With two daughters in London,

With two daughters in London, the bride has been pushing to go visit and this week she won her case. I think I’ve been subjected to a conspiracy of Gillett women and even though I’m an old soldier I didn’t see it coming. Next Tuesday she flies via Air Bruinei to London, bunks with the girls and conducts a recce for our trip next year. I expect a full reconnaisance report but of course won’t get it – she’s not staff trained and never studied Staff Writing in the Field Chapter 4: Recce Reports. The girls are all a tizz and are making grandiose plans about shackling Mother to the kitchen in the London bed-sit until she produces roast lamb dinners and spagbog suppers. I hope they let her out. Never mind, this frees me up to travel south to Wagga Wagga, NSW for the 38th anniversary reunion of 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. I made a reservation at a motel in Wagga and in speaking to the receptionist suggested she speak to management about having counsellors booked to help the staff handle the trauma of hundreds of visiting Veterans. She laughed but later I thought, well maybe we aren’t a threat anymore. Recently I travelled to Yepoon, Queensland, and while there dropped in and had coffee (later rum) with an old friend from those days, “Doc’ Savage. In April 1970 my friend ‘Doc’, commanding an ambush patrol of 12 men, held back about fifty Viet Cong from midnight to dawn. Gratefull for help from Australian and US air and artillery support this doesn’t detract from the fact that the battle is fought on the ground and those guys soldiered magnificently for those six hours. When I visited ‘Doc’ mid afternoon, he was taking a nap! I guess we slow down. As an aside, when I surf the net, I often come across references to this little battle as War Gamers try and re-enact what we actuallly were obliged to do. I feel sorry for them – but not too much. In 1970 I commanded a patrol in a recce platoon. The eyes of the Battalion, we would be remote and miles from support. We could cut track anywhere, recognize the passage of enemy by the way the rain settled on the leaves and judge which way he went by the lie of the vegetation. Now, the most common form of communication between my wife and myself starts with, “Have you seen my reading glasses?. These thoughts, coupled with the unkindest cut of all, old friends refering to me as the ‘Grey Ghost’, brings home the truth of mortality. AT Wagga, after a couple of beers, will we care? Hell no! The battles will be bigger, better fought and all conclusive victories. The bar will be knee deep with shrapnel and hand grenade pins and if you don’t like this type of testosterone charged environment then stay away from Wagga. If any Wontok bloggers are in town then you’ll find me at the RSL (Ex-services Club) After the reunion I intend to travel south to Melbourne to visit old mates and cousins and then head north to Mt Buller where my eldest daughter and her chap are the staff nurses at the medical centre. At least I think they work there but all photos to date have a ski holday look about them. The astute reader/viewer will note one common thread in the photos – cold and definitely not what comes to mind when foreigners think of Australia. The zero temperatures reported at Wagga pose no risk as bars, dining halls and motel rooms have reverse cycle airconditioners but I dread the cold of Mt Buller. Maybe my kinder knows of a warm bar – I hope so. I’m not leaving for a week yet but as I travel I will post via any unattended computer I find.