...terrific picture, the engine somehow makes the history real and so near, almost within touching distance...it has somehow reminded me, as if I needed reminding how all too brief life is...Mono no aware...View attachment 61614
Off road in Saudi Arabia - following the route of the former Hejaz railway. Sorry for the crap quality - sent to me yesterday - over limited satellite bandwidth - by my very close friend.
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Ooft - that is the middle of nowhere - if you didn't know what you were doing - you'd die. Proper navigational skills are essential - the supply of water - even more so - you can only carry so much in jerry cans - in the back of the truck. In this case - some sort of Toyota Land-cruiser - I would say from the tracks - with specialist sand tyres. The vehicle - has all sorts of equipment strapped on - sand plates - many shovels - sand anchors - whatever the fuck they may be. From what he tells me - never slow down - that is when your vehicle sinks.
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The point of the exercise - finding one of the relics of T.E Lawrence on the Hejaz railway - a locomotive derailed - by a tulip - if you don't get the tulip reference - go read - 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' - I'm not going to make it easy for you - shit doesn't rust in the desert. Granted - he worked with other British officers - Stewart Newcombe - principally - and with allied Indian and Egyptian troops - and not forgetting - most importantly - the locals allied to Sharif Hussein bin Ali - who had been having a pop at the railway since its inception. Their most successful tactic - was to refuse the supply of camels to the Ottomans - job done - how the fuck else are you going to deliver raw materials in the desert? At that time and place - modern transport - was a means of dominance. The Turks had to stop laying wooden sleepers - and go onto iron - with all the hassle that implies - because they - the locals - dug them up and used them as firewood - why wouldn't you - in the desert? Generally deserts are short of firewood. We should all pay attention to history. Unless - you take the approach of Churchill - History will be kind to me for I intend to write it - yours - I.
Please do - I would be fascinated to see them. I had an opportunity to go to Syria about the same length of time ago - which I couldn't take up - something I bitterly regret - it has been bombed to rat shit recently - obviously. You'd be lucky if you could find two bricks standing on top of each other these days. The Ottoman - German thing is interesting - in a trivial sense - that is why you can drink damn good lager in Istanbul - in a less trivial sense - have you ever read 'Greenmantle' by John Buchan - fiction - but largely based on facts. The attempt to stir up jihad in the East - as a new front - it is great - the Kaiser hoped that the flames would spread to India. Yours - I.I'll see if I can find some of the pictures.