After the visit to Petra we stayed in a Bedouin camp called Bait Ali, in the Wadi Rum area. We arrived after dark, perhaps fortunately for nothing was as it had been on their website. Amongst the issues were two shower stalls in the men’s ablutions to accommodate a camp of over 50 tents.
The next morning brought a desert scene of great beauty. I was up before sunrise wanting to get something out of the place and was rewarded by a derelict bi-plane on a stone plinth, the best photographic model I could hope for, with her broken canvas, sun-bleached paint and the droppings of the birds nesting in her.
I am reminded of a poem I wrote about dead aeroplanes when we were in Mayfield, Surrey for our son’s wedding eight years ago. That weekend they were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and we were close to Biggin Hill, the famous fighter plane airfield.
Seventy Years Ago.
I saw a plane in the sky, tumbling
High above an old grass airstrip.
That night I heard the wail of the Stukas
In the newsreel of my mind.
And I wondered,
I wondered where all the dead planes were
In those green English woods.