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, 26 June 2011

Day 13

Got stuck. Proper stuck. Wheels sunk so low the car engine was being supported by the sand. 

I've learned not to panic from an early age with Dad. An infinitely resourceful man with little limit to his practical imagination. After digging for half an hour to free the engine. We opened up the camp beds and dug them under the wheels in the hope the friction would give us just enough grip to get out. Down side was it would certainly f*** the camp beds for the rest of the trip. Considered using the deck chairs instead as they we're stronger but the canvas on the camp beds was longer. 6 and 2 3s
Sarcastically I was wondering where's all the locals now (just when we could actually use help. I looked up and there was a pickup truck coming towards us... 

I walked over and in my best Arabic told the driver we had a problem. He smiled and started letting down his tyres and attaching a rope to the car. Dad was still instistant on trying the camp bed technique first. I told him it was guareteed to work but why mangle the camp beds unnecessarily? 

Explored an old house. It was like being in Prince of Persia! Shame it's been used as a dumping ground. Beautiful rotten doors. A painted ceiling, palm tree roof and cool. Remember being told that the old Arab building designs are far more efficient than now with regard to keeping cool. Thick walls, high ceilings, narrow shaded streets. Here was a society evolved to live in the blazing heat now neutered by air con. 

Found the pages of an old book I've picked up for Jem. Very frail I hope they survive the journey.

Driving to Nizwa the mountain range on the left is shrouded in heat haze. It looks like the colour has been bleached. Stunning. Wish I could recreate it in Photoshop! 

Got a free walk round the Fort at Nizwa. Old man started jabbering with the attendant. As he was previously a soldier the guy let us in for free. The old man's approach to Arabic has changed from reluctance to free flowing enthusiasm.  This is the dialect he's most familiar with. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy watching him speak it. It's such a mystical sounding language. He's not bilingual he's translating in his head as he goes along. I remember asking a bilingual friend what language she thought in. She replied it depends what I'm thinking.

The Nizwa fort (even though restored) was like walking into a dream. Imagining ancient merchants gathers to trade dates, materials and chatties. Narrow streets lit by lamps, people pushing past each other some covering their faces for god others to hide. Funny last time he was here this was a working Fort. Now its a tourist attraction.

Explored an old Sooq in Birkat Al Mawz (Pool of Bananas). That was fun! Got some great pictures and a short Glidetrack video for Youtube.

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