Under the weather in Helmand…

It’s an affliction not uncommon in these parts. Let’s face it there are just too many flies, too much dirt and altogether too much heat for our mountain of disinfectant wipes and hand-cleaning bottles to compete.

We all manage most of the time and it’s a wonder the thousands of troops stay on their feet. But stay here long enough and you eventually get caught out by those microscopic bacteria that then proceed to make a few days feel like very long and very painful and undignified years.

I succumbed at the beginning of the week. Went very grey one afternoon apparently and then my first 200m dash across the vehicle park and the road all the way to the ablutions became the first of many.

Five days, much feeling sorry for myself and half a stone later I am back on my feet – just. A good thing really as I think those around me are running out of hilarious banter revolving around the digestive system.

Sausage roll, chips and beans for lunch has gone down rather well and should put my newly-acquired skeletal look firmly back in its box.

I may have lost all dignity, self-respect and a number of dinners over the last few days, but I am proud to say (and you will be pleased to hear) I managed not to wipe out the entire BFBS team here, or indeed any (that I am aware of although there may be a trail in my wake) of our brave fighting boys who have enough on their plates without having to seek out the nearest portaloo in the middle of a patrol.

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