RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

Food Glorious Food…

I don’t like sausage rolls.

They just don’t, well, seem right do they? Well, not to me any way.

I had a bad experience with one once you see. No, I wasn’t attacked by a wild sausage roll in an alley one night. Nor was I teased by a gang of them outside a corner shop on evening. I just bit into one once and then looked at the pastry-based product in my hand and saw lumps of fat and non-specific gristle that couldn’t possibly be actual real meat…

So I resolved not to eat them in future. I mean – if you think about what goes into one – you wouldn’t be looking lustfully at one the next time you are in the queue at Greggs…

But it wasn’t always this way, indeed I have been known to enjoy munching on a nice sausage roll in the past – even a Greggs one – but mostly I have had them in some say as part of food provided by the service.

Indeed, back in the 90’s we’d be have nice pack-ups of food provided for us to eat whilst we spent all day locked inside a Hardened Aircraft Shelter pretending that we were fighting the Third World War. As part of that pack up they would put in a pie of some sort, maybe a Cornish pasty but mostly a sausage roll. These would be pre-made and packed in plastic, and quite often would come out frozen and they would slowly defrost over the day…but they would be designed to be eaten cold.

The HAS’s were equipped with a kettle, but no microwave or oven at all, so short of putting the sausage roll on a stick and putting it in the exhaust of the jet as it taxied out of the hanger then it would have to be eaten cold. 

The organisation of a HAS site was for there to be 12 individual hangers, each HAS to have one aircraft sheltering inside it – but it could fit a second if really needed. Each has would be have a curved roof that came straight out of the ground designed to protect the aircraft and people inside. Built onto the side was a squat Annexe which provided all the services for the occupants.

If the jet needed to go flying the doors would slide open, the jet would start up and taxi out and then make its way to the runway.  After a flight, the doors would open and the jet would be towed back inside.  A refuelling bowser would pull up and reverse into the Annexe and through a system of underground pipes the aircraft would be refuelled, if required it would be re-armed from a set of racks over on the wall where missiles and fuel-drop tanks would have been pre-positioned.  And if the aircraft was broken in some way, then ground electrical power would be applied to the aircraft by a “Hoochin” power set in the Annexe and the power cables fed through specially designed holes in the wall. The power-room of the HAS itself had a chemical toilet (that was hardly ever used – ’cos if you used it, the rule was you had to empty it at the end of the exercise!).

All this meant that the HAS could be a self-sufficient hide-away for up to 24 hours, depending upon how much the aircraft flew. If required there were even a couple of beds that could be built in the HAS management cabin! Luxury.

But as I said, it meant any food had to be either supplied hot as “Hot-Locks” (a bit like getting a delivery of Chinese food) direct to the HAS door, or else you would go in with the pack-up I talked about earlier – which was cold.

Until a particular genius noticed something.  The Hoochin was a basically a diesel engine generator that had an easy opening panel allowing access to the engine manifold block. Which got hot.

The genius came as he noticed this as he was eating a sausage roll…

So he stopped eating and went and got a bit of the blue-roll ‘kim-wipe’ we used as a general clean-up cloth. He folded over a couple of sheets and then placed his sausage roll down on it and left it…

The exhaust was not going to be an issue and was directed out of the Annexe so it sat there safely for 20-30 minutes as it gently heated itself up. He came back into the cabin munching away on a piping hot sausage roll. This idea spread like wildfire and soon it became common practise to heat up your pasties and such on the Hoochins.

As ever though, good things come to an end, and as a result of one particular incident we were ordered not to heat up our food using the Hoochins due to ‘health and safety’.

You see, one young lad, newly posted in was told about heating up his food in this way and decided, on his first exercise, to enjoy a nice warm sausage roll. Unfortunately he was a bit…special…indeed he was the very same individual who tried to make a hot drink out of a wet-wipe I wrote about in the past, and instead of putting the sausage roll on a bit of kim-wipe, he laid his pasty directly on the Hoochin manifold.

Well, not directly, for he left the sausage roll in its plastic wrapper…

…it was only a small fire, but by God it certainly made a LOT of smoke and mess…

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2 thoughts on “Food Glorious Food…

  1. some people never read the instructions!!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Food Glorious Food… « Rafairman's Blog -- Topsy.com

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