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probablynot

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About probablynot

  • Birthday 07/19/1936

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Pembrokeshire [Wales, UK]
  • Interests
    Remember, this is 'interests'. Not 'activities'. Some of them used to be activities, but the body deteriorates over time. And the mind? Well, it, er, changes.
    Kite-flying. Orienteering. Cross-stitching. DIY. Astronomy. Computers. Model ships (duh!). Philosophy. Morris dancing. Folk/country music. Cooking. Beer (or Real Ale, to be precise). Belly dancing (because my eldest daughter is amazingly good at it!). And a few other things ...

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  1. It's my birthday today. I thought I'd tell you this little story relating to an earlier birthday of mine. One of the things I've been doing since putting down my model ship building tools a couple of years ago, is to try and find sites online that mention my dad. He flew in Blenheims and Beaufighters during WW2. He was one of 'the few'. He was awarded the DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal), got invalided out in 1943, and came home when I was seven. He was always reticent about his time in the RAF, never spoke about it, and I wanted to know more. The story I'm telling you now actually had me in tears when I was researching some of the details a couple of months ago. A silly 'tweet' in Twitter had asked people to say which song was at number one on their 7th birthday. It aroused my curiosity. However, it turned out there was no British "Number one" in on 19th July 1943 (which was my 7th birthday). But I guessed there would have been one in the USA, so I looked it up. On my 7th birthday I was living in South Harrow, in the western suburbs of London, with my mum amd sister. My dad was away, with the RAF, and in the few weeks preceding my birthday he'd been based in North Africa with no. 89 Squadron, flying a Beaufighter as navigator/gunner. The squadron was doing night operations over the Mediterranean mainly in defence of Malta, Crete and Cyprus. Lots of action, apparently, and he was credited with an impressive list of shot-down Heinkels and Junkers. Coming back from one op, just before my 7th birthday, his plane crash-landed in the Libyan desert. I don't know whether the plane had been damaged in action, or simply suffered a malfunction, but it crasj=hed and my dad and his pilot both suffered nasty injuries. Dad was hospitalised for several months in Libya, but some time in 1944 he did come home, his face significantly 'bent', and walking with the aid of two wooden crutches. He'd shattered his nose and both his ankles. I still remember it was several years before he was well enough to walk without walking sticks. Dad died in 1983. So anyway, back to that 'tweet' about the 7th birthday song. Back then, Dad would have been in hospital, in a foreign land, being patched up, shortly after flying back to base after a scary night sortie, in a damaged plane, eventually to crash somewhere in the desert. And the song that was Number One on my 7th birthday? It was "Coming in on a wing and a prayer". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZo7TsFIQdw ------------------------------------- There's another element to this story. Twelve years after that, I joined the RAF myself. That was in 1954, when there was still two years compulsory "national service" to be done. But I had opted to sign up for three years instead (mainly because a national serviceman only got 4 shillings a day (20p, or about a quarter for you US guys) while a 'regular' got 7 shillings (35p)! After about a year stationed at Abingdon, just south of Oxford, I volunteered for 'overseas service', and was given a posting to Malta, which sounded fantastic, and I was flown out there a couple of days after Christmas 1955. When I arrived at Malta, it turned out that I was due to fly out again next day, on to my actual posting which was a small airfield in the hot, dry desert south of Tripoli, called RAF Idris. I remained there for about 20 months until August 1957. My online researches earlier this year told me exactly where No 89 squadron - dad's squadron - had been based from March 1943 onwards. It was a small airfield, at a village called Castel Benito, in the desert just twenty miles south of Tripoli. In 1951, that airfield was renamed RAF Idris. -------------------------------------------------------------- Looking back, and knowing what we now know about PTSD, I can understand to some extent why Dad never spoke about his RAF service. It must all have been a very, very traumatic time for him. So even when he knew I was serving at the very base where he himself had been flying so many dangerous night operations from, he never said a word about it to me. I had no idea I was treading the same pathways, maybe even sleeping in the same accommodation block. I wish I had known all that when I was serving there. The whole experience would have meant so much more to me. (The pictures are of Dad in 1939 (he's the 2nd one from the left) and 1957)
  2. September in the Rain. Dinah Washington version.
  3. I’d have asked the audience.
  4. Sorry, Dave, but I’m inclined to feel the same about the divorce lawyer doorplate!
  5. Up, up and away ... (in my unpowered aerostat)
  6. We’re all going to be half-vaccined here in the UK. Maybe get the other half twelve, or fifty, weeks later. Meanwhile ‘it’ mutates and the vaccine has to be ‘tweaked’ and takes another 3 months for a safe version to be rolled out. Is the vaccine really the answer? Or is covid-19 what our planet is using to balance out the effect of humanity and make itself inhabitable again?
  7. Amazed, and glad, that Darla is still there and interested. Good for you, Darla! Keep at it - you’re doing incredibly well. Don’t give up. Follow through, and love what you’re doing. You’ll remember it, in the future when other challenges arise. You ARE the future. Follow through to the finish of the Polotz Schooner, take it with you into the future.
  8. I use my childhood phone number as my password!
  9. I think Sam Peckinpah might have had a hand in 2020 too.
  10. And there was me thinking Grannie Weatherwax was the original ...
  11. I just youtubed Alice’s Restaurant. Good, yeah, but I can understand why radio stations might have got bored with it after two minutes ...
  12. Yep, enjoyed that. Thanks for posting it. But have to admit the Admiral and I still prefer the Willy Nelson / Highwaymen version.
  13. Loved it. But that was some sting in the tail!
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