Lac Castagnier, QC
03 November, 2000
I spent the last couple of days formatting my hard drive - twice! (you can do that when you are retired!) It now seems to be behaving itself, but I still have a lot of work to do reloading all of my programs and files. The most difficult procedure was reconfiguring the DSL 1MB modem. For those not familiar with it, DSL is an internet service over the telephone line, using the same line as you talk on, but with a difference - you can talk and surf on the same line at the same time! The speed is incredibly fast, all depending on the site you are visiting, but I have achieved speeds of almost 300kps, downloading multi-megabyte files in a matter of seconds! Oh, I forgot to mention - unlimited access for only $34 (£14) a month, and so it gets put on line when we get up in the morning, and stays on line until we go to bed at night. There are no charges for local telephone calls in Canada either.
This week we welcome Martin Liggitt from Swindon. Martin was on Juliet Team from 1988-91. He left the RAF in 1998 and now works as a Flight Manager/Loadmaster with Heavylift on AN124's and A300B4F's. He sends his best regards to everyone and is looking forward to hearing from some old friends
John Holloway tells me that, because of all the rain in blighty (where did the word 'blighty' come from?), Shrewsbury is literally an island in the stream. Perhaps his Welsh neighbours will have discovered the true purpose of wellington boots by now!
John goes on to say that he received an e-mail from an ex-canberra pilot about his article "RAF Mauripur - Down Memory Lane" which is in the Articles page on the site. Because he has very limited access to the Internet he has sent me a copy of the e-mail by snailmail, along with a reply which he requested I send off for him - no problems there
Ken Davie just got back to Mystic Lake from a gambling convention in Las Vegas - by all accounts he had a ball! Ken says that the chefs at his hotel were making up a cook book and asked him for some 'Scottish' input. Naturally Ken chose the Haggis recipe for inclusion - and of course did not neglect to mention that you must hang the trachea over the side of the pot when you're boiling it, otherwise you will have pieces of sheep lungs all over the walls and ceilings of your kitchen - the Haggis having exploded!
Also in the e-letter was quite the oration about when he was taking his fork-lift driving test at RAF Abingdon under the watchful eyes of the "D.P.O.W." (Dreaded Pilot Officer Wiblin). Needless to say Ken's blood was boiling when the D.P.O.W. failed him - but to try to reprint the e-letter here would be an infringement on some people's sensitivities, and I do not know if any children would be reading it - so just use your imagination!
'Iron Curtain Travel Tips for Drivers' - as a continuation from last week's 'How to Tour Europe on One Tank of Gas', by Phil Clarke, our resident correspondent in Vienna...
"Most of the former empire have zero blood alcohol tolerance levels - do NOT even have a swift half, penalties are severe, but taxis are cheap.
Carry in your car a Red Triangle, First Aid Kit, Fire Extinguisher and Full Spare Bulb Kit - all compulsory.
Some countries (Poland & Czech Republic for sure) require an International Driving Permit in addition to National Licences. Green Cards are recommended even when they are not compulsory; Registration Document is a must. Documents, other than passports, are almost never checked at border crossings, but are gone through with a fine-tooth comb if you are stopped for accidents or traffic offences.
All credit/charge cards/Maestro etc widely accepted - holes in the wall abound, but change some money as soon as you cross the border as most Motorways are toll roads. Talking of money, changing economies have spawned a large petty criminal population, always keep money, credit cards, passports etc in a body safe with a few quid in your pocket to hand over in emergency.
I was pick pocketed in Bratislava (Slovakia) and my wife had her passport & bank card nicked in Budapest. Always empty your car of ANYTHING visible. What means nothing to you may result in smashed windows.
Road speed limits are not shown as they are in the UK. At the border you will see a sign showing the National speed limits: for Motorways (between 110 & 130kph), Open Roads (usually 100kph) and Built Up Areas (usually 50kph). Slower restrictions are shown as similar to UK style signs, but when you see the de-restricted sign again it means revert to the National limit.
When approaching any Iron Curtain City, you will see in the outskirts huge workers' paradise blocks of flats - don't give up - there are gems to be found a few klicks further on.
MUST SEE - Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. About 50 miles north of Lintz in Austria. Drop dead beautiful medieval city built on a winding river. Go soon, when it's discovered by the tourist hordes it will be destroyed.
Finally, before traveling, check out the Foreign Office web site for the latest travel advisories and scams:- http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel
Again Phil, many thanks for your contribution - the cheque is in the (e)mail.
Next week, look forward to 'Shopping for Crystal in Siberia' - just kidding! Crystal can do her own shopping!
I received the much-awaited book "Specialist Aircrew" from Sqn.Ldr. David Berry (RAF,Rtd.), ex Britannia driver. It is fascinating reading, lots of pictures too for those who can't read!
His childhood was almost identical to mine; post-war Britain - growing up in a council house with a somewhat eccentric father; going to a school where the demi-god masters walked the hallways, their long black gowns flowing behind them; being an altar server at the local church; joining the Air Training Corps, and that first air experience flight in an Avro Anson....
Further on in the book he tells of his first solo flight in a Harvard trainer, tooling around the Vale of Evesham. He would never have made it over the hill if it wasn't for the fact that the cheeks of his ass were squeezed so tightly together!
It was somewhat presumptuous of me to think that I could read it and extract an article in less than one week - maybe I will get more time on the weekend.
I am thinking - sometimes I do - that since these Old Boys Briefs are reaching epic proportions, and the circulation is limited to members only - in addition to sending out the e-mail, why not make it a weekly feature of the web site also?
My thoughts are that it would be changed every week, so fresh web stuff every week! "Letters to the Webmaster" could take up a portion of the page as well - of course that will only work if you send me a letter once in a while!!
I personally am warming up to the idea more and more.
If anyone has any thoughts about what they would like to see on the site - please don't be shy - sometimes I cannot see the wood for the trees.
Bill Nangle - where are you?
That's it for this week - enjoy your weekend.