August 2006
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Week 31
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A few days later we're back in Hatfield Forest, this time with David, Vicky, Oliver and Amy for a picnic.

Week 32
Week 33
Week 34
Week 35
This week sees the start of a weird spell.  On thursday 10th August I get up early and take a taxi to Stansted Airport expecting to walk onto a flight to Blackpool for the UK desk.

When I arrive at around 6am the place is in utter chaos. 
I call the news desk to learn of a terror plot that has been foiled by the police leading to a massive increase in air security. 

It soon becomes apparent that there is no way I'll be flying today so I decide to take lots of pictures and send them to the office via my PDA and Pocket Phojo software.  You can see the results here

The above image is a grab of the "splash" front page of the BBC news site with my picture on the lead story.  I was the only photographer in the airport for a number of hours and even sent some mobile phone footage to be used on News24.
It gets weirder.  I'm one day away from taking nearly three weeks leave so I can be with Lydia for the rest of her Summer holidays when I get packaged off to the Lebanon.

In all I'm there for ten days, some in Beirut but most of it in the south of the country, principally in al-Khiyam. 

To get there we have to fly to Damascus in Syria and then drive to Beirut. On arrival having had no sleep on the night flight we head to the town's southern suburbs to see the devastation.

It's the start of an amazing trip.  I've posted a few pictures here but you can see more in the links to the BBC site and my Flickr account.

All links in week 34

The two pictures on the right are from the area in Beirut that has been flattened.  Most of the town is untouched but the area near the Hezbollah headquarters is just acres of rubble.  The banner has been added by Hezbollah's media team.

Almost every bridge on the main coast road was destroyed by the Israeli airforce. One driver didn't see the rubble and hit it hard, the medics were on hand as we arrived.

Al-Khiyam is a small town very near to the Israeli border.  Whilst here we heard shelling as well as Israeli F16 and drone aircraft. 

There is little of the place left but re-building is now underway.

The residents are very friendly and everywhere we went we were offered food and coffee, even by those who had nothing left.

^ Me in Bint Jbeil
< These kids were using rubble for a ball so on our return to the village we hunted high and low in the toy shops en-route so they could play properly.

< Communication was a problem.  The mobile network was running but there was no GPRS signal so whilst in the south we relied upon Israeli networks that could be accessed from high ground in Lebanon!  This is me sending some pictures on my PDA to London.

Whislt on the trip I also shot some 360 panoramic images, you can see a few in the links below.

The main risk was from uxb's and cluster bombs of which there were plenty, including one large one - you can find it in one of the galleries below.

Stories from the trip:

In the rubble of southern Beirut
The coast road
Lebanese villagers return home
A profile of Al-Khiaym
The prison at Al-Khiaym

Dangers await returnees
Lebanon's devastation sightseers
Laptop Link Up

My Flickr page

Lots more  I could write on this trip and thousands of pictures I could print, but I think I'll leave it to the links above to give you a flavour.
Back in the UK.  We flew out on one of the first flights to leave Beirut airport after it was opened following the bombing of the runway to Amman in Jordan, and then home to Heathrow.

With only one week left of the school holidays we tried to pack a fair bit in, including a trip to Audley End and Willows Farm.

September 2006
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July 2006