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The diaTribe blog is our occasional take on life, the universe and everything. Observations on current affairs, the environment, politics, humour and music/gig reviews. Travel diary and extreme sports stories, along with the usual rants/raves are also chucked in for good measure.

October 2010
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15 Years Young

The guys in 95

Fifteen years ago today, I headed out to the sunny climes of Malta in the late summer, with three new friends. It was a trip that marked the beginning of an incredible bond of friendship, which is celebrated throughout the Bandanna Club website.

For me, it was a life-changing time.

It had been a tough year. My younger brother had recently passed away and his birthday which had occurred a few days earlier, was still a sharp and painful memory.

I had recently separated from my wife and partner in what eventually became an amicable divorce, but was at the time still stressful. We were both facing a crossroads in our lives, but this time to go in different directions.

Some months prior to all this, my wife persuaded me to attend a Sealed Knot banquet at the invitation of a work-colleague of hers, who was a long-time SK Member. We headed over to Farringdon, near Oxford where we checked into a local pub and duly dressed in the period costume that was kindly loaned to us.

For some reason, my wife did not enjoy the night … probably because I got rather squiffy, spent most of the evening meeting and chatting with lots of new people and was perhaps not as attentive as I could have been. The following morning, I happily signed up as new members of Sir Marmaduke Rawdons’ Regiment of Foote, one of our locally-based SK regiments, with a reputation as hard-hitters on the battlefield and good-natured drinkers in the beer tent (mostly rolleyes ).

I got some of my SK kit as Christmas presents and looked forward to my first muster in Easter (which, at Christmas time is a fairly long way off). But shortly after the New year, relations with my wife began to deteriorate and the next few months were a difficult time for both of us.

Easter and my official separation from my wife happened on the same weekend; I spent most of Good Friday helping her shift into a small flat of her own and then returned home. I had a lot on my mind and I almost decided not to go to my first muster. But I’d promised I would go and the muster was just down the road. So I changed into my Pikeman’s kit, grabbed my pack and headed to the Old Basing common (where the camp ground was) in a taxi.

Much of the rest of the evening (and the rest of the weekend! smile ) is rather hazy; I remember the laughter, the jokes, the campfire, the people and a strong sense of companionship. We drank a fair portion of port from a bottle shared around the roaring fire and stayed awake all night to watch the pre-battle dawn. I had the sense that I had landed in the middle of something that was going to prove a turning point in my life.

Within a few months, I was a regular “Knotter”, blagging rides with passing Knotters to various “musters” up and down the country and I remember almost all of my time in the SK with a great deal of fondness.

More important than the musters and the general SK culture of pub-based company get-togethers that happen between musters or off-season, were the bonds of friendship that we started to develop. I soon had a smaller circle of fellow regimental members, who I got on particularly well with and it was three of this group (Andy, Su and Tosh), that now accompanied me to Malta.

While in Malta, Tosh and Andy opted to do a diving course with me and shortly after arriving, we booked into a local dive club, based near our hotel in St Julians. The full story is on our Malta diving page if you fancy a look, so I won’t rehash it here.

On our first day we even managed to arrive at the dive centre a little bit early, despite nursing slight hangovers. While waiting for the place to open, Andy and Tosh wandered into a nearby sporting goods store and minutes later emerged with broad smiles.

They presented me with a Nike Bandanna, in a deep crimson red with white logo. Andy had an identical one and Tosh had a white version with crimson red logo and lettering. Andy showed me how to tie it and did the same for Tosh (who – unlike me – got it sussed immediately).

A few minutes later, the Bandanna Club was born.

Our various exploits and adventures since that time are well documented throughout the Bandanna Club website. What is perhaps not so well documented is the extraordinary bonds of friendship that we share.

The guys in 2010

In the years since Malta, we have lived in different homes and places (sometimes in different countries). Young families are being raised and careers pursued. People move further apart or closer together. Time keeps ticking and our world keeps changing. rolleyes

But no matter what the changes, trials and tribulations, all that it takes to get me to smile, is contact with the boys and girls of the bandanna club.
Happy birthday brothers and sisters.

You are the good souls

“So I turn to you and I say,
Thank goodness for the good souls,
That make life better,
As I turn to you and I say,
If it wasn’t for the good souls,
Life would not matter.”

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2 Comments for: 15 Years Young

  1. Visitor Comment # 1

    Nice article

  2. Visitor Comment # 2
    Sean Lopez : (Visitor)

    Good article

Sorry, comments for this article (15 Years Young) are now closed.

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