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24

A few years ago, the then commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, "Sir John Stephens" told me he'd make me an honorary detective sergeant in "The Met". "Will I get pension rights too" I asked. "Unfortunately not" was his reply.

I read today that 20% of all council tax bills are now going to pay public sector salaries and this will steadily increase to crisis point past 2010. It makes me think that rather than having had a mispent youth, which involved an education that uncannily paralleled scenes from National Lampoon's movie "Animal House", I should have joined the police, like the four other working pilots I know, who retired and now have the benefit of a police pension as well as their second careers.

Mind you, I shouldn't complain. Today I received a nice professional reference from the FBI, ironically, from the agent who shares the same name as the special agent hero of the series "24". He really does exist after all!

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Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!
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