RICHARD ORD: Is it time to become a soldier of misfortune?

One-man fighting machine?
One-man fighting machine?

WANTED: One-man fighting machine to battle international terror organisation, no military experience necessary, preferably good with children.

Hats off (and helmets on) to grandad Jim Atherton who, it is reported this week, sold off his possessions to raise £18,000 so he could go out to Iraq and fight Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

The 53-year-old from Washington is now part of a militia group protecting villagers from IS jihadists.

Reading his incredible story, got me thinking. I really must get myself a hobby.

Here’s a guy who was born in the same decade as me who has the gumption to sell up and is currently armed to the teeth with an arsenal of weapons including a machine gun, shotgun and grenades, patrolling villages under rocket attack from terrorists.

I can’t even rustle up the enthusiasm to play five-a-side on a Sunday.

According to reports, Mr Atherton has no military experience. His neighbours expressed great surprise on hearing the news.

One said: “He obviously needed to get away.”

Well, we’ve all felt that need to get away. But we went to Cornwall.

While not in the same league as the Middle East, there are some common traits. Dictators feature.

In much the same way as 20 years ago you couldn’t get about Iraq without stumbling on Saddam Hussein statues, so today Cornwall has celebrity chef Rick Stein staring from every street corner.

He must own half of Cornwall. Pubs, restaurants, cafes, he even had his own souvenir shop.

Our youngest, Isaac, 11, was sick of Rick Stein popping up everywhere.

And as such, we couldn’t resist winding him up about it. In quiz form.

“Isaac, what’s Cornwall’s favourite horror movie?

“Don’t know.



And so it continued.

Cornwall’s favourite piano? The STEINway

Cornwall’s favourite holiday destination? LichtenSTEIN.

Cornwall’s favourite scientist? Albert EinSTEIN.

And Cornwall’s favourite mode of transport? C’mon you know it. *Answer at the foot of the page.

And just as the Middle East has huge swathes of land worth a fortune (oil), so does Cornwall. They’re called parking spaces.

Cornwall must be the double yellow line capital of England. Anyone with a field was making a fortune charging people to park in it.

But I digress. Back to the war on terror.

To think, we sent our troops out to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, the latter on a false fear that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, yet with Islamic State the only ground troops are grandad from Washington!

IS must be quaking in their boots.

*Answer: The RICKshaw (there are only so many Stein puns).