own bars as well and they invite us in occasionally.

The duty-free shop on base sells booze very cheaply, in most cases it seems to be about half the price of the duty-free on the ferries; it also has special offers to help us cope with the injustices of NATO life, the other week it was offering a litre of Captain Morgans for eight euros (about seven pounds). The other National Delegations are keen for all to sample their cuisine and booze and about once a month/every two months a nation will lay on their national food and booze, loads of booze. The British effort was pathetic, soggy sausages and soggy chips, this week it’s the Greeks who are laying on the spread on Thursday, so in true Jim style I have booked Friday off to recover.

The gym on base is quite good, not as good as Marham’s, but okay. The only problem with it is that when I go in the afternoon it’s currently full of American teenagers, I mean really full! They are all in training to join the US military and are getting ready. All the boys are using the weights and trying to bulk up and all the girls are going for stamina in the Cardio room. There must be at least twenty of the sods and they can’t stop talking, no matter what they’re doing, they talk. Loudly. Constantly. This means that all the non-americans are treated to all their important teenage problems, ranging from acne to bullying, to who fancies who.

Minger Alert
surprisingly enough, other than the continued drinking, nothing to report – I’m as shocked as you!

That’s it for another week.

*Thanks to Sickipedia for their input on that one.

28 Feb 13

More waffling from the sharp end of NATO.  I would have written the past weekend but due to an unhealthy obsession with video games, whisky and my Kindle, I couldn’t be arsed.

 

I work in a multi-million pound/Euro building that is populated with the best that each country within NATO has to  offer* and is state of the art in everything, except the windows; they are crap!  Sure they let the light in, but when they designed the building it never seemed to occur to anybody that there might be a need to open them; what I mean is that once the window is open there is no way of latching it.  So in order to allow the building users to open the windows they have put a screw on the underside of the window, this protrudes downwards, and then on the window frame itself they have fixed a small metal bar with some notches in it which just about balances on the aforementioned screw, in other words, you cannot secure it in any meaningful way; however, this works just fine unless there is any kind of breeze/wind which causes the metal bar to flop loose, this in turn allows the window to majestically swing open across my desk; and since the window is approx five feet high and three feet wide it is capable of building up quite a lot of momentum.  Also, the window particularly seems to like full cups of coffee.  Twice!

 

At least once a month on a Monday, Billy, the driver, brings in a massive bag of spare ribs that his wife has made for us; the office looks like something from an American Power Eating Contest, all of us sitting there with a large plate of ribs and greasy faces and hands, gnawed bones in a pile on a napkin.

 

Minger Time

Two big developments on the minger front, firstly he has been in to see the HO and has agreed no more smoking in the flat.  Note that – he has agreed to no more smoking in the flat.  This place is so unlike any other place I have been to; any other station would have dragged him in and told him in no uncertain terms – No More Smoking.  So in other words he’s been asked nicely by me, three or four times, and nicely by the HO; so let’s see how long the flat stays stink free.

 

The second development is that I’ve finally snapped.  I came downstairs the other day and he’d finished off the remains of my vodka, the remains of my bourbon and then two small bottles of red wine that I was saving for cooking (all of that in addition to his normal portion for the evening).  Additionally, the place was a tip. 

 

I got a British WO to come to the flat in the evening as a witness and then I laid in to minger and told him exactly  what I thought of his hygiene and drinking; particularly the bathroom sink.  His argument was that he paid for the Sky and broadband and that pretty much entitled him to dip in to my cupboards anytime and help himself; I disabused him of that in no uncertain terms.  His defence for the state of the flat was that he was going through his ‘Men Behaving Badly’ phase.

 

After the WO had left, minger had a go at me for bringing in a witness and embarrassing him, my defence was based around the fact that it’s taken at least four requests to stop him smoking, and I wasn’t prepared to keep asking him to stop as he’d only drag it out until he went in Apr.  He then agreed with my reasoning, and then the next day sent me an email telling me he’d cleaned the sink – he’s a big boy now!

Minger time finished.

 

I’ve stopped woodwork as the wood shop has been closed down for health and safety reasons; I am unable to find out exactly what the issue is, but cannot help but wonder if it’s red wine related!  I went to refuel Winnie and although there are signs up saying no mobile phones, both the staff members were smoking and wandering around with fags in their mouths – crazy Dutch.

 

Belgique and Dutch quotes:

“My wife, she has gone soliciting”.  Translation – she’s gone job hunting.

“My daughter is in hospital today, the Doctor is going to seduce her” (she’s six years old).  Translation – the Doctor’s going to sedate her.

“Last night my garden angel was looking after me”.  Translation – I nearly had a crash in my car and my guardian angel was looking after me.

 

One of the German officers here is going to spend a couple of weeks at HMS Raleigh on a course, and he came up to me expecting me to know that he was going and asked me what I knew about Raleigh.  I spent about a minute explaining that he was the geezer who introduced tobacco and potatoes to the world and was bonking Queen Elizabeth.  He then explained that he going to a Royal Naval Base called HMS Raleigh and did I know anything about it, I told him it was Royal Navy and had no interest in it.  Once he’d wandered off one of the yanks turned to me and said ‘I thought your Queen was married to that Greek guy’.  I had to explain that we’d had more than one Queen Elizabeth on the throne and this all happened about 500 years ago.

 

We had Valentine’s Day here (I think you guys did as well) and it nearly caused me a bloody heart attack.  I opened up my office, walked in, switched on the lights and nearly crapped myself.  Somebody had left a full sized shop window mannequin behind my chair dressed in a red lovely red dress, black glovelets and carrying a red rose.  Her head was missing and had been replaced with a round paper light shade covered in red hearts; creepy as fuck!  Taped to the back of my chair were two red roses.  All very nice but I must have spent the first minute hyperventilating and tightening my bowel muscles.

 

I left the mannequin up for the rest of the week and I think I must have heard every possible joke about my new girl friend.  As we are not allowed phones or cameras in the building I called the photo section and asked if they could come and take a photograph.  I was informed by some snotty Englishman that their camera gear was worth about thirty thousand pounds and they had better things to do; when I asked ‘Like what?’ he got the hump and practically hung up on me.

 

It’s been snowing here a fair bit and although four centimetres was forecast we have had about 20 centimetres, which means they have been gritting like crazy, and just like Britain they have gritted the main roads but not the side roads and streets, this of course means that nobody can get out to the main roads.  They do have one cool toy on base, it’s a miniature tractor/snow-plough that they use to clear the pavement, but in true NATO style they dump it all on the road.  Which means that when the daddy snow-plough clears the roads, it has just has more to dump back on the pavement.

 
Minger Update – he’s now copying my example and brushing his teeth in the shower, I know this because the bath has unused toothpaste smeared in it.  Back to square one!  Minger Update finished.

That’s it for this week.

 

*Except me, I’m here escaping reality.

03 Feb 13

I am working 12 hour days all this weekend as my Division is hosting a conference; my tasks are simple, be in for about 0715, open conference room, check that all of computers in the conference room are turned on, re-lock conference room, return to my office to await the arrival of the attendees, issue keys to the conference rooms, sit in my office for the next 10-12 hours, sign back in the keys, go and check the conference rooms are locked, lock away the keys, finish in work at about 1930-1945, go back to the flat mind-f*cked from boredom, drink alcohol, go to bed.  In short a productive and interesting weekend, not!  I was warned that working at NATO wouldn’t be challenging; wrong, the challenge this weekend has been to stay awake.

 

As can be seen from above, this weekend NATO has managed to give me even less to do, but with more hours to do it.  What comforts me is that both the Dutch Government and British Governments are paying me rather well for this; also I can access Google from my office.  I am however, starting to suffer from Google fatigue, the symptoms (in my case) are lethargy, eating junk and not looking as you do it, gritty eyes and a knowledge of pointless facts and information that nobody around you is interested in.

Minger time

I have now submitted a formal complaint to the Housing Office (HO) and the Chief Clerk about minger.  I had to return to the flat Friday morning at ten to meet the electrician, and the little git, who had just left the flat, had been smoking all morning (he was off due to his foot), and I don’t mean one or two fags; judging by the toxicity levels in the air he must have had a whole packet and then invited the Benson & Hedges synchronized smoking team around.  I had to open all of the windows and then spent the next 20 minutes freezing my balls off while waiting for the electrician to turn up.

Even then I still stank of the aftermath of the stinker and so stormed in to the HO and complained and then followed it up with an email. When I got back to the flat that evening the first thing I did was interrupt his drinking session and inform him of what I’d done.  He was silent for about five minutes and then said “Fair play, I respect that you’ve done that’ and then explained why he had been smoking in the flat.

The explanation took about seven minutes, but I can sum it up easily, he didn’t think he’d get caught!  Anyway, saying ‘I can respect that’ is, quite frankly, bollocks; had he any kind of respect to me or himself, he wouldn’t be smoking in the flat and he certainly wouldn’t be a minger.

He’s been for an X-ray on his foot to make sure there’s no more glass in there as the foot is getting all red and inflamed; the X-ray couldn’t find any glass in there but it seems the foot is infected.  Why would he need to go for an X-ray to confirm that is beyond me, with his hygiene habits the formula is simple; get a cut, get an infection.

When I came back from work on Saturday evening at 1945 he was asleep in the same place on the sofa, still in his uniform (minus his trousers and shoes, but still with the socks on – sexy beast), with the TV on and alcohol in front of him.  He’d been in his uniform for approx 36 hours, even on Operations I didn’t do that.   I woke him up moving around, poor him!

I mentioned in the last post/email that minger, bless his little heart, had cleaned up his blood from the kitchen, what I didn’t mention is that about a fortnight ago he left a trail of chilli-con-carne on the floor from the slow-cooker to the sink; well he may have cleaned up the blood but he didn’t touch the chilli trail.  Perhaps when he’s drunk he uses it as some sort of path to navigate back and forth in the kitchen, or perhaps he’s hoping that the natural erosion of the both of us constantly walking on it will make it go away.

Minger time finished.

I’ve found a KFC, it’s right next to IKEA, so when I say I’ve found it, I mean I’ve driven past it a dozen times and never noticed it; however, in my defence over here it’s not called KFC, it’s called Kentucky Fried Chicken, it seems the abbreviation KFC is too difficult for the Dutch to handle. 

Anyway, all I need now is to make friends with Dutch *Chavs and I can legitimately go in there.

The week after next is Carnival Week in Brunssum and apparently the whole town goes carnival mad; I can’t wait to see what the Dutch consider to be mad.  Possibly the men won’t wear a tie, or the women will allow their hair to grow a bit longer, or the bloody church bells won’t ring on Sunday morning and wake me up at the crack of dawn.  When I say crack of dawn, I actually mean 1100 in the morning, which when you’ve been out drinking is still pretty early.  This is counted as an NATO holiday so the HQ is having Monday 11 Feb off to celebrate the carnival, which means I get to wander the streets at day time, drinking and not look out of place.

That’s enough meaningless tat for the week.

 Jim

*When I spell check this week’s diatribe it picks up Chavs and tries to correct it to Chaps – political correctness in a spell checker!

20 Jan 13

Another week at NATO which has flown by; this is mainly because I’m still working four day weeks in order to stave off boredom and to get my Leave down before the new Leave year.  This week has pretty much been the same as the previous week and I suspect it will be much the same as next week.  Really not much to cover this week, but here goes:


At work Billy, I think it was, was talking about chatting up a girl trying to cop off with her, and used the analogy ‘I shall chase her like an Englishman chases the fox’; I had point out that usually ended badly for one of the parties involved.


We were having a discussion about what our countries had contributed to the world, and I was informed by one of the Germans that their country had given the world some of the best beer around and also coffee enemas.  I doubled checked the facts on the Internet and it’s true, about the enemas that is, I didn’t research the beer part, but the disturbing thing is that the website that I read pointed out that it was best to let the coffee cool down first; how did they discover that it was dangerous to stick boiling coffee up someone’s bottom I wonder?


The General’s driver, Billy, who really doesn’t have a great deal to do when he’s not driving the General around has discovered this week that he can go on to YouTube and watch movies in the office, and since he’s a fan of the Second World War I have spent this week working to the background of machine-guns, artillery and men fighting and dying; who knew that there were so many loud clips available?  When he told me he was going to be watching films about Belgium at war, he wasn’t too amused when I mentioned that would only take up about ten minutes of his time.


The Taliban have a weapon in their arsenal of which the acronym is DBIED; this stands for Donkey Borne Improvised Explosive Device, that’s right the Taliban are strapping bombs to donkeys.  Not being the brightest star in the sky I asked how they guided the donkey to its target, and quite rightly got mocked; the DBIED’s are actually tied to a piece of roadside furniture and then detonated as the good guys go by, unless we’re talking about the Afghan Police who are corrupt as f*ck,and possibly deserve it.  It’s bad enough being blown up but imagine being in the hospital and the cause of your injury is listed as Asinus Penis (a donkey’s dick) which was travelling at about a thousand feet per second.  I suspect that the reason they use the donkeys is to destroy the evidence of their sexual conquests.


This led on to a discussion about other animals the Taliban can use, I favour the PBIED (Parrot Borne Improvised Explosive Device), you could add a psychological factor to the whole affair by teaching the Parrot to shout ‘I’m a bomb’ as it approached the good guys.  The flaw there is that the parrot would either have a heavy Afghan or Brummie accent, either way the Yanks wouldn’t understand it.


Minger Time

I went out for a meal with the guys and girls from work on Weds and Minger went thro’ his usual beers and then half a bottle of my Scotch, he also smoked in the flat and rather than use an ashtray he used one of our mugs as an ashtray, opened the balcony door to get rid of the smell of fags and went to bed.  Bearing in mind it’s minus 6 at night, he also left the central heating on; the last time I was that hot in bed was Basra in 2004.

It’s incredible that this man is a Sgt in the RAF; he acts more like a junior Private in the Army.  God help his fiancée when he moves in with her in Apr.  Thing is I now fear going out as I know the weak minded little bastard will stink out the place.  As I came home the next day I worked myself up to have a go at him and as I walked into the front room he was waiting to apologise, bastard, took the anger straight out of me.

Remember the pile of decomposing stew on the balcony?  Well, he listened to me and cleaned it up.  By listen I mean ignore me, and by clean it up I mean he’s moved it five feet to the other end of the balcony; still, we are currently under two or three or inches of snow so I guess the flies are taken care of.

Minger tends to use the sideboard rather than a chopping board and doesn’t clean it properly therefore it’s always dirty and when you run your fingers over it it’s covered in tiny pieces of dried food or whatever, if I could read braille I know it would say something like ‘Minger was here’.  Minger Time Over

I went to my 2nd IT meeting the other day and exactly like the first meeting the IT and PowerPoint refused to work; awesome, a 100% failure rate from my perspective, it really gives me confidence in their abilities.

All of NATO has the 06 May off, it’s Liberation Day; nobody thought I was very funny when I asked if the Germans got it off a well or did we make them come into work on their own and sit around and stare at all of the empty desks.  I got a five minute lecture about how the Germans also suffered badly and they too were under the boot of a dictator, I decided to leave that argument alone and agreed.

That’s it for this week.

13 Jan 13
Greetings from Holland, the country of badly dubbed TV.

Definition of irony, someone (you know who you are) eating as many of my Thorntons as possible whilst watching a Diet programme and offering me advice on dieting and healthy eating.

Tried my hand at Karate the other night, not sure whether it was funny or pathetic, a 50 year old man with arthritis in his knees trying to punch and kick his way around an aerobics studio.  For part of the evening I held the kickpad whilst the other guy practised his front kicks, turns out he’s quite happy for me to hold the pads whilst he practises because as he puts it ‘The larger blokes are harder to knock over’, in other words, we wibbles wobble, but we don’t fall down.  Next day was fun trying to get out of bed in the morning.

I went to a Dalmatian restaurant the other night, that is to say a restaurant that specialises in Croatian food, not spotty dogs.  I had what looked like an enormous turd on my plate, which was actually a large lump of minced spiced lamb, and when I cut into it half a ton of feta cheese fell out, it was fantastic! 

It was, as is usual for Holland, served with enough chips to feed a family of four. As seems to be the standard around here as soon as we sat down we were presented with shots of spirits, this restaurant served Grappa and for some reason it came in miniature specimen bottle. this meant that it was impossible to ‘neck’ it straight back, rather the only way to get the Grappa out wrap my lips around it and suck out the booze.  This had the potential to be awkward, but since Billy, the bloke who was sitting opposite, is into Swinging it was all quite comfortable.

Minger Time
Well it’s the New Year and a News update, the flat has become a magical zone, i say this because we have a skidmark fairy, a greasy goblin who smears grease/fat all over the TV remote, kitchen sideboard, taps and god knows what else, also a kitchen imp.  You know the kitchen imp, he’s the little bastard that uses loads of crockery/cutlery/pots and pans and leaves them in the sink for a couple of days in the vain belief that they will magically wash themselves.  What I’m trying to say is that the hygiene *harpy still controls things in this house.

He’s still crapping and not using the toilet brush and other than using it as an aiming mark when I pee I’m not going to clean it up, but what’s happening now is that each day he’s using the toilet and not cleaning and it seems that due to natural erosion (my pee (and possibly his)) the skidmark is growing larger and shrinking as the days go on, it’s almost like a living thing as it seems to move around the toilet bowl leaving a faint trail as it moves.

Despite the weather we are starting to attract flies and I believe this is due to the pile of decomposing stew on the balcony.  I asked him to clean it up and do you know what?  He has.  It turns out that all I needed to do was ask rather than rely on his personal standards and sense of pride, amazing!

Minger made a vegetable stew in the slow-cooker on  Sunday afternoon, got legless and went to bed, it was cooking for approx 14 hours and the next morning it had reduced down to some sort of vegetable slush-puppy.  He then went on to make a chili con carne also the slow cooker, thing is, the meat was still wrapped in clingfilm and frozen solid; but not a problem if you are capable of thinking outside the box, he made the chili con carne and dropped the bag of frozen mince in, put the lid on and left it on overnight and the next morning simply fished out the melted clingfilm and carried on cooking it.  Now I’m not a nutrition scientist or anything, but I’m guessing that slow cooking clingfilm for approx 16 hours is not part of a healthy, balanced diet.  Minger time finished

My job, as mentioned before (I think, i can’t be arsed to check back and read my own self-indulgent rubbish) is mainly preparing the General for his meetings, this usually takes up takes about an hour of my day; except on Wednesdays.  He has no Meeting on Wednesdays, this means that on Wednesdays I really have nothing to do at all, so at the moment as I still have a load of Leave left I’m pretty much taking every Wednesday off to stop myself being a nuisance to the others and to stop myself going mad.

If I bother/hassle/bribe the others to let me do their work it just means that they have less to do and are then equally bored.  So a couple of times a week i walk around the other sections within our division and prostitute myself for work.

The highlight of this week has been looking for a missing guillotine; a paper guillotine that is (approx 30cm x 40 cm), not a people guillotine (approx 4.5m x 1.5m), I make the distinction here because when I went around and asked one of the sections if they had borrowed it, I got a blank look and the following statement ‘Wouldn’t somebody have noticed something that big?’.  This was followed by a tentative ‘Oh, you don’t mean a real one do you?’.  These men and women are the best that their countries produce and train to lead men into battle and he actually made the leap of imagination that I was looking for a Guillotine that is used to chop off heads.

About June the General is going and is going to be replaced by a French General who will bring all his own staff, fantastic, I’m going to be surrounded by French Army.

that’s it for this week.

Jim

*Harpy – a foul malign creature in Greek mythology that is part woman and part bird and is reputed to fling its shit at passersby.

In to my 3rd week now and still no work, they’ve got me going around and checking safes and users of said safes, but we all know that it’s something to give me something to do. They’ve also made me printer cartridge monitor for my corridor, a position of some responsibility. I was chatting to a RAF Warrant Officer the other day and he said he probably did about a half hour’s work each day.

All the others I work with are in combats, so I’ve abandoned my blues and I’m now in greens. I got a telephone call the other day from Clothing stores asking me what I was going to be wearing when I went on Exercise to Poland, and when I told them it would my uniform from Afghan, they stated that my uniform was the wrong type, it was Operational PCS and I wasn’t allowed to wear it and they would order me some new stuff. When I asked them what they were ordering me they said they would order me some Temperate PCS. I asked them what the difference between Operational and Temperate was and what did it matter anyway, they didn’t know. After they had a five minute chat with each other while I held on, they came back and said that Temperate PCS was thicker, and that was the only stuff I was allowed to wear in Europe. I’ve decided to do what I normally do, I’ll ignore them and continue as I am.

I have discovered a new form of entertainment; the Gents toilet in my corridor has energy saving lights that come on automatically when you open the door and walk in. They also switch off 5 minutes later if they have not detected any movement, and there are no repeat sensors in each of the toilet cubicles. This means that when taking a poo you have one of 3 choices:

  1. Take less than 5 minutes for a poo.

  2. Finish off your poo in absolute darkness and hope for the best.

  3. Open cubicle door, lurch out in a hunched crouched position, wave at sensor and hope that nobody comes in whilst you are carrying out said procedure, retreat back to cubicle.

The 1st option just isn’t me.

The 2nd option may lead to unpleasantness.

The 3rd option is the way forward; now all I have to do is hope not to get caught looking like I’ve got the wrong end of cottaging.

My flatmate has shown me new levels of mingingness, he hasn’t cleaned the oven since he’s been here; it has a year and a half’s worth of crap burnt in to it, I actually felt a bit queasy as I put my food in there for the first time. Also, he smokes on the balcony, and once again, I don’t think he’s cleaned it in all that time.

When I was marching in to the flat my flatmate mentioned that the lightbulbd keep blowing, I have discovered why; he gets drunk virtually every evening and goes to bed leaving all the lights on and invariably the balcony door open. I’m guessing some of the lights have been on for days or weeks before I got here. I seem to be lucky when it comes to flatmates.

I have frittered away this weekend, but one the plus side I have been to my first MacDonalds in Holland and I’ve been around Ikea again. I have also cleaned and mopped the bathroom and kitchen, turns out that it’s white lino in the kitchen, not grey!