The heat is imposing and the dust in Bastion kicks up with the wind.

It's still only about 10am and the afternoon will only get worse. Everything's incredibly dry here. There's nothing green and growing here. The only leaves are in camouflage netting and the salad bar in the cookhouse.

The only wildlife is ants and flies, meaning no natural ambient noise can be heard. The camp rumbles night and day with electricity generators and helicopters sound overhead.

We visit the helicopter crews today and see which models are used for which purposes. I'm told the Apache has something like 200 different functions performed by its vast array of buttons.

We meet a MERT (Medical Emergency Response Team) crew in one of the Chinooks, who are called away to pick up a casualty, which says it all.

The helicopter sounds are no longer just a feature of the camp. They're moving troops in and out of the ground, providing support to troops in trouble, and sometimes rushing to the aid of an injured soldier.

The injured are taken to the field hospital within Camp Bastion, which is currently run mainly by the 34 Field Hospital from Strensall.

They treat Afghan nationals and even insurgents in the same way they treat the coalition forces. Patients requiring life, limb or eyesight saving treatment take priority, no matter who they are.

These things are powerful reminders of the conflict happening outside, because Camp Bastion itself feels relatively safe. We walk around without body armour or helmets and some parts even have a homely feel.

Afghan nationals have been allowed to set up shops opposite the NAAFI, selling scarves, ornaments, jewellery and DVDs.

The cookhouse serves up cooked meals, prawn-mayo wraps and chocolate brownies, and a cafe next door to the NAAFI sells refreshing frozen orange juice and troops can play pool and watch television.

The troops are resourceful and have made furniture including arm chairs and sun loungers from the wire mesh that is used for blast barriers in the camp. They call it Hesco furniture, referring to the manufacturer of the blast walls, Leeds-based company Hesco Bastion.

The blast barriers are everywhere throughout the camp so that if it is subject to a missile attack, the effects are confined as much as possible.

At night, sitting on a Hesco sofa and playing Monopoly, it's possible to hear the prayer calls from the mosque in Camp Shorabak, the Afghan National Army's (ANA) base adjacent to Bastion.

The troops speak fondly of the ANA's style, which they call "jingly". They have been known to decorate their rifles with wrapping paper as well as the locals "jingle trucks" which are tirelessly decorated according to the Pashtun culture, which is also prevalent in Pakistan.

The locals and the forces live together in a wary harmony. The camp provides employment for local nationals, in cleaning and driving roles, as well as the shops.

The cleaners are supervised by a team leader because it's difficult to screen the people applying for work as most can't read or write. We do see, however, a group giggling over an issue of Zoo magazine. Features editor Richard Innes was embedded the week before we arrived and copies are left around the media tent.