Thursday, June 3, 2010

Standing guard

Not long after getting to the base at Ladysmith in July, 1979, we had to stand guard. This was another of those delightful pastimes savoured by conscripts. Here, in often pretty poor light, I again took the chance to draw what I saw, and so alleviate the boredom.

Wherever you went in the army, tea urns like this one followed you. Along with Ouma rusks. These were godsends. I think this is not a bad object drawing, considering. By the way, the lumpy thing on the right is probably a pile of webbing at the end of a bed. On the right, a guard, fully clad, tries to get some sleep between beats.

Even a Coke bottle, standing next to the bottom of a "kas" and a tent flap, was considered interesting enough to draw. The guard commander, usually a corporal, would have a table to sit at, while the guard room comprised beds where one would sleep during the off periods. The routine was two hours on and four hours off. For example, you could start with a shift from 6pm till 8pm, and then stand again from midnight till 2am. Or it would be from 8pm till 10pm, and again from 2am till 4am, or from 10pm till midnight and from 4am till 6am. Whichever option, you ended up seriously sleep-deprived. Usually, as seen here, there was a portable radio around.

Here two okes, obviously in charge of the guard detail, pore over something at one of those steel tables on which the military does its work. The radio is again present on the left.

Finally, something different. Hoorah for this old dog which, somehow, came to be at the guard room in that 5 SAI base. I think the drawing here was actually not bad. Indeed, dogs are particularly nice to draw - they know how to keep still for long periods!

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