Well this is how it goes… (part three – Malta/Gozo)

The trip down memory lane continues.  I was stationed at RAF Luqa for three years 43 years ago and never got over to Gozo!

So we took the old car ferry across to Gozo and had a little drive around this smaller island.  Forty odd years ago people said that going to Gozo was like stepping back 20 years and it’s that was now.  The up-raw coursed when Lidi opened a store their.  There are two more on the island of Malta.

In the center of Victoria (the capital of Gozo) is the was memorial


The whole square is full of beautiful old buildings.

The central square is surrounded by traditional small shops and cafes.  We went into  this lovely cozy cafe and was greeted by an English waitress. In the summer this square must be packed with tables and chairs from the surrounding bars and cafes.  But not today on a wet November day.



Then down a narrow lane is another square and the Cittadella (Citardel)

There is nothing near by to understand the size of those copper doors, they must have been 15 feet tall.

Being a very Catholic country you are never far away  from one of these built into the walls of peoples homes.

The rain is getting heavy now, so we decide to got  to Lidi’s for some wine and head back to the ferry.  As you can see the ferry is a push-me-pull-you ferry!  The crew just have to go to the other bridge for the return trip.  This picture I got from Google Earth.

End part three, part four to follow.

Well this is how it goes… (part two – Malta)

After a short but sweet stay in Istanbul we arrive in Malta at 18:00 hrs and it’s dark and I have a rental car and my, now working, Garmin SatNav.  So, no problems then?  Ya right!


For those that are unfamiliar with Malta, the country of Malta is formed from three main islands, Malta, Comino and Gozo.  When I was there Comino had nothing on it other than a couple of empty homes now it has two resorts.  I do hope these are “all inclusive”! I was told my Sean, at the hotel, these two resorts are old and in a bad state of repair.

But a “Must See” is the Blue Lagoon it is beautiful, and go for a snorkel.  This is a “borrowed” picture.  The island of Malta is about 16 x 9 miles so it’s a third the size of Maui at 48 x 26 miles.

Thankfully all the old building have been preserved and there are many.  Mostly of a defensive nature and 100’s of years old.

I lived (was stationed) in Malta while in the RAF at RAF Luqa, now the international airport.  I arrived 43 years ago and left 40 years ago!  So have I been to Malta, NO.  Since the British forces left some 38 years ago and Malta joining the EU much has changed.

The Maltese Government has spent there EU money on building bypasses, so you can now drive around the Island for days and NEVER SEE A DAMN THING!

I shall try to limit the amount I write on how CRAP the Garmin is while driving in Malta.  OK I admit that a lot of the roads are new, but when in a town it was like one out of four turnings  I was sent down a one way road, the wrong way!!  “At the roundabout take the second exit”..  No roundabout!  “Turn right at the next junction”  or really take the third exit at the next roundabout…  and so it goes on.  I spent more time shouting at that damn Garmin than the other drivers.  What a load of CRAP..

To move on….. In some way this visit was a visit down memory lane..

Sorry about the sound but it was quite windy.  Many years ago Malta had a bad storm and the net result was that some bays lost all the sand and others became a sandy bay.  I was told that a new resort imported tons of sand to create a sandy bay next to the resort!

This is how I remember the houses of Malta, and in the summer the windows would be open and people sat watching the day go by.

During the second world was Malta was right in the middle of it with Italy (German side) and North Africa to the south.

“The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded for gallantry “not in the face of the enemy” to members of the British armed forces and to British civilians. It has always been able to be awarded posthumously.”

But the whole country of Malta was awarded the George Cross.  “The George Cross was awarded to the island of Malta by King George VI of the United Kingdom in a letter dated 15 April 1942”   If you are interested more information can be found here: HERE

Part Three to follow.

Well this is how it goes… (part one – Istanbul)

I had a holiday offer via emailed, and it was one of those deals that you had to take. I know I could not afford the trip, but I do have a credit card!!

It was for a week in Malta, a place I used to know quite well, as I arrived here 43 years ago and left 40 years ago.

But first our very short visit to Istanbul:

But we had to fly to Istanbul first, a city I have never been seen. Turkish Airlines changed the itinerary 4 times, and finally we arrived at mid-nights and departed at 18:30 hrs.  So I booked a cheap hotel near the airports to we could spend a morning looking around the local area. The cost for B&B for two was £23.

This is a picture of the hotel, it was very nice and the staff very helpful the breakfast was typical European, cold meat, bread, coffee well you get the idea.

If you ever need a nice cheap hotel in Istanbul, this is their card.

But we did not arrive at the hotel till 01:00 hrs and had to find some food.  We found a hole-in-the-wall place selling kebabs to we ate one and a half.  Not that good but it was food.

Morning rush hour just a block from our hotel.

We Brits are getting better at baking bread but have a long way to go to get to the European level.

As we walked (slowly) around the roads I could not figure out why most of the people having lunch were young.

Then I spotted this.

Curious cast iron bollards designed, I guess, to stop parking on the sidewalks.

A fine looking peanut roaster the bottle of propane was hiding behind the rack of chips.

I did say we stayed near the airport and I was very surprised how big Istanbul airport is but I guess being at the center of Europe and Asia is a great crossroad.

At two o’clock the taxi arrived to take us back to the airport and time to say bye bye to the little we saw of Istanbul.  On to Malta…


A story about BIG snakes…



This is a story of an incident that took place many years ago.  I was in Singapore for a few months with the ANZUK  (pronounced Anzuuk) forces (Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom) and a couple of Nimrods.

These Nimrods had some amazing cameras installed, not normal in a Nimrod.  So we took a photo tech with us to process the films.  Each camera could take 100’s of pictures and the film was about 10” wide. Before digital !!

Anyhow RAF Tengah (soon to be SAF Tengah) had a complete photo lab that had not been used in months.  Once the keys where found the place was opened, it was just two rooms a small office that led into the photo lab (darkroom) .  Upon opening the darkroom a VERY large python was found in the middle of the lab!  So we closed the door (quickly) and called the RAF Regiment.  They are the people to call when the task is not in your job description…

What followed was like a scene from Dads Army, a Sargent a Corporal and an Airman from the RAF Regiment arrived.  The Sargent opened the door, sharp intake of breath and said Corporal “Take care of this”..  The Corporal looked into the room and “Fu… me”, “Airman, take care of the problem”…

Anyway the got the python out, checked for more and welded plates over the drains as this is how it got in the lab.

Our photo tech said it was fine but in the process of developing film you have to stop and wait a while, in a dim red light room….

The long long story of my Maui purchase.

But I will keep it short.  While in Maui we went to Costco, just once, and I purchased a Garmin SmartDrive 50 with all of the North America maps.

Ya, sorry that does not help much.

While is Maui I went on line and purchased the EU maps as these might be a little more helpful when I get home.  So I purchase the “download” version as these are a little cheaper.

The studio we rented had great WiFi but try as I did I could not get them to download correctly. So I email tech support and explain the download problem.  After 5 or 6 email I decide I should re-tell the problem I was having.

Patricia emails and tells me ” I am very sorry for the problems you have encountered, and please ignore the suggestions in the previous email as they would not be applicable to your situation.”  Cool..

So we agree that we should try to expedite a pre-loaded  Micro SD card and try that.  With no guarantee that it would arrive prior to us leaving.  She told me that I would have to pay for expedite shipping.  I emailed my CC info and got the card a couple of days later.  I also noticed that nothing had been charged on my card.

So I get this SD card and load it into the Garmin SmartDrive 50….. and ….  and….

Phuckin Great!!!  So I email the picture and get the following …

“Unfortunately the file/card cannot be fixed.    Our options are to either refund your purchase or I can send another card out. Unfortunately I cannot ship to Europe, so I am not sure sending another card is viable.”

Phuckin Great, deuxième partie!!!

So now I have had a second SD card sent to a friend in FL who mailed it to me and it has been stuck at UK Customs for more than 10 days….

It’s a good job I knew my way home…..


The new SD card arrived today!!  With some trepidation I plugged it in the Garmin..  AND IT WORKS!!!  Yaaa…  Thank you Patricia for all your help…

The start of a new project.

As Rodney said “If I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all!”..

My mini wind generators arrived today, on the stillest day we have ever had, and the package had one less than I ordered !

From the website:

Motor diameter : 24.5mm/0.96″
Motor height : 3mm/1.18″
Motor shaft diameter : 2mm/0.079″
Motor shaft length : 13.5mm/0.53″
Blade diameter : 100mm/3.94″(after assembling)
Blade Aperture : 1.95mm/0.077″
Output voltage : DC 0.01V – 5.5V
Output current : 0.01 – 100mA
Rated speed : 100 – 6000 rev/min

So on a windy day I should get about 1 Amp at 5.5 Volts, or 1/2 Amp at 11 Volts.  This will be enough to trickle charge a car battery (maybe!!).

The advantage of this type of rotor is it not matter what direction the wind is from.

Assembled with addition of a small LED attached to the wires, you can just make it out from the second picture above.

So testing? 8 foot bamboo pole, duck (gaffer) tape – that should do it …

Now some wind please !!