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“We learnt how to load and fire a weapon. We were training to be soldiers and we would do exercises – crawling under barbed wire – things like that. They taught us all about war,” says Lovant. He was just a teenager when he and another boy, Sabbah, were captured by so-called Islamic State and trained to kill. The boys tell the story of how they spent over a year in a IS military training camp in a mountainous region of Syria – training as “cubs of the caliphate”.
“If he goes on the sand he is convinced there are bodies under the sand,” says Toni. “It’s too much for him.” With a rueful smile, she adds: “Seychelles — never going to happen.” Her husband Keith served 14 years in the army and suffered from post-traumatic stress after his experiences on the battlefield. Toni describes how she was finally able to help Keith find effective treatment after he twice smashed up their home with an axe.
“I went to India as a sceptic. I’d never been there before. I did some research, saw that they’ve got arranged marriages, they’ve got snakes, they’ve got mosquitoes and I thought, ‘What the hell do I want to go to India for?'” says Sheila Ferguson, a performer famous for singing in The Three Degrees. She’s one of eight famous people who went to Kerala to film the TV programme The Real Marigold Hotel – the experience changed her life.
And the quiz question of the week is: