Back in 1998 I found myself living in the SR Mess in Whale Island have split from my first wife in a disasterous second relationship that was going down the pan very quickly. Paying the ex most of my wages and paying food and accom, fcuk this thought Stan I have to get the fcuk away, I'd had 4 years at sea on Manchester and been ashore 4 months!! BUT in those days we had a CPO AWW on the drafting desk so I decided to give him a call to see if there was anything interesting that would get me the fcuk out of the UK he offered me Exeter in the Gulf cos the CPO Gunner wanted to do field gun or the Dilligence for six months also in the gulf. Didn't take me to long to make up my mind and promptly hopped on a Herc out of Brize the following week joined Dill alongside in Salalah and sailed the following morning, had my own cabin and a LS and 6 ABs to look after bliss. WE had only been at sea a couple of days when we were diverted through the Straits of Hormuz to Jebel Ali, on the way I overheard the lads in the mess talking about how hoofing the run ashore was I thought bollocks my only other visit in the gulf was Sharjah and the fcuking place was dryer than Ghandis loincloth. On the night we transited the Straits (at action stations) the Iraqis and Iranianswere kicking fcuk out of each other as well as victualling in several unarmed supertankers with RPGs, at about 0500 listening to the Dubai radio station on the bridge I heard several messages welcoming Dill back into the gulf, I thought, these fcekers are winding me up ffs I needed to save money not be going out on the piss every night, but thats what happened. I couldn't fcuking believe it there was fanny everywhere, bars, nightclubs the place was buzzing. lots of expats offering free wets and invitations to parties - a singlies heaven on earth. Hashing in the desert every thur evening 8 - 10 miles at 30 degrees C working up a thirst for the Red Lion later after a few down downs and the famous helmeting!! But one night I thought fcuk it I'm going back onboard early (a cocktail party on the bridge and a social in the SR Mess was a good enough excuse) I walked out of the mess with a pint and walking down the steps from the bridge were to stunners so like the gent I am I ask if there ok and enjoying the party, bored they said, well pop in our mess for a wet says Stan and in they went - I endd up moving in with the best looking one a week later, rooftop apartment chilled swimming pool and funny enough I stopped hashing!! Dill went to sea for about 2 weeks in total the 6 months I was onboard, the rest of the time was alongside in Jebel Ali doing maintenance on the sweepers on deployment clearing mines. On one trip to sea we had to raise a degaussing range off the seabed near Muscat with some of the sweepers divers , about 250 tons of copper wire we ditched it overboard somewhere, wish I knew were it must be worth a fcuking fortune now. Fcuk me drafty rings and says were do you want to go next whats on offer RNR Liverpool or RNR Tyne what a bitch eh off I go to Gateshead own pad paid for by pusser and Lodging Allowance on top sweet. The girlfriend gives up her job and comes back to live with me. I got a medal for the gulf deployment and me and the girl have been together 24 years. It never quite got any better than that.