More thrills than skills – A half-life in journalism, part 42

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, edited extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More thrills than skills: A half-life in journalism’, is being scheduled for publication next year.

THE veteran war correspondent, Martha Gellhorn, is quoted once saying that a correspondent could only ever really fall in love with one war.

She was right. All journalists have their favourite war. Mine was Bosnia.

The Bosnian war had the dubious distinction of three separate warring parties: Serbs, Muslims and Croats.

The presence of so many warring parties in close proximity to each other produced a fund of bizarre stories.

If you couldn’t find a story with one side, you just crossed over to one of the other sides.

There was ‘Postman Pat’ who delivered the mail without fail every day in Vitez during the war. He’d be finished by late morning and would then go home for some restorative slivovich and a few beers.

This would, so to speak, fire him up and he would then dust off his personal mortar in the garden and start lobbing shells over onto his Muslim neighbours.

After they got around to opening the mail, presumably.