Tuesday, 17 December 2013

410 Independant Plant Troop RE:

410 Independant Plant Troop RE: 

Christmas Greetings

John (Dinger) and Margaret would like to wish all our friends and colleagues a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year for 2014

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Red Poppy

The Red Poppy
Why we wear a poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

Brethren, at this time of year it is traditional to wear the poppy as a symbol of remembrance, a tradition that began as a result of the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae.

The field poppy is an annual plant which flowers each year between about May and August. Its seeds are scattered on the wind and can lie dormant in the ground for a long time. If the ground is disturbed from the early spring the seeds will germinate and the poppy flowers will grow.
This is what happened in parts of the front lines in Belgium and France. Once the ground was disturbed by the fighting, the poppy seeds lying in the ground began to germinate and grow during the warm weather in the spring and summer months of 1915... The field poppy was blooming when the ANZAC and British Forces arrived at the start of the campaign in April 1915.

The sight of these delicate, vibrant red flowers growing on the shattered ground caught the attention of a Canadian soldier by the name of John McCrae. He noticed how they had sprung up in the disturbed ground of the burials around the artillery position he was in. It was during the warm days of early May 1915 when he found himself with his artillery brigade near to the Ypres-Yser canal. He is believed to have composed a poem following the death of a friend at that time. The lines of the poem have become some of the most famous lines written in relation to the First World War.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

How the red Flanders poppy became the modern-day symbol of Remembrance was the brainwave of an American woman, Miss Moina Michael. “The Poppy Lady”
On the 9th November 1918, two days before the Armistice was declared at 11 o'clock on 11th November. Moina Belle Michael was on duty at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries' headquarters in New York. She was working in the reading room, a place where U.S. servicemen would often gather with friends and family to say their goodbyes before they went on overseas service.

On that day YMCA hall was busy with people coming and going. The Twenty-fifth Conference of the Overseas YMCA War Secretaries was in progress at the headquarters. During the early part of the morning as a young soldier passed by Moina's desk he left a copy of the latest November edition of the “Ladies Home Journal” on the desk.

At about 10.30am Moina found a few moments to herself and browsed through the magazine. In it she came across a page which carried a vivid colour illustration with the poem entitled “We Shall Not Sleep”. This was an alternative name sometimes used for John McCrae's poem, which was also called “In Flanders Fields”. Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae had died of pneumonia several months earlier on 28th January 1918.

Moina had come across the poem before, but reading it on this occasion she found herself transfixed by the last verse:

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In her autobiography, entitled “The Miracle Flower”, Moina describes this experience as deeply spiritual. She felt as though she was actually being called in person by the voices which had been silenced by death.

At that moment Moina made a personal pledge to “keep the faith”. She vowed always to wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance. It would become an emblem for “keeping the faith with all who died”.

Compelled to make a note of this pledge she scribbled down a response on the back of a used envelope. She titled her poem "We Shall Keep the Faith".

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Three men attending the conference then arrived at Moina's desk. On behalf of the delegates they asked her to accept a cheque for 10 dollars, in appreciation of the effort she had made to brighten up the place with flowers at her own expense.

She was touched by the gesture and replied that she would buy twenty-five red poppies with the money. She showed them the illustration for John McCrae's poem “In Flanders Fields” in the Ladies Home Journal, together with her response to it “We Shall Keep the Faith”. The delegates took both poems back into the Conference.

After searching the shops for some time that day Moina found one large and twenty-four small artificial red silk poppies in Wanamaker's department store. When she returned to duty at the YMCA Headquarters later that evening the delegates from the Conference crowded round her asking for poppies to wear. Keeping one poppy for her coat collar she gave out the rest of the poppies to the enthusiastic delegates.

According to Moina, this was the first group-effort asking for poppies to wear in memory of “all who died in Flanders Fields”. Since this group had given her the money with which to buy them, she considered that she made the first sale of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy on 9th November 1918.

Moina Michael was determined to put all her energy towards getting the Poppy emblem adopted in the United States as a national memorial symbol. She was encouraged by a positive reaction to the idea by the press.

She began a tireless campaign at her own expense, starting with a letter to her congressman in December 1918. In the letter she asked him to put the idea to the War Department, which he immediately did. She wanted to act swiftly so that this new national emblem might be already be produced in the form of pins, on postcards and so on in time for the signing of the peace treaty at Versailles in June 1919.

She realized that after the war the numerous signs related to the war - the Red Cross, War Loan insignia, Service Flags - which had been evident all over the United States during it's involvement in the war would gradually be removed. Moina considered that a replacement emblem, the red poppy, could be used to fill those empty spaces as a symbolic reminder of those who had not returned home to celebrate the end of the war.

Her religious upbringing inspired her to believe that the Flanders Memorial Poppy was indeed a spiritual symbol with more meaning behind it than pure sentimentalism. She likened the new optimism for a world returned to peace after the “war to end all wars” to the magnificent rainbow which appeared in the sky after the terrible flood in the bible.
Originally Moina intended to use the simple red, four petalled field poppy of Flanders as the Memorial Poppy emblem.
However, in spite of the interest raised by the appearance of the new emblem at the time, and Moina's continued efforts to publicize the campaign, this emblem was not taken up by any group or individual to help establish it as a national symbol.

By March 1919 she had moved back to Georgia to take up her place at the University of Georgia. With the return of thousands of ex-servicemen to the state Moina realised that there was not only a need to honour the memory of those who had died in the service of their country, but also a need to remember that those who were returning also had mental, physical and spiritual needs.

During the summer months of 1919 Moina taught a class of disabled servicemen. There were several hundred ex-servicemen in rehabilitation. She thought the emblem could be developed so that it could be used to help all servicemen who needed help for themselves and for their dependants.

By 1920 Moina Michael was beginning to lose hope that the Memorial Poppy idea would ever come to fruition. She was in a dilemma about whether to pursue her own academic career or whether to abandon it in order to devote herself entirely to the Memorial Poppy campaign. However, in the early 1920s a number of organizations did adopt the red poppy as a result of Moina's dedicated campaign.

In 1919 the American Legion was founded as an organization by veterans of the United States armed forces to support those who had served in wartime in Europe during the First World War.

In August 1920 Moina discovered by chance that the Georgia Department of the American Legion was to convene on 20th of that month in Atlanta. Prior to the convention she searched out the delegates and the Navy representative promised to present her case for the Memorial Poppy to the convention.

The Georgia Convention subsequently adopted the Memorial Poppy and also agreed to endorse the movement to have the Poppy adopted by the National American Legion and resolved to urge each member of the American Legion in Georgia to wear a red poppy annually on 11th November.

One month later, on 29th September 1920, the National American Legion convened in Cleveland. The Convention agreed on the use of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy as the United States' national emblem of Remembrance.

A French woman by the name of Madame Anna E Guérin was present at the 29th September National American Legion convention. Anna was a representative of the French YMCA Secretariat. She was inspired by Moina Michael's idea of the poppy as a memorial flower and she also believed that the scope of the Memorial Poppy could be expanded to help the needy. She considered that artificial poppies could be made and sold as a way of raising money for the benefit of the French people, especially the orphaned children, who were suffering as a result of the war.

Anna Guérin returned to France after the convention. She was the founder of the “American and French Children's League” through which she organized French women, children and war veterans to make artificial poppies out of cloth. Her intention was that these poppies would be sold and the proceeds could be used to help fund the restoration of the war-torn regions of France.

Anna was determined to introduce the idea of the memorial poppy to the nations which had been Allied with France during the First World War. During 1921 she made visits or sent representatives to America, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

In 1921 Madame Guérin made arrangements for the first nationwide distribution across America of poppies made in France by the American and French Childrens' League. The funds raised from this venture went directly to the League to help with rehabilitation and resettlement of the areas of France devastated by the First World War. Millions of these French-made artificial poppies were sold in America between 1920 and 1924.

Madame Anna Guérin travelled to Canada, where she met with representatives of the Great War Veterans Association of Canada. This organization later became the Royal Canadian Legion. The Great War Veterans Association adopted the poppy as its national flower of Remembrance on 5th July 1921.

The first British Poppy Day Appeal was launched that year, in the run up to 11th November 1921. It was the third anniversary of the Armistice to end the Great War. Proceeds from the sale of artificial French-made poppies were given to ex-servicemen in need of welfare and financial support.

In 1921 Anna Guérin sent some French women to London to sell their artificial red poppies. This was the first introduction to the British people of Moina Michael's idea of the Memorial Poppy. Madame Guérin went in person to visit Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig, founder and President of The British Legion. She persuaded him to adopt the Flanders Poppy as an emblem for The Legion. This was formalized in the autumn of 1921. By 1922 Haig established the first Poppy Factory in Richmond, Surrey, but such was the demand for poppies that few were reaching Scotland. In 1926 his wife, Lady Haig, established a Poppy Factory in Edinburgh to produce poppies exclusively for Scotland.

Since then the poppy has become a symbol of remembrance and for the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, both at times of war and in their peace keeping duties. Importantly, for nearly 90 years it has raised millions of pounds to support the needs of veterans and their families, living in Scotland.

And from that time the red poppy has been sold each year by The British Legion from mid-October to raise funds in support of the organization's charitable work.

This article came from a combination of two sites, The Great War and Scotland poppy, and the website can take no credit.

Our readers might notice that the picture used at the top of this article features a poppy with four petals and no leaf. This is what is known as the ‘Scottish Poppy.’ And this is the official reason why we have one.

Why is there a different poppy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?
Since Earl Haig first launched the Poppy Appeal in Scotland in 1921, we have always had our own unique design. The Scottish poppy features four petals, whereas the poppy produced by the Royal British Legion for the Appeal in England, Wales and Northern Island has two petals and a green leaf.

Why can I not buy a poppy with the green leaf on it in Scotland?

Apart from being botanically incorrect it would cost £15,000 to make leaves for all poppies - money we feel is better spent on veterans. We might be slightly biased but we think the Scottish poppy looks nicer too! Now you know why we Scots wear a poppy without a leaf!

With or without, Just buy one please. Lest we forget!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Ian Hoskins RIP

Ian sadly passed away suddenly on the 11 of October, his funeral was on Sat 26 October, Trev and Clive attended. I would like to offer Pam and family condolences on behalf of all his comrades in 410 Plant Troop RE.
  RIP Ian a good mate truly missed

Dinger for 410

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

One More Found Comrade

New Comrade

We have Denis (Paddy/Bulker) O'Rahilly to add to our living comrades now, contact me for his contact details.


Sunday, 1 September 2013


'I asked around', the old man said, 'but no one knows his face,
He's been on that wall twenty years... deserves a better place.
For some-one must have loved him, so it seems a shame somehow.'
I nodded in agreement and then said, 'I'll take him now.'

My nameless digger's photo, well it was a sorry sight
A cracked glass pane and a broken frame - I had to make it right
To prise the photo from its frame I took care just in case,
Cause only sticky paper held the cardboard back in place.

I peeled away the faded screed and much to my surprise,
Two letters and a telegram appeared before my eyes
The first reveals my Anzac's name, and regiment of course
John Mathew Francis Stuart - of Australia's own Light Horse.

This letter written from the front... my interest now was keen
This note was dated August seventh 1917
'Dear Mum, I'm at Khalasa Springs not far from the Red Sea
They say it's in the Bible - looks like a Billabong to me.

'My Kathy wrote I'm in her prayers... she's still my bride to be
I just can't wait to see you both, you're all the world to me.
And Mum you'll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out
I told him to call on you when he's up and about.'

'That bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny
He lobbed a Turkish hand grenade into the CO's dunny.
I told you how he dragged me wounded, in from no man's land
He stopped the bleeding, closed the wound, with only his bare hand.'

'Then he copped it at the front from some stray shrapnel blast
It was my turn to drag him in and I thought he wouldn't last.
He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind
Cause out there on the battlefield he'd left one leg behind.'

'He's been in a bad way Mum, he knows he'll ride no more
Like me he loves a horse's back, he was a champ before.
So Please Mum can you take him in, he's been like my own brother
Raised in a Queensland orphanage he' s never known a mother.'

But Struth, I miss Australia Mum, and in my mind each day
I am a mountain cattleman on high plains far away.
I'm mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel's hump in sight
And I waltz my Matilda by a campfire every night

I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down
I'll always love you and please say hooroo to all in town'.
The second letter I could see, was in a lady's hand
An answer to her soldier son there in a foreign land.

Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean
It bore the date, November 3rd 1917.
'T'was hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war
I'd hoped you would be home by now - each day I miss you more'

'Your Kathy calls around a lot since you have been away
To share with me her hopes and dreams about your wedding day.
And Bluey has arrived - and what a godsend he has been
We talked and laughed for days about the things you've done and seen'

'He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm,
I read the same hope in his eyes that you won't come to harm.
McConnell's kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed.
We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange.'

'Last Wednesday, just on midnight, not a single cloud in sight,
It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright.
It really spooked your Billy - and he screamed and bucked and reared
And then he rushed the sliprail fence, which by a foot he cleared'

'They brought him back next afternoon, but something's changed I fear
It's like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near.
Remember when you caught him with his black and flowing mane?
Now Horse breakers fear the beast that only you can tame,'

'That's why we need you home son' - then the flow of ink went dry-
This letter was unfinished, and I couldn't work out why.
Until I started reading, the letter number three
A yellow telegram delivered news of tragedy,

Her son killed in action - oh - what pain that must have been
The same date as her letter - 3rd November 17
This letter which was never sent, became then one of three
She sealed behind the photo's face - the face she longed to see.

And John's home town's old timers - children when he went to war
Would say no greater cattleman had left the town before.
They knew his widowed mother well - and with respect did tell
How when she lost her only boy she lost her mind as well.

She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak
'My Johnny's at the war you know, he's coming home next week.'
They all remembered Bluey he stayed on to the end.
A younger man with wooden leg became her closest friend.

And he would go and find her when she wandered old and weak
And always softly say 'yes dear - John will be home next week.'
Then when she died Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say.
I tried to find out where he went, but don't know to this day.

And Kathy never wed - a lonely spinster some found odd.
She wouldn't set foot in a church - she'd turned her back on God.
John's mother left no Will I learned on my detective trail.
This explains my photo's journey, of that clearance sale.

So I continued digging, cause I wanted to know more.
I found John's name with thousands, in the records of the war.
His last ride proved his courage - a ride you will acclaim
The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba of everlasting fame.

That last day in October, back in 1917
At 4pm our brave boys fell - that sad fact I did glean.
That's when John's life was sacrificed, the record's crystal clear
But 4pm in Beersheba is midnight over here......

So as John's gallant sprit rose to cross the great divide,
Were lightning bolts back home, a signal from the other side?
Is that why Billy bolted and went racing as in pain?
Because he'd never feel his master on his back again?

Was it coincidental? same time - same day - same date?
Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?
I think it's more than that you know, as I've heard wiser men,
Acknowledge there are many things that go beyond our ken

Where craggy peaks guard secrets 'neath dark skies torn asunder,
Where hoof-beats are companions to the rolling waves of thunder
Where lightning cracks like 303's and ricochets again
Where howling moaning gusts of wind sound just like dying men

Some Mountain cattlemen have sworn on lonely alpine track,
They've glimpsed a huge black stallion - Light Horseman on his back.
Yes Sceptics say, it's swirling clouds just forming apparitions
Oh no, my friend you can't dismiss all this as superstition.

The desert of Beersheba - or windswept Aussie range,
John Stuart rides on forever there - Now I don't find that all strange.
Now some gaze upon this photo, and they often question me
And I tell them a small white lie, and say he's family.

'You must be proud of him.' they say - I tell them, one and all,
That's why he takes - the pride of place - my Anzac on the Wall.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Reunion 2013 Norbreck Castle Hotel Blackpool



Sunday, 28 April 2013

2013 Reunion Norbreck Castle Hotel Blackpool 28-30 June

Booking list Confirmed

John Toase and Lynne
Dave Cowel and Charmene
Jim Randle and Diana
Bill Kent and Cecilia
Jim Loach and Mary
Norman Ford and Elaine
Mick Ramsay and Joan
Trev Green and Pat
Dave West
James Macauley and Anne
Clive Wooding and Mary
Olly Olliet
John Bell and Margaret
Ian Hoskins and Pam
Keith Orrell and Karen
Brian Stevens and Diane

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My Finished Jeep at ww2 military show

Monday, 11 March 2013

Veteran vs Civvie

When a Veteran leaves the 'job' and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased, and others, who may have already retired, wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know.

1. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times.

2. We know in the Military life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet.

3. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the Military world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing.

Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the 'job' and merely being allowed to leave 'active' duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

NOW... Civilian Friends vs. Veteran Friends Comparisons:

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you met at the bar of the Beaufort Hotel.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have cried with you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will stand by you no matter what the crowd does.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are for life.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences...
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, 'You better drink the rest of that before you spill it!' Then carry you home safely and put you to bed...

A veteran - whether active duty, retired, served one hitch, or reserve is someone who, at one point in their life, raised their right hand and swore a personal oath to Her Majesty, pledging their loyalty to the Crown, her heirs and successors, not to a politician, a vague area of ground or a rag on a stick.

From one Veteran to another, it's an honour to be in your company. Thank you for your service to our country and defending the freedoms we enjoy

Dingers Jeep

Jeep Trial run  <Click this link to watch on you tube

Friday, 1 March 2013

2013 Reunion

Reunion 28-30 June 2013

Below is our booking for our reunion this year, the copy is not very clear so I will spell out the relevant points.
Reunion Weekend Friday 28th June - Sunday 30th June 2013.
Rooms allocated 10 doubles 10 twins and 5 singles are being held any rooms unsold 2 months prior to the event will be released.
Rates £96.00 per person Dinner Bed & Breakfast 2 night package or £114 per person 3 night DBB package.
Package includes 2013 Armed Forces Celebration Dinner.
Rooms to be booked individually with Norbreck Castle Hotel on 01253 352341 quoting '410 Ind Plant Trp Royal Engineers' to receive the contracted rates.
A £35 non refundable deposit covering the first night stay will be requested for each person booking.
You must book before 26 April to ensure your room and in particular the Gala dinner as there is a waiting list for the Dinner.
My telephone number is 01253 356872. would you let me know when you have booked

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Veterens Discounts

This Discount scheme is well worth looking at.

Forces discounts

People serving in the Armed Forces, veterans and their families can get discounts for many goods and services.
You can find out more about the discounts available at www.rewardsforforces.co.uk  click the link.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

410 pin Badge

If anyone is interested in purchasing a lapel badge with the unit insignia the Kris dagger on scarlet background and edged with 410 Ind Plt Trp RE let me know, the cost will be around £6.50.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Re: Bulling boots.  Thank god for our Boot Boys!!!!

1. Cover entire surface of new boots with Kiwi Parade Gloss (and to all the old sweats, mine have NEVER gone blue when it rains!)

2. Heat the smooth rounded end of a spoon to red hot and use it to "iron" down any stipples and lumps. Move quickly and ensure there's plenty of polish between the spoon and the leather or you'll ruin the boots. This action also pushes the polish into the leather to keep them watertight. Get it just right and you'll have black socks forever!

3. Apply a generous coat of polish with a "putting-on" brush and keep brushing until you get a dull shine.

4. Use your "taking off" brush (the softer one) until you get a civvie shine.

5. Wrap a yellow duster around a finger (just one thickness of duster) and dip it into warm polish (a new tin - not the one you used for brushing). Make circular motions in the polish until it has warmed up further and soaked into the duster. You will end up with a black finger, but that's part of the game.

6. Transfer the polish onto one boot using circular motions until the entire boot is covered.

7. Do the same with the other boot. From here on, whatever you do to one boot, you do to the other to the same degree before going on to the next instruction or repeating an action. If you don't, you'll end up with odd boots!

8. Spit on a small area of the polished boot and, without moving your finger from it's position in the duster, polish the boot with wide circular motions. The spit reacts with the polish to bond the layers together. (Old sweats - wait until I've finished before you criticise). Keep spitting on different parts of the boot until all areas have been covered. Work quickly during the spit phase.

9. Repeat from 6 to 8 many times until a lustre starts to develop.

10. Now move your finger to a different part of the duster, pick up a small amount of polish and work it over as large an area as possible, the aim being to apply a very thin coat. Keep doing this until the whole boot is covered.

11. Using very cold water, buff the polish using light circular movements. Keep buffing until the polish starts to shine. On a hot day, do this bit with the boot in a fridge or freezer or you'll be there all day. Otherwise do it under cold running water, but then you'll have a sink to clean and polish isn't easy to remove from porcelain!

12. Repeat 10 and 11 until you're quite impressed with the shine that develops.

13. Repeat 10 but with a linen handkerchief, making sure that there are no creases in the cloth under your finger.

14. Repeat 11 but with a linen handkerchief and NO water. Be very gentle.

15. Get the wife's best newest tights, or the girlfriend's stockings or your best mate's wife's tights and twist them into a tight ball, finishing with a smooth layer, no wrinkles. Very, very gently, use circular movements to finish the boots to a high gloss.

16. Try to get polish off finger. Vim, swarfega and fairy liquid help but there's no substitute for a new white towel.

It seems like a lot of effort (and it is) but you can trog across the moors, soak them, scrape them to buggery and once they're dry, they will polish back up within a few minutes. (Okay - it may take up to half an hour).

On the other hand, for a quick bodge you can pile tons of polish on the boots, pour petrol lighter fluid on them and ignite. Extinguish quickly by blowing, allow to cool, then do action 15. Walk very stiffly to parade as the polish will crack easily.