Today’s Wet Bulb Globe reading: 52C (It’s getting silly now)
Sweat-o-meter reading: Average (I’m back in the land of air conditioning- thank God)
Sadly this update comes to you from the same place as my first- the dreaded desk job. I have been dragged back, kicking and screaming, to the place that in my first six weeks out here offered about as much excitement for a young Officer on operations as I imagine the prospect of a touch more rain offers your average Yorkshire resident this summer.
And so I find myself back in Kindergarten corner, behind the same desk, with the same people doing the same routine that they presumably have been throughout my brief stint of freedom and the result is that I am once again thoroughly bored. To make matters worse the air conditioning (the only real perk of this place) stopped working the other day and when a few slightly-sweatier-than-usual people asked when it was coming back online they were told “Probably not for a while, it’s got too hot so it’s packed in.” Excellent. In typically British fashion the Army have brought air conditioning to one of the hottest countries in the world that, much like our public transport system back home, will only work at room temperature. Still, as long as it works in winter thats the main thing.
As you may or may not be aware, we are working with the Danish out here who are a fascinating bunch. Imagine a comically stereotypical Dane, now take off his horned helmet, remove the large axe from his hands and put him in a uniform (size XL) and you have your self a modern Danish soldier. Most of them have hair down to their shoulders and big bushy beards, they are all blonde (without exception) and are all giants among men. Although contrary to what ‘Hagar the horrible’ will have us believe, they are a phenomenally charming bunch. One of them in particular who has somehow been conned into a desk job is truly the largest human being I have ever laid eyes on. He is at least 7 feet tall with shoulders so wide that they must hang over the sides any single mattress and arms that would make Lennox Lewis think twice about answering back to him. The standard issue long hair and big bushy beard adds to his terrifying demeanor as he towers over his miniature looking laptop, having to hunch his back to get close enough to see the screen. He is the type of man that when hundreds of boats carrying thousands of Vikings arrived on our shores in the Dark ages he got off first and convinced the Brits that it probably wasn’t worth fighting this time. As a result of all this he has inevitably become known as ‘The Great Dane’.
As irony would have it he also happens to be the friendliest person I have ever met, always smiling through his extensive facial hair and chatting to people like they were best mates. I was having a work related chat with him the other day (it turns out that despite English not being his first language he still understands far more of what goes on in this place than I do) when he said “You know, it’s so funny that you guys call me the Great Dane because I have a friend back home who I call the Great Dane too.” I cannot begin to imagine just how enormous a man the Great Dane’s Great Dane must be, but I suggested that perhaps he should come out here and between the two of them they could hurry this whole saga up a bit.
On top of generally looking more warrior like than us the Danes have also provided more entertainment as well, which, incidentally, proved to be one of the oddest evenings of my life. The entertainment came in the form of a Danish U2 tribute band singing all the old favourites to a crowd of about 100 semi enthusiastic, mildly exhausted soldiers. The band were in fact very good but there is something very surreal about a group of predominantly English troops listening to IRA folk music, sung by a Danish band, in the middle of Afghanistan. I think everyone was a little bemused, not least the poor band members.
There has been some office based entertainment too, this time provided by America. Some of you may have heard the song “Call me maybe” which was released this summer by some singer or other and has apparently done well in the charts back home (so I am told). Well, in a stroke of pure genius the Miami Dolphins (an American Football team) Cheerleading squad have decided to release a video of all 36 bikini clad beauties lip synching along to this song on various beaches/in various swimming pools etc. looking rather wonderful (as you might expect a bikini wearing squad of American cheerleaders would). Naturally the video has spread like wildfire through, well most of Afghanistan as far as I can tell. God knows how many man hours have since been lost to countless grown men staring longingly into computer screens and having discussions over which one is their favourite. If you haven’t seen it look it up, it’s life changing.
It only leaves me to say that if you are a woman and have read this far thank you for putting down your copy of ’50 shades of Grey’ for long enough to get through this, I am flattered, although slightly concerned about what to expect when I return. Call me Mr Cynical but I fear it may be more than just coincidence that no sooner than the Kindle is created, allowing relative reading anonymity, that sales of an X-rated book for women go through the roof… Don’t think us blokes haven’t noticed.
See you all for the next round.
By Rich Glover