After all those years serving your country, you can now experience Christmas at home with your family and friends. You’ve decorated your Christmas tree with chemical lights (Tactical) and Engineer tape, and placed the Christmas presents around the tree. Then the Missus asks. ‘Have you prepared for Santa coming?’ ‘Yes, there are trip wires on all points of entry, including the chimney of course. The lazer beam defence system is on and primed, the alarms are on, booby traps set. Oh, and the nerve gas canisters are set and are all fully functional, the satellite tracking system is…’ ‘I was thinking more of a mince pie and glass of sherry you idiot.’ Christmas morning, time to open the presents. But it’s not the shoe box size you used to get when you were on deployment, full of goodies, cigarettes, cakes, biscuits, sweets and porn. Now it’s a can of Lynx spray and shampoo from your Gran, a pair of socks from the kids, a hand knitted military style Christmas jumper from the missus, because she wants you to look a prize p***k, when the in-laws turn up. Now Christmas is over for another year and you're busy (de-camming), pulling down the Christmas decorations, and putting them back in the shed or garage, that’s when you spot your old Bergen and you can’t help having a good old sniff for old time’s sake. That smell… it’s like you never left. A mixture of pine forest, smoke and dirt. And it’s not long before those memories start flooding back. Weeks of tabbing for miles, freezing your nuts off on active duty in some far forgotten land, or on exercise. Delving deeper into the Bergen, you find an old tube of cam cream, and a pair of old green socks, that should have been taken out and shot years ago. The ultimate Christmas present, a packet of hard tack biscuits and a tin of cheese possessed. Now it really is Christmas.
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