Sunday, 20 July 2008

"Cabin crew, please prepare the aircraft for take off..."

A couple of weeks ago we headed a south to Farnborough. Thanks to the joys of the M25, it only took us five and a half hours to do the two hour drive, after we drove about 10km per hour for about three hours.
The plan was to pick up Angus and Janet from the train in Winchester and meet Rod and Louise at a campsite near town... which is sort of what happened, with a bit of getting lost and driving round and round (and round) on the one way streets of Winchester in between times - England is lovely, but small medieval streets aren't always the best for finding your way at night, or anytime, really!

Kent was about as excited as he could be - he started organising this weekend in October last year! It's not surprising really, as his
Grandad worked at Farnborough Airbase in the late 1930s, he was a carpenter by trade and ended up working with the team that built the first Jet Engine - how cool is that?! If you're an aviation geek, it was a put in the Gloster E28/39 which flew for the first time 15th May 1941.
After a late night with rain pelting our tents - but managing to keep it all on the outside - we jumped on a train bound for the legendary Farnborough Air Show and we weren't disappointed, although we may have lost some of our hearing, as some of the military planes were mighty loud - including the Avro Vulcan, which was flying for the first time in 50 years... others were awfully clever (and brave), like the Red Arrows, who are a squadron of stunt flyers (2 of whom are Kiwis - not bad considering there are only 9 in the group)... then there was the pilot who had the new Airbus A380 up for a spin - we were lucky enough to be very close to the runway as it took off, and then watched (with Eryn convinced it was going to fall from the sky) as he treated it like a much smaller aircraft, not the cumbersome beast it looked like - he had it in some pretty steep banking turns etc - certainly not something you would see looking out over the tarmac at Christchurch International.

Another bbq that night - this time without the rain, which was a nice change, only that did make it a much colder both in and outside the tents, so we turned to Pimms and beer to keep us warm... not the most effective plan, but quite fun to try.
We wrapped up the camping palaver with games of batdown and french cricket, before heading in to look at Winchester, which, despite our repeated circuits, we hadn't really seen much of. It's such a lovely town (one of the many that proclaims itself to be Britain's oldest - who to believe) and was the capital of England in Saxon times. It was also the royal residence up until the civil war in the 1600s, when the cathedral was ransacked and the castle was mostly destroyed on the orders of Cromwell... There are some bits still standing, like the Great Hall, built by Henry III in 1222, which houses the 'original' round table which was made in about 1290 (Interesting - King Arthur was allegedly kicking around in 400 - 600, and is generally thought to be a made-up figure) but despite the questionable nature, it's still pretty damn impressive.
We also struck it lucky at Winchester Cathedral, as it's usually a fiver each to visit, but as it was Sunday it was free... or maybe because it was supposed to be closed - who knows? It was free! It's the burial place of Jane Austen and a few other luminaries, and in the lightning quick visit we snuck down into the crypt (we think we weren't really supposed to go down there, but there were no signs), before leaving without being growled at, or struck by lightning.
After seeing off the others, we took a Sunday afternoon drive out around some of the civil war sights, and had a walk in the country where Kent pinched and ate almost his body weight in broadbeans...yuck!
Then it was home and back to work for Eryn, and into summer holidays for Kent - lucky for some, huh.
Kent & Eryn x

1 comment:

Caro said...

I do read your blogs - just sometimes rather a long time after they are written. In theory I check it out every day, but that doesn't actually happen.

(Have you seen April's? - pictures of a pregnant April)

Malcolm was very excited about going to Farnborough too, especially trying to find the place his father worked. I remember rather a lot of walking in the heat and then lying on the grass watching the planes while Malolcm mentioned beached whales.

But one aeroplane is rather much the same as another to me.

Love, Mum/Caro. Off to see Louis play soccer tomorrow.