What lead up to all this
What lead up to all this
A little bit about me. I was born and brought up in Doncaster the youngest by some years of three boys. I am not sure how loved I was but in any case I was groomed and assualted by a peodphle who got off scott free in the usual way by transferring all of the blame on to me. I was 9 and my childhood I guess was over - too much knowledge and not enough experience and this has impacted on my life ever since but I am resolved to it now.
Somehow at the age of 21 having not done spectacularly well in my formal education I was able to join the RAF to fly! I spent the next 30 years involved in professional aviation firstly as a navigator on Canberra's then on Tornado where I was very involved in reconnaissance operations. In 1991 I flew in the war in Iraq and as part of that process I was given inoculations for biological warfare including anthrax and pneumonic plague! I am convinced that this represents the start of my health downfall.
I left the RAF on redundancy with a good cash payout and a pension - it is not massive but it is enough to stop me ever being considered for benefits so now out of work I have to live on them and it is a big kick to your living standards. I worked for British Aerospace out in the wild-west at Khamis Mushyt teaching the RSAF how to use the recce kit in the Tornado.
The Saudi’s are a funny lot. Most foreign employees are treated with contempt but when you meet a gentleman you are well looked after but this really only applies if you are white. The treatment of Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers is at best mostly appalling in my opinion. I promise I am not a racist but when you a long time in a culture it is hard not to see the inequities.
Anyway, the imaginative BAe workforce determined to develop interesting pastimes had managed to convert a disused landfill into a golf course! It was all very good but came with challenges! One of which was rocks in the fairway that if your ball hit it at the right angle it could end up as far behind you as you hit it in front! The rough was made up of thorny bushes mostly amongst which Bedouin shepherds ran goats and camels. Have you heard of Q fever? Neither had I. It is carried by ovine creatures and in the UK is most common amongst sheep farmers of southern Wales. Why Q? Because nobody knew what is was at first and it was designated ? and it stuck. The Americans have used it to simulate ebola in biological warfare scenarios, once you have had it you cannot be a blood donor. I caught it.
I was planning to bring Maureen and Catherine out for a 3 week beak but as usual Saudi inefficiency resulted in no entry visa so flights had to be cancelled and other arrangements made. I decided to do a bit of culture stuff and booked tickets for the opera in Verona, also take in the galleries and the Shakespeare connections. All these arrangements made I detected an uncomfortable fever. I was due to go to a party luncheon at a posh hotel in Abha - a proper town where the airport was that we flew in and out of. During the meal I became rapidly aware that all was not well and I had to excuse myself and try to drive back to the compound. It is dangerous enough even when you have all you wits about you. In cowboy country the locals don’t always see the need to get and the right carriageway so you are often confronted by chaps driving against you! Anyway by some miracle I made it back to my rooms where I crashed for 48 hours feeling really poorly but the fever passed and I was able to fly home for my holiday.
Verona was brilliant until the pain came. If you have ever had pleurisy you will know that it is a pain that is never forgotten. It was excruciatingly painful and I could get no relief. The taxi driver who took us back to the hotel thought I was drunk with the noises I was making. The hotel called an ambulance and they thought I was having a heart attack kept trying to lie down whilst I wanted to sit up because of the pain in my left lung. At the hospital very little English was spoken and Italian doesn’t extend much beyond pizza! I was admitted and told that I had pneumonia. Mo and Cat went home and I was left there to recover a bit and then I got back home. That was the weekend Diana Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash and I stopped smoking for 6 years. The pneumonia and me lasted another 3 months in Saudi - I had a job offer from the Civil Aviation Authority and I jumped at the chance of getting out.
It took a further 3 months to fully resolve the pneumonia and find out what kind it was, I found out about the blood donor bit when I volunteered and was rejected!
I was well for 3 years then I fell ill with an Autoimmune Disorder which laid me up in hospital for a fortnight. I was well all the time up to my first detecting the enlarged lymph nodes in my neck.
Hope this bit doesn't bore you all too much