Don Hewson’s Children Soar





(Book 8 in the Don Hewson series)


I do not follow the movements of the Crown Prince of Bahrain because the Crown Prince’s movements are none of my business.

The Crown Prince often attends meetings in place of his father.

The Crown Prince cancelled a couple of our scheduled meetings because he had to go to important meetings abroad for his father.

That is fine.

Our projects are going well.

I do not need any decisions from the Crown Prince at the moment.

I have ordered the caissons for the four islands.

Island 1 is the airport island. It is not quite as big as Schiphol airport but it is much bigger than Bahrain currently needs.

The Crown Prince says that air travel will continue to grow, so bite the bullet and build a large airport now.

If when the airport is up and running there is clearly too much capacity then the Crown Prince will close the current airport and combine everything onto the island. That would free up flat land at the original airport for commerce, industry, and housing.

We will begin with Island 1.

Island 1 is the island I was originally employed to build when my friend and mentor Arthur Miller became ill and was dying.

Since then I have been put in charge of the entire project!

Island 3 and Island 4 are now to be combined, with a series of reservoirs which eventually will be full of clean water generated by solar power.

Islands 5 and 6 are also to be combined in the same way.

Island 2 will be built last. That is intended to be warehouses and factories for businesses connected with the airport.

There will be a series of bridges that will permit vehicle movement from island to island. As the two outer islands will not attract much traffic their road can be fairly narrow – one lane in each direction.

The pipelines will run on the sea bed under the bridges. There will be a pipeline from each reservoir island rather than having the islands sharing a pipeline. If one pipeline should be broken or contaminated, the other will still be operative.

Every island is to have wharves and a service road around the perimeter.

Islands 2, 3 & 4, and 5 & 6 are primarily anti-tsunami barriers.

If I was just building reservoirs each reservoir island would be a mile long by roughly eighty metres across. For engineering integrity and for safety I am building reservoirs that are roughly 80 metres square.

On each island there will be twenty reservoirs in line abreast.

The depth of each cell varies with the depth of the sea bed. The tops of the reservoirs are all fifteen metres above sea level.

I will need more than thirty million bricks for each reservoir island.

I sent an email to my friend Mark Johnson saying that the order will be for more than sixty million bricks.

“No problem” Mark has replied.

I have my friend Fan experimenting in China to work out how much rice we must cook to generate the starch water to make a cubic metre of mortar.

Mark Johnson has thrown in a couple of miles by eighty metres of a fabric that collects solar power. It will power the solar desalination and it will provide power for lighting the islands at night to reduce the navigation hazards.

When the Crown Prince had time to see me I was pleased to see the Crown Prince to tell him about progress.

I have even prepared a time line for the various stages.

Not being stupid, I have built in some slack all the way along.

The backup documentation for the timeline would be taller than me if it were all to be printed out.

I told the Crown Prince about my proposed deal with Mark.

The Crown Prince is pleased that I have saved him well over a million pounds on the cost of bricks and on the costs of solar power.

Given the huge numbers of bricks that will be needed the Crown Prince authorised me to get production going as soon as possible. The Crown Prince wishes me to assign someone trustworthy to be my representative at the brickworks in Spain.

The Crown Prince is pleased with my time line. He had expected the project to take longer.

Then the Crown Prince looked sad.

The Crown Prince changed the subject.

“Mr Miah.

“Bahrain is a proud country but we are a small country.”

I said nothing.

“We do not have a large population.

“We do not have large armed forces.

“We have to accept that in terms of influence we are not the equal of Iran and Iraq and Saudi Arabia.”

I nodded.

“Yes, sir.”

“We cannot stand alone against all three of Iraq Iran and Saudi Arabia when all three are united.”

“No, Your Royal Highness.”

Why is the Crown Prince telling me this?

I do not follow diplomacy or politics unless they impact upon me in some way.

Why is this information relevant?

On what topic have Iran and Iraq and Saudi Arabia all been on one side and little Bahrain all alone on the other?

Why has that not been on the television news?

Why is the Crown Prince telling me?

“Have you been following the problems of safety at Holy Mecca?”

Every Muslim intends to go on pilgrimage to Holy Mecca if and when they can afford it. Apart from being a holy duty it is something that we all wish to do.

I have not gone on pilgrimage yet.

First I was too poor and since then I have been too busy.

We must have our personal and business affairs in order before we can go on pilgrimage.

I was planning to take Shakoora when our children are grown up.

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