Skip to main content

Big Fella

From what I understand may be the rules, I've a welcome gap from being a councillor for a few days, as there's a limbo period between the election and the formation of the new council. There's a real temptation to speak freely for the first time in four years but I'll resist it!

A good day at the first airshow of the season yesterday, with the Vulcan making it's very noisy and impressive appearance. Not only did it set off car alarms but almost shattered my eardrums, as I was standing on the opposite side of the runway display line when it climbed with full power directly above me.

Taking part in my own first-time display, I don't know what was more worrying, the prospect of 'cocking-up' the tight routine in front of 5,000 people of the potential to dig a small crater if I got it wrong. As it was, it all went pretty well, although I couldn't hold 200 feet along the display line in the strong wind and ballooned up to almost 300 feet as we came through with the glider pirouetting behind me.

It all rather reminded me of motorcycling. I used to write for several UK magazines in the 80s and 90s and would take super-bikes down to the track at Brands or Donnington and the low level work and tight turns felt much the same except that in the air, both hands and both feet are working very hard at the same time, with throttle, stick and rudder and your eyes are glued to the airspeed indicator and the altimeter looking for precise numbers.

The really hard work is done by Guy Westgate in the glider and having been there in there with him once, I can tell you that unless you have a cast iron constitution, you wouldn't want to repeat the experience!

Popular posts from this blog

Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

A Matter of Drones - Simon Moores for The Guardian

I have a drone on my airfield” – a statement that welcomes passengers to the latest dimension in air-travel disruption. Words of despair from the chief operating officer of Gatwick airport in the busiest travel week of the year. Elsewhere, many thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers turned in frustration to social media in an expression of crowd-sourced outrage.

How could this happen? Why is it still happening over 12 hours after Gatwick’s runways were closed to aircraft, why is an intruder drone – or even two of them – suspended in the bright blue sky above the airport, apparently visible to security staff and police who remain quite unable to locate its source of radio control?

Meanwhile, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, overtaken by both the technology and events, is reduced to sending out desperate tweets warning that an airport incursion is a criminal offence and that drone users should follow their new code of conduct. Yet this is not an unforeseen event. It was i…