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Little corner of Southwold in Afghanistan war zone

PUBLISHED: 09:32 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:56 06 July 2010

FOREVER SOUTHWOLD: A concrete blast wall in Afghanistan.

FOREVER SOUTHWOLD: A concrete blast wall in Afghanistan.

A PART of Afghanistan is forever Southwold... at least until it rains!

It's said that there is a corner of a foreign field that is forever England, but now there is a blast wall at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan that will be forever Southwold until the rain washes it away.

A PART of Afghanistan is forever Southwold... at least until it rains!

It's said that there is a corner of a foreign field that is forever England, but now there is a blast wall at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan that will be forever Southwold until the rain washes it away.

The “trompe d'oeil” mural, which clearly shows the Adnams brewery chimney, the beach huts and lighthouse, was created by RAF dentist Wing Cmdr Simon Gowing, whose surgery window at Kandahar previously looked out over a grey and featureless blast wall.

A keen amateur artist, Simon drew the scene from memory, and recalls how it started.

“Kandahar airfield is incredibly dusty, and I started out just pencilling the outline of Southwold and cleaning away the thick dust on the blast wall to create a representation of clouds.

“Then I had the idea of using toothpaste to create the highlights, but it was when someone received some coloured chalks in a welfare package from home that we could add some colour to our view.”

The scene is geographically correct, in that when the sun rises over the blast wall, the shadows painted on the mural appear to fall the correct way.

Simon had no hesitation in choosing Southwold as the view from his surgery window: “Southwold is somewhere from home that I know and love.

“As a family, we've holidayed in Southwold for the last 10 years, and it's become a significant part of our lives, with myself and my children all involved in making sketches and watercolours of the fabulous local scenery.”

At time of writing, Simon is coming to the end of a three-month tour of duty in Kandahar, so he looks forward to seeing the real Southwold again in the near future.

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