It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I never really wanted to leave the farm, but they convinced me. You’ll see the world, they said. You’ll explore exotic lands, and have exciting adventures. You’ll fight for the Cross, and you’re guaranteed Heaven. Oh, and we get let off the new tax.

So I went. I knew there was no way out, and part of me was intrigued. What were foreign parts going to be like, and what about all the exotic girls? I knew some of the other lads who joined, and I guess I was proud, and a little excited.

But how they lied. Or did they genuinely not know? Not know we’d spend months living in a tent, eating rubbish? Not know we’d spend months locked inside the bowels of a ship, being thrown every which way? Talking of bowels, nothing stayed down. I been sick more than I can count. More than I can remember.

And foreign ports. Yes, there are girls to be had if you have a silver penny. But to be honest, Daisy from the village is prettier. And cheaper. And younger. I learnt one thing, wherever you are, there are girls if you have a silver penny. To be honest, if some old trooper had come to the farm and told me that, I’d have believed him. Without all this dreadful travelling.

And yes, there are different foods to be had. Again, if you have a silver penny. Most of them taste weird. And don’t get me started on wine. The knights are welcome to it.

Talking of knights, ain’t they grand. Nothing like marching in their horses’ dust and shit for weeks. The only things that could make that better were the sun and the sand. How I hate the Holy Land. Them Muslims are welcome to it. It’s nasty hot, the sand gets everywhere, and there’s never enough water.

As for fighting, yeah we did a bit. Mostly it’s buggers on horses firing arrows and then riding off. And then our buggers on horses ride off as well. Mostly what I do is march, and keep my shield up, yes sergeant, I remember.

And then there was Acre. Never forget that. Saladin won’t pay, so kill all the prisoners. Even the women. Even the nippers.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

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