Letter from a mate of mine based out in Iraq:
“Sent: Fri, 19 May 2006 08:16:44 +0000
Its strange to think that 2 years ago I was sitting in the same dump as I am
now, using the same computer to write to you all – I never thought I’d be
doing this again so soon! I’ve been here 40+ days now, and it does not
really feel like I have ever left. The camp we live in is much the same –
although now has loads of sand bags everywhere trying to protect ourselves
from the crap that the locals decide to ‘send in our direction’ if we piss
them off. ie. do our job! The other night we had 50+ mortars which was an
experience and a half. There’s not much you can do; you put on your body
armour and helmet etc and then lie down on the floor and hope the next shell
does not rip apart your room. We were very lucky – quite a few people were
out and about, so we only had 3 casualties – all of which will be fine,
although we did have 3 portacabins ripped apart and so now everybody is
double bunked so to speak.
The work we are doing is exactly the same too – I’ve now met up with quite a
few of the locals I knew before. Thats fine, as they give you lots of sweet
coffee etc and want to chat about the rest of the world and catch up as if
you were an old friend etc… The rest of them to be honest are the lazy,
good for ‘othing scum bags that are wasting millions of pounds of our money.
Nothing seems to have improved. All the projects that were started are
really poorly built, as everybody in the world seems to have taken a cut –
and yet they still complain. V.V V annoying.
How is life back in the UK? What I would give for a pint in a beer garden!
There must be something happening – people off traveling etc so let me know
so I can pass the time/day dream. On the plus side I hope to have an awesome
tan by the time I come back. (Nov) Yesterday it reached 65 degrees in our
tanks – nice, and so far we have had 3 catch fire from over heating. Its so
much fun, and even gives the fire crews something to do.
Not much else happening. Keep in touch, take care”
Got back Friday morning from the best holiday I’ve had in years. What a beautiful country. Cape Town I think is in my top 5 cities. (London, Sydney, Udaipur maybe, ?). And if you’re going to stay there, stay here. Really nice bunch of people running it, clean etc. and a good vibe. Best hostel I’ve stayed in anywhere maybe even, they’ve got the cheap dorm for when it was just me on my own and then a bit more of an upmarket side for when the mrs joins you.
Spent the first week doing my AFF (advanced freefall) skydiving course. Been meaning to do it for years and am so glad I did, one of the best things I’ve ever done. But now I need to go on and get my license so I can do more funky stuff up there.
On the phone to Ma just now:
Ma: “Auschwitz – didn’t they make an amusement park out of that?”
Me: “Err, no, they didn’t.”
Ma: “Oh no that’s it, I think it was Alcatraz.”
I’ve never claimed to be the most tolerant of people. The following things persistently get my goat.
Last update: 07.03.2009.
- Small talk. Say something worthwhile or enjoy the silence
- ‘Child on Board’ signs in cars
- “Haitch” instead of “aitch”
- “Almonds” without the silent ‘l’
- Those who are offended by swear words. They are only words
- “Expresso” instead of “espresso”
- Whistling. Wolf whistles are ok as there’s a purpose to them; but aimless, tuneless whistling is unfathomable
- Those who feed pigeons, therefore keeping the varmint populous. Ken was right there too.
- Those who use an acronym regularly without taking the time to find out what they stand for. Top tip: Acronym Finder
- Those who ask the time whilst they’re sittng in front of their computer – It’s right there in front of you!
- People who ask bone questions. Top tip: Google
- People who use cutlery knives as if they’re some kind of writing implement. This group of people always think they have impeccable table manners
- People who drive slowly. Especially those who hang behind me when I’m cycling because they can’t work out the dimensions of their car
- Push-chairs in non-push chair areas. They get in the way, they’re lazy and carrying the baby is better for you both
- Dummies/ pacifiers
- Sandwiches cut at right angles
- Sultanas/ currants in savoury food
- Western beggars. Stop kidding yourself. Get a job. And a haircut.
- Waiters who persistently try and take the chutneys away at Indian restaurants. I need them for the duration of my meal
- And waiters who take plates away while other people are still eating
- People who talk during movies, home or cinema
- The Mail and The Express newspapers and their readership
- Bitten or badly cut nails
- George W. Bush, Trump, obviously
- Obese people
- Obese pets
- People who don’t cross out the completed words’ clues when doing crosswords
- People who put burnt matchsticks back in the box…
- …or sweet wrappers back in the packet
- People who aren’t forthcoming in getting their round in. You know who you are
- The speed of the average pedestrian
- People who are obsessed with writing lists. Clever hey
- Mariah Carey
- Men who tuck their ties in
- Short sleeved office shirts
- Women doing their make-up or brushing their hair in public, surely it kind of defeats the purpose
- People who put their feet on your bar-stool
- Grubby mitts on my monitor
- Eating with your mouth open
- People in suits AND trainers. It looks ridiculous
- Eamon Holmes
- Vanessa Feltz
- Angela Rippon
- Andie MacDowell
- Electric hand-driers
- Big Brother
- The outrageous wastage inherent to the civil service
- Heat, Closer, Hello, OK and Now magazines
- Doggy-doo-doos left anywhere that the public might go
- ‘Ms’. Get off the fence
- Women who try to conceal their year of birth.
- Short-sleeved work shirts
- The modern version of R’n’B
- Fake ‘smarties’ on gingerbreadmen
- Comic Sans
- People who pull the hand-brake on without depressing the button
- Middle England(ers)
- Richard Hammond
Hi, James Spratt!!
This is James Spratt!! I’m a sculptor, living in western North Carolina, USA; I’ve just been online about 4 months, ain’t it great! I’m a cousin of John Spratt, SC senator, an acquaintance of Charles Spratt, canuck artist (and I do like his style), and proprietor of www.sprattart.com, my newish and still-a-buildin’ website. Say, what’s your middle name?
Funny story: three pals of mine and I are on a Harley rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. I sign us up for a table in a restaurant and step out to wait. The girl yells “Spratt, party of TWO!” so I turn round to correct her, to meet James Spratt, from Oregon, and his new bride, on their honeymoon. Lots of “Gee, whizzing and laughs all around. Small world, huh. Wanna bet there’re 2.4 million James Spratts in the world? Only the census bureau knows for sure, har-de-har-har!! Nicetameetcha, gimme an email.
Yours, James (snicker!) Spratt
jspratt at cytechusa dot com