Thursday, 1 March 2007

Our Empire Story

"I had been appointed military attache in Khartoum; it was a pleasant prospect of better pay, promotion and diplomatic privilege in a land which I liked; I was summoned to the War Office to see a staff officer who dealt with such matters. The officer in question was a friend of mine and I was in a buoyant mood; I filled in the normal form, and in the paragraph headed 'Purpose of visit' I wrote, 'To be instructed on how to bite an ostrich in the arse without getting a mouthful of feathers.' A messenger took the form away and after a long wait returned to usher me into the office of an affronted and angry looking general who rose from behind his desk; he looked from me to the piece of paper in his hand and then said sternly: 'It's actually top secret, but I think you do it like this.' Then puffing out his cheeks he blew into the air and his great front 'snappers' clanged together. 'Quite easy but you must be damn quick, what else can I do for you?'

-- Hilary Hook, Home from the Hill