The first Gulf War* came along at the same time that my elderly neighbour and reality decided to go their separate ways.
Having seen the latest TV pictures of the British hostages being held as Saddam Hussein’s human shields, my neighbour would come to the garden fence, shake his head incredulously and say something like ‘I can’t believe those chaps went out there to get involved with this. Why couldn’t they just mind their own affairs like everyone else?’
He apparently believed that the ex-pat hostages were some sort of feckless ‘war-tourists’ who’d decided to jet out and take the kids to Kuwait especially to witness the Iraqi invasion.
I can see why he may have had this misconception – after all, it was pretty much what he and several hundred thousand other Brits (minus the kids) had done in France, in khaki, 50 years earlier.
Then the time when I told the neighbour about cancelling my planned holiday in Yugoslavia.
‘But why? You told me you were looking forward to going!’ He was more incredulous than ever.
‘Oh, I’m just silly, you know. I hear there’s going to be a better war starting in Portugal in a couple of months so I’d rather hold on until then. Get some winter sun at the same time’.
The Foreign Office is now warning Britons to leave war torn Georgia. I wonder if I can get anything on lastminute.com?
* By which I mean the 1990/91 war, not the counting the Gulf War of the 1980s. I’m not sure why no one really counts that war – maybe because America wasn’t in it.