If I ever talk about a military group in my blogs it's the Navy. However it's the Army's turn today. Mind you, it's hardly geo, more just a bit of interest to any army followers I have out there. OK. One. Ken - this blog is for you.
I was invited to join some 'in service' testing on Salisbury Plain today. I know the guy who works on weapons at Abbeywood and since I had no pressing meetings today I was able to take the day off to spend freezing my toes watching the Army (and a couple of Marines I spotted) practising.
We were on a range testing the Javelin and light/heavy machine gun fire. There was a bit of action with Warriors, smoke grenades and small explosions and then machine gun fire (with tracers) onto distant targets. Elsewhere on the Plain we could hear big gun fire going off and clouds of smoke rising on the horizon.
They set up a Javelin so that we spectactors could peer through the view finder.
The great excitement (if you can call it that) was when one of the Javelins misfired. The project engineers there had never seen it happen. Post failure all one could hear were sighs of "oh dear, oh dear, oh dear". Nothing is perfect but reassuringly when it misfired it cartwheeled and lay on the ground. No big 'boom'. No injuries.
I chatted to some of the army guys there but they are in a completely different world to the one I inhabit. Standard scathing of the dark blue forces. "All they do is swan around on ships sunning themselves". "Civil Servants just move paper around all day long" (sounds easy - I should try that some time). I didn't get onto the RAF but I was getting the gist. One poor guy was missing his para mates who were out in Africa and he was stuck on Salisbury Plain running training and exercises. I can imagine that's not what he joined up for. Another one offered me an egg-butty. When I declined he up-ed his offer "free hug with every egg-butty!". Now, there's an offer you don't get every day.