My mum, the pilot

A great story and an exceptional Lady.

Hey Loons

Once upon a time, a little girl was told that women shouldn’t fly airplanes …

I grew up knowing ‘mum flew planes’. This was one of a series of simple facts in my childhood: my sister and I were born in London; our parents came from India; dad sang; mum flew.

She told us stories about her teenage flying days ‘looping the loop’ above the clouds and performing steep dives towards the ground. She’d show us her album filled with old sepia photos of her standing proudly next to a small airplane.

The logbook pages had rows of handwritten entries of all her flights, each a flying adventure and she spoke about them with excitement and emotion, tinged with a hint of longing to be up amongst the clouds again.

Our mum, Dhira Chaliha, got her flying wings in 1961, at the age of 21, in India and to us as…

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Danger and Humour? It can work.

me photo lane_phil rigby

Englishman Den Stone, and His American buddy, Ty Cross, typically find themselves in dangerous situations. The one thing that can be guaranteed in times of stress, for these two characters, is that somewhere, somehow, there is a breakout of humour at the strangest of times. Of course, this is very much the case in real life, for law enforcement agencies. Below, is an excerpt from “Credible Justice: Fighting Back.”
Read it and I think you can guess how these guys work together.

Cross crawled across the seat that Stone had vacated and exited the passenger side, racing to his friend’s aid while retrieving his weapon from his shoulder holster. Stone’s arms were extended, his left hand wrapped around the wrist that held the Glock pistol, pushing through the door frame of the target car, so close to Grainger’s head that a needle couldn’t find the gap.

“Good evening, guys,” Stone said.
Grainger was sweating, confused and frightened. “What do you want?”

“You,” Stone said. He looked at Mason, “And him too.”
‘You’re not American,” Mason said.
“I am,” offered Cross.
“What the *uck do you want from us?” Mason said. “Well, to start with, you can both get out the vehicle and assume the position.”
Stone threw a quick smile to Cross, who shook his head.
Stone stepped back from the vehicle, but maintained a shooting stance as Cross moved to the front of the Ford, keeping intense eye contact with Grainger.
Grainger opened the door and gingerly stepped onto the grassed area beneath him, guided out by Stone.

“Okay, assume the position,” Stone said.
“I don’t know what you mean?” He was shaking.
“Everyone knows what that means, okay, put your
hands in the air, move to the hood, and put them on the vehicle; after that, you spread your legs for me to search. Does that make sense?”
Grainger obeyed. “What you want?” he protested.
“You have a short memory.”
“One example comes to mind; Anna in London, does that ring a bell?” 
Grainger turned his head.
“Don’t think about looking at me. You are not worthy. Stay put while we get your mate out.”

Cross swopped places with Stone to oversee Masons exit. Within a minute both men were detained, under control and assuming the position.

“Are you okay with them, Den, if I move our vehicle?”
Stone nodded: “Yeah, I’ve got them in the assuming position.” Cross laughed as he walked to their vehicle. He reversed the BM away from the crash site and parked it on the verge, slightly off the road. He had a quick examination of any damage caused to it, but it was of no consequence. By the time he returned to the prisoners, Stone had moved them, forcing them face down to the ground, with their hands locked behind their heads. He gave thumbs up to Cross, now in the Ford and thirty seconds later, it was reversed twenty yards into the wooded area and slumped into a dip, covering its view from the highway. He returned to the prisoners. Mason moved both his hands and sprawled them on the grass in front of him.

“Uncomfortable?” Cross said, “Let me help you with your hands.”  He kneeled on Mason’s lower back, making him wince.
“Put your hands behind your back!”
Mason obeyed the instructions without a murmur, His hands secured with flexi cuffs. Grainger received the same treatment. Stone relaxed and harnessed his weapon.
“I’ll get the clothing out of our vehicle for you two. It’s getting bit cooler and dark.”
He returned with two hoods and they fitted perfectly over the detainees’ heads. Stone and Cross moved out of hearing distance to discuss their next move.
“Well that’s part one sorted, Ty. Have you any suggestions what we can do with them?”
“It’s about dark now, so we need to get them sorted. I guess Judy and Steve will want to join us as soon as possible.”
“Good, okay, I’ll check in with Maria and the other two.” He slapped Cross on the back, “That was great driving by the way.”
“I kinda enjoyed that myself. Den, just one question.”
“What’s that?”
“Have you ever asked anybody back home to assume the position?”
Grainger turned his head from side to side to ease the discomfort of having the hood over his head. He could breathe through it, but the material gathered around his mouth and nose, making life awkward. He had no use of his hands to adjust the hood into a better position and although he couldn’t see a thing through the hood, he could make out the fading light. His senses heightened, when he heard a grunting noise, followed by Mason speaking.
“What are you doing with me?” No response.
“I want to know what you guys are doing,” Mason repeated. He felt pain in the right side of his head.
Grainger heard shuffling noises and assumed it was Mason being dragged somewhere; he listened intently for any clue to what was going on around him. Instinctively, even with his vision blocked, he turned his head in the direction the sounds were coming from, and knew it was the wooded area. He shivered.
Bang! Grainger’s head lifted off the ground when he heard the shot. “Oh my God! Oh my God,” he wondered about Anna and how she was connected to his imminent death. He had regrets, regrets that the current circumstances brought to the surface. He regretted meeting Anna; he regretted getting involved with the drugs on the cruise ships and cursed his decision in coming back to the States. He snapped out of his thoughts when he heard the shuffling of shoes in the grass. The noise was getting louder and louder as his heartbeat got faster and faster in time to the steps. The noise stopped, but his heart didn’t.

Sports finest in one photo.

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It really is a small world; or at least a small Untied Kingdom.

Lee Brumpton, is a player for my local rugby team, Carlisle, which is situated on the edge of the Lake District in the north of England. Lee (Pictured centre) Is also the England Police Rugby Captain. Visiting Glamorgan in Wales, to play the Welsh Police, he happened to meet my nephew, England and British and Irish Lions coach, Steve Borthwick. (Pictured left as you look at photo) If that wasnt enough, Sam Warburton, the Wales and Lions Captain was there too!

Amazing coincidence, but fantastic all around.