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Stormy Weather

“You’ll have to find it yourself”, says I , referring to the number of Google searches pinging this website for the name of the Website I refer to in my Computer Weekly column today. To be perfectly honest, it’s not worth a visit unless you want to feel sick and ashamed of yourself and the human race and the depths we are prepared to plunge to in the name of so-called entertainment.

My wife just reminded me “There’s a ton of rain on its way”, a change from yesterday when I was frying on the hammock in the garden. To be fair, I’m rather glad of the poor weather today, although the humidity is a pain. Without it, I would have been tempted to leave my study for the sunshine and would not have managed to have run-up the first part of a very long and “exciting” PowerPoint presentation on NHS IT and procurement for Dublin in September.

On Saturday, I took my daughter, Charlotte, over to Le Touquet and the Aqualud water park for the day. I wonder how many children it can take before it collapses under its own weight? The French very obviously don’t have the same health and safety concerns as we do in England and the polished artificial surface in the water park echoes to the rhythmic thud of children and adults slipping on it every sixty second or so, with some very nasty impacts as a consequence.

Certainly, Aqualud had the longest lunch queue I have ever been in. Forty five minutes to buy a hot dog and fries for the two of us for fifteen euros. Next time I’ll eat in the town on the way down to the beach.

Le Touquet on Saturday morning was once again hidden by sea mist. The two of us refuelled at Lydd, taking advantage of the VAT and duty-free Avgas and then pointed the nose straight across the channel and the localiser for Le Touquet’s runway 14. The ATIS were announcing poor visibility and special VFR permission into the airfield, which was keeping a proportion of the regular Saturday traffic away and by mid channel I experienced a strange optical illusion where I couldn’t see any line between sea and sky. In fact, I pointed to three dots and said to Charlotte “Do you see the three other aircraft”, which in fact turned out to be ships. As used as I am to flying over the sea, this was really quite disorienting and I fell back on the instruments to tell me what was what.

Ten miles out, I started a slow descent from 3000 feet to intercept the runway localiser but at five miles and still above the cloud the tower decided to change the runway to the opposite direction, 34 but kept me coming-in for an overhead join. At around 1,500 feet I aimed for the thinnest lump of cloud and continued the descent, “Cool”, said Charlotte not realising that at around 800 feet, I was starting to wonder where the cloud would end. In fact, we found ourselves clear at 550 rather lower than I’d like before joining the circuit to land.

No shortage of bicycles to hire for 10 euros and we cycled through the forest on the fifteen minute trip into town, just in time for the sun to break through. What followed then was three hours of madness in the water park and some quick wine shopping on the way back before starting-up the aircraft for an almost perfect trip back to Kent which seemed even warmer than Le-Touquet.

The Sunday Times reports that more and more Britains are buying-up property around Le Touquet and the Normandy Cote Opale and to be honest, I’m very tempted to move across myself. Take a visit one summer’s day and maybe you’ll understand why.


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