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  I don’t
get out
Views from our ever so slightly grumpy, but often unerringly accurate, columnist
Retreat proves again that Afghanistan is a place no one can rule
Istill clearly remember a particular day around 20 years ago when a sub-editor in our newspaper office looked up to the television we had mounted on the wall.
It was always on, during working hours, and mainly tuned in to news channels. The sub let out a gasp and shouted, to no one in particular, “you’ve got to come and see this.”
We crowded round the television, unable to take in what was unfolding before our eyes.
The date was September 11, 2001, forever afterwards to be known as 9/11.
That horrific attack on the twin towers in New York shook the world and the following month Britain joined its international allies in invading Afghanistan.
Now the final British troops have left that country and, surprise, surprise, the Taliban have seized control again.
I don’t know whether this is the correct decision because, believe it or not, I am not fully up to speed on such international affairs.
But I do know that many countries and forces have attempted to “rule” Afghanistan over the centuries, and all have failed and retreated.
I’ll be interested to hear the views of my brother-in-law, when we next meet up. He was a career soldier who completed 37 years’ service, including a tour in Afghanistan from April 30 to November 3, 2008.
The family was understandably concerned about his six months in
Kandahar. I am pleased to say he returned unscathed, other than having sore knees.
This, apparently, was due to having to throw himself under the nearest table on multiple occasions as the Taliban lobbed rockets and grenades into the camp.
In order to provide him with some regular news from the UK I wrote my first email or e-Bluey to him on May 1, the day after he left the country. Bluey’s were armed forces' slang for letters home; e-Bluey’s were the email version.
I managed to write three or four a week for the six months and my last one was on November 1.
He replied on November 2: “Last day. Flying home tonight, RAF willing. Whooopeeeee!!!! Thank you very much for keeping me sane (You will find out when I get back if that is true!) with all your emails and e-blueys, it has been really appreciated.”
And what we, his family, all appreciated was his safe return.
Back in the September 2017 edition of this excellent magazine I mentioned a (then) well known professional footballer.
“Poor old Wayne Rooney,” I wrote, “having to take such a heavy hit in his family’s income. His £160,000-a-week deal at new club Everton is just over half his Man. United wages. I look forward to seeing the long-lens shots of Coleen at the local food bank in due course.” Obviously those photos of Coleen never appeared anywhere as, somehow, she managed to feed the family on that massively-reduced income.
I’d spoken with Mil (my Mother-In-Law) a few years previously when Rooney’s salary increased to £100,000 a week. “That’s a good wage,” she said. “£100,000 a year.”
When I pointed out it was A WEEK she was, to say the least, incredulous. Unfortunately I could not update her with Rooney’s salary in 2017 as she had passed away just a month earlier but I know she would have found it unbelievable. I mention all this because I am intrigued about what she would have made of the Lionel Messi move in August from his boyhood club Barcelona to PSG in France.
Messi is apparently taking home around £650,000 a week – that’s £94,000 a day, £3,900 per hour, £65 per minute or just a smidgeon over £1 per second. These are all rough estimates, of course!
On top of that, Messi also pocketed a £22.5 million signing on fee.
Is it just me or this all just a little obscene?
(from Covid restrictions) Day O
nly 10 days after Boris announced the UK’s Freedom
was to be July 19, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I attended a wedding in Shropshire.
The betrothed couple had faced three postponements over the past 18 months and now, finally, family and friends were able to witness the nuptials and help them enjoy their day.
As with most weddings, it was a wonderful, boozy affair, with an interesting mix of the young and the old. I know the title of this column is ‘I don’t get out much’ but I’m really glad I did for those few days. I’d almost forgotten how to socialise and how to behave in public.

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