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Palma.—The arrival of the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman in Palma brought back memories for me of when I found myself heading to the war in Bosnia aboard a U.S. aircraft following an extended visit! The U.S. aircraft carrier Saratoga had been a frequent visitor to Palma over the years. She was paying her last visit to the island and a group of people were invited on board. The idea was that we would sail with the carrier from Palma and be flown back later in the day. For me as a cub-reporter it was a dream come true. Not only would be sailing from Palma on board one of the world´s biggest warships, I would be catapulted off the flight-deck in a transport aircraft for the journey back home.

Everything was going to plan. We went aboard the carrier, sailed out of Palma, had a good lunch, an extended tour and by mid-afternoon we were ready to return. By this stage the carrier was off the coast of Minorca. We were given the necessary safety briefings, issued with a helmet, life-jacket and other safety items and boarded the plane. To be honest, I was slightly apprehensive. I had been told that the aircraft literally fell off the flight deck after the catapult take-off until the engines were started.

So there I was sitting in the aircraft waiting for the fairground take-off, when a U.S. sailor announced that there was a fault with the aircraft and there would be no take-off.
My fear and apprehension turned to panic. I was expected back at the Bulletin offices in the late afternoon. The captain gave us some good and bad news. The good news was that we would be flown off by helicopter; the bad news was that it wouldn’t take place until the next morning. I was now in a complete panic. I was expected back at the office and also there was no way that I could inform them that I wouldn’t be in. I went over to the captain and asked whether there was any way I could radio my plight to Bulletin HQ. He looked at me and said “this is a ship of war, no unauthorised communications...”. But he did say that he would do his best. I wandered around the flight deck thinking that my career at the newspaper was over. Little did I know that the Captain of the Saratoga had got word to the Pentagon, who called my editor. The conversation went something like this: “This is the U.S. Pentagon, your reporter is fine but he is at an undisclosed location. He should return soon but I am not authorised to give any further information....”

So, after watching F14 Tomcats take off and land I spent the night aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier in a cabin I shared with three others. The Saratoga was like a city that never sleeps. Next morning we boarded the helicopter for the flight home. Exhausted, I feel asleep. Once in Palma I went straight to the Bulletin offices and for the next three days I was the victim of much leg-pulling. But what an experience!

London.—RAF Brize Norton is the home to Britain´s military fleet of transport aircraft. They supply British troops across the world with anything from food to ammunition. It is the biggest RAF base and on the frontline. But this week it closed down. The C17 giant transport planes, the Airbus Voyager refuelling planes and the Hercules transport aircraft were all grounded. Was it mechanical error, a cunning plan by the Russians or a cyber attack by some unknown persons? Well, noooo, it was all because of the eh......sun. The runway had melted. The only “scramble” taking place at Brize Norton this week was eggs, which the pilots had for breakfast!

London.—You can see why the Conservatives were once described as the “nasty party” after watching the leadership battle this week. After heated debates, toxic briefings against rivals and even smear campaigns it is difficult to comprehend that they are all on the same side. If this is normal behaviour I would love to be a fly-on-the-wall at cabinet meetings!

Camp de Mar.—I think you can safely say that a large number of people actually missed a sizeable part of the Bryan Adams concert because there were queuing for a beer.
It was a question of it is a hot, I am going to get a beer and then see the concert. Unfortunately, many people thought the same thing, hence the longl queues that formed.