Friday 6 July 2012

something in the air

Some days, things happen in threes. Mid morning yesterday, I heard an aircraft engine that sounded a bit old-fashioned, and leaned out of the window just in time to see a Chipmunk fly over.

That's Chipmunk as in De Havilland, as opposed to Alvin and the... the ones I used to go up in in my Air Cadet days, long ago when you put on parachutes that doubled as seat cushions, and waddled over to the aircraft and hopped in and pretended it was a Spitfire.

A little later I was down in Stokes Croft, picking up some prints from Niche, who had just scanned a painting for me (it's always a bit daunting looking around in Niche- there are so many talented artists in Bristol, and they all seem to have their paintings imaged and printed there...)

...and then we stepped out of the shop and saw a blimp flying over. "Quick, hold that!" I said to House Teenager, dumping painting, prints and discs into her hands as I reached for the camera.

I Tweeted about it, and almost immediately got a reply from the crew of the blimp!

(The Guardian thing refers to the Guardian Money's recent feature "Let's move to Stokes Croft" which suggests that you can be a member of the property-owning classes and still be, you know, a bit edgy, a bit of a revolutionary. This is the magic of Stokes Croft, gentle reader. Skinny latte, please, and one of those amusing Portuguese custard pies. Expensive, but artisan made. Yum.)

Later, I saw that Carol Mapley had posted a Youtube link on Facebook, of ATC gliding in the 70s. Goodness. It brought it all back. The smell of the grass, the gliders, the drogue chutes, the Land Rovers, the battledress serge overheating in the summer sun.... the rush of the "All out!" and the ground falling away at speed and then looking down from a thousand feet and thinking "Crikey! Did I just do that?"

I did, you know...


  1. Oh yes! My first flight was in a Chipmunk from RAF Abingdon, over the Vale of the White Horse. The pilot was a very cool bloke, one of the last of the Few still holding a pilots licence at the time.

  2. Ooh! A Hawker Hunter. I used to have an Airfix one of those and I painted it in FRADU colours. They had a few of them at Yeovilton back in the eighties and I used to cycle over to admire them and the Harriers.

  3. Ha - we saw that blimp from Steep Holm!

  4. Is that a Dinky Hunter? I had one of those! Meeeeeeowwwww!

  5. Lovely little aeroplanes, aren't they, Jenny? I fondly recall doing a stall turn above the Severn Bridge, and hanging over the vertical and hanging from the straps and looking up and seeing the bridge there and feeling really quite disoriented...
    They were for ever zooming around Cardigan Bay in the early 70s, Liz, when we spent our summers over there. They were based at Brawdy. Occasionally one would make a hole in a hillside...
    Funny, Cathy; some friends were in WsM while you were on Steepholm; their photo with the island on it has you in there somewhere, and vice versa presumably...
    It is, Andie, and it looks just like the one that flew under the Clifton Suspension Bridge, as this entirely authentic photograph will show