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Buy Now - Pay Later

I ventured out into the gale and the near-zero temperatures for a run along the coast this morning. What three kayakers were doing in the bay was anyone's guess; members of the Special Boat Service practising perhaps? I didn't last long as the appearance of sleet drove me back inside but from the direction of Margate, I could still hear the muffled roar from the 'Big Sky' beach races taking place on the sands. I'm not convinced that the end of November is such a great date to put on a public spectacle of this kind but I take my hat off to everyone involved in such a spectacular battle against the forces of nature.



Summer is now a long way off and there's not much flying to be had either. The embedded video is from another weekend, Radio One's 'Big Weekend' last May, where the weather was warmer and kinder and I had two aircraft sitting over Maidstone. You can see from the video two banners laid out between two sets of poles as one aircraft after the other dropped down to collect them. You can also see how uncomfortably close those same poles are from a pilot's view as I fly between them. Roll-on summerI say but we've Christmas to get out of the way first and the promise, tomorrow, of dramatic tax cuts to get us all out there spending money in the sales; making our own small contribution to re-starting the economy.

What I can't quite grasp is why, if I'm suddenly given a little extra money to spend at the end of the month by the generous Mr Darling, I should go out and spend it, rather than putting it away to anticipate the harsher days ahead?

I know the economy needs a sudden jump-start, rather like a cardiac patient going into arrest but all the well-placed people I speak to in finance are expecting to see another half a million or so unemployed by the end of next year with a recession to match. So while stimulating the economy with tax cuts, is this really the right time for us all to spend the largesse on a new wide screen television for Christmas or simply save it against the worst to come?

It's really a 'Catch-22' problem for any Government of any colour, "Damned if you do and damned if you don't", so best call me Ebenezer Scrooge I suppose!

Catch 22” — the twenty-second of the guidelines used by military surgeons to “catch” those falsely claiming to be insane — is that an insane person should not believe or suspect that they are insane. Thus, to be recognised as insane, a person must not ask for an evaluation, because doing so implicitly shows that they suspect themselves to be insane. But, if a person does not ask for an evaluation, they cannot be recognised as insane because the evaluation is the method by which such recognition would occur. Thus, nobody can ever classify themselves as insane (even if they genuinely are), and thus nobody may ever use an insanity diagnosis to escape flying combat missions.

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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…

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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

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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!