Come fly with Me

The choice on television in real terms is extremely limited if one does not want to spend a small fortune on buying videos or signing contracts for streaming services, then the content seems to be mainly repeats or soaps. We won’t mention the BBC (although I just did) which seems to think that we are all into cooking or gardening.

For some time, we were  watching ‘Challenge’ programmes until recently when it started to be repetitive, schedules, similar to the ‘Chase’ which has been running with various repeats for the last fifteen years or so, becomes tedious.

We changed to the ‘Really’ channel – still repeats but different ones. Just recently they have been showing a rerun of the ‘Antique Road Trip’ based on celebrities buying antiques and selling them at auction.  Whereas the programmes travels around the country seeking interesting things to buy, as an aside  they call in at places of interest, one of them this week was a visit to a flight museum where a ‘Lightening’ jet fighter was on display.

This specific version of the fighter plane, as the name was used for other varieties,  was developed just after the Second World War in 1947 by the English Electric Company and at ‘’mack two’ was four times faster than the famed ‘Spitfire’ of that period, it was also the quickest aeroplane built at that time throughout the world.

At one time there was one on show or at least parked at Biggin Hill during the late sixties, a beautiful looking aircraft with an odd layout of the two engines as they were aligned vertically, one over the other, different but with an ability to go faster than any other flying machine at that time  with the rapidest rate of climb, it is difficult to argue against the design.

I had applied for a PPL (Private Pilot’s License) and took  the course at the famous airfield, at that time it was still partly used by the military, a left over from  the  war where it had been in the forefront of the conflict with fighter planes taking off from its runways to attack the German invaders in the sky.

It was an interesting period, a time to relax away from the pressure of a busy business life, by being involved in something exciting and different.

The course is forty hours long and all aspects are included, as one would expect, to become proficient at handling the plane in flight. There are not many thrills that can compare with speeding down a runway, feeling the harshness of the ground beneath the wheels, pulling the stick back and  the smoothness of the wings as they give lift and very quickly becoming airborne as the earth drops away.

Biggin Hill at that time, although I see it has since changed, at the end of the main runway the land dropped away and there was a steep incline. When landing; as the pilot approaches to bring the aircraft into land it was necessary to increase power, an odd feeling,  to counter the downdraft of the wind and being sucked into the side of the hill. The story went that  a few fighter planes based there were lost during the conflict when the pilot did not react quickly enough to the down draft.

Flying for pleasure was fun, even a jolly  to go to France for lunch, or on other occasions using the facility for business meetings, all very necessary as keeping up flying hours is essential and important.

Tangled and Green:

Living in the valleys with the rustle of the trees and the fresh air is invigorating and generally there is very little noise as the population goes gently about its business.

Normally traffic levels are very low, that is until holiday time and weekends when visitors arrive, none of that is a problem and brings some life to the village and keeps the bars and restaurants busy.

On the whole motorists respect the lanes with their twists and turns. On a regular basis, various groups of motorcyclists visit the area to soak up the ambiance that is normally on a Sunday or holidays. Most drive with care but then there are others who see the lanes as a challenge to use their powerful two-wheel devices to see how fast they can go through the curves and bends of the country roads, some lean over so far that half their torso is over the white line as they hurtle round the network. Over the years this has resulted in serious accidents.

Once more this Sunday in late morning with a roar of exhausts motorcycles hurtled down the hill into the village. However, behind them on the road from Albatera leading to the mountain pass a motorcyclist, no doubt with the needle on his speedometer reaching its high echelons, went round a blind bend and hit an immovable object. As there were no skid marks on the road the rider did not have time to brake.

A needless depressing affair with three ambulances, police and breakdown vehicles at the scene for over an hour, after which the remains of the speeding device, an unrecognisable pile of tangled green metal lay at the scene very different to what it had been. A sad epitaph for the rider.

Parliament Gates:

While the horror of the war in Eastern Europe continues with cities being destroyed our politicians are busy with their gates – Party gates – Beer gates – discussions about a quick drink breaking the law.  Then out of the blue we have a new situation, an MP, who has resigned over looking at tractors in the Commons, or was it a Combined Harvester he wanted to buy which appearing on it was a naughty piece – I suppose this is called Blue gate.  Take care

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