Flying home for Christmas

Lieutenant Rob Treanor blogs from Afghanistan as he recollects his two weeks of R&R back in the UK.

R&R was absolutely amazing, it felt like the best two weeks of my life! After a stressful trip back -with emergency landings and the worry of losing out on days in the UK in the wake of delayed and cancelled flights- we eventually got back on home soil only a few hours after we were scheduled to. The trip from Brize Norton to Colchester by coach then seemed to take forever, and by the time we arrived everyone was itching to get off.

It was lovely to see a friendly face waiting for me at the barracks in my girlfriend, and from then on things started to seem normal again. The next day I spent buying Christmas presents- ready for a hotel getaway that weekend with an early Christmas. I also went to my usual place to get my hair cut, which had grown a little shaggy since my last trim from a local in Afghan. It was a much more pleasant experience, and well worth paying a few quid for rather than the free butchery on offer over here!

Rob, with kebabs

Rob, with kebabs

With a car full of presents we then headed off to a hotel for an early Christmas; dressing up the room with tinsel, santas and a little tree. I pigged out at the hotel restaurant big time, as well as gorging myself with wine in true Christmas fashion. I felt light headed a little quicker than normal, but the real pain came the day after, as my body had forgotten how to process large quantities of alcohol!

I put aside an evening to have a big night out with the lads, and it was good to let off some steam. They were on good form and we had a great night, reminiscing about old times. I also popped back home to wish both sets of Grandparents Merry Christmas.

I think my favourite things about being home were just going about the normal day to day things I’m not able to do out here. Shopping, cooking and going for walks in the snow were all very relaxing and it was nice taking the time to appreciate little luxuries that we don’t have out here.

The trip back was as chaotic as the first leg, with the plane I was booked to fly on fully booked when I arrived at Brize, and then the flight the day after had to return to the airport an hour into the journey because of engine trouble. We did eventually make it back to Afghan on Christmas Eve after an uncomfortable journey in a cargo plane. Now it’s time to refocus on the job we’re doing out here, after a cracking two weeks back home.