Serendipity and the scents of war

Lavender on rocky hillsideI wrote the other day about scent, as one of my favourite words (serendipity’s another). Scent isn’t a word you’d normally associate with the war in Afghanistan. But it cropped up in a Radio Scotland programme, Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War in Their Own Words, recounting life in the Afghan war zones. The account takes the form of diary entries, e-mails home and transcripts in the words of the soldiers themselves. Here is one such excerpt:

I was conscious by now of the overtime your senses do in the aftermath of a drop as you try to gain a foothold on your situation but this was strange… a lovely smell. What could it be? The opposite of sheep dung. […] It was lavender…growing in the gullies in a horseshoe of a mountain… its scent had been blown in by the hot air from the jets and downdrafts from the rotors. And here we were, taking firing positions amongst it.

The book “Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War In Their Own Words” will be published in autumn 2010. I couldn’t find details of the publisher, but will post them when available.

Photo courtesy of Lin Padgham

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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