Archive for May, 2007

Fancy a Job Abroad?

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

I have had quite a few emails from people asking me whether I would work in Iraq at the moment.  I suppose this follows the apparent abduction of four British body guards this week.

My view is that Iraq is so fucked up that it is just not worth the risk for what are quite moderate financial returns.  The average pay on offer varies.  An average bod could be getting 75K per annum and a figure bandied around a lot at the moment is around £500 per day.   This may seem like good dough but believe me you earn it.   I am told that in the last 12 months there have been 900 security contractors killed in Iraq.  I don’t know how accurate that figure is, but it would not surprise me.

The American government and to a lesser extent the Brits are trying to keep their military casualty figures low so as to placate public opinion and so they are using private contractors to do the army’s job.  The fact is that if you fight a war you take casualties.  Sad, but true.  It’s even sadder if you become one of the official statistics.

There are loads of companies offering employment “opportunities” for trained people.  But quite how well trained some of them are is open to debate.  Funny how many people have allegedly been in “The Regiment” or “Special Forces.”

They wear Rolex watches and talk a good job.  Unfortunately a nice tan, gym body, Rolex watches and yak don’t keep you alive when it all goes tits up.   You know as soon as the shit hits the fan who is for real.  The pisser is that this is not really a good time to find out.  You just need everyone to knuckle under and do the biz and not to start flapping round like a fucking wounded bird.

The other little thing about Iraq is that the British and American public are under the impression that the “other side” are a sort of terrorist outfit a bit like ETA or the IRA.  The first thing is that there are actually several other sides which makes life a bit  tricky, because you never know who the hell is on your side.  If any of them are that is.  The next thing is that they are actually quite well armed, trained and equipped, as this recent incident demonstrates.

You may recall a British Serviceman who was killed last year in a friendly fire incident by a US tank buster aircraft.    The pilots asked if there were any friendly vehicles in the region and apparently were told no.

Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of the actual engagement,  I don’t suppose anyone here has actual said “Hang on a mo if the bad guys are just a bunch of disorganised, semi naked,  rag heads  running around the dessert as the government says they are, why are these pilots asking if there are friendly armoured vehicles in the region?”  If they don’t have tanks and armoured vehicles why ask the question? Why indeed!

So, I am off to Croydon today.  Well Shirley and Thornton Heath actually.  If I am ambushed by insurgents on my way,   I will chalk it up to bad luck,  but will be able defend myself with my travel card.

Not very exotic but I should be home in time to go to the cinema.

Gumphers Grandad & Friends too numerous to mention

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them”.

Wedding Bells

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

When I got in last night I was in a much better mood than when I had left. L was pottering around and I must say that the place looked spot on. Despite the unusual and somewhat unorthodox start to our “relationship” things have been ticking along quite nicely.

I went into the office and tracked through my emails and messages and sorted some admin. Its amazing what piles up when you are away. One of the letters was an invitation to a wedding in July. Seemed a little last minute bearing in mind these invites tend to arrive several years before the event, but knowing the geezer getting married it didn’t surprise me too much.

After half an hour or so I decided maybe I should rustle up some grub. I asked L if she fancied some beef Stroganoff and pasta, which she did. Twenty minutes later we were eating and having a glass of wine. She seemed a bit quite, almost morose.

“L, are you OK”

“yes” she lied
“Whats wrong?”

“Peter rang”

“Peter?…..Ahh Peter P….What did he want?”

” He said about you getting married”

“ME? I’m not getting married”

“He said it was in a letter”

“You prawn, its not me getting married its him you plonker, I got the invite today, actually I probably got it a while ago but only opened it today”

I got up and went from the table and went to the office and brought the invitation to show her.

Mr & Mrs Desperate Request The Pleasure of

Uncle Norman

At The Marriage Of Their Daughter

Shagalot to Mr Peter P

RSVP

Here is a question for you why do we put RSVP, which is an expression never used by the French?

As I looked at the invitation I realised it was only for me. To be fair I suppose there is only me, but I felt a bit bad that L might miss out on a trip out to a wedding and the idea of running the gauntlet of the MILs wrath made me pick up the dog and bone to ring Peter P.

I explained the situation and asked about bringing L. The fact there was no immediate response in the positive should have given me a clue as to how this was going to go. Instead there was some hushed off phone chat between Peter P and Shagalot.

“I’m sorry Norm but we could not possibly add another guest at this late stage”

“Oh, Ok that’s alright I fully understand, but I regret that I will not be able to attend”

“But why?”

“Look Peter, I fully understand your situation, which is clearly more than you and Shagalot do about mine. If you cannot accommodate an extra guest, you cannot accommodate an extra quest, and I don’t have a problem with that. But it would not be correct for me to come and for L to stay at home. I dont intend to fall out about it, I just cannot come that’s all. Nothing more, nothing less”

The next second Shagalot had snatched the phone from Peter and is ranting at me. I am not sure why exactly, because I thought I had been very reasonable and the soul of tact and diplomacy. I put the phone down whilst the tirade of abuse continued and helped myself to another mouthful of Stroganoff and pasta and even had time to take a slurp of wine. The ranting had stopped as I picked up the telephone.

“I’m sorry Shagalot, didn’t quite catch all that, could you just run that by me again”

The expression ” Light blue touch paper stand well back” comes to mind. I am sure there were flecks of spit coming out of the receiver.

It must have been something I said.

Peter was back on the telephone and I think men in white coats were sedating Shagalot

“Shagalot is devastated you are not coming”he said

“So it would seem, I never realised she felt so strongly about me or liked me that much”

“Oh she doesn’t like you at all Norm, it’s just that she wants the wedding to be perfect, and I had told her what a good best man you would be”

“WHAT”

“You know, best man, my best man”

“Nobody mentioned best man to me”

“I wanted it to be a surprise”

“Fuck me you achieved that”

“Well, will you do it?”

“I would be honoured, but only if L comes”

“Oh”

“I am sorry Peter but I am not budging on this. If you cant cater for her well so be it, but you will need to find somebody else as your best man. I am sorry”

“Right well I’ll get back to you”

I put the phone down.

“Dickhead” and shook my head in disbelief at the bizarre conversation I had just had. L was looking at me. No actually she was staring at me.

“What?” I asked

“You wont go to a wedding because I can’t go”

“Yeah that’s pretty much it” I said nodding sagely sucking back a piece of Tagliatelle that was attempting to escape my mouth and trying to look cool with cream running down my chin.

“Why?” she asked her head cocked slightly to one side and a curious look on her face.

“Because strange as it may seem we are a team,  sort of. I don’t really have anyone else to go with and as far as I know you don’t seem to have anyone else, so we are sort of thrown together”

Then almost without thinking about it I realised I had reached across the table and patted the back of her hand, she turned it over and held my hand and smiled.

I smiled back.

Best man – my fat arse.

Pikeys 4 – In a rut

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

I woke up in a really bad mood. I don’t know why, there was no rhyme or reason to it and It doesnt happen that often, but fuck me I was a right grumpy bastard. As my Gran used to say “I could have fought with my own shadow and won”

I stomped about the flat before heading down to Hampshire to see the Pikeys.

When I got to the paddocks I decided to put on some special kit for this job. In films Brad Pitt or the like would put on his body armour. Bruce Willis wouldn’t but then he is a special kind of guy. I am Uncle Norman I am British and so I put on – Wellies.

The Pikeys were indeed a sorry sight. There was fucking mud everywhere. The kids instead of being just grubby were caked in thick gooey clods and looked like little pygmies from New guinea (the only difference is that the Pygmies from New Guinea speak pigeon and this lot speak Pikey which is much harder to learn).

The poxy dogs didn’t look any better and were staggering about as if they were pissed, which I suppose they were sort of. The big bloke with the beard was there with his mates and they were trying somewhat unsuccessfully to move a Ford Transit, which was pretty well bogged down. Some other herbert was trying to pull a caravan out of dip using a Toyota pick up. The wheels from both vehicles were spinning furiously and the result was a shower of mud going all overt he shop. All the caravan were listing at rather odd angles. Add to this little scene the delightful voices of the Romany lady folk asking there chaps “What de feck is goin on aud der?” and “You better gd us oudder dis you useless fuck” and I think you will have an idea that all was not well in the camp.

I squelched over in the direction of the bloke with the beard and made a mental note to avoid the flying mud.

“Hello lads, hows it going?”

“Its a fuckin nightmare sir a fucking nightmare”

“I have to say it doesn’t look to good, what’s happened”

I don’t know sir, everything was fine and then over the weekend a drain must a burst or summit cos it got right boggy and then wi de rain an all it bin murder”

“Hmm so I see” I said

I watched as two dogs squatted and squirted diarrhoea outside the door of one of the caravans.

“Aye sir and the dogs have been off an all” Beardy continued looking at the two dogs.
“Oh”

“Aye all sort of listless like, off their food, sleeping and shitting all o’er place. Must be a drain or summit”

“Maybe” I said “Maybe”

We watched as the caravan being pulled by the Toyota lurched precariously from side to side. I have to be honest and say that not too much forward progress was made. The Toyota is a bang on bit of kit, but it does need the right tyres for the job and fortunately for me this one didn’t have the right tyres.

“What are going to do” I asked

“Well seeing as you’re here an all sir I was wondering if maybe your offer of helping us move on still stands”

“I can still help you, but the terms are a bit different”

“Hows dat sir?”

“Well you can’t stay here can you. Your missus is well pissed off with muddy kids and shitty dogs all over the place, but you do seem to be having a bit of difficulty moving”

“Aye that’s true sir, we seem to be in a bit of rut, that’s true enough” H enodded his head rather sadly.
“How about you pay me £500 per family and I will get someone to pull all of you out of the mud and you can be on your way”

” FIVE HUNDRED POUND ARE YOU A FUCKIN COMEDIAN OR SOMAT” He bellowed
“If you want a comedian get Bob Monkhouse! I am making an offer to help you.”

“But last week you….” He stammered
“That was last week and this is this week. Do you want me to help you or do you want to roll around in this shit and piss? It’s up to you shag, but I have to tell you I am not in the best of moods today and have not got time to stand here and fuckin pass the time of day with you”

“Cunt, I’ll go and talk to dem”

He stomped off, well he tried to stomp but in reality he sort of slithered his way across to the group of other pikeys that were watching. There was a very heated debate and lots of dark looks in my direction, but there was an air of resignation about them. He slithered back with an air of dejection about him.

“Alright sir just get us out of here. I will collect the cash for you”

“Thanks. Whats your name?”

“Tom”

“Look Tom have you got a mobile”

“Why?”

“Well it maybe that I might have some jobs for you in the future. I am not promising anything mind, but you never know”

He was a bit taken back and more than suspicious, but he gave me his number. In the mean time I rang FG who was on local standy with a nice big tractor and about an hour or so later all the pikeys had been extracted from the mud. It would seem that not only had they got mysteriously got bogged down but theire tyres had gone soft. Strange that.

They were short of £500 but in the interests of humanity I gave them a bit of a discount and they went on their merry way. Merry not be quite the right term but they wer gone.

We immediately pulled up the makeshift entrance to the field to prevent any other cheeky little tinkers taking up residency.

Next stop the residents association.

I broke the good news to Wing-Co Whatshisname and he was a a happy chap. We wandered round to the entrance of the paddock and he looked at all the tyres marks and aboandoned crap.

“I say what the devils gone on here?” He blustererd

“Well very simply we flooded them out”

“You did what?” He snorted
“We asked them to leave. When they refused,we simply ran hoses from each of the houses under the caravans and vehicles and turned the taps on.”

“We agreed to pay you £10,000”

“Yes to get your squaters to move and that is exactly what we have done, I would like the balance please”

“I don’t think you have earned your money at all I am not going to pay” Smirked the blustering old twat.

Why do people have to be so bloody stupid.

The poor old chap must have tripped or slipped on the mud because the next thing he was flat in his back splashing around in a rather large tyre track. He seemed to be under the impression that I had tripped him. Not me surely not.
“help me up, help me up you pushed me you you you…”

“Mister whatshisname ..”

“Wing Commander”

“Mister Whatshisname, please don’t interrupt me, I am in no mood for games or bad manners, do I make myself clear? You contracted me to get those people off your land, because you couldn’t or wouldn’t do it yourself. You are paying me and my men for the ability to run 10 hoses into a gsypsies cmapsite every night without being detected. You are paying me for knowing how to sedate vicious dogs and for knowing that the average hose will deliver around 1100 litres of water every hour and that over the course of the weekend we would pour roughly 264000 litres of water into that site. You are paying me paid me and my men for being able to move into their camp and deflate the tyres of their caravans whilst they slept. You are paying for the use of a large tractor to help the peole off you land. Now then that is exactly what I have done, as a result of which the squatters have left. If you don’t pay me as agreed I have no doubt you will find life here more than a little uncomfortable. I do hope we understand each other”

“Er yes, help me up and I will give you a cheque”

“We agreed terms and one of those terms was cash, besides do you think after this little stroke that I would take a cheque from you?”

I think he thought we would blow them up or something, after all I did say we would soften them up. I am pleased to say that the errant gentleman has paid his dues and tendered an apology which was graciously accepted.

Pikeys 3

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Forgot to give the latest update on the pikeys.

They are looking a bit sorry for themselves I must say.

Tonight in addition to the ongoing operation to soften them up, we will be carrying out a second phase proactive manoeuvre.

If all goes well we should be in a position by tomorrow morning to make them an offer I think they will find rather hard to refuse.

I have also spoken to the residents association and will also be meeting with them tomorrow.

In Laws

Monday, May 28th, 2007

My in laws had come up to town and we were going to a show and then out to dinner.  I had arranged it on my return to the UK and before the Pikey job had come up.  I had rung Cynthia and Bill to say that because of work I would be unable to go, but they should pop in and have tea and a chat and to get the tickets.

I haven’t seen them for awhile and they looked very well.  They are good people, a bit serious sometimes and they didn’t always approve of my flippant attitude to life and line of work.  They had been teachers and had met whilst working as missionaries in Zambia years ago.  We have always got on very way.  I am not saying we have not had our differences, but nothing that we could not sort out.

I introduced L to them and explained she was my housekeeper. Almost immediately MIL saw was the arrangement of the photos.

“Who did that?” asked MIL in a slightly stern tone.
“I did” Said L, looking a little ill at ease and I suspect she remembered my little outburst on Friday.

“Thank you” said MIL “It was very thoughtful,  I always felt they looked a little ….separated, just stuck up on the wall.  No offence Norman”

“None taken”

FIL looked at me and slightly rolled his eyes to heaven

“Dont make that face please Bill” said MIL without turning to look at him.

He and I exchanged glances.

“Who is this little fellow” continued MIL.
“Frederick, my son” said L

“He’s a handsome lad, how old is he?”

“He was 15 months, …that photo ..was taken …just a week or so before…..”  Her words caught in her throat.
Without saying a word, MIL turned and looked at L and put her arms around her and pulled her to her, gently but firmly and kissed the side of her head.   L put her head into MILs shoulder.

Two mothers bound by the same experience.
“I know darling, I know”  whispered MIL  “Norman, put the kettle on please”

I made the tea whilst MIL and L sat on the settee and chatted away to each other. I thought I better get the tickets for the show and dinner out before I forgot and gave them to the in Laws.

“And what are you doing this evening L?” asked MIL

“I am going to watch television” said L a little quietly.
“Well that seems a bit silly, we have three tickets here for the theatre and dinner and there doesn’t seem much point in letting one go to waste does there, why dont you come with us?”

“Me?”

“Yes dear you, we would be delighted to spend the evening with you”

“But I don’t have anything to wear”  said L.  As she said it I remembered the little carry on case that constituted her worldly goods.

MIL looked at her watch and said there was still time to get her sorted before the shops shut, and they were gone.

About two hours later they were back with some bags.

L went into her room to change and MIL looked at me and then rounded on me.

“Norman, you should be ashamed of yourself”

“She is my housekeeper” I said defensively
“And that gives you the excuse not to look after the poor girl?”

“Wha…”

“I haven’t finished yet.  She is a lovely girl and deserves better than to be just shut up in this flat looking after you”

“Bu…house…”

“She doesn’t have anything, she has lost the most valuable thing in her life, you of all people should know that she is vulnerable.  If I get the slightest whiff that you are not looking after her properly and giving her the affection and love that she needs I will be down on you like a ton of hot bricks”

“Love, affection?”

“Yes Norman,  Love and affection, look them up in the dictionary if you have forgotten the meaning of the words”

“But there is nothing going on” I protested.

“I think that’s the point that Cynthia is making” said Bill gently

At this point L came out of her room in her new clothes.  Fuck me show looked lovely.  I smiled and L beamed back at me and looked radiant.
MIL patted me on the cheek.

“You know Norman you have a lovely smile, you  should wear it more often, it suites you”

10 Things About Me

Monday, May 28th, 2007

I have been tagged by the delightfully, decadent, deliciously, dysfunctional, Domestic Minx to reveal ten things about me. I am honoured but I don’t think I am very interesting. Well here goes.

No 1- Me

I am basically a very happy, contended chap and consider myself to be very lucky. I have had my ups and downs, but all in all I have had, and continue to enjoy a very good life. I have been all over the world and met thousands of interesting people and only killed some of them. That is a joke by the way. My black side is that I do have a tinsey winsey aggressive streak through me, but I rarely loose my temper and although very good at injuring people I am not a violent man. I hate confrontation but will not back away from it when faced with it. I am not a worrier. If I do worry it is for short bursts only. I think I am too stupid and lazy to worry for longer than about 12 hours. I do have a tendency to bear a grudge which sort of conflicts with the happy go lucky side of me. I am better than I was, but every now and then someone pisses me off and bingo. When that happens I am like a dog with a bone and hust wont let go. I know its not good but I just cant help it.

No 2 – Material Boy

I am not particularly bothered by material goods. I don’t have a car because I don’t really need one and generally they don’t do much for me. I don’t hold with this thing that car says something about me. I say something about me not a bloody car. In my line of work I get to drive lots of different cars, some good some bad, but at the end of the day they are a tool. If I do need a car I hire one, but I must be honest and say that I tend to hire nice cars. I do have a couple of favourite cars though. Like the Minx, I love the Karmann Ghia. My dad had one when I was a lad. Bloody fantastic. My other one is the Peugoet 504 convertible very cool. which I am not. If I bought a car it would probably be a fiat 4×4 or a Citroen C1.

No 3 – Humour

I am very very ticklish cos I am sensitive like. I also have a very warped – nay black sense of humour. I can see the funny side in most situations and can laugh at most things. This does not always go down too well with some people and it has got me into trouble on lots of occasions. I love comedy programmes and films. I know that some of the stuff I like is crap but it makes me laugh. I especially like Black Adder, Mr Bean, Open all hours, Dads Army, Fawlty towers, Phoenix nights, Max and Paddy, My name is Earl and Green Wing but to name a few.

No 4 – Films & The Cinema

I hardly watch television and never ever watch the news, but do watch TV series from DVD and I watch a lot of films and love going to the cinema. However I only really watch films with happy endings. This is not an exclusive but I do tend to like romantic comedies. I like some action films, but to be honest they are usually such a load of old bollocks they get me cross. The latest James Bond Film gets a thumbs up though. I will tell you something weird, when I am abroad I am always surprised when the Pearl and Dean music doesn’t come on at the cinema. If i was an inexperience traveller I might be forgiven, but I have been globe trotting since I was four, so you think I would have learnt by now. I was at a dinner sometime ago and mentioned the enhanced cinema experience viz the Pearl and Dean theme to the Entertainments minister of a certain African country and I think he thought I was on drugs, and when I sang the theme I could see he feared for his life. Granted I am not a good singer but even so, it did not deserve that frightened look.

Some favourite films: All Tarantino films, Waynes World 1 & 2, Love actually, Spy game, When Harry met Sally, Saving Private Ryan, Ice age (1&2), Johnny English, About a boy….I’ve gone blank! Thank god for that you think.

No 5- The Law

I have, through no fault of my own, found myself as a guest of the law enforcement and security services in a number of countries. I am an honest fellow and have never been convicted or even charged with any criminal offences. In my experience the most civilised place to be arrested is the UK. It has been my experience that by in large the accommodation on offer is generally of a poor quality. The wine list is bloody short and the menu overall leaves a bit to be desired. You also tend to find the other guests to be of a somewhat sombre disposition. I can highly recommend against being a guest of Bob Mugabe. Not much of sense of humour and more of hospital than hospitable host. So when I can book my accommodation, I tend to try to use a hotel that has beds and linen. I was once in a hotel in the Far East which cost about £5 a night including breakfast. In the morning I complained about a dead bug in the bed and the madam was very cross. I had to tell her it was not the dead bug I was complaining about, but the 50,000 at the funeral!

No 6 – Music.

I am not sure why I got to No6 before mentioning music because I love music, despite being as musical as a tree stump. I like all sorts of stuff. As a youth I was into heavy metal and still am but I also have an extensive classical collection. I love techno and modern dance music and have been lucky enough through work to do the clubs in Ibiza. At the moment my favourite band is the Killers. I am not big on rap, although I quite like that mother fucker Eminem, but I have to be in the mood. Some of my favourite songs are Wonderful world by Louis Armstrong, I believe in Angels by Abba, The theme from True Romance My wifes funeral music, Smile like you mean it by the Killers, Paradise city by Guns and Roses (which is to be played at the time they drop me into the ground or pop me into the furnace) Miss Sarajevo by U2 and Highway to hell by AC/DC.  If I was to adopt a theme tune it would have to be the Ace of Spades by Motor Head.  The lrics fir me and my life to a tee

No 7 – France

I speak pretty reasonable French and have a lot of French Friends plus few English friends who live in France. I love France. I love living in London and love the UK, but I love France and had planned to move there before my wife’s accident. I love the fact that it is such a varied place, there are several countries in one country. Does that make sense? let me explain, You have Normandy with it orchards and the Dordogne and Lot and Garrone with its rolling countryside. The Hautes Pyrennees with the snow capped mountains. Then there is the Pays Basque, chic and glamorous Biarritz and St Jean de Luz. The Alps, the Cotes D’azur oh I could go on for ever. Then of course there is the food and wine, but I will come to that in a mo.

No 8 – Food & Wine
I love food and cooking and I love wine. Actually I am not adverse to most beverages. I have always cooked and am pretty reasonable cook if I may so myself and take my cooking pretty seriously, although I don’t get all anal about it or beat myself up if it goes wrong. I don’t have a favourite chef although I do like Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. HUBBA HUBBA. Wine mmmm slurp. I vary what I drink. At the mo I am in a rose and white mode, in the winter I go for the reds. I am not a big lover of new world wines as they are a bit too heavy for me and I find they tend to over do the oak flavour. I like vodka, scotch and absinthe, ah the green fairy. There are are some absinthes on the market which if drunk before or during sex is just ding dong, but there is a danger that if you drink too much you get maudlin and start missing friends and loved ones. The reason for this is obvious – absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

No 9 – Women

I like women. I don’t mean I am a womaniser, or want to imply that I am mega stud. I would like to be a mega stud, but I may have left it too late. Silly simpering bints get right on my tits very quickly. Readers of earlier posts on my blog might have picked up on this! I like women who are intelligent, bold, funny, brave and sexy. Sally Lomax emailed me and told me off, when nobody else did. I am full of admiration for that. Me thinks the Domestic Minx is exactly that, a minx of the first order. So what else do I like about women? well apart from the obvious I like their presense. I used to use the word smell but got smacked in the ear by one lady, who thought I was being rude and odour didn’t do down so well either, so I now say perfume. or scent. The softness of their skin and that little something in their eyes. I could go on and on but it would be boring. What do i look for in a woman who might be a bed partner? Primarily all her own teeth (Optional) all her own limbs (optional) the ability to say Yes in the language of her choice

No 10 – Friends.

It is a lucky person who can say they have five good friends. Yeah, people have loads of acquaintances but these are not friends, and people should not get the two confused. I have some really good friends and they know who they are and I have loads of pals and internet chums. I am a lucky man.

Well there you go. I rather enjoyed doing this, but it seems a pretty crap list to me, but its the best I can do. I am honoured to have been tagged though. Thanks Minx

Pikys 2

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

I am pleased to say that operation pikey is going well, and I hope it will be helped along by the traditional bank holiday weather.

Before the team brief on Friday evening I popped down to my storage facility in Wandsworth.

It always makes me laugh on films when the super cool geezer goes into his suburban garage and presses a button, and lo there is this mega massive hidden arsenal of goodies.

I use Big Yellow and the stuff I keep there is not that exciting at all. Useful, but not exciting. I suppose the most exciting bit of kit is a couple of cross bows,some night vision gear, radios, body armour and few other bits and bobs.

The biggest problem I could foresee were the pikeys poxy dogs. But fortunately dogs like suasages and meat. Now then if you are a cheeky devil and put a sedative into the meat the dogs become less of a problem. If they don’t take the drugged meat then I am afraid it is crossbow time – Silent, effective and very permanent. However if there is no need for violence or force why use it unless you really need to? Always best to try the easy way first!
LD is what we refer to as a KayNine. This bloke is an expert dog handler. A tag that could apply to his choice of women as well, but that is another story. He had already been to a vets to get some goodies and had been down to the plikeys camp twice in the last 24 hours and left some juicy tit bits for the dogs. Hopefully the dogs would be feeling mellow and instead of being met by snarling slobbering mutant beasts the dogs would be full of peace and love for man kind and going “like wow, bow wow man or whatever”
I picked up the stuff we were going to need and then headed off to meet the lads. I ran through the plan with the team. It was not complicated. I Try not to do complicated. The more intricate and complicated the better the chance is of fucking up. By dusk we were at our resepctive points in the back gardens of the houses and were ready to rock and roll.

We waited until the place was more or less in darkness and then we moved in and deployed our equipment. We needed to install 10 items, quickly and quietly around the site and then withdraw to activate them.
The dogs were indeed mellow and several were pretty well out for the count, and the two or three that were up for a sniff around us got given another Tescos economy sausage. No point wasting decent Richmond Pork sausages on bloody dogs! Just one tip though, always wear gloves and never forget to wash your hands afterwards or you might get an unexpected lie in.
It took maybe ten minutes to get everything in position and then we started the action.

Meanwhile the housleholders slept in their 6 bed detatched house with pictures of sugar plumbs and bonuses danced in their heads.

In their caravans the pikeys slept and dreamt of tarmacking drives and nicking lead.

Despite their social differences, they were untied in the fact that neither knew we were there and that we were about to make life very uncomfortable for the squatters.

All that was left to do now was to sit back and wait.

Waiting is a big part of soldiers lives and this work is no different. Slowly slowly catchey moneky!

Two blokes stayed over night and in the morning just before first light they deactivated the equipment and removed it. The rest of us were back home in bed just after midnight.
We did the same thing on Saturday and will repeat the procedure tonight and tomorrow as well. But as I said earlier I hope mother nature will help us speed things along a bit.

Back From Hampshire

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

As soon as it was clear that you Romany friends were not going to piss off, I confirmed with the residents that we would be dealing with the matter and would be back on Friday evening. All they had to do was give us access to their back gardens and leave the rest to us. I rang round the five blokes I had flagged up to work with me and arranged a briefing for Friday evening and confirmed we were on for the same night.

If we get some bad weather we should be able to get the job done in a few days.  I made arrangements for some goodies to sort out those fucking dogs.  Have you ever thought Pikeys have thousands of dogs but they have never won at crufts!
When I got in I could see some things were different.  The most obvious thing was that the photos of my wife and girls had been moved and were together on the bookcase and there was a vase of flowers  there.

What the fuck!  How dare she go moving things round.  Not just things,  but my girls.  I rarely get angry but when I do I can feel it rush through my veins like fire.  I could feel my my chest heaving with pure rage.  I am not nice when I am angry and I was fucking livid.
L came out of the kitchen and looked nervously at me.

“You’re cross”

“Well done Sherlock and why do you think that is?”

“I didn’t mean to make you cross, but every time I came here I looked at those photos and I always felt they should be together”

“Oh you did did you? How the fuck would you know?” I exploded

“Because when my little boy died he looked so alone and I used to cry when I looked at his photo. He was only little and I couldn’t bear the thought of him being alone.  Angela told me about your family, so every weekend when I stayed here, I put my boy with your girls so they would play with him and maybe your wife would look after him for me.  I just thought….. they would all be sort of together.  I am sorry, I was silly and I hurt your feelings I just thought they looked happier I will take them down”I looked at the photos and the arrangement of little flowers.  I felt my cheeks flush and the burning heat in my eyes and the pang of loss but most of all I felt shame.

Real deep shame.

I stood and looked at the floor with my hands by my side because I couldn’t look her in the eyes.

“Where is he?” I managed to say
“In my room”

“Why don’t you go and  get him so they can all be together”

“You dont mind?”

“I am so sorry”

“I know”

She walked towards her room and she extended her finger just enough so she touched the back of my hand.

It. I felt it.

Posh & Pikies

Friday, May 25th, 2007

While I was in foreign parts (If you will excuse the expression) a reasonable number of potential UK jobs have come in.  One of these was in Hampshire, and so it was, that yesterday I hired a car and went to look at the problem I had been asked to deal with.

Pikies, or if you prefer:- Gypsies, Gypos, Thieves, Tinkers, Travelling folk, Romanies, Gitanes and so on.  If anyone doesn’t know what I mean email me.

The situation is this.  There are ten houses and they form a horseshoe around a grassy area or paddock.  The back gardens actually back onto the paddock which forms a bit of dip, and this field  is apparently jointly owned by the ten houses. The problem is that a group of Gypsies have set up camp on said green and pleasant land and the householders don’t want them there.  Via word of mouth somebody told the residents about me and we arranged to meet.

I don’t own a car,  because living in West London I don’t really need one.  I go by public transport generally,  and if I need a car I hire one.   If I am really honest  I don’t give cars a second glance really, but a lot of people are not like me.  To them the car is the most important thing in their lives.  Wankers.

Now then when I have these meeting with clients,  the car you arrive is fairly important to them as they will make an almost instant appraisal of you by your car.  Too cheap and you cannot be any good and too flash and they think you are a thug and drugs dealer.  My car of choice is usually an “A” or “B” class Mercedez or a mid range Audi.  Not too flash but expensive enough to cut the right image.  Big Mercs are too flash and BMW too bling or common. Let me ask you when was the last time you smiled at a BMW driver?  If you drive a BM ask your self when were you last smiled at.  I suppose if I was to buy a car it would be a Fiat panda 4×4 or something like that, not exactly a bird puller, but who gives a toss.

I took a wander round by the field and there are about 15 caravans, a few trucks, several vans and cars.  It goes without saying that there was also a number of pikey dogs and grubby kids running about.Anyway, I arrived at the residents meeting and was greeted by the chairman.  Wing Commander whatshisname and the secretary who is some kind of judge.   The first thing he mentioned was the car.  How did I find it and was it comfortable blah blah blah.  I told the truth and said I had had several and found them very good, but I had not had this one very long.

Down to business, they outlined in hushed tones and in private exactly what the problem was, but I knew that already.

I think the wing-co was under the impression I was going to make a public appearance and speak to the masses.  Not my style old boy.

“Well what do you think” he asked

“Have you asked them to leave?”

“What?” He asked his eyes wideneing
“Have you asked them to leave?”

“Well we have had three meetings and discussed then problem if that’s what you mean”

“Have you spoken to the people in the caravans and asked them to leave” I asked
“No we have not!  Are you mad they might have attacked us,  those dogs of theirs are bloody savage”

“Ok I will take the job.  It should take seven days ten at the very most.  I will need access to all the back gardens at night.”

“Seven to ten days! That doesn’t sound very quick” huffed the Wing-co

“Who said anything about being quick?  You said you want them gone and I have agreed to get rid of them for you, besides which they have been there for quite a while already haven’t they?”

“Hmmm yes quite so, quite so” Pondered the Judge
“If you want them to go quickly offer them so money”

I thought the wing-co wwas going to have some kind of seizure.  his eyes bulged and his face went beetroot and I noticed a vain pulsing in his frehead.

“WHAT that’s our land and  they are trespassing.  It would be bloody preposterous to pay those swine!” He exploded
“OK, calm down.  Why haven’t you taken legal action?”

There was a silence and discreet but nonetheless nervous glances were exchanged.

“Yes well ahem, It errmm costs thousands and they get legal aid and we would all have pay and it simply takes an age to get a result.  Plus there is the chance we might loose”

“How can you loose?”

Another silence more sly looks between the two bastions of society.

“Well, obviously in any case one must consider the possibility of a unfavourable decision.  However there is a potential legal technicality about ownership.  Plus we were hoping to develop the plot, and put quite simply legal proceeding could complicate matters” quipped the legal beagle very suddenly.

“My price is £10000”

“What,  just to rough up some gypsies?” howled the Wing-co
“Lets get a few things straight from here on in shall we! Who said anything about roughing them up? If it was that simple you would have got rid of them ages ago.  If you agree to me dealing with this you leave it to me and my team right?”

“Right” they agreed.
“As soon as we shake hands on this you owe me £10,000 as soon as your unwanted neighbours have gone.  Do you understand that”

“Yes”

“I decide how we get them to move and have your full support and assistance in getting them to leave, is that agreed?”

“Yes”

“what if they dont go?” queried the judge
“A reasonable question but rest assured they will go”

We shook hands and I very quickly dashed out a handwritten agreement which The Wing Co and his legal friend signed.  Next stop the pikeys.

The fucking dogs went ape as soon as I got anywhere near them, yapping away.   No surprise there then.  A big geezer with a wild looking beard came out of a caravan with two slightly smaller blokes.  I say slightly smaller but not by much, they were still big.  They greeted me with the traditional Romany welcome

“What the fuck do you want?”

“I don’t want fuck all shag, but the people who own this land want you to fuck off”

“why should we?” He asked.

“If you don’t life is going to become very uncomfortable for you”

“Is that a threat…?”

“No, I am just telling you how things will be”

“Are you a brief?”

“Do I look like a brief? would I be wasting my fucking time talking to you lot?  I don’t fucking think so pal.  I’d be sat on my fat arse in some office somewhere writing letters to you rather than asking you nicely to leave”

“Alright keep your hair on mate I was only asking” Said the big bloke with his hand out strectehed in front of him.
“Are you going to go or not?” I asked
“I’d love to, but you see me missus and the gals all like it here and it disturbs the kids moving round.  Besides, we have jobs to go to and things to finish.  Now then if they paid us we might think about it”

“How much?”

“£5,000 per family”

“Fuck off”

“£3,000 that’s a fair offer and the only one we could possibly take”

Clearly this was something that had been given careful consideration

“I see 15 caravans would I be right in thinking that represents 15 families”

“No sir there are 12 families”

“You aint getting £36,000 I’ll tell you that for nothing”

“looks like were staying then sir!”

“OK lads but I have told you what’s going to happen”

I held out my hand and we all shook.

“I’ll be seeing you lads”

The trio stood and watched me amble off  across the soft green grass and past the abandoned washing machines and prams.  As I felt the spongy English ground under my shoes,  it struck me just how different it felt to the hard ground of East Africa I had felt under my boots only a few weeks ago.