Himalaya 3

Craig sleepily tumbled out of bed. It was the first day of a new term at University. He had been worrying about it since coming back from the Himalayas. Now he had to face his biggest fear. What would happen if he touched someone and like Ben and the girl in Kathmandu, their health miraculously improved as if by magic. Off course the opposite could happen and it had all been hallucinations. What would the lecturers think if he had been hallucinating and the problem continued? Would he be send down? Who wants a doctor with a mental or drug problem? He was between a rock and a hard place.

He showered and dressed picking out what ever came nearest to hand to wear. He could not remember what he needed, so he just throw everything he might need into his bag. He ended up carrying several books.

He staggered out into the corridor where there was a hum of activity. Other students were off to lectures. Several students spoke to him, his answers were short. He didn’t feel like talking to anyone.

Mathew who was on the same course hurried past. “We’ll be late. Come on hurry up”

Craig reached the porters lodge. He stopped to check for letters. He had three. A circular about a concert by the duo Bent referencing the Album Intercept. He couldn’t go so that would go in the bin. A letter which he recognised as his sister’s writing, he would read that later. The third throw him. The stamp told him it was from Kathmandu. Who could be writing to him? He turned it over twice. What could he do? Open it and send all those thoughts and emotions spinning round his head again. He had to leave it until after his lecture was over. He put it in his bag. Then he took it out again. He just couldn’t leave it. He’s need to open it was too great.

He found a bench, it was a warm day for October but he felt cold, as cold as he did on the upper slopes of the snow covered Himalayas.

He heard the clock striking in the distance. He was late for the lecture. He ran, clutching his books and letters.

He was last in, the lecturer was already speaking. He tried to sneak in quietly and sit at the back. He stumbled as he went down the first step in the lecture theatre. The sound of his books flying through the air and landing on the steps near the front row echoed round the theatre. His letter seemed to float gracefully landing on a empty front row seat. Everyone turned round and looked at him.

“Nice of you to join us,” the lecturer sarcastically commented.

He hastily almost tumbled down the steps to the front row. A girl helped pick up his books. He sat down in the seat which his letter had landed on, which happened to be next to the girl, after all she was still holding his books and other letters. She handed them to Craig. He placed the letter in front of him.

He hardly heard a word of the lecture. The lecturer pointedly asked him questions. It was only the quiet whisper from beside him that helped him survive the lecture.

Everyone trooped out at the end of the lecture leaving Craig and the girl left in the theatre.

“Are you alright?” The girl asked.

Craig realised she couldn’t get out until he moved.

“Yes,” he mumbled. What was the girls name. He racked his memory. He’d been on the same course for four years and she had just been a face in the crowd.

“Sorry Tania. I am blocking you in.” Craig said as he moved clumsily, knocking his books flying. He got into the aisle and bent down to pick up his belongings.

“It’s Titania isn’t it?” He said as she stepped pass him.

She gave him a scowling look, then started to climb the steps.

“Your a fairy and I am a rock.” Craig commented without really knowing why.

She stopped and turned.

“A rock?”

“Celtic rock actually.”

“Well that’s better than a fairy.” Tania said as she descended the steps and went passed Craig and picked up that letter. She held it out to him.

He stood up, just because he felt small beside her. He made no effort to take the letter. It seemed like an age that they both stood still the letter between them.

Tania turned the letter over. “It’s from Tibet. Is that where the Rock went climbing?”

She leaned forward and placed the letter on top of Craig’s books.

“Ever had a letter you don’t know if it’s good news or bad news?”

“You mean like one to say if you have got into the university of your choice or not. Either way you have got to open it. What you need is a cup of coffee.” Tania said taking back the letter and climbing the steps to leave the theatre.

Craig followed. What else could he do.

The Cafeteria was a buzz with students. The tv screen was playing a American foot ball match. Tania homed in on an empty table in a corner. She sat down at the table and placed the letter in the middle.

“I’ll save the table. You get the coffee. Mine’s latte”

Craig was staring at the letter, but after a second prompt he went to get the coffees.

Mathew, the fellow medical student, intercepted him with a nudged. Mathew had a reputation for the ladies. Craig had concentrated on his studies and only occasionally going out with girls.

“Your in there, with the ice maiden.” Mathew commented. Tania had turned him down on several occasions.

Craig just stared at him. “Just buying Coffee.” He replied.

Mathew turned, “Good intercept” he said looking at the tv screen and Craig hastily returned to the table.

Tania handed him the letter. “Its a letter from a hospital in Kathmandu. Were you ill out there?”

“No. How do you know it’s from the hospital?”

“It says so on the back,” Tania turned the envelope over and showed Craig the inscription.

“One of the climbers was injured so I went with him. Then I went the following day and spent the day there.”

“Then it’s a thank you letter. Just open it and get it over with.”

Ben did as he was told.

It was a handwritten letter and a folded sheet. He looked at the bottom of the letter the signature was unreadable.

The letter was not much better. It was in broken English so the theme was difficult to follow. He had to keep going back to the beginning to finally make sense of it.

“Well?” Tania Asked “Good news or Bad news?”

“Good, I think” Craig said doubtfully.

“Well” Tania leant forward.

“There was a girl,” Craig started.

“There always is.” Commented Tania sitting back loosing interest.

“She was 8 maybe 9 I think,” that attracted Tania’s attention again. “She was unconscious.”

“What was the matter with her?” Tania asked. Craig wondered should I be telling this story to a girl I hardly know.

Tania prompted him to continue.

“She had some sort of accident. The girl had a head injury. They didn’t expect her to survive. She was a street kid, they didn’t know her name. There was no one to sit with her. So I sat and talked to her. I don’t know the full details my Tibetan isn’t that good. The nurse, I think who wrote the letter, didn’t speak very good English. That’s why the letter is difficult to read. I can’t read the signature but I don’t know her name anyway.”

“That was kind of you to sit with the girl. So the nurse wrote to thank you.” Tania committed taking a sip of her latte.

Craig had opened the other sheet of paper. It was a picture drawn my a child with a signature on the bottom of Alisha. He just starred at it. He’s head was spinning again.

“”Craig what’s that?”

Tania had to repeat her question before Craig, reluctantly searching for a answer, could reply.

“They have put the girl in an orphanage but she drew a picture for me.”

How could he explain it. A picture of the two unicorns and a waterfall. A figure with climbing gear holding out his hands. But stranger still, in the top corner was a fairy with a crown on. Had Alisha drawn Titania Queen of the fairies. Had the letter flew throw the air and took him to Titania?


Himalaya. 2

“How was your climb in the Himalayas? Did you get to the top?” It was yet another of his fellow medical students asking the same questions. Craig’s answer was always evasive. He didn’t want to talk about the climb, but more importantly, he didn’t want to talk about the hallucinations.

That’s what he decided had happened. No one sees unicorns, not once but twice. Everyone else on that first occasion on the mountain had missed the total eclipse because of the weather conditions. He had not only seen the eclipse but the two unicorns had come and licked his gloved hands.

He had later touched his fellow climber who had been injured, with his gloved hands. Ben’s health had miraculously improved.

Days later, when they had reached Lukla he had doubted the whole experience. When everyone was a sleep he had sat alone in the fading light, behind the stables where the yaks were kept. As he heard the yaks moving and smelt the hay, he looked up at the mountain he had so recently climbed. The unicorns had come to him again. First the white stallion and then the golden mare. This time he had not had his gloves on and the unicorns had licked his bare hands. He had felt saliva from their tongues as they licked him. He again felt the mythical creatures were blessing him. He felt total inner peace, as if they had taken him to some magical place. It was timeless and Craig never know how long he had sat there. He could never tell his fellow climbers of his experience. They would think he was mad.

The following day he had flown with the rest of his group back to Kathmandu. The City of Temples was well named. During the days he had spent there he had wandered the city visiting Pashupati and Change Narayan Temples. Enjoying the sight seeing, he had blanked out the events on the mountains. It was only at night the thoughts returned.

He had convinced himself in had all been an illusion. An X-ray had shown that Ben had indeed broken his ribs. It must have been the rest and the breathing exercises Ben had done as they waited for the other climbers to return from the ascent that had helped his recovery. It could not have been magic.

Craig, because he was a medical student, decided to visit a hospital, he wanted to see how the hospitals worked in Nepal. The staff welcomed his interest. He had been asked to sit beside a girl, who the staff had described as being life limiting. No one had visited the unconscious orphaned girl. He knew unconscious patients could sometimes hear voices. He had assumed that the child would speak Nepali, so she would not even understand what he was saying. Craig held her hand and leant forward slowly and quietly recounted the story which Ben had told him. In his mind he was in the two-man tent on the mountain. He told the story of how the unicorns had been created and his experience. No one would question him, no one would understand what he was talking about. It gave Craig peace to talk about the unicorns. That feeling of peace came back to him. Time slipped by as he talked about his experience. He felt relief at being able to speak, even if no one but the girl could hear him. Just voicing his thought gave him a sense relief and of peace.

Later the nurse came and took the girl’s blood pressure and quickly left. The doctor came and examined the girl. Craig curiously asked the Nepal doctor about the girl. The Doctor could not understand her recovery. The girl’s vital signs had been fading they had not expected the girl to last the hour. But her vital signs had improved, the doctor knew that all Craig had done had been to talk to her. Perhaps, that because someone had taken time to talk to her and had held her hand, had made her rally. Her condition was now stable but she was still unconscious. She had probable just gone into remission.

Craig looked at his hands and wondered. Two people had improved after he had touched them. It had to be coincidence, not some magical cure. Medically there must be some explanation.

On his final day before, he flew home, he visited the hospital again. The girl was sitting up in bed. Craig could not believe it, when the girl smiled at him. He did not stay he was too confused.

He was now back in his halls of residence ready for the start of term. He had become subdued as he anticipated the coming days when he would start his hospital placements. What if everyone he touched magical recovered? How would he explain it? It had to have been coincidence? The high altitude must have caused him to hallucinate. Yet why when he thought about the unicorn did he feel that sense of total peace.

The phone rang. It was his sister. “How was the Himalayas?”

“Beautiful and peaceful. I will show you the photos when I see you next. How are you? Are you at the stables have you been riding?” Craig respond, anything to change the subject.


“Wish people would take their rubbish home. It’s getting to be like a rubbish dump up here.” The muffled voice said from the sleeping bag. Ben appeared to be looking at the glass pop bottle that Craig had brought into the two man tent, two days ago. Both man wore snow goggles and were so wrapped up that no skin was visible.

Ben had barely spoken from the time they had been together. So Craig decided to push the point. “How old do you think it is?”

“Thirty or forty years old. Who climbs in the Himalayas with glass bottles and packs of cheese and pickle sandwiches now a days?” Ben observed in a slow laboured voice.

Craig, a medical student, had felt elated that he had got further than base camp. Ben, an experienced climber, on the other hand, had expected to get to the top. The slip had left Ben with a minor injury, a cracked rib. The group leader had decided that Ben and Craig should go no further. The thin air at high altitude would be dangerous for Ben. Ben and Craig would wait for the group to came back down. The weather had closed in. For two days Craig had not been able to leave the tent. Craig had made Ben do breathing and limited exercises in the confined space. Ben was not happy.

The wind blew and the sides of the flimsy tent rocked in and out.

“I felt like something was watching me, when I was outside. Perhaps it’s the abominable snowman.” Commented Craig. “It felts like a giant hand is pushing me through the tent.”

“Abominable Snowmen don’t exist, now if you said unicorns, I might have believed you.” Ben said as he struggled to breathe.

“Unicorns don’t exist.”

“Don’t you know the Legion of the the Unicorns”

“No.” Said a puzzled Craig

Ben was silent for a time, then he told the story slowly as his breathing was difficult. The frequent long breaks giving emphasis to the story.

“Back in the distant past, this area of the Himalayas was very magical. Perhaps its the altitude that gave the water that flows down special powers. It created lots of strange and unique creatures. Not all were beautiful, one was the Winter Dragon, a vicious creature, which breathed out an icy breath that froze all that it came in contact with. It lived in a cave and came out to hunt as the sun set.

On one special day, two horses, a white colt and a bay mare were in the meadows when there was a solar eclipse. As the moon passed in front of the sun so only the sun’s corona was visible, the sky went black. The dragon thought it was evening and came out to hunt. He saw the horses and swooped down. He chased the frightened horses driving them ever higher up the mountain. They slipped along the dangerous slopes until that came to a rocky outcrop and hid beneath it. The dragon’s breath froze the horses tails. As the dragon circled above, ready for the next onslaught, the horses saw a waterfall and beyond it a pass twisting downwards.

They raced towards it. As they entered the magical water, cascading from above, they were momentally blinded by the spray. It was at this moment the moon’s passage across the sky began to reveal the sun. The sun’s rays fell down onto the waterfall in a brilliant shaft of light. It struck the horses transforming them into unicorns. The white horse turned into a magnificent stallion with a horn of silver. The mare was golden with a horn of gold. Neither unicorn knew it now had incredible powers.

They emerged into the pass. The dragon launched another attack. The stallion stamped his hooves on the ground and icy splinters fell into the dragon’s eyes blinding it. The mare stamped her hooves and an avalanche fell on to the dragon crushing it and sending it spiralling down on to the jagged rocks below. They were finally free.

Over the next months the unicorns discovered their powers. It was these two unicorns that created the seven types of unicorns. A group of unicorns are called a blessing you know.”

Ben stopped exhausted as breathing was both difficult and painful.

“It happened because of a solar eclipse. Isn’t there a solar eclipse tomorrow?” Craig asked.

Ben nodded, he was exhausted and was soon asleep.

On the following morning, as Craig lay in his sleeping bag, the blizzard outside seemed to have abated. Sunlight shone on the tent. Craig crawled out of the tent and moved to stand in the light. He looked up through his protective lensed goggles, to see the sun. The moon was crossing in front of it, so that the sun’s` corona could be seen. It was a moving sight seen at the high altitude.

The sky went dark. As Craig stood in awe, he felt that something was behind him, so he slowly turned. Standing in front of him was a brilliant white unicorn stallion. The snow around looked grey in comparison. The mighty silver horn shone as the sun’s rays touched it. The unicorns tail sparkled with diamonds where the dragon’s breath had frozen it.

Craig stood transfixed. Slowly he held out his right hand as a sign that he meant it no harm. The stallion bent forward and licked his gloved hand. The silver horn rested on his shoulder. Then other unicorn came forward, so he held out his left hand. The mare, like the stallion also licked his hand.

Craig felt blessed and he suddenly remembered Ben’s words, that a group of unicorns was a blessing.

The moon finally passed from in front of the sun. Craig had not at first noticed that the unicorns had begun to disappear, tail first. Finally only their disappearing tongues were left. The sun’s rays became engulfed by cloud and the blizzard raged again. Craig was alone and had to crawl back to the safety of the tent.

Would he tell anyone how he had seen unicorns? He thought not. After all he doubted that anyone even Ben would believe he had seen a solar eclipse during a blizzard.

The cold chill that Craig let into the tent disturbed Ben. He was struggling to breathe. Craig knelt beside him, one hand on Ben’s arm, the other on his chest he talked Ben through the breathing exercises. Gradually Ben’s breathing became easier. Ben sat up and took a deep breathe.

“Never thought your exercises would work but I can’t feel any pain now.”

Craig just sat back on his sleeping bag looking at his gloved hands and wondered.

Airtight Mystery

“Now if we could just go through the facts again,” the voice on the other end of the phone said in an official monotone.

“My children are missing and you keep asking questions.” A hysterical Mrs Potter shrieked down her end of the phone.

“I have despatched an area car to you, which will be with you shortly. Mrs Potter we need to clarify all the information before I send out an all points alert. It’s important we have the correct information. Your two children are missing. How old is your son and what was he wearing?”

It took a little time to get the information from Mrs Potter, but finally the officer on the other end of the phone repeated the information for Mrs Potter to confirm.

“Your son is Harry, he is eleven. He has dark hair and he wears glasses. Harry is wearing dark trousers and a maroon football type shirt.” a frustrated Mrs Potter confirmed the information.

“Your daughter is Hermione, she is ten. She has fair hair and is wearing jeans and a pink t-shirt with a unicorn on it.”

“Yes, Yes. I have told you all this,” shrieked the distraught mother.

“I can hear a siren in the back ground so I think my officers have arrived. If you go and talk to them I will deal with this information immediately.” The operator advised.

Mrs Potter slammed the phone down and rushed to the door to be met by two officers, a man and a woman. After introducing themselves as Sergeant Mary Jones and Constable Lennon, they went through all the information yet again and asked for photos.

The Constable moved a few steps away but still in ear shot. He confirmed the information on his mobile, to whom, Mrs Potter did not know.

“Your not taking me seriously, who are you talking to? Why aren’t you doing something?” she agitatedly told them as Sergeant Jones tried to pacify her.

“Of course we are, er Mrs Potter, is your husband about to support you?” Sergeant Jones asked calmly.

“No he’s away on a trip.” Mrs Potter told Sergeant Jones as she jumped to her feet and paced up and down.

“Is he contactable? It’s just we have to make sure the children aren’t with him.”

“ Of course they aren’t with him. He’s in Peru.”

“In Peru, what’s he doing there?” Sergeant Jones asked.

“He’s a Zoologist looking for rare animals. So they are not with him.” Mrs Potter sank back in to the armchair, “Please look for my children.” She pleaded in despair.

The Sergeant Jones asked, “Is there anyone we could contact to be with you?”

“ No. no. Just find my children,” Mrs Potter was agitated and she leaned over and grabbed the officers arm. “Do something.”

“The children have been missing for two hours. Is this usual?” Was the calm reply.

“ No, of course not, that’s why I rang you.” Mrs Potter, as she began to shred a tissue. She then added, “ One of their friends came and told me that another boy had been chasing them, the boy escaped and came back here. When they didn’t return I phoned you. Wish I had gone to look for them now.”

While the Sergeant Jones calmed Mrs Potter down Constable Lennon went to talk to the children’s friend who lived a couple of doors away. He returned in a few minutes with the news that the boy chasing the children was called Mal and the two missing children had hidden in the back of a parked lorry by the supermarket.

Mrs Potter told the officers Mal’s name and his address, complaining about the officers inaction and the wildness of Mal. The Constable then went into the hall and shut the door but he could be heard talking on the his mobile. Mrs Potter half listened picking up the odd word. It appeared there had been some dispute about money which had not been paid for a chocolate bar. There was already a police car at the supermarket.

The Constable finally finished talking and came back to explain the situation. It was confirmed that there had been a delivery of ice cream but the lorry had now left. They were trying to contact the ice cream company.

“But ice cream lorries are refrigerated. The lorry would be airtight that’s why we are told to take the doors off old refrigerators.” Mrs Potter panicked.

“Now, don’t worry, there will be plenty of air in the truck. Did I hear you say Constable that it was the lorry’s last call so it will soon be back at its base.”

“Yes. Er. It came from Manchester. But we are trying to track it on the motorway. There are plenty of cameras and an ice cream lorry would be easy to spot.”

“Manchester that’s over 100 miles away.” The shocked mother screamed. “If they are not frozen to death, they would die from being in an airtight container.” More tissues ended up in tatters. “It’s all that Mal’s fault. He probably locked them in.”

“Well it seems he stopped chasing them when they got to the supermarket, according to the store video. He went in for chocolate. He forgot to pay. So that’s why the car was there. He has an airtight alibi. Er sorry didn’t mean to say that.” The Constable answered.

“Shall we have a cup of tea,” the Sergeant Jones hastily suggested.

A voice came across the mobile. “The lorry had been stopped and searched. There were no children in the lorry.” They all gave a sigh of relief.

“But where are my children?”

Mrs Potter listened as the officers and the voice at the other end of the mobile planned the next steps in the search.. The conversation ended abruptly as the voices of two children were heard exclaiming about a police car being outside their house. Mrs Potter rushed outside.

The two children were there. Harry was holding a stick and wearing a cloak, which turned out to be an over large black cardigan, with the only the top button done up. Hermione had an over large pink jumper on which came below her knees.

Mrs Potter rushed to hug her startled children. “Where have you been? We thought you were locked in a lorry.”

It took sometime to get the story from the children. Harry had explained that as Mal had stopped chasing them, they had gone to the cafe as they were cold. The nice lady in the cafe had found them clothes that had been left by customers. Hermione had said they had been given hot chocolate with marshmallows.

“But didn’t you hear the sirens and see the police car?” Asked the Sergeant Jones.

“Oh yes. But someone said Mal had been caught shop lifting.” Harry told them, “So we didn’t take any notice.”

The children were taken inside. When the officers returned to the car, Constable Lennon asked “How are we going to write this up? Harry Potter disappeared from an airtight lorry and reappeared wearing a cape and carrying a wand?”

“Don’t think we should mention the cape or the wand or the words ‘disappeared from an airtight container’ John. I do wish parents would give there children sensible names,”

John Lennon said nothing.

Hetty – The Shift

“It’s a Shift” Hetty exclaimed in horror, looking at the picture in the wedding magazine her sister had shown her.

“Its beautiful, just the thing to complement my dress.” Claire said turning to a picture of a wedding dress. “What do you think?”. Hetty was not about to tell her. It looked like Cinderella’s ballgown and she was expected to wear a simple shift, they would look like Cinderella before and after.

“I think the shift would make me look pregnant, your gown would just make the comparison more marked. Don’t you think white with tiny flowers would get lost against your dress.” Hetty said tactfully.

“But it’s my wedding and I need to stand out, you are there to just hold my flowers. Anyway I have made an appointment at the bridal shop for tomorrow so we can try dresses on.”

There was just no arguing with Claire, you had to tactfully steer her in the right direction or thats what she told Fred that night.

“Waste of money,” was Fred’s comment. “ Is she pregnant, don’t see why she needs to get married at her age. She’s what two years younger than you.”

“She doesn’t want it spreed about, but yes. Thats why its such a rush. Ten weeks isn’t long enough to plan a proper wedding.”

“Still don’t see why she needs to get married. They are going to have to rent a flat privately, if I was Edward I would Put my foot down, save the money and spend it on the new home.”

“We have a flat, if I got pregnant wouldn’t you want a good wedding day?” Asked Hetty.

“Getting pregnant isn’t a good reason to get married. The lads at the pub all have children and none of them are married. It’s just a waste of money, better things to do with the money than buying clothes you would only wear once and feeding hordes of people you only met at funerals.”

“Don’t you ever want to get married? It’s a way of making a commitment to each other. Jack at the pub has four children by 3 mothers so he hasn’t made a commitment to anyone.”

“But Jack’s happy. I just think weddings are a waste of money and time.”

Hetty felt hurt by Fred’s views but perhaps he would change his mind in time.

“I suppose it could be worse she could expect me to wear baby pink. Pink is just not my colour. You are coming to the wedding aren’t you?”

“What and miss a good knees up. Your Dad’s paying for all the drinks isn’t he?”

Hetty didn’t repeat the conversation to Claire next day at the bridal shop. Claire’s dress came first. It had to be a fairy tale dress, she tried on 4 and picked the one with the biggest skirt and most frills. Next it was Hetty’s turn to try on the dresses Claire had selected for her. Claire had obviously thought about their conversation of yesterday. She had decided against a shift. Her preferred choice was cerise with frills round the bottom and the neck line. Not at all the sort of dress Hetty liked but as Claire was not going to be shifted on style or colour. She reflected maybe Fred was right about spending money on clothes you would never wear again.

If ever she got married which didn’t seem likely, she would make Claire wear a dress in a colour and style that didn’t suit her.


Have just returned from a visit to Ypres in the company of my brother and my nephew. It was a moving experience. We stayed in Hooge just outside Ypres, a amazing place. The grounds of the hotel was the front line and what is now a lake was a crater created by mining and a bomb explosion. It was the place that the Germans first used flame throwers. We visited the Hooge Crater Cemetery it has nearly 6000 graves many have the remains of move than one soldiers all unnamed. Hooge is such a small hamlet for such large tragic event.

The object of our visit was to visit the memorials to my Grandads brothers one on Tyne Cot and the other on Thiepval memorials. It was emotional finding their names. Visiting the Passendale museum with their reconstruction trenches helped to reinforce the futility of war. The thousands of names and graves at Tyne Cot, Thiepval and the Menin Gate are just a fraction of the lives lost. We went to one of the moving daily services held at the Menin gate. Let’s not forget the fallen and take time to remember the events of over hundred years.

We also used the diaries of 1/8 Royal Warwickshire diaries to find where my Grandad was in the trenches, La plus Douve Farm. It was moving to imagine his experiences by reading the diaries. In the diaries it just says 1 private killed with no names so I photographed the graves to add to my transcript of the diaries. Imagine my surprise when getting back to find the first soldier killed in his regiment at la Douve trenches was Walter Rainsford who’s sister had lived next door to my Uncle in Kidderminster. I wondered if Grandad had realised the connection when he spoke to Miss Rainsford.

Now I am working on transcribing the diaries and adding the names of the soldiers killed as a way of remembering the fallen that were in my grandads regiment.