Monday, 15 September 2008

Chocks away!

So there I am, hanging out the washing (on the Siegfried line). Sally's at school, Charlie's in bed, Sarah's at work. The sun's out, so I'm making the most of it by doing Sally's bedding, when.... Out of nowhere, in a clear blue sky, it's the Last of the Few, and I'm ducking (yes!) even though it must be a couple of hundred feet above my head. I swear I could see the pilot laughing. And, of course, I realise later when I'm passing hordes of chinking medals and unfeasibly long moustaches that it's been the annual Battle of Britain parade. One of the advantages (or not, maybe) of living close to RAF Coningsby is that whenever there's a military occasion, Boston gets a flypast of its very own. I once did an assembly on Guy Gibson, and thought that I'd be clever and introduce it with some music. But as the strains of the 'Dambusters' march began to fill the hall I looked down at the rows of upturned faces and I thought, 'none of them will have a clue what this music is about.' Until, that is, I heard the first faint 'rat-tat-tats' of gunfire from the lower sixth! There's something sinister, but also thrilling, about the rumble of the engines of the Lancaster, especially flanked by Hurricane and Spitfire. You can bet your life that Ginger, Pongo and the rest weren't doing the washing when their country needed them (thank God). And although I'm not a 'twitcher' (well, not so that you'd notice if you don't know where to look) I still like to see these old planes in the air. But not quite so low, and not - please not - when Charlie's sleeping. The Luftwaffe will just have to wait.

15 comments:

  1. I love flying. I always have. Excuse me for five minutes while I dream of what might have been…..

    ….and I’m back.

    At the time I applied for the Police I also had an application lodged with the RAF. I was never going to be a pilot, so I wanted to do the next best thing – LOADMASTER – I know, it sounds a bit dodgy doesn’t it.

    Anyway the Police came up trumps and I never got to hang out the back of a Hurcules. Darn it.

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  2. HI Dotterel! Catching up here...my that plane is thrilling. I think there is something so exciting, so terribly nostalgic and appealing about old planes like this....they whiz past, trailing something of the glory and honour of past wars and battles...

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  3. Hello there,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. Thought I'd come over and say Hi.

    You must be one busy man!

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  4. I had dreams of an RAF career too, Dave. (It's the only one of the services I'd have ever joined.) At least you still got to wear a uniform; leather elbow patches and a covering a chalk doesn't count.
    You're so right, Lavinia (nice to see you here again!). Needless to say, the washing wasn't hung until the plane was well and truly gone.
    Welcome, Suzy, Not too busy for a spot of blogging, as you can see!

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  5. great shot...amazing you were that close!

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  6. Well, I was that close - but it's not my pick. I was cowering beneath a pile of washing rather than taking pics. I know, I know...

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  7. Ah, what a beautiful airplane the Spitfire always was. You should have assembled your entire family (yes, including Charlie) in the garden to wave at it with handkerchiefs and with tears in your eyes!

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  8. At school I was an air cadet as the opportunity to fly seemed too good to miss. My only recollection of going up in a Chipmunk straight after lunch was depositing my half digested sandwiches in my lap after a couple of loop the loops. Loved every moment of it. I have three other fond aircraft memories...once at an airshow, a Vulcan V Bomber thundered overhead...effectively my first earthquake experience. My other has been able to say for the last twenty years that I've been on Concorde. It was alaways an impressive thing to say, but I always reluctantly revealed that it was at the Duxford Air Museum and cost 50p. Priceless. And third was when I treated the boy, a cousin and grandma in Cyprus to a helicopter flight. The boy was three and when the chopper took off, he left his big grin, and the rest of his face, firmly on the ground whilst the helicopter took off at a vertical rate none of us had expected!

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  9. We live very close to an RAF base and the boys have friends at school who live on it, interesting lives! One of the dads ran his son's party single handedly with a broken leg and 20 sugar-fuelled 9 year old boys saying if I can survive Afghanistan I can do this!

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  10. That's the spirit - made Britain great, and all that BTM! As for Air Cadets, that must surely be the only reason anyone joins. No doubt you'd have 'Land of Hope and Glory playing in the background too, Gadj.

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  11. We've been to three air displays this year, one paid for (Farnborough, to see the Vulcan) and two free (Bournemouth and Clacton). When the BBMF (Lanc.,Spit.,Hurr.)flew past I said to Troy Junior (aged 7) who was busy making sandcastles on the beach "they are the reason we don't all now speak German". He glanced up for a second then resumed his sandcastle building. One day he'll understand.

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  12. Love the Dambuster's march! Would you believe I played it in the school band (when I was a pupil) on a tour of Germany?! We had to rename it "Aces High" in the programme!

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  13. Love these planes, love 'em. Wow, what a chance sighting. There is something about the rumbling of those engines that is so, well, nostalgic, I guess.
    x

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  14. Very diplomatic, WM! You're right, Lune - you should have seen the crowds that gathered to watch this Sunday's flypast!

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  15. what a great shot - just as well he didnt crash into your washing! I used to love going to the RAF bases when I was little and living in Norfolk.

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