Crikey, I see that the Royal Australian Navy is planning a two-month stand-down over Christmas as a boost to recruitment and retention of sailors, or so the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
A frigate will remain in the Middle East on oil-well guarding duty and some patrol boats will keep an eye on Australia's northern coasts but otherwise the fleet of 50 or so ships and submarines have been ordered home so that their crews can tuck into the Christmas pudding and sing ho, ho, ho to their wives and girlfriends, who will greet the mariners with the traditional: "Is that a funnel you've got there or are you just glad to see me?"
It seems a bizarre idea for a Navy to take a long break for Christmas but there is plenty of historical precedent for military activities to be curtailed over the holidays.
The most famous one occurred in 1914, the first year of the First World War, when British and German troops left their trenches and socialized in no-man's land, exchanging small gifts such as cigarettes. (Poor fellows, they did not know that cigarettes were harmful to their health, but, then again, so were the artillery barrages.) Even during Vietnam, there were Christmas truces.
Perhaps this could be the answer to the quest for world peace. Give a big break for Christmas, extend it into Easter and spring break, then add on summer vacation, pick up the Muslim holidays like Ramadan, then Thanksgiving and back to Christmas and Kwanzaa.
The swords will be beaten into plowshare after the leave passes are extended. Crikey, sounds good to me.
Answer to Little Minx,
who asks what I think of the anonymity of people who comment on this blog. Are they in a different category to people who write blogs?
Yes, to some extent, I think so. The PG allows responders to be anonymous and so all responses are welcome - better an anonymous response than none at all. Better yet, however, are those who have announced their identity.
For example, how do I know you are a Little Minx? You could be a Medium Minx or a Big Minx, all of which could influence our perception of you.