GRAB A SEAT By Chris Nelson, 8/9 RAR
I remember in November 1980 I was on duty at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland whilst attached to The Royal Scots, The Royal Regiment. As I was an NCO, I had charge of placing the sentries out the front of the castle. We marched from the guard room just within the castle gate and took post out front, then I would return to the guard room and log the change or placement etc. During this time I was a smoker but was not permitted to smoke on duty. Me being me, I snuck off up into the castle, found a tiny separate building and went inside. After casting off my plaid and anorak, I relaxed in an ancient chair, put my feet up on a book lectern and flicked ash all over the floor.
The next day one of the castle officials came to see me to ask if I could keep an eye out for whoever was smoking in the Mary Queen Of Scots’ private chapel, which was closed to the public as it was so old and had not been touched for hundreds of years. His main concern he said was that someone had been sitting in Queen Mary’s chair that was built in the 1560s. Needless to say, I kept a sharp eye out, as did the rest of the guard compliment, and we never had any further transgressions by the unknown offender. That was the year I stopped smoking as it happens.
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