England expects

jmw, turner, the battle of trafalgar, 1822, painting

England expects that every man will do his duty

…was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence on 21 October 1805. Trafalgar was the decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. It gave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland control of the seas, removing all possibility of a French invasion and conquest of Britain. Although there was much confusion surrounding the wording of the signal in the aftermath of the battle, the significance of the victory and Nelson’s death during the battle led to the phrase becoming embedded in the English psyche, and it has been regularly quoted, paraphrased and referenced up to the modern day. Source: Wikipedia.

Kandahar air base

I’ve been watching Warzone on Five.

I watch it because, as I have mentioned before, I wanted to join the military when I was younger. I always wanted to join the RAF. Failing that, the Royal Navy. Alas, it was not to be. Back then being gay was a sackable offence (unlike now) so it never happened.

I still regret it not happening.

Top Gun is one of my favourite films and, funnily enough, I’m really enjoying this fly-on-the-wall documentary. 10,000 NATO troops from 32 countries are stationed at Kandahar air base. It’s like a town; a melting pot.

I saw a colleague today who is not long back from India (she is British of Asian descent). She said it had an ‘edge’ and a ‘vivid colour’ to it that made her feel alive and that being back in the UK feels like ‘shades of grey’. I knew exactly what she meant. My father lives in East Africa and it’s exactly the same. I grew up abroad, in Africa and the Middle East. To people that haven’t experienced ‘the edge’ it’s inconceivable to want to experience somewhere not in the West, somewhere not so safe, somewhere more colourful, more alive, more adventurous, more real.

Some get where I’m coming from. Most don’t.