The Fin Fest took place in the Knights Templar pub in London on Friday 7 February. It was a chance to meet friends, colleagues, from a long time ago, but I missed it. Because I was having a leisurely lunch with some of those friends and it took rather longer than we anticipated. One of our number is losing his hearing, so he didn’t want to go into the very noisy pub where he would not be able to understand a word said to him. I wasn’t that keen to go to the pub because it is owned by arch-Brexiter Mr Martin; and anyway it was very pleasant eating and drinking in the Natural Kitchen restaurant, although the bill turned out to be a bit of a stinger . . .
Two drone shots (using a Mavic Air), one of Gamlingay’s new churchyard and one of trees in Southill. Both views are a refreshing change from being on the ground.
And a “bug hotel” near the Gamlingay churchyard, followed by a bus shelter in St Neots. The latter has “Lest We Forget” on the perspex, along with poppies, but their existence the whole year round probably means that we have forgotten already . . .
And the UK-EU flag is an example of how we might well have forgotten: the combatants of the Second World War would have been proud to be part of a union of European nations, not desperate to leave as we did (nominally, at least) on 31 January 2020. An act of self-harm.
Turbine Tour: a school group wanted to see our wind turbine, the Gamlingay Community Turbine. The students were carrying out a project designing a turbine generator and I was able to provide them with the background to our turbine, for which I was the aviation adviser while the installation was planned.
It was also time for marmalade; this can be made only with Seville oranges, my expert tells me, so we have to take advantage of the supply from Spain at this time of the year. And sourdough bread . . . my expert is good at this as well.
A visit to the Algarve, east of Faro, to visit my mother. Boarding in Fuseta, a fishing village with holiday accommodation, the weather was cool, but mostly fine. One morning was orange, recalling the effects of the Australian fires.
The night shot is of the pub next to the church in our village. It is often the case, it seems, that the churchgoer can visit the pub after church; on the other hand there used to be a rule in devout communities that you couldn’t visit a pub unless you were a traveller, and a traveller was someone who had travelled at least three miles. So if a pub was at least three miles from any other habitation, every visitor was a “bona fide traveller” (see Playboy of the Western World by Synge).
A walk in Riverside Park in St Neots yielded some low-sun shots that I wasn’t expecting to be successful. I worked at the positioning of the bikers and skaters, but I was very pleasantly surprised at the dynamic range available from my new Fuji X-T30.
The pond shot is from Wimpole estate, a low reflection shot towards the Wimpole Folly.
I had occasion this week to travel to London for a talk at the Royal Aeronautical Society– on UAVs (“drones”) – given by an academic who has studied the effects of this sort of warfare on its operators. It was an interesting talk, but one which made me glad that I have never had anything to do with such operations, directly at any rate.
I managed to grab a few photos while I travelled; I started with the scene of food wagons arranged on the forecourt of this near-derelict London Club, the “In and Out”, as it was called by some. I’m glad that it is being used for something, but it’s a real shame that such a grand building is so neglected, particularly given the lack of affordable housing available in the country and in the capital. Of course, if this were split into affordable housing some “entrepreneur” would sublet it for vast profit.
After the talk I wandered back to King’s Cross, but only after I had visited the monument Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner.
To get back to Piccadilly I used the subway where I found this small encampment. It provides the occupant with privacy and some comfort, perhaps, but it will not stop night revellers abusing the occupant; the comfort must be illusory . . .
There is quite a contrast between the subway tent and the scene above ground; or with the scene at the recently-refurbished King’s Cross Square:
I broke the valve stem off one of my bike tyres so visited St Neots for their bike shop (Broken Spoke). While in St Neots I found the High Street closed off for a parade: the local Royal Air Force Air Cadets were being granted the Freedom of St Neots in a ceremony in the main square. I had a look at the officials and the audience.
On my way through town I noticed this couple on a bench; that could be me before too long . . .
And here is a happy announcement, seen on the side of the road in the middle of the countryside:
You have about 2 minutes’ warning on our street when one of these highly powered polluters is approaching. They whistle occasionally, but it’s the sound of the wheels, rubber covers barely effective at muting the trundle, that tells you a steam traction engine is not far away. And although the smoke is probably much worse than most diesels on the road, the sight and sound of these machines are balm to the soul.
I drive home on different routes, but sometimes I drive past Old Warden airfield, home of the Shuttleworth Collection. Before I reached the gate I could see and hear an interesting engine which turned out to be that of a Hurricane – one of the three of the Collection.
The Hurricane had been flying with this delightful machine, a DH89a Rapide. This venerable old lady has been around a good while and it’s amazing to me to consider calling it an airliner, so small and delicate is the machine, so limited its capacity for passengers.