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Blog: What to do if someone shoots at you
THE trip has been such a whirlwind of travel and experiences.
You just have to let yourself get swept up and try not to think about it.
On the final day I completed several interviews, took part in a two hour foot patrol in the little village of Pain-Kalay with 2 Para, visited an Afghan police base, shared tea with an elder and jumped on a helicopter.
Any other time in my life that would be remarkable but in Afghanistan it was normal and all done before lunch.
Before my final patrol I was briefed on the rules including what to do if someone shoots at us and what to do if they hit. The same for an IED.
My heart was beating like a teenager before their First date. You know you are in a very different world when people chat so calmly about what you do if someone is blown up, and it's a real possibility.
During training back in Nottingham many months earlier we received similar advice.
But neither briefing could rival my cunning plan of turning, screaming and fleeing.
Luckily it never came to that and to be honest I was probably more likely to follow my armed escort Bob and copy everything he did.
This patrol was different to the previous ones. The others were about showing a visible presence, reassuring villagers and monitoring the area but this time there was a different goal.
We went to visit the local police commander to ask him to hold meetings with the elders to discuss and choose projects for us to fund.
Then we visited the elders to ask them to attend. The ones we saw were all very keen to have a well for two reasons.
Firstly for clean drinking water and secondly because it is important part of the Islamic religion to wash before praying in a mosque.
To be able to provide that water would be seen as a great sign of respect for the villagers' religious beliefs and would be something that could cement the goodwill between our forces and the community.
This goodwill doesn't just help the villagers. It means the community is far more likely to reject any Taleban advances, it means young men are less likely to sign up - for what is called the ten bob Taleban where they are paid to fight, and it helps the village survive and prosper.
After such a hectic morning the afternoon was as mind-numbingly dull as daytime TV.
Checking in baggage ten-and-a-half hours before a flight was a bit over the top.
After getting daily helicopter flights at a moments notice it was a bit of a contrast.
I said goodbye to Bob with a manly hand shake - when really I should have given him a cuddle for keeping me safe all week.
The best thing about him was that he was just as keen as me to get as many articles and do as much as possible.
He told me the week had gone quicker than any other during his time in Afghanistan, not something I am used to hearing from people who have spent a week in my company.
Then came second check-in, because one is never enough, and a four hour wait for the plane.
Taking off in a blacked out plane wearing body armour I thought this must be the end of the surreal experiences - but I was wrong.
In this section
- Blog: I was honoured to write about our troops' courage
- Blog: Our brave boys have to fly a shabby piece of tin that barely works
- Blog: 2 Para's mental toughness is staggering
- Blog: I have girly hands, according to an Afghan elder
- Blog: Viva Lash Vegas
- Blog: Even the soldiers are smiling
- Blog: From a Stanway wood to an Afghan war zone
- Blog: I'm a fan of warm weather...unless it means it's fighting season
- Blog: A masterclass in 40 winks
- Our Man in Afghanistan blog: From Stanway's woods to an Afghan war zone