Posted by @ 11:28 pm on Monday 14th April, 2008.
Categories: Astrostuff

Tonight I was on a mission. Covert ops. The remit was simple - find somewhere dark and quiet to set up an observation outpost.

I slipped out of the base at 2130 hours after being given my RV time by the CO - I had 2 hours max. Armed with little more than DPM trousers and a map of the district, backed up by a couple of hours of studying Google Maps (latest issue - with contours) I patrolled the local lanes seeking somewhere to lay up the transport and set up the surveillance equipment alongside.

Prime One was a locality that I used to visit in my youth, before I signed up. It was much as I remembered it, a rough track led to the crown of a hill, wooded on the northwest side, open to the other three points of the compass. Whitemoors. Of Battle of Bosworth fame. Still an ideal military point of vantage, except for the anti-vehicle barrier and the barbed wire intended to prevent access after nightfall. The group of other transports obstructing the entrance harboured a group of ne'er-do-wells and their stash of supermarket lager, which gave them the dutch courage to jeer and throw cans as I started to move away. Stirred but not shaken, and caring not for their cherished paintjobs and spoilers, I flicked off the traction-control and floored it to give their tin boxes 180BHP of newly-spread road-grit and then I moved on - Plan B would have to be implemented.

Five clicks west and one south... this used to be an unlit country lane connecting a couple of small farms to a remote village, the only other buildings being barns near the road. I recall plenty of places to pull off the track. Not so any more - each farm is now a mini-estate, each barn is now a prime residence, complete with CCTV and faux antique streetlights. No chance of seclusion here. I turned in one of the driveways and noticed disapproving faces at the pseudobarn windows. Ho hum, back to the tarmac, mission in the balance...

Taking the most direct route back to the RV, I was diverted by a Council Forces roadblock and soon found myself on an open lane that I didn't recognise. Open. Dark. Quiet. A sign indicated a pull-in, I duly did so. I got out and scanned the horizon - clear views all around, not a single light except for the glowing tip of the ciggie which I had lit to celebrate. And it was quiet, except for the foxes and owls in the woods a few miles away.

It was perfect, yet I was a little perplexed... where was I? With all the diversions I had lost track of my position on my map, and the road was unfamiliar. Then inspiration struck - I cranked up the xDA Orbit satnav to get a fix and stood there stunned by the result. I was only a straight mile and a half away from the village where I had spent nearly thirty years of my childhood. I must have been along this lane many times before, but still I didn't recognise the place.

I arrived back at the RV still confused. I'll have to do another recce in the daylight tomorrow. Nevertheless, the mission was accomplished, a site for the outpost had been determined.

Therefore it will rain. Incessantly.

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One Response to “MI”

  1. john hee says:

    Remember to obseve SOP at all times. Loose lips sink ships

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