After I had finished training to be a poultry farmer, it was time for me to report to barracks for compulsory military service. In those days it was possible for a conscript to buy himself out after serving for six months. This scheme, known as the fee-paying military service scheme, had the additional advantage that those who joined it could spend their nights at home. Moreover, if a recruit took all the necessary military training courses and studied hard during those six months, he was allowed to graduate with a star as a second lieutenant.
I decided to join the scheme and so avoid some of the most onerous chores of military life. I was drafted into the Seventh Regiment of Light Artillery which had its barracks near Barcelona’s harbour, in the Drassanes or old dockyard area. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a cavalry regiment so I had to learn to ride.
I was lucky not to have been called upon to quell any civil disturbances while doing my national service.
I ended my military service without any enthusiasm whatsoever for my companions or my mount.