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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘crew

The Oil Spill. The Bottom Line. What Obama’s Forgetting.

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BP hired them so it is taking responsibility but…

Catastrophe

…the oil rig was American.

…the crew was American.

…the blowout preventer and other safety equipment that failed was American.

…six of BP’s 12 main board directors are American.

…40% of BP’s shareholders are American.

So when the first black American president suddenly starts calling it “British Petroleum”, a name it moved away from 12 years ago because it simply wasn’t accurate anymore, what is it but blatant racism?

This is shockingly grubby behaviour from a man who I was trusting on his platform of integrity.

He’s blown that idea just as sky high as Deepwater Horizon.  He’s also forgotten who are his and his country’s most steadfast friends in the world.

If the Yankees, who squander the world’s resources and pollute the environment more than any other nation on the planet, think they’re going to stick this one on us, they need to think again.  They need to get their collective brain into gear and start doing something useful.  The anti-British rhetoric that has been coming from the States, from whining journalists and politicians as well as Obama,  is ludicrous, disloyal and not worthy of them.

We are entitled to expect much, much better from those with whom we stand shoulder to shoulder.  When the chips are down we are the only ones you can always rely on.  You are a young nation in the history of the world.  Now is the time to grow up and take responsibility.  Stop passing the buck.

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Walking The Dog 2

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In memory of a fallen comrade

Walking The Dog 2

Apart from herons and wealthy, attractive, single women (which seem to be virtually extinct), the main focus of our daily rambles is sticks.

Of course, sticks come in all shapes and sizes but Capone prefers something, shall we say, robust. I suppose the ideal is about four feet long and perhaps three inches thick but the crucial factor in stick style is the way it is carried. It must be held at one end, not in the middle. I think Capone believes this is more flamboyant in the same way the way that a quiff or fringe sweeps back or a fighter pilot’s scarf flies to one side. Of course, even the most perfectly fashioned stick is merely debris on the ground until I have thrown it. Then it becomes the most exciting, the most important thing in life and if it is thrown into the sea he would swim until he sank before giving up the chase.

At the weekend we tackled Thorney Island, all the way around – an eight mile walk in a force eight gale. Out along a one mile dyke, straight as an arrow, then pass through the MOD security gate keeping to the public footpath beyond. The oystercatchers are still here on Thorney although in much smaller numbers but another mile or so on and we put up a roe deer. In the open, not as you usually see them in woods. It ran and Capone ran too but made my heart burst with pride when he responded immediately to the signal, dropped and looked back at me. We watched it run two, three hundred yards inland and continued on our way.

As you approach the most southerly point on Thorney you see to your right the end of Hayling Island and to your left, East Head at the tip of West Wittering. Between is open ocean and a direct line to the Falklands. A couple of months ago when we first made this journey, I spotted an Army Land Rover ahead and we found two men laying the foundations for a bench in memory of a “fallen comrade”. Now, the bench is there. It’s not the usual railway sleeper design. It’s much more elegant and the inscription reads “In memory of Steve Jones, 264 (SAS) Signals Squadron & the crew of ‘Hilton 22’”.

These were our boys, shot down just north of Baghdad three years ago. If I had a son who died a hero in the service of his country, I could think of no more poignant and intense place to remember him amidst the wind, the sea, the sky and the solitude.

Capone and I duly honoured their memory and sat for a cigarette, he accorded the privilege of sitting beside me on the bench for such a special occasion. We remembered them, lachrymose old Welshman that I am.

Thorney turns much warmer and gentler as you move to the east side away from the wind. Nearly seventy years ago, other young heroes took off from here during the Battle of Britain. Now the RAF sailing club provides the local excitement and past Thornham marina and Emsworth harbour back to the mainland.

A pint of beer never tastes better than when you deserve it. So with aching legs and an exhausted dog we made a brief stop at the Bluebell Inn before home for sustenance and sleep.

In the back garden lies a pile of sticks, proudly retrieved, collected and preserved. Out there in the wind and the rain a pile of sticks fashioned into a bench remembers much more than another walk with the dog.

Peter Reynolds 02-04-08