Almanac Life: Comfort is relative


Listening to the rain falling on the roof this evening I am taken back.

Way back.


October 94.

Tromping through the bush on an Army promotion course.

My assessment was done a few days earlier, ‘A’ gets you to the front of most lines.

I have drawn radio duty today.

Unit on the back, handset at the ready, I trail the section commander-for-a-day.

“Zero Alpha this is One Alpha.  Radio check.  Over.”

The rain sets in mid-late afternoon.

No wind.

Straight down.

The sky, the bush, it’s all grey.

Thunder and lightning in the distance.

Not a good day to be lugging a radio.


Back to the section area on dusk.

The rain’s not going anywhere.

No gun picquet tonight.

Even the DS don’t want to be out in this.

“Get your heads down tonight and be ready again at ‘stand to’.”


Radio is set aside, drop into the chest-deep rifle pit.

A surprisingly efficient removal of wet kit takes place.

Dry socks are donned once inside the sleeping foxhole.

Dug perpendicular to the two-man rifle pit, room for a sleeping bag and dry, or drying kit.

Need this kit again tomorrow.

The lip at the entrance keeps the rainwater at bay.


Here I am.

Warm. Dry.

Snug in my bag.

Tired.  Physically and mentally.




Yet, relieved.

Tomorrow is hours away.

I really don’t give a stuff what it brings.


For right now, I am comfortable.

I lay and watch the rain falling into the pit.

Just a foot from my head.

It is right in my face, but I am safe.

I lay watching it for five, ten, fifteen minutes.

Maybe more?

I am right here.

I am watching rain land in a muddy hole.


I drift off to sleep.


All these years later, it is raining again.

These days I have a nice house, in a nice suburb.

A roof to keep the rain off and a warm bed.

Ducted heating.

Hot shower.

Family.  Cats.  Love.

Big TV and more channels than I could possibly watch.

“There’s nothing much on.”

Sport.  Movies.

Music.  So much music.  Where to start?

Cupboards full of clean clothes.

Boots.  Shoes.  Sneakers.

So much of everything, so readily available.

I am comfortable.


But in all these years, I have never felt that same comfort, that right in the moment comfort.

That comfort when you have all that you need to get through the night and tomorrow can sort itself out.

That comfort I felt that night in a hole in the middle of the wet Victorian bush.





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Dour opener and close-checking fullback. Peaked early.


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Beautiful, thoughtful piece Greg.

    As much as I love being able to access the majority of albums ever made on Spotify, there’s much to be said about those simpler times when things had to be sought out, discovered, not always easily attainable.

  2. True. Honest. Poignant. Thanks Greg.
    June is when the nights get too cold and wet for the addicted and mentally ill sleeping rough. They come to the shelter and you explain that a room will cost them a quarter of their pension – their drinking, drugging or punting money. They reluctantly hand it over. They stay 2 weeks. We all find comfort in different things.

  3. Thanks for sharing Peter. That’s it, comfort is relative to the situation we find ourselves in.

    Cheers Luke. I agree. You can get more from something that you have to seek out and/or work for. The album/cassette that you bought with your saved money on a trip to the city sounded better than that same album listened to today on a streaming platform.

  4. Just lovely. Thanks, Greg.

  5. Cheers Smokie.

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