Footsteps of Seven Pillars

DSC08824rSunrise over Aqaba

DSC08827rIn the distance Israel, behind us Saudi Arabia, and further to the left of Israel is Egypt as we came alongside Aqaba.

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Aqaba is in the Kingdom of Jordon, and Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein is their King, having become King on the death of his father, King Hussein, in 1999.

Princess Cruises offered a number of shore excursion in and around Aqaba, from scuba diving in the warm waters of the gulf, to an all day tour to Petra, which would be over nine hours. Knowing our limitations and having read about some of the problems due to the heat of visiting Petra, we chose to do the shorter tour of Wadi Rum, which was about five hours.
Wadi Rum is also known as The Valley of the Moon, and considering the next suburb of where we live in Sydney is called Jannali, which is an Aboriginal name for Place of the Moon, our choice was obvious.
Wadi means ‘valley’ & Rum mean ‘elevated’.

Wadi Rum was the area where the film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, with Peter O’Toole, was partially made, as well as the recent film ‘The Martian’ with Mat Damon.

For me, the dominant feel of Wadi Rum was Lawrence of Arabia – I’d seen the film and read of his exploits.

lawrence-of-arabiaThomas Edward Lawrence, 1880 – 1935

DSC08838rIt wasn’t long after we had driven out of Aqaba that we came across camels.

DSC08839rWe stopped at a small railways station for a ‘photo op’ and the single line reminded me of the film, and when I turned around . . . the train engine fitted the scene, because it was used in the film.

DSC08840rc  if Peter O’Toole had stood on the roof of the train I wouldn’t have been surprised.

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As I took the photograph of the engine I thought the area was deserted, until I turned and saw a modern train coming towards me – it was a working line!

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DSC08847r.jpg  It was real, not a film set.

DSC08852rThe meeting area for our desert transport was more upmarket than the railway station, with a few shops and toilet facilities. The large rock face in the background is called the Seven Pillars, which was the inspirational name that Lawrence used when he wrote The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’.

DSC08854rNothing flash about our desert transport – the utes made the Aussie’s feel at home. I whispered to Maureen to grab one with a roof covering, how ever flimsy, to keep us in the shade. Each truck carried six passengers in the back – hanging on was the object of the trip once the truck started to move.

DSC08856rIf I’d have heard John Wayne shouting ‘Head ’em up move ’em out’ I wouldn’t have been surprised.

The Seven Pillars right in front of us.

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We are off – how fortunate that we had picked the lead truck so that we didn’t have to worry about sand in our wake.

DSC08862rThe scenery was spectacular as we bounced over the ground – they didn’t have any roads across the desert.

DSC08870rcWe reached a sand hill and were told that if we climbed the hill the views would be magnificent.

DSC08872rIt didn’t look all that hard so I started to climb, Maureen stayed with the trucks.

DSC08876rIn the very soft sand each foot step was energy sapping – and my new pacemaker started to work overtime.

DSC08877rNearing the top – gasp, gasp, keep pumping  . . .

DSC08879rcMade it ! and the driver was correct the views were just great.

DSC08880r Looking back to our convoy of trucks.

DSC08881rI tried to capture the distances and the depth of beauty – the isolation, the quiet and as Lawrence himself said, the desert is clean.
Gazing across the desert reminded me of the book ‘The Phantom Major’ by Virginia Cowles, about the creation of the British SAS during WW2 and how the Long Range Desert group ferried the SAS to their targets. Maureen’s uncle was a member of the LRDG, so our desert ride gave us a very small idea of what he experienced. At least nobody was trying to kill us – well, not with bullets.

DSC08885rOff again until we came to a camp with camels. The offer being USD $15 per person to ride a camel to the next stop (about twenty minutes by camel). Quiet a few took them up on the camel owner’s offer.

DSC08892r        The rest of us climbed back in to our trucks for a more ‘comfortable’ ride.

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I couldn’t stop taking photographs as we bounced along.

DSC08898rA cup of tea at a Bedouin camp – as you see the latest addition to the Bedouin camel is blue (on the right of the picture).

DSC08900r  Small glasses of tea were offered – brewed using the open fire. Cardamom seeds were added to the drink after it had been brewed. The seed gave the drink a distinctive taste which was not unpleasant. Of course they had various articles for sale.

DSC08903rcOutside carved in to a rock was a sculpture of the King of Jordon and also Lawrence.

DSC08906rI don’t think the artist had seen Lawrence . . .

DSC08907rThe rest of our group arrived safely and the camel handler started back for the next load of tourists.
Once we were all together and the ‘camel’ group had tried the tea we were off again at high speed so fast that as we shot over to tops of sand hills we were nearly airborne. It was quite exciting as long as you didn’t think of H & S, lack of seatbelts, lousy springs and teeth shattering landings, and of course there wasn’t anyway that I could take photographs. Both hands were busy being ‘white knuckles’ as we hung on to our truck.

DSC08913rBack on the flat ground again and we suddenly came to a tent hotel – welcome, cold drinks, tea, biscuits, and local music.

DSC08914rDining area

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Lights for an evening show.

DSC08919rBackground Arabic music.

The whole experience was stimulating and enjoyable, and I am glad we picked the five hour tour because that was enough for us with the heat and the ‘bounce’.

As much as I enjoyed the film Lawrence of Arabia the actual attack on Aqaba is – to be kind, artistic licence – because the attack shown in the film is untrue.

The main battle for Aqaba took place at a small block house called  Abu al Lasan, which is between Aqaba and the town of Ma’an. The Arabs captured it, and few days later the Turks recaptured the blockhouse.
Later the Turks attacked an Arab camp and killed several Arabs.
Auda abu Tayi heard of the Turkish attack on the Arab camp and lead his own attack against the Turks. Lawrence was with him during this attack.
The attack was a success and three hundred Turkish soldiers were killed before Auda could control his troops. A further three hundred Turks were captured. The Arabs lost two killed and a few wounded.

While this battle was going on the Royal Navy arrived off Aqaba and began to shell the town.

A combined  force of about five thousand, which included the troops under Auda abu Tayi (leader of part of the Howett tribe)  &  Sherif Nasir (Faisal’s cousin), again with Lawrence advising, infiltrated the defence lines of the Turks around Aqaba, and approached the gates of the town, at which point the garrison surrendered without a struggle.

Regardless of the true battle, I do like the film’s attack of Aqaba, even if it was made in a Spanish riverbed, rather than Wadi Rum. The town of Aqaba, shown in the film, was recreated by the film company exactly as Aqaba was in 1916 – 300 buildings, the army camp, including parade ground, a quarter of mile long sea wall, etc all of the ‘real’ towns that were considered were too ‘modern’ for 1916.

If you get a chance to visit Jordon, visit Wadi Rum.

 

Birkenhead and all that . .

500px-BirkenheWhere there is faith there is light and strength

The translation of the moto is above.

My father’s family have lived in Birkenhead since around 1870, after moving from St Albans in Hertford via Derby. My mother’s family were relatively new comers having moved from Caernarvon in North Wales in 1921. I was born in the same terrace house in Lower Tranmere, Birkenhead in which my father was born. The house was built around 1870.

Birkenhead was an amalgamation of four boroughs in 1877 – Birkenhead, Tranmere, Oxten and Claughton-cum-Grange and the seal of Birkenhead was created from the four seals of the original towns.

The single lion and the crosier is from the Massey family of Birkenhead who founded a monastery in 1150. The oak tree is from Tranmere, and the dual lions from Oxten, and I think the blue ‘star’ symbol is from Claughton-cum- Grange.
On the top you will see a blue lion with his front paw on an anchor, which symbolises how Birkenhead depends on the sea and shipping.

Odd facts about Birkenhead – particularly with connections to the United States of America.

In 1847 Birkenhead opened the first public funded civic park in the world. It was designed by Joseph Paxton. The idea of a public park came about in 1841 when the town bought 226 acres of land, which was marshy and grazing land on the edge of the town.

1280px-Birkenhead_Park_-_The_Grand_EntranceMain entrance to the park.

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Lakes

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Lake house

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Quiet spots

The above park pictures have been taken from the internet – all of mine are black & white!

Frederick Law Olmsted, an American landscape architect,  arrived in Liverpool in 1850 to stay in the north west of England. During his time in England he visited a number of parks, including Birkenhead Park.
In 1858 he and Calvert Vaux won a competition to design a new park for New York, which was to be called Central Park. He was very impressed with Joseph Paxton’s design of Birkenhead Park, and this influenced his over all design of Central Park.
Birkenhead Park was also the template in 1872, for the design of Sefton Park in Liverpool

Central-Park-New-York-CityCentral Park NY

conservatory-waterBoat lake Central Park

Central park is nearly four times the size of Birkenhead Park.

In 1860 an American, George Francis Train, visited Liverpool to try and persuade them to build a tram network – Liverpool did not respond to his idea, so Mr Train crossed the river to Birkenhead and they listened, and opened the first tramway in Europe, which was from Woodside (which is on the river bank) to Birkenhead Park. It was horse drawn.

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The above two pictures are to illustrate the horse drawn tram – both were taken by me in Victor Harbor, South Australia, this Australian service began in 1894.

Mr Train told Birkenhead council that if the service was not a success he would return the streets to their original state, at his own cost. He didn’t have to spend any money.

In 1828 William Laird and his son John started a ship building company on the banks of the River Mersey at Birkenhead.

In 1839 he built the first screw propelled steamer, the Robert F Stockton, which was a tug for use on the North American Waterways.

They were very successful at building iron ships and one of the best customers was the East India Company. Relations with China began to deteriorate so the Company wanted war ships to protect their China trade.  Laird built the Nemesis, which was 184 foot long, 29 foot beam, 6 foot draft and 660 tons. She was armed with two pivoted mounted 32 pounders, four six pounders and rocket launchers. She had 120 hp steam engine as was the first iron ship to round the Cape of Good Hope. She was a paddle steamer.

The 'Nemesis'   Nemesis, (Goddess of retribution).

HEICo_steamer_Nemesis Nemesis wreaked havoc amongst the wooden junks of the Chinese navy during the First Opium War. The first rocket that she fired hit a large junk and caused it to blow up with a huge explosion. The Chinese didn’t stand a chance against such modern weapons.

In 1848 they built the 1400 ton paddle frigate HMS Birkenhead for the navy. She became famous when she was being used as a troop ship and was wrecked off South Africa in 1852.

The_Birkenhead-TroopshipHMS Birkenhead

She didn’t have enough lifeboats for all of the passengers so the troops stood in their regimental lines so as to allow the women and children to get away in the lifeboats.

Only 193 of the 643 people on board survived and the soldier’s bravery gave birth to the call ‘ women and children first’ when abandoning any ship. This became known as the Birkenhead Drill. All the women and children survived.

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Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem in their honour and part of it is below

‘To stand and be still
to the Birken’ead Drill
is a damn tough bullet to chew’.

Some years later the Confederate States of America ordered an iron clad ship from the same ship yard in Birkenhead –

CSSAlabamaCSS Alabama

1050 tons, 222 foot long, 31 foot 8 inch beam, 17 foot 8 inch draft, single screw, with 6 x 32 pounders, 1 x 100 lb cannon and 1 x 68 lb cannon, BUT none of her armaments were on the vessel when she was handed over to the Confederates because of the British neutrality Act. Lairds were legally able to build, and sell the ship without arms. She sailed to the Azores where she was handed over and then rigged with her armaments. Her decks had been built with reinforcements to take the cannon.

QaYtGJwHer moto was – ‘God helps those who help themselves.’

She burned 65 union ships (mainly merchant ships) but didn’t harm the crews, but put them on neutral ships.   Eventually she was sunk by a Union vessel off the coast of France. In 1984 the French navy found the resting place of the Alabama in 200 feet of water off  Cherbourg, France.

Birkenhead was not always building ships because sometimes ships were run aground to be broken up.

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SS Great Eastern

Brunel’s Great Eastern, launched in 1858 and was the largest ship ever built. 18,915 grt, 692 feet long, 82 feet wide with four decks bult to carry 4000 passengers non-stop to Australia from the UK. The world had to wait until 1899 before a longer ship, RMS Oceanic was built, and 1901 before a heavier ship was built RMS Celtic, 21,035 grt.

 The Great Eastern never carried passengers to Australia, but did carry them to America, before becoming a cable laying ship.

later she was used as an advertising ‘hoarding’ and sailed up and down the River Mersey advertising Lewis’ Department store. I suppose it was ‘fortunate’ that Brunel died in 1959 and never saw what happened to his world class ship.

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The Great Eastern was beached between Rock Ferry and New Ferry not far from the Laird’s ship yard.

Great_Eastern_SLV_AllanGreen  Her stern is towards Rock Ferry and her bow points to New Ferry, although many comments state that she was broken up at New Ferry.

Behind the Great Eastern’s stern (which is not shown in this photograph) is HMS Conway.

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It took eighteen month to break up the Great Eastern, it was far larger and stronger than the breakers had imagined and it is thought that they made a big loss on the job.

Finally to end on the park again –

War_memorial_BirkenheadThe Birkenhead war memorial in Hamilton Square has my uncle’s name inscribed up on it – he is buried a short distance outside Ypres in Belgium, having been killed in action in 1917 – he was nineteen.

DSC00214r  Albert Edward01He signed up at seventeen, and just before he left he and his parents visited a show for the troops. It was held at a theater across the road from the main entrance to Birkenhead Park. I believe my father would have been with them – he would have been six years old at the time.

aaki_wmOpening day for the park in 1847.

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I found the program the other day amongst some old papers of my father’s. As you see the theater is reopening on Good Friday, 2nd April 1915, only a hundred and two years ago tomorrow (Good Friday).

The theater was later renamed as the Park Cinema, before being pulled down in 1938 and replaced with a more modern building called the Gaumont Cinema.

Napier, the Art Deco Capital of the world.

dsc07794rApproaching Napier.

NAPIER – So named after Sir Charles Napier 1782 to 1853.

The Hawks Bay earthquake of 1931 flattened Napier, and killed 161 people and injured thousands. The local newspaper at the time wrote that the town had been wiped off the map.

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I took a photograph and this photograph, which was on a large poster showing what used to be at this location. I believe it used to be a church.

dsc07860rThis is what is there today – still a church, and a garden of remembrance.

The landscape changed for ever. Near Napier there had been a large lagoon called Ahuriri Lagoon. The land around Napier rose two metres and the bottom of the lagoon rose 2.7 mtrs, which cause the lagoon to drain away and became dry land. Today this land is home to an airport, industrial areas and farmland.

beforeBefore the earthquake – picture from NZ Encyclopedia.

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After the earthquake – picture from NZ Encyclopedia.

One of the first jobs was to clear the dead fish from the lagoon as the water receded – the stench must have been terrible.

During the quake fires broke out and the water lines burst, so the fire brigades were limited in their fight against the fires, and many buildings were destroyed.
Fortunately, a Royal Navy vessel, HMS Veronica, was moored off shore so she sent crew members to help the town and acted as the communication centre by contacting the authorities in the Wellington (the capital) and letting the world know of the disaster. The crews of two merchant ships also gave help to the town.
Later two additional Royal Navy ships sailed from Auckland with emergency supplies of food, tents, medicines etc.
The history of the rebuilding of Napier has the feel of a novel. The authorities appointed two men to oversee the clearing away of the damaged structures and to start rebuilding quickly. They realised that the population was falling as people moved away to find shelter or jobs etc and the only way to stop the population decline was to start rebuilding quickly.

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The rubble from the town was pushed out to sea to create this shore side garden and recreational area. Skating areas, put-put golf, music and some beautiful gardens. A great memorial to those who perished.

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dsc07817rThe town was rebuilt in the art deco design and fortunately has not been allowed to change. There were moves to pull down certain buildings and to build ‘new’ 1960’s style, but the local historical (Art Deco0) society managed to block most of these moves.

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My memory of Napier of the mid 60’s was that every building was painted white, but when I saw the town recently, I thought my memory had played tricks because all of the buildings were painted in pastel colours of the 1930’s. Note the street sign, which is in the characters of the 1930’s.

Maureen and I had decided to do a guided walk offered by the art deco society of Napier and during the short intro chat, the guide mentioned that the buildings used to be all painted white in the 60’s, which pleased me that my memory was not at fault.

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Main shopping street – photo taken late afternoon as everybody started to drift off home.

dsc07811rcBertie Wooster would have felt quite at home.

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The locals take being in the part very seriously, which added to the enjoyment of our visit.

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The boy was real when this statue was made – he is waving at his mother.

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The model for this was not a ‘model’ as such, but a local lady of some standing in the community. Our guide pointed her out to us and mentioned that a year or so earlier he had completed a few small jobs for this lady’s home. She still lives in Napier and is now in her late eighties.

dsc07824rMany of the shops are dated from the 1930’s – our guide explained about the lead lining in the glass, the type of wood and even the ‘in go’. Double frontage windows i.e windows on both side of the entrance door.

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The ‘in go’ for the shop above – i.e the area between the pavement and the actual shop door. When I was a child most shops had an ‘in go’, but I didn’t know what it was called then, but it was an area where you could stand and look in, before deciding to go in, and speak to a staff member.

dsc07842rTheater built in 1938 and later expanded to the right, but I was more interested in the original frontage. Our guide had the key so in we went,

dsc07843rRemember this type of lighting in the foyers of cinemas in the 40’s & 50’s? This was well before multiscreens had been ‘invented’.

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A better view of the ceiling in the foyer of the theater.

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Some years ago the management realised that the carpet had reached the end of its life, so they decided to replace it, but they wished to keep the art deco theme. They found a clean piece of the original carpet and sent it to Australia where a carpet manufacturer copied the design of the 1930’s and now they have a new carpeted foyer à la 1933.

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 An unusual art deco building – the two flags are New Zealand and Germany and the owner of the building, Mr Hildebrandt, being an immigrant, wanted to show the friendship between his old home and new home and that he arrived in Napier by sea.

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Mr Hildebrandt’s building in on a corner, and the design is carried all around.

For the old Conway readers I found something that I just had to photograph,

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The art deco building above had been designed with a nod to a ship, such ‘naval’ designs being common in the 1930’s.

With the zoom on I took the next picture.

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New Zealand Shipping Company, a company in which many old Conway’s sailed . . .

To quote from Napier City Council Art Deco web page –

Art Deco expressed all the vigor and optimism of the roaring twenties, and the idealism and escapism of the grim thirties.

Its decorative themes are:

Sunbursts and fountains – representing the dawn of a new modern age.
The Skyscraper shape – symbolic of the 20th century.
Symbols of speed, power and flight – the exiting new developments in transport and communications.
Geometric shapes – representing the machine and technology which it was thought would solve all our problems.
The new woman – revelling in her recently won social freedoms.
Breaking the rules – cacophonous jazz, short skirts and hair, shocking dances.
Ancient cultures – for oddly enough, there was a fascination with the civilizations of Egypt and central America.
All of these themes are represented on the buildings of Napier, most of which are still standing today and are lovingly cared for by their owners.

Maureen & I walked the main street before taking the Art Deco walk, and we must have had our eyes closed, because we didn’t see anything until the guide pointed out the various styles and shapes. His talk was fascinating and he had the ability to bring all that jazz to life.

If you ever manage to get to NZ, make sure Napier is on your bucket list.

I managed to get some picture of the inside of a few buildings (point and click through windows etc), but I don’t want to bore readers.

Bridge on the River Kwai

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bridge1In 1945 the Americans bombed the real bridge on the river Kwai. The centre parts of the bridge (the flat bits) are new, and the original part of the bridge has the curved sides.
We could walk on the bridge; it is a rail bridge only, and not available for road transport.

imgp1899rThere was a wooden bridge built about one hundred meters up river from this bridge, and that bridge was used while the prisoners built the metal bridge, which was #277 of over 600 bridges built to accommodate the railway. Later the wooden bridge was used again after the bombing of this bridge.

Before we caught the train to Numtok, which is now the end of the line, we visited the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery – a very emotional place as you walk passed thousands of plaques, which list the name, rank, regiment, age and date of death.

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Lest we forget the 6,982 Australian, British and Dutch prisoners.

imgp1845rThere is another cemetery a couple of kilometers away with a further 1693 prisoners.

One hundred and thirty three Americans also died on the railways, but their bodies were repatriated back to the US.

It is estimated that half of the 180,000 Asians, (Malays, Burmese, Thais, Chinese etc) who were forced to help build the railway, also died, but they are not buried in these cemeteries.

Our destination, by train, is Numtok – the line used to go to the Burmese / Thai border, but after the war the line from Numtok to Burma was ripped up. I have heard that there is a very small possibility that the missing line might be reconstructed.

imgp2890r The notice tells us that the station is the River Kwai Bridge, but it is Kanchanaburi, with a thriving market on the platform area to keep the tourists happy.

imgp2893rOur train has arrive.

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Open windows, open doors and ineffective fans trying to keep us all cool. On looking down I was able see the sleepers and track through cracks in the floor. Not something I was used to on European or Australian trains, but all part of the ‘adventure’.imgp2909rThe line is a single line track so if you miss the train you have to wait for it to do the round trip.

imgp2913rWe are about to cross the viaduct, which was built by the prisoners in seventeen days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAApproaching the end of the line – Numtok.

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imgp1887rThe Wang Pho viaduct – hand made . . . in 2016 it is 73 years old . .

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One dead prisoner for every sleeper of the 415 km railway –

They only had elephants to help, because they didn’t have any earth moving equipment.

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Along side the viaduct was a large cave. This cave was used by the POWs as a ‘hospital’ it is now a Buddhist Temple in remembrance.

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The correct name for the River Kwai is Khwae Noi, meaning small tributary, which merges with Khwae Yai River to create the Mae Kong River.

Pierre Boulle, a Frenchman, who had experienced great hardship after being captured by the Vichy French on the Mekong River, wrote a novel called ‘Le Pont de la rivière Kwaï’ – The Bridge of the River Kwai, which was later made in to a film, which became a great success.

poster-bridge-on-the-river-kwai-the_02It was such a success that people flocked to Thailand in an effort to find the Bridge of the River Kwai. The river didn’t exist, but the Khwae Noi did . . . .so in 1960 the river was renamed Kwai, which helped the Thai economy considerably.

The other small detail is that the film Bridge on the River Kwai was made in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) not Thailand.

It’s an odd world – on checking a few facts for this blog I came across Lt Col Philip Toosey, who was the real Colonel in the camp that built this part of the railway.
He was nothing like the Alec Guinness character who collaborated with the Japanese – I believe Alec Guinness was not happy portraying this type of character.
Col Toosey had his men commit as much sabotage as possible, and I heard that he even collected termites and spread them around the wooden bridges in the hope that they would start eating  . . . .

At the end of the war, during the war trials in Japan, Col Toosey spoke up for Sgt Major Saito, who was second in command, (he was portrayed as a Colonel in the film), because he treated the POWs better than many of the guards. Saito respected the Colonel and later they corresponded.

Over two hundred Japanese were hanged for war crimes, and a large number of others spent many years in gaol.

Saito said that Col Toosey showed him what a human being should be, and this changed his life. On the Colonel’s death in 1975 (he was 71), Sgt Major Saito travelled from Japan to pay his respects at the Colonel’s grave side. Not until Sgt Major Saito’s death in 1990 did his family realise that he had become a Christian, because of Colonel Toosey.

After the war the Colonel returned home and worked in Liverpool, UK.

The odd bit for me is that Col Toosey came from Birkenhead, which is across the river from Liverpool. He lived in Upton Road and went to school at Birkenhead Park High School.

I lived about a hundred yards or so from this school, and between 1956 and 1960 I used to deliver newspapers for the news agency in Upton Village. My delivery area included all of Upton Road to Bidston hill, I just wondered if I used to deliver to the Colonel’s house.

The Magnificent PC

Earlier this week my son & I went to the latest Hollywood effort of the Seven Samurai.

Seven Samurai (1954)
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AKA
The Magnificent Seven (1960)

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Return of the Magnificent Seven (1966)

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Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)

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The Magnificent Seven Ride (1972)

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The Magnificent Seven (2016)

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The latest version for me is so politically correct that it is a pure Saturday afternoon matinee film of my childhood. The hero shoots the bad guy’s gun out of his hand, the goodies never miss with hand guns, and use rifles that fire such distances with such accuracy that it brought back my ability when I was a six-year-old cowboy – I never missed either.

The most noticeable influence for me was the politically correctness of the film.

The leader is a black American (Yul Brynner in the 1960 film))

His off sider is white American (Steve McQueen – 1960 film)

We have an ex sharp shooter form the civil war with ‘problems’ of using his gun to shoot people. He’s not all that keen on Mexicans,

So we have a Mexican, who is not sure of his skills. (Robert Vaughn in the original 1960 film)

We also have an Asian knife thrower (I think James Coburn is the closest in the 1960 film, but he wasn’t Asian).

This time we have something new, a ‘red’ Indian (Comanche) called Red Harvest who is painted red . . . .

Even the baddies have a red Indian, just one, out of what seems to be hundreds on the baddies side.

Don’t let’s forget the leading lady – according to her she has more balls than any man in town as she sets off to look for the Magnificent Seven to help reclaim the town, which is being threatened by a bunch of white Americans. (Mexicans in the 1960 film)

Of course the town people are frightened and only our heroine and one other has the guts to leave and to look for the ‘seven’.

Our heroine is taught how to shoot and uses her new skills to great effect right up to one of the final scenes. The feminist movement should be happy with her character.

Plenty of gun play, bows and arrows, knife throwing, explosions, and not one horse is shot or injured, only the riders – and they are bad guys so they are fair game.

The film has so many ‘tokens’ that I think it has covered everyone who might be offended.

We attended the lunchtime session at 12.50 pm, which allows pensioners like me to have my lunch at 10.30 am, so as not to miss the film. Many other patrons had the same idea, because I think my forty year old son was the youngest person in the cinema. The cinema could seat about two hundred people or more, but I doubt that the cinema would cover their costs, because there were only fifteen people in the whole place – pensioners $8.50 and my son paid $21!

Based on the audience it was obviously a popular film . . .

Silverton movies and all that . . .

The Silverton Pub.

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As soon as I saw the local pub I recognised it from various films.

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Mad Max 2

Town

A town like Alice  – Australian min-series from the book by Nevil Shute.TownLikeAlice

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Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,
to name three that I’ve seen, and I couldn’t count the number of TV adverts.

Outside was parked an ‘INTERCEPTOR love child’ from the Mad Max film.

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As you can see it was hot and dry, so we had to go in for a cool drink from the barman behind the corrugated iron bar.

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My wife and I were the only customers -the two people you can see were staff.

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We carried our drinks outside – more corrugated iron, but under the shade it was quite pleasant.gaol1

The local gaol has been turned in to a museum, which focused on the surrounding area. What we thought would be a quick visit turned in to a much longer visit, because of the large number of exhibit rooms, and the display items outside at the back (beyond the wall in the picture). It was a fascinating visit. We were there about an hour and a half.

In the gaol museum we asked about the Mad Max II film and a local told us of the view from Mundi Mundi Lookout (another double name). From this lookout we could see the flat plain where some of the exciting scenes from the Mad Max film were shot. Where we stood seemed to be the only ‘high’ ground in the area. I say high, but it was only a few feet higher than the surrounding land.DSC03624r

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Not a cloud in the sky.

For more information about the making of Mad Max II at this location, just click on the link.

Although it was very hot, it was a dry heat with low humidity, which was not as unpleasant as  the same heat in Sydney, which would have had a high humidity.