Sunday, May 13, 2018

Readers Write


An assorted collection of emails in today’s Readers Write.

Thanks to all those who have taken the time and trouble to respond, always appreciated.

From Tobye P, an email in response to the post about Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, where the people in charge have added some features (a carving of Merlin’s face, statue, and more to come) to boost tourism, thereby angering the locals and the purists:

Hi Otto, I have mixed emotions about the situ in Cornwall, I understand the locals not wanting to be Disneyfied…and I feel that the castle is already an attraction and I don’t see how adding a relief or statue adds much to the charm either.

That said, they are both tasteful and they should thank whatever Gods they fear that they aren’t actual cartoons or something really awful!

Regards, Tobye 

On the same topic, from Sandy B:

Just added Tintagel Castle to my “things to do” list for the next time we go to the UK.

From Charles X, in response to the Quote for the Day by Thoreau that “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment”:

Dear Otto

The first live play I saw was in 1971 when a school excursion took us to The Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli. The play was “The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail”.  Hayes Gordon was the director and he gave us a detailed introduction to the play before it started.  The play has always remained in my memory.

What made you choose Thoreau for today’s quote?


I responded to Charles that it was a random a selection.

One from Steve M that I had missed posting last month.  Steve’s email was in response to the program on the History Channel about the development of fighter planes in WW1 and the risks for pilots (parachutes were seen as cowardly and not used).  Steve’s email:

Good morning Otto,

Your Bytes today about planes and the courage of pilots and crew has prompted this note. During a recent visit to South Africa Diane and I had the distinct honour of visiting a nursing home and meeting a gentleman who was in the R.A.F. during WW2.

His allocated position was as the lower gunner beneath the belly of the plane, but said he often swapped with the rear gunner. I thought about that for a moment and said “wasn’t that the most dangerous position on the plane?” He replied, “Yes, I was a bit vulnerable sometimes.” When fighters attacked the bombers one of their first targets was the rear gunner – with him out of action the fighters could buzz around the rear of those lumbering giants and shoot them down at will – fish in a barrel.

The gentleman owned up to going on 16 sorties (his daughter told me there were more) and he finally ‘copped it’ when he ‘unofficially’ took up the rear gunner position on a bomber when he wasn’t even scheduled to fly at all. He wouldn’t tell me why, he simply said it had ‘something to do with a mate’.

He made it back to base, the plane badly damaged and virtually crippled. How the pilot landed the thing was, apparently, a miracle. The rear gunner was badly wounded (again, he wouldn’t tell me about that) and the plane crash-landed in England. The gentleman lost a leg and suffered massive life threatening injuries but amazingly he survived, and if I have the story right, he was the only one who made it out of the wreckage that day.

The thing that fascinated me more than his undoubted courage was how relaxed and lackadaisical he was about even being on the plane at all. He was rostered off and was not due to fly until the next day. When I questioned him about that again, before he deliberately changed the subject, he said, “Well, I did it for a mate.”

Best wishes always


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