Mystery Plane

Is that KAI36? Maybe KA136? Regardless can’t find any information on what this might have been… perhaps it’s one of the famous ones? A Spitfire or Hurricane? It doesn’t look particularly large so maybe.

I like to think that my father drove his parents mad for a few months by refusing to wear any clothes other than these white shorts and a pair of sandals. “The boy is going native! What are we to do?!”

Pets and Animals

The pets that you get as a kid in Sudan or Iraq, at least under empire, are a little different than the cats and dogs in england.

My father often talked about his pet “antelope” in Iraq, which had to be kept in a tall cage to stop it escaping… and then there was a Mynah Bird. Lord only knows what they were feeding him! Not the bird, my father.

The pictures with the donkey are presumably in Sudan. I don’t recall hearing anything about the donkey… or the help. What a strange arrangement.

It seems incredible to me that such an ordinary family (my Grandfather worked as a furniture salesman when they eventually returned to england) would be in a position to have servants. A generation before they were working as servants in a house in Chelsea – wouldn’t it have seemed odd to them as well?!

Edit: this probably deserves a better scan, but i really like it.

Babylon Baghdad

These were fun to work out. The first is a statue of King Faisal I on horseback. There are a few other similar shots, one of which is on a postcard franked in 1953. The palm trees look the same. Case closed!

Next is the Lion of Babylon, which is famous enough for me to have known about, and to have a wikipedia page.

The final one required some effort. It’s not exactly a great photograph. There are some animal forms relief carved into a brick structure. It looked kind of familiar, but not much to go on. There were some other pictures that made me wonder if this was part of the temple complex of Abu Simbel, but the style is very different. After several hours distracted by that, i went back to searching for Babylon related things and finally realised why it looked familiar: it’s part of the Ishtar Gate, currently reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

The above, by the Dutch archaeologist Machteld Johanna Mellink, shows the same section of wall.

And about Abu Simbel. There are no pictures. Even though i can remember my father mentioning it… but usually in relation to some tall story about fishing off the Aswan Dam with twine and a meat hook and catching a huge Nile Carp.

Well, apparently he wasn’t making it up! Lets just ignore that he appears to be throwing a very unfashionable salute out of frame… nice pith helmet kid!