Welcome to another issue of Life in the Swedish Army, the weekly dump of entries from my diary, being written as I go through national service in the armed forces of Sweden. See this node if this is the first of the LitSA nodes you've seen. It contains some background info which will be expanded later when I get to writing a proper LitSA metanode.

As some may have noticed, I didn't post anything last week, so today's posting covers that week as well as the current one. The reason I didn't post anything last week was that I simply did not get the weekend off, as I have become accustomed to. Actually, I didn't get the weekend off this week either, but I got monday and tuesday off, and so, problem solved.

13th of August, 2002 - 15:48
Preparations for the royal guard duties ahead are continuing. As a welcome change we did not do any drills today, however, for the whole company drove down (in buses) to Almnäs Garnison (home of SWEDINT) to get our M95 uniforms, i e the parade uniforms we will be wearing while guarding the castle(s). We also got shiny bayonets for our rifles. I got to drive one of the buses we used to transport ourseleves, a diesel-powered Ford Transit featuring AC, a nice stereo system, but the acceleration capabilities of a stomped snail. Despite this, our little caravan was able to reach some rather nice speeds on the freeway. What cop would dare pull over a military vehicle?

15th of August, 2002 - 09:36
Not good. After a rather uneventful morning, we've been ordered to sit and wait outside the barracks while a squad of policemen and their drug-sniffing dogs sweep the building for any illegalities. Apparently, someone has left an anonymous note accordning to which someone has been hiding pot in his locker. It better not be anyone I know... All hell is likely to break loose if they actually find something.

15th of August, 2002 - 22:25
Evening. The drug sweep this morning ended right before lunch - in other words, we had to sit on our asses and wait for about three hours. Luckily, the police didn't find anything illegal. The afternoon was spent on more drills and parade exercises, and because the morning up until lunch happened as it did, the exercises continued until 2130 hours. This was followed by polishing up our personal equipment and other similarly boring stuff. Fortunately, some of us (including myself) got the evening off (by virtue of not needing the extra exercise), though we didn't get a lot of extra rest because of this fact.

Note: Our company guarded the castles in Stockholm and Drottningholm on two occasions: August 17-18 and 21-24. Due to the long shifts and sleep depravation, I got very little written during these days. Sorry about that.

21st of August, 2002 - 18:40
Wow. Long time, nothing written, but these have been busy days with very little time to spare. The third day of guard duty has begun, (the first two were saturday and sunday, last week) and I am here in bed, resting while I wait for my shift to begin. Being a telephone post, I have a wonderful eight hours of work ahead of me, starting at 2230 and ending at 0630 hours. No breaks allowed, except for emergency toilet visits. The job consists of watching various security monitors, answering the phone(s) when they ring, and watching TV when there's nothing else to do. I have a nice big Philips 28-inch all to myself - very nice.

I am expecting this week to be somewhat more eventful than last; partly because this is an "ordinary" week, so journalists and such (who like stalking the royal family) will be working. This means more to do for us, as we are to deal (in a friendly but firm manner) with anyone who looks like they may be up to something unsavory. We don't have quite the same level of paparazzi activity as the UK though, even though our princesses are way cuter (personal opinion). Another reason while there may be some extra action this week is that the guys over at K1 - the King's own little army, so to speak - are leaving the service (to be replaced by younger talents) this week. Having spent a LOT of time guarding the various castles, it is to be expected that they pay us a visit and try to have a bit of fun by messing around with us. I am looking forward to it.

Note: I didn't write anything else that week, so I'll try and sum up what happened as far as I remember it: The K1 people did visit, but they went to Stockholm rather than Drottningholm, so me and my mates who were guarding the "wrong" castle weren't subjected to their pranks (which included soaping a fountain, heh). Apart from that, nothing much happened - apart from the last shift I did, where I got the massive honour of watching Trauma - Life in the E.R. (on Discovery) with the crown princess) for about 15 minutes while we waited for her bodyguards to come pick her up. A very pleasant experience indeed, and a very nice conversation (the details of which I am not at liberty to reveal or discuss), too.

That's all for these two weeks. Sorry I didn't get more written, but like I said, I was kind of short on time. By the way, my platoon now has a homepage (made by me) where you will eventually be able to watch some photos of our activites. The site is in Swedish and is located at http://lednplut.tk. There isn't much there at the moment (no photos yet) but I'll let you know how to get to them when some are published.

One last thing: After my last LitSA write-up, where I briefly mentioned a feedback exercise we did, people have msg'ed me asking what kind of feedback I got (or, as one noder put it, what "insults were hurled" at me). Let me clarify what the feedback exercise was about: NOT insulting each other, but delivering constructive criticism in a friendly manner. This worked very well in my group, though I expect other groups may have had more problems. The specific criticism I got was mainly that I can be a bit egoistical (selfish) at times, which is considered by most people to be a bad thing.

That's all, folks!

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