Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Universal Soldier

Many years ago, my oldest brother, Alan left home to join the British army.  He signed up for two years yet his recruitment lasted seven years.  I can only remember seeing him once in that time.  We had driven to London to watch him in some sort of parade.  I can't remember much about our visit with him, but I remember an awful lot about a brown paper bag (or two) in the back of my Aunt Mary's car, and the mess I made splattered on her car doors before I was given the paper bags. 


During the course of Alan's seven year stint, my parents moved us to South Africa.  They hadn't intended for us to stay, but rather, as my dad had assured my mam, "...We're going on a holiday of a lifetime ..."  What started as a holiday, ended up a lifetime, as the six month return tickets my father had purchased expired and we were living on a farm with 3000 chickens just outside a small village called "Wasbank".
When Alan's time in the army came to an end, he joined us in South Africa.  We often joke that you can take the man out of the army, but not the army out of the man.  Although we are miles apart, I am delighted that because of technology and Facebook,  I can still stay in touch with our Universal Soldier.

Alan (holding rifle) in Ireland fighting IRA - early seventies. 
Alan (second from right) - in Ireland fighting IRA - early seventies