Thursday, 17 July 2014

Go Commandos!

a while back I was browsing pics on twitter, like you do, on those quiet Friday nights...

and I came across this mmm-hmmm very eye catching pic

alpha males, in cams, in a gym x 6 ! 
- what's not to appreciate eh?

It reminded me of when I was a soldier - I could do more chins, press-ups and dips than most of the boys (still can) and I was pretty nifty on the ropes too, even with my webbing on. 
For a free weights girl like me, who trains hard and is surrounded by alphas day in and day out, this was a nice walk down memory lane. I really appreciate those who train hard and are driven and determined.

These lads are Royal Marines Commandos - and some of the best soldiers ever produced.
They go thru 32 weeks of arduous training to turn them from boys into men, and only the men make it  

~ but I like using the term boys, so boys they are ~ 

here they are - doing their stuff
this is an ace clip!

...if I was a boy I would have been Special Forces for sure, and if it was the British Army then I'd have been a Commando, but since I was a girl in the Aussie Army it was Military Intelligence for me instead

and now that I make hares for a living... 
and write baby hare stories...
(what can I say huh!?   a career change is as good as a holiday)

and as I am always looking for interesting ways to let the whole world know about these cute n tiny wee lagomorphs, I went to my mac and saw that the Marines have an online shop, hmmm 

then one of my Drive Safe Baby Army hares hopped up beside me and saw they had a Car section in their shop, 
oooh! he blurted

then he saw the helicopter - wow! none of his brothers or sisters had gone to live in a chopper before, and he had a huge grin,

and then he paused to read the blurb, it said that the shop supports the wounded Marines heroes, and he looked up at me, smiling softly, his blue eyes gently glistening  

and asked if perhaps he could go and help the soldiers?

because he knows that my most favourite books are Commando comics (yeah, really! sheesh) and WWII sea battles! Totally love Hammond Innes and Desmond Bagley and Alistair MacLean and Douglas Reeman and...

so he called to his siblings, and they all raced over to the mac

Royal Marines Commando ~ it's a State of Mind ~

Cheerfulness in the face of adversity



and Unselfishness

those are the values that make a Marine

and since 1664 when the very first Royal Marines were born, er forged, (from blood, sweat and tears) they have been proudly upheld ever since
and eagerly sought after, by every wanna-be Marine

because it takes true courage, determination, unselfishness and pure heart with a smile to take up arms and fight for your country - like 89 year old Commando veteran George 'Ted' Owens here. 
I have him to thank, and all those who fought to keep Britain the free country it is. Thank you sir!

During the war my grandpappy was in the Admiralty, he spoke Russian. I never knew him cause he got alzheimers, but I did inherit his gift for speaking Russian and all things Russki. Thank you grandpappy. And my father loves nothing more than reading non-fiction war stuff, and between us we have a nice collection of books...

This is the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge up in the Highlands, and has been one of my most favourite statues for years, ever since the first time I saw it when I was wee.

It is truly awe inspiring and breath-taking in it's presence, solitude and magnificence and was built to commemorate the Commando forces of WWII. 

If you are in Scotland and get the chance to pay your respects to it, you will not be un-moved.

(yeah, I 'collect' favourite statues, have them in every city/country I have lived in)

and so, from the past, to the present, and on to the future -

here are 6 Commandos who are currently undertaking one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) modern day challenges ever  The 1664 Challenge

In celebration of the 350 years anniversary of the Royal Marines Commandos, formed in 1664, these 6 alpha males (yeah, had to say that boys *wink*) have been participating in the 1664 Challenge - a physically and mentally demanding journey that encapsulates the Commando ethos, spirit and esprit de corps 

and - raises funds for those Commandos who have been deployed and can no longer run, or ski or cycle
and for the families of those Commandos who are no longer here

click on the poster above - to read the unbelievable feats that have already been accomplished by these chaps and the supporting Marines joining in along the journey

at the moment they only -only- have a couple hundred miles left to run before the end in London on the 25th July

these boys have been skiing, cycling, kayaking, sailing and running marathon length marathons EVERY DAY! uh-huh, I'm not kidding!
(even an alpha female like me is impressed! I mean, I could scamper, em run 10km in 50 minutes when I was in my unit, but that was maybe eh, once a month or thereabouts...)

check out their journey, with daily pics, on facebook here rm1664challenge

and on twitter with daily pics and updates here RM1664Challenge

and on their main website here Royal Marines 1664 Challenge 

and way back in the middle of winter in January this year, up in the Arctic Circle off far North Norway near the Russian border - they began preparation for their skiing phase

and in early February set off...

to finally arrive a little bit thinner in sunny Stavanger 1664km and 2 months later, in early April

em - if I'd been a bit more switched on I would've let them know that my sister in law owns the best butchers shop in Stavanger - Gabbas, and my brother would've had them round for a barbie and some home brews and malts - next time eh lads!

and then 3 months later, in May, 
emulating those modern day vikings... (cause I'd seen their pic on twitter and wanted a photo of me doing exactly what they were doing, heh heh) here I am standing in front of those awesome swords
infact could be my most favourite statue ever, love those swords! love love love! 

thanks for the photo Trine :)

anyway, back to the real stuff! 

next was the sailing phase of 1664 miles from Norway to Gibraltar

uh-oh, looks kinda choppy...  

    bleh :/  

            ...sea-sick anyone?

yup, watch out where you decide to....

ooh wow! dolphins! 
nice to have the protectors of the sea with you on your travels

here they are - beautiful and magical and ethereal and spectacular - as only dolphins can be, as they lead the Marines forward! 
do I count 6 dolphins?

beautiful dolphins and beautiful sunsets!
now that is worth a thousand smiles :)

and then next was the cycling phase of 1664km from Cadiz all the way up the road to the Normandy beaches in France where the D Day invasions took place

(liking their cycling cams - must've had them specially done to match with those yellow rocks :)


that was fast!

then next was the kayak phase, of 100 miles, but there were some currents and it turned out to be 120 miles of paddling across the English channel from Port-en-Bessin, France to Portsmouth

looks tough eh!
behind them is an LCU - Landing Craft Utility,
but these soldiers paddled (kayaked?) all the way, non-stop

such a beautiful sunset!

almost looks romantic...
but once that sun goes down it'd be pitch black

whew! they made it safely to dry land
smiles all around :)
(hmmm, where are their arms after all that kayaking?)

and that's good because they only have 1664km to cover in the running phase around Britain!

- just a marathon a day - that's all!

and with a little encouragement and help from their mates in every Commando unit

the running will be in cams and boots as well as trainers and shorts

mountains, hills and steps included!
good work for your quads, calves and lungs, but tiring!

even better work for your mind as you push yourself on, and on, and on and...

and a few hundred kms later in a deserted car park....

uh-oh! what's this? 

a little bit of shut eye?

or some special type of stretch?

I'll go for the stretch.... :)

hey boys! how about a wee drink to keep your spirits up?
- here you go! 

these very nice brandy glasses and decanter are in the Royal Marines online shop

I reckon I would be using them for whisky myself, and malt at that

and if whisky is not your thing to get you going then perhaps a wet is? (in Army speak it's a 'brew' but bootneck speak is 'wet')

so if it's a wet then make sure to sprinkle your coffee toppings with this ace RM cappuccino stencil!

so now that you've recovered, first things first - 

fresh Tshirt for your runs


beanie to keep the wind off your ears

and cause it's cool to run in one 
(I do, but then again, I'm a girl - I can get away with wearing it)


hoodie, for when it gets nippy

cause it's Scotland and summer, which only means one thing - it's bloody freezing, pouring rain and another miserable dreicht day!
nah, only joking - we've had a great summer this year, it's been a few weeks of really good weather! 
and besides I only run with my hoodie when it gets below 10 degrees - yeah, I know, I'm being a girl!


and neck warmer for those windy mountain top hikes...

and because this just looks so totally cool
omg! I gotta have one!
(and when I get a doggy he will have his own one too)
even though I never run in scarves/neckerchiefs, but that can all be changed, I'm a girl


and a pooch for your runs, to keep you on your toes

(even though I don't have a little doggy yet, I've put my order in to the Universe, 
he will need a harness to accompany me on my runs)


aaaw my goodness! look at that adorable wee face!!!

and ofcourse a lead - because my dog will be running ahead of me, like all dogs do, leading...


in the meantime I admire all the pooches I run past! 
and they always say hello to me
my last doggy Max, became a bomb dog for the RAEngineers where I was posted. He grew up side by side with Burns my house rabbit! 
(got my order in for another little bun as well, a rescue one ofcourse, I only do rescue beasties :) 1 bun + 1 pup = sorted!

okey dokey - enough of a rest
back to the Challenge!

hey what's this? talking about dogs....

here's Burt the springer spaniel checking on morale - yup, smiles all around, everyone's good!

and more smiles!

why ofcourse! 

- here they are on their way to Scotland!

och! and here they are - on Scottish ground! that was fast!
and being warmly greeted by tiny wee Meg!
smiles all around again :)

wow! what an adorable little dog Meg is! just look at how proud she is!
(I bet she got treats off of every one of them - numerous times! ha ha ha!)

dogs are sure good for morale eh!
though I reckon these 6 chaps are more than able to be cheerful under any and all conditions

and little did they know, 
as they got into their chopper to head to Edinburgh
that they would be recipients of some typical good Scottish hospitality

a short flight across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh

and there waiting in Holyrood Park, 
for the choppers to land
on a warm Scottish summer's morning
all 'storied up' and eager for their new papas, and wheels

made by me
in real British Army dpms

just for those 6 Marines

as a little thank you

for being themselves
doing a job they love with all their hearts
following their dreams
and paying respects to the men who are no longer with them
and those who would love to be, but can't

and because I love giving....

and smiling...
I was hoping these 6 little does (female leverets) would give their new papas some smiles too

after all, as soon as the Challenge is over, I am sure that these Marines may be glad to do a little cruising in their motors for a change?

meanwhile, the hares had a look thru the Royal Marines recruitment brochure that I got last year 
(...just because, - a girl can dream eh? - of being a Marine that is :)

the swimming in the seas - Amphibious Assaults I said
the digging of rabbit burrows - Dessert Warfare I corrected them
running thru hedges - Commando Training on the CTC I explained

then after all that scampering about over the pages one of them spotted a basket of carrots and they all raced over...

and they were about to start lunch.. 

...when I called attention

told them to man up, er hare up

because they had papas to meet
and wheels to go to

so after 6 warm handshakes
6 lovely smiles and thank yous
and a very nice chat

(er, no photos, my camera gave up the ghost!)

the little leverets sighed happily
as they nestled snugly inside their papas cams
as the 1 o'clock gun went off at Edinburgh Castle

and because it is Scotland, and summer

here are the Commandos a few days later, at the top of Britain's highest mountain - Ben Nevis, covered in em, that would be rain I reckon!

still smiling though, 
dogs and hares and Scotland must be good for them :)

and then paying their respects after coming down Ben Nevis and tabbing, er I mean yomping 20 odd miles to the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge

these boys only have a couple hundred miles left to run

and their last day will be on 25th July when they run in to London

so I reckon, cause I'm a kind hearted kinda gal, and I love celebrations and I love to give

this adorable, beautiful, cute-as-a-button 
Drive Safe with Baby Army Hare 
rearview mirror charm!!


does that sound like a good deal or what?

uh-oh! I forgot - strings attached :)

never something for nothing in this world

so instead of just a thank you, and a smile

this little hare would appreciate 
if you could ever so very kindly donate a little something to the Royal Marines to help their buds
(the cost of your morning Starbucks?)

you can do it via their website here

or by text - check out his delts and lats, er I mean back 
so text RMCT50 'amount' to 70070 via your mobile phone

and then

leave your name in the comments below

and on 26th July I will draw a winner and this cute-as-a-button hare will be Yours!

no need to say if you donated the price of a coffee or a dram of 55yo Macallan, just nice to give these boys and the Corps something for all their efforts eh? 

like I said, I love to give - give to them, give to you,  .... :)
and when I first read about this Challenge I sent in some bucks right away, so it's just nice to support them in any way you can

here we go 
- see - happy!

I reckon they all deserve a neat malt! (works great for sore muscles!)
yeah, yeah - I'm a whisky girl, 
I'm all out of tumblers 

isn't that just perfect - one appropriately filled decanter
and 6 already ready-n-waiting glasses

and oh, by the way lads if any of you come across this one - send him my way :)
I'm free Friday night, and looking forward to some scran, em I mean dinner, with an Essence boy

thank you :) xx

and because all's well that ends well

my wee lagomorphs - are now being stocked in the 
Royal Marines online shop! yay! 

and I'm helping the Marines and their families :) thank you!

and so this handful of hares are eagerly awaiting their forever homes in their new whips / wheels / motors ..... 

can't wait for the prize draw to win your hare?
wanna buy one right now?

Army hares x6 = Aussie cams x2, Brit cams x4

so pick yourself up a Commando, er I mean a hare, to accompany you on all your action and adventure

and because they're still running 
- and it's summertime, 
and kinda hot, 
especially for road running 
- here's the boys themselves and some of the action (yeah Commando style, shirt-free ladies!!)

...whew! I reckon that should be about 164 thousand,4 hundred and..... words by now for this epic blog post? (Commando style eh?)

hmmm, nah! 
        - think I'm needing two more -

Thank You  xxxxxx

and the not-so-small small print -
military pics open government license Crown Copyright
and by permission of Royal Marines Shop
and by permission of Challenge Marines