|A Day In The Life of Corporal Trevor Tennson of the TA in Sunderland|
|Space here||Aha! Now to find out what it is like in the T.A. Doubtless he will pick a day on a major exercise - up before dawn, running around with a heavy pack in the countryside, larks with the lads, night patrol, and then damp sleep in a foxhole.|
|I am a member of the Territorial Army Medical Squadron based at the TA Centre in Sunderland where I have been serving for the best part of 13 years.||Factual, I suppose, but not the way I’d have started. I was expecting something more like “Sometimes, when I’m trying to sleep in a mud-filled trench, and Sergeant Atkins’s boots keep kicking me in the head, I wonder why I joined the T.A., but the highs always beat the lows…”|
|I have recently completed a 3 years Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) contract with the Army, which means||Well, yes, I think I can guess what that means.|
|I was a Regular Soldier for the 3 years,||You’ve already said the three-years bit.|
|6 months of which I spent in Bosnia.||Aha! Bosnia! What a life experience! Six months trying to deal with one of the most complicated social and military situations in the world. A world of danger, diplomacy, and double-dealing. Also, an illustration of what can happen in the T.A. – you can suddenly find yourself as a real soldier in a real war zone with real bullets flying, and not just a weekend jolly play-soldier. There are books to be written on how this affects people.|
|I have now returned to the Territorial Army in the rank of Corporal.||
Thirteen years and you’ve reached the rank of corporal? That’s one rung off the bottom. The T.A. hasn't picked its star high-flyer.
|My day starts with me||I guessed it would start with you.|
|dealing with administration duties||Oh. Still, it can only get more exciting, right?|
|which usually involve sorting through the application forms received from people||He’s going to tell us whom these are from? Surely not.|
|expressing an interest in joining the T.A.||He is, and there was no surprise.|
|The forms have to be checked to make sure they have been completed correctly and then send out a letter inviting the candidate for an interview.||They have to be read through before invitations can be sent out? So that’s how it’s done! Whoever would have guessed?|
|I also have the daily responsibility||He says this apparently with pride, but it reads more like a grinding chore.|
|of looking after all stand alone computers, both PC’s and laptops, in the unit||Oh good grief, it has to get better than this. Tell us something about guns.|
|which means||“Which means”? He’s going to tell us what this means? Does he think we don’t know?|
|I have to update them with Anti Virus software when received through the TA system as well as fix any hardware problems||That’s it. End the sentence there.|
|that may occur||Obviously ‘that may occur’! If there were never any problems, then you wouldn’t have to fix them, would you!|
|to any of the computers.||Yes, the computers that you are already writing about. I suppose there was a chance that the start of this paragraph seemed so long ago that the reader might have forgotten the subject.|
|I spend a lot of my spare time||At last! His spare time. I’ve seen the adverts for the army and T.A. – it’s all snowboarding, paragliding, and throwing beautiful young women into the sea off some palm-fronded beach.|
|building and repairing computers||Oh Christ!|
|so I find that most of my colleagues will also ask me||Please end this sentence quickly, with something like “to help them with out with theirs.”|
|to look at their computers if they are having problems with the hardware or software or ask me to update their software applications.||“Or software” eh? Goodness. Not just hardware, then. You jack-of-all-trades, you.|
|Another part of my daily schedule||There so much fun and romance in the word ‘schedule’, isn’t there?|
|is to assist in the running of the unit Medical Store.||Okay, I think I can guess what that entails.|
|Medical stores are used to keep all this unit’s life saving equipments||Yes, that was one of my guesses.|
|and when required for military operations or exercises then the various equipments are loaded onto the unit’s Battlefield Ambulances.||And that was another.|
|The importance of ensuring that all the medical equipments are serviceable cannot be overstated so the unit is subject to numerous equipment inspections annually.||They sound like highlights of your year.|
|Another job I have to undertake on a regular basis is to ensure all Fire Equipment is checked and serviceable and records maintained.||I must join the T.A. today!|
|Memorable incidents?||Phew, okay, well in thirteen years there must have been some crackers.|
|On our way to camp several years ago||“Several years ago” does not augur well.|
|we had to assist in a road traffic accident involving several cars, we gave first aid on the scene until the Emergency services arrived.||Wow. What an anecdote. He must have dined out on that one for a decade.|
|What do you like about living in your area?||Good question. Now we can learn about what gives the region its identity, why the people here are different, why the landscape and culture draw Trevor to live here, and how Trevor feels a part of the region, and how he appreciates his world, perhaps in a way that I haven’t yet, but might learn from.|
|Living close to the A19 for the fast access to work.||He’s a practical man.|
|What are your favourite local places to eat?||Yes, of course. A magazine like this always wants to hear the latest on trends in eating out.|
|Our local Chinese.||Ah. He likes this, I suspect, because it is local.|
|What are your favourite watering holes?
I’m not much of a drinker.
|[Publisher bashes head repeatedly on desk.]|
|Last film you watched?
|[Publisher looks around for a strong cord or rope. Perhaps some electrical flex would do.]|
|Last cd I bought?
Take That for my wife.
|If that isn’t a comedy feed line, what is? Alas, he doesn’t follow it up.|
|What’s on your ipod?
Not got an ipod
|but I do have a handheld pc with a few songs on and my computer fix inventory on.||Do you give lessons in how to be fascinating?|
|Favourite holiday destination?
Had a wonderful honeymoon in Hawaii. Would love to see Australia.
|Good. [Publisher sees a strong-looking fitting on the ceiling.]|
|Recent discovery?||This is the last question. Let us at least end on a high note. What should the answer be? ‘That I have a natural affinity for belly dancing,’? ‘That the world has in it more people who can yodel than who like yodelling’ ? ‘That war teaches us the best way to make peace’ ? ‘That being at home offers the greatest contentment’ ?|
|Cheap computer accessories shop.||[Publisher’s feet swing slowly in the air.]|
Yes, dear visitor to Lloydian Aspects, can you rise to the challenge and improve on Trevor’s writing? The challenge is to suggest some alteration, addition, deletion, or rearrangement to his work that would make him seem an even duller person, and life in the T.A. even more bland. Your suggestions, however, must not tip the work into the world of obvious fiction. The finished piece must read as if written by a real person. Already as published the piece threatens to come across as a spoof, so your work has to be deft and well-judged. You must make Trevor seem duller without losing the reader’s belief in him as a real man. This is a tight-rope walk of a writing challenge if ever there were one. Send your entries to: