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Undercover Blogger

The next big 'Hurricane' of the winter is on us this morning. There may be a record number of ships in the bay in front of me. I'll have to venture out to see if in fact more than seventeen vessels have squeezed past the Margate Sands! (20 in fact)

I have removed this weblog from general sight for a while. The attention that forced me to close my local weblog has also followed me here and its best I think, to remove the fuel from the flames until those involved find another subject to chew on. At the same time, As readers will see, this weblog/online diary, existed quite happily until I chose to become involved in local politics and elected as a ward councillor but now its perceived as something other than it is; so best keep it out of view and allow a small group of fascinated individuals to move on.

Yesterday was, I hope, the last of my commercial pilot exams at Gatwick. As one other candidate commented at the end: "That was nasty, really nasty" and we all agreed. Navigation, trigonometry and maths is the subject that most people fear most, with good reason and yesterday, predictably, was full of surprises, mainly that the questons one expected weren't there and the one's that replaced them were, well, really nasty!

Whether I will get this weekend's flying job done is another question with the bad weather ahead. BALPA, thepilot's union, have booked us on Saturday to support their BA Pilot's strike march at Heathrow but the forecast is far from good.!

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A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

Merlins over Thanet

Marooned, temporarily at Manston this afternoon are the Merlins over Malta team on the way to the Mediterranean for a display to mark the historic Second World War defence of the island.


Charlie Brown

Unfortunately, the weather over Thanet is appalling this afternoon and the Spitfire and Hurricane can’t get airborne again until it clears, so the celebrity Battle of Britain aircraft pilots, Charlie Brown, Clive Denny and their team-mates are contemplating an evening among the fleshpots of Margate.


Clive Denny (Hurricane) & Charlie Brown (Spitfire) Pilots

I’m rather hoping the weather it will clear through though as they have to get to Jersey before dusk if possible and I have to take some photos of the Spitfire and Hurricane for Pilot Magazine and I’ve always wanted a chance to get in either aircraft!

An Interview with Charlie Brown

They just got off, squadron scramble or what? They were ready and gone in ten minutes towards the nearest patch of blue sky!

An interview with the legendary S…
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!