Note: This is part of a series. You can read part one here.

Test week was about to start, and I was in a good mood. Some TA geezer who had gobbled off how he knew everything there was to know about SF had failed the last march and had been unceremoniously sent off. He would be that geezer in the pub telling people how he was in the SAS but “don’t like to talk about it.” Right.

The first three marches during test week are in Élan Valley. It’s not particularly mountainous, but the ground is like walking on babies’ heads; it’s absolutely hideous. My feet were already becoming unrecognisable as body parts, and this was going to light them up. The night before, I smothered them in tincture of benzion. It proper hurt, but I knew it would hold them together long enough to get to the next march. The tape on my back had grown into my skin and would eventually become part of my body, so I just put a fresh one on over the old one. Who needs a medical centre?

I woke up early—not through choice, but because someone was snoring like a hippo on its last legs. Nothing better than not being able to sleep when the root cause is some other bastard sleeping. I went down to the shower block and had a cold shower to try and reduce the swelling on my feet so I could get my boots on and get them done up—a luxury at this stage of the campaign.