Jonathan Bennett surfed his way through a midlife crisis. Finding himself ‘without a job, without a girlfriend and without a home’ he decided to go surfing.
The start and end point of our respective crises seem remarkably similar. I too found myself contemplating a failed relationship and a failing business while dossing down in an empty house. Jonathan’s answer was to buy a clapped out camper van and surf his way round Britain, sleeping by the sea and washing with a sponge and a pan of warm water. I chose instead to relocate to a landlocked country 3,500 miles away to fight the war on terror, also washing with a sponge and a pan of warm water. We have both written books chronicling our crises; Around the Coast in Eighty Waves and SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand.
And that’s not all we have in common. Jonathan says “surfing is about launching yourself into the unknown and hoping for the best,” which is not so very different from the British Army’s initial deployment into Helmand Province.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.