When you ask an Army officer, even a Reservist like me, what the word ‘Glasgow’ means to them, they will not talk about the greatest city in the world, where all are welcomed by the friendliest people, where humanity abuts hardship but humour abounds.

Instead, they will think one thing and one thing alone – their careers. The Army’s HR operation exists here and it is as a result of its machinations that men and women in their thousands move on – or, in some cases, don’t.

The email took me by surprise. It informed me it was my turn to go before the Glasgow board again and bid for another job. When I got it, I quickly did my calculations. The realisation hit me like a rifle butt between the shoulder blades. Each Army job lasts three years, and my next posting, if I get one at all in a shrinking Army, will take me to 60, when my career will end.

And so I dug out my application from three years ago and dusted it down. But so much has changed, primarily in relation to the pandemic, that it was barely relevant. I re-wrote my CV, noting that my Iraq and Afghanistan experience was nearly two decades ago, and started the novel process of expectation management. If this is going to be my last job, I better make sure it’s a good one.

One minute you are young and full of it, then all too soon you are an old sweat, pulling up sandbags and swinging lanterns. The CV has been sent to Glasgow and now it’s time for me to do what the military does all too well – hurry up and wait.