Vox Clamantis in Deserto
Vox Clamantis in Deserto

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Vox Clamantis in Deserto

Vox Clamantis in Desrto

Courtney's Journal - Man's Flight Through Life is Sustained by the Power of his Learning

Vox Clamantis in Deserto

It has been said that everybody has one book in them. Well, this is mine - Vox Clamantis in Deserto - and it's about me, Paul Courtnage, always known as Courtney for reasons you will discover in these pages. Think of this as a blog or online journal, if you like. If you don't care for introductions you can jump straight on to Chapter One to start with the story or to the Contents and Index page to find a particular tale, article or event. I once heard it said that words are the most important weapons in the arsenal of life - so here are some words.

Vox Clamantis in Deserto is somewhat rambling, even eccentric, sometimes genuine, in places fun, in parts sad. Sometimes revealing, sometimes contrived to conceal - but only where necessary. Its purpose is to record certain events from my life: not everything, obviously, but enough to afford an overview and to detail those points that I felt needed to be made. I have included that which I considered important, funny, interesting or was simply required to put the record straight. In some cases, I have included some historical detail to explain what was going on at the time or to record something that seemed consequential.

You may feel that certain important events or significant people or events don't receive the coverage they should. It is, of course, vital to remember that we all see life from different perspectives. When you look at a cloud you may see the form of a rabbit whereas I might see a wheelbarrow. No matter which way you look at it, it's still just a cloud. Equally, that which is significant to one person may appear irrelevant or imbalanced to another. Certain items may have been omitted because I didn't want to write about them. Alternatively, and more likely, I may simply have forgotten.

So, why Vox Clamantis in Deserto? Well, it means literally A Quiet Voice in the Desert, or A Still Voice in the Wilderness. It's relevant for two reasons. First, throughout my life, there has occasionally been a small voice in my head to warn me if I was about to do something really stupid - unfortunately, not every time I was about to do something stupid! Second, if you have ever stood in a desert, you will know that a small voice there is unlikely to be heard. Many are the times when I have understood the futility of being that still voice trying to reach those that could not or would not hear. I suppose I could have called it My Autobiography, but that would have been terribly unimaginative and failed to encompass the wealth of other neat stuff it contains. Perhaps What I did during my life by Paul Courtnage aged 4¾. Yeah, maybe, but I like the nickname Vox so I think I'll stick with that, if it's all the same to you.

So, Vox Clamantis in Deserto is a tasty mixture of stories from my life and stuff that went on around me; a collection of experiences, anecdotes, thoughts and imaginings. The only person that was there to see it all was the one that dwells inside my head and that individual wasn't always paying attention. So it may not always be totally correct, but at least where it is inaccurate it is conclusively and incontrovertibly inaccurate. Besides, most tales worth telling improve with the passage of time purely because the ugly facts tend to get vanquished by embellishment.

Disclaimer: It is worth mentioning, at this point, that I repudiate everything contained herein. I affirm that some passages may have been exaggerated, made up or (less likely) could be true. In any of these cases, if you are offended by what you perceive then consider this: I am simply reporting my opinions, forged in my mind by the rest of the world. That, incidentally, makes it all your fault, not mine. I have tried not to comment on people unless it is to illustrate a point or to use them as an example. If, in so doing, I have incurred anyone's disapproval, I'm sorry - although not very.

I suppose it all comes down to the fact that you shouldn't really be reading this anyway. I was always told that it is extremely rude to read someone else's diary. So, if you don't like what I think or are easily offended, go and read something else and certainly don't bother complaining to me about it. You are, of course, entitled to your own opinion, just don't take it too seriously and remember it's mostly just a bit of fun. If you find you're getting bogged down in any one bit you can always scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the button marked Next Chapter and you'll find yourself in a new place. There are also buttons to jump over certain items, should you so wish. Look out for great pictures, buttons to click to watch all sorts of videos and bits of music I've made for you. I've also bunged in loads of links so you can reference things I mention and tags explaining unusual terms and acronyms, which you can activate just by hovering your mouse over the bothersome expression. Also, if you would like to contact me, you can do so by clicking on the Email Courtney button at the bottom of each page; thanks to all of you that have emailed me already - it's great to hear from you all. Finally, there is an index to all sorts of stuff at www.projectoceanvision.com/vox-contents.htm.

So, here we go! It may bring a smile to your lips; I sincerely hope it will. It may inform you; it certainly should. It may make you angry; it really wouldn't surprise me. So my advice is to chill out, enjoy it and, please, listen to 'the voice'.

Below are a few photographs of my family and ancestors - really just for interest. Actually, I have a great secret about my ancestry, but you'll have to wait until much later for that - Chapter 13 in fact. Also, a map of where the action takes place, courtesy of Trip Advisor. See you in Chapter One.

Vox Clamantis in Deserto   The Burdfield family
The Burdfirelds - my maternal great grandparents.

On the left is Edward Burdfield (born 1863), a transport pilot on the River Thames and son of James Burdfield, a blacksmith. Edward married Alice Lutman on the right (born 1864).

The girl in white, Alice Mary (born 1889), was my maternal grandmother, who died in 1980.

Below is Alice and her husband, Bertie, a carman for a coal and seed merchant. He lived in Fareham, Hampshire.  The only details I have so far found of his parents are that his father was Thomas, a market gardener, who died sometime before 1912.

Gilbert Courtnage
Gilbert Courtnage, father of Harry (below)

    My Maternal Grandparents
My maternal grandparents

Maud and Harry Courtnage's wedding day
My paternal grandparents, Harry Courtnage and
Alice Maud Kewell on their wedding day.

    Ken and Phylis Courtnage
My parents, Ken and Phyllis Dorothea on their
wedding day.

Kenneth Courtnage, Julia Courtnage (now Stapleton), Phylis Courtnage and Sandra Courtnage (now Burton)
Mum and Dad with my sisters, Julia and Sandra, outside Buckingham Palace after Dad had received his OBE.

    Lancaster Bomber
My father flew the Lancaster bomber during
World War II...

Sunderland flying boat
...and the Sunderland flying boat after the war.


Paul Courtnage
And finally, me. Sqn Ldr Paul Courtnage aka 'Courtney'

Paul Courtnage

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