More than 40 years have passed since Britain fought a secret war in Oman. Former Major Nicholas Ofield has returned for the first time since the conflict to retread his battlegrounds with his son, filmmaker Tristan Ofield. This blog contains excerpts from the production diary Tristan kept during filming.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Day 07

First night in a real hotel. When first driving off the Jebal saw flowers. As I've been starved of strong colour for a few days they seemed so vibrant.

Back out on the road now. The odd thing is it's 12:39 the sun is high in the sky, but it's so windy I'm freezing. My skin will be burning but I can't feel it. I'll have to put a shirt on soon to keep warm in the desert during mid day!
In the distance a caravan of camels walked towards me. Surrounded.  They stopped just looking at me for 5 mins. Then ALL took a piss in turn.... and left !?! 

The sun has just vanished behind the ridge and the temperature has plummeted. It's windy I think we're gonna be in for a cold one. Wind blowing from N to S. Had an hour after the sun set before the moon rose. Beautiful stars. The sort I remember from the desert. Didn't see the Milky Way though. Did a time laps of the moon rise but f***ed up the exposure. Went from pitch black to a moon so bright I have a shadow. Sleeping in a crater like Wadi. In this light I could be on Mars.

This is night

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Day 06

Woke up crying in my sleeping bag. Well unusual. Can't remember what I was dreaming about but it wasn't good. Woke up still pulling crying faces and with tears down my face. Took me a while to realise I was awake. Wish I could see what it looked like - coz my guess is the answer is S.T.U.P.I.D

Amusing myself with the fact that I'm walking round in 30 degree heat wearing a scarf.

Gone back to the ambush site to try a different approach. I hope we find something to get Dad's spirits up. This was the site of an ambush in which they lost a man. At the base of this tree one of the Adoo (enemy) was cut in half by the return fire from the GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun).

Where is all the gold? Just found a huge piece of shrapnel. Result! 

Followed by 2 303 carts, a 7.62 and possibly the core of an AK47 round. 

Massive avenue of coconut palms and grass lining tue approach to Salalah. The lamp posts are so ostentatious it's as if someone said "I don't want them just to light the way, I want them to say something more like - we have more money than you.

Down on the Salalah plains this is more of the type of heat I'm used to/was expecting. Baking. Ate bread fresh from the bakery. Smells great, tastes better! The beach opposite The Wadi Mugsail is beautiful. Mugsail itself epic fail. The whole mountain has been bulldozed to make the beach road. 

Old man very annoyed/upset/disillusioned. This was the site of a major operation. Now it's just flat.

What should the focus of the poster be? The diary? Dad? An old picture in Oman? Poster - could have a hand holding out a round with my secret war stamped round the rim.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Day 05

Got up while it was still cold to film the sunrise over the Wadi Darbat. 

Heard so many stories of this place over the years. Its less menacing than I expected... but then again I'm not being shot at while walking over it. Imagine incoming fire (which always has the right of way) would cause me to reconsider my feelings towards the place.  Today will be walking over the Darbat trying to find an old machine gun nest. Found a mortar round so far. 
11am. Sun now very hot - getting closer to finding what we're looking for. Spent 40 mins walking over the same ground because I lost my glasses.
Rules learned so far.
Rule no. 1 check shoes for Scorpians. 
Rule no. 2 don't p*** into the wind. 
Rule no. 3 don't sneeze into shermalk.
Rule no. 4 don't "put down sun glasses for just a minute." 
Noticed Dad is always very aware of where the sun is. Any direction he knows exactly where the sun will be.  Here now I can see why so many people before failed to cross the Wadi. Its totally open and whoever holds the high ground can see for miles to dominate the ground. Some Jordanian special forces tried but lost a lot of men. 
Found machine gun position!



Walked through a position where Dad was ambushed. Didn't find anything but an old Sanga. Met a man with camels who insisted in us helping to pull down branches to feed his hurd. Now I see why there is so little vegetation. Snapping branches off trees is hardly sustainable. The dude and his son had bare feet. Must have been hard as rock!! Got a great interview out of Dad last night. Had to adjust a stop after each question as the light was fading quickly.