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Interlude

I just realised that I haven't written an entry for ages!

It's been a busy few weeks but isn't always so?

I've been chairing the PCI (Payment Card Industry) Europe event in Brussels and the e-Evidence conference in London. Somewhere in between I also had to sit two of the six exams I have to take for my commercial pilot's instrument rating at Gatwick.

Fortunately all of these passed without a hitch other than almost two weeks of an appalling cold caught somewhere in-between.

Today, I'm supposed to be doing night circuits at Manston and photographing Heather Mills' swimming pool for the newspapers. However, with the clouds down at around 600 feet, neither are going to take place and poor Heather will have to wait to see any aerial shots of her swimming pool in The Sun. Ironically, I was over the same house in Sussex a couple of year's ago - I think I made a Blog entry then - when the local authority asked for photographs of the extension to the barn I think. Either way, it continues to provoke a fuss where planning permissions are involved. Not my problem though, I just fly the aircraft!

Determined to lose a little weight before Xmas, I'm growing a beard. I've vowed not to shave before I hit my target weight and I've invested in a weight training set as well; now working out for a tortuous hour each day. I've realised that in the last couple of years I've let my disciplined exercise regime slip badly after a lifetime of reasonably high-end athletic competition and daft running challenges, like the Marathon Des Sables and plan to try and recover my fitness before it gets too late. Saturday, I've got my Second Dan grading coming-up with the great Sensei Fuji making an appearance. I'm not sure I'll make the right impression though and will probably chop my own thumb off.

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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!