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.
Dropping in at Old Warden airfield, near Biggleswade, is often a rewarding pastime, particularly at the end of a day’s work. Here are two old ladies, one a little punchier than the other: a Spitfire MkVC of the Free Czech Air Force and a Travelair 4000.
You’re not going to be bowled over at the excitement of an English Country Fête, particularly one at a very small village. But it was very pleasant to visit Hatley in Cambridgeshire and see the sights brought together by a few dedicated people, drink some tea and find a cake or two to eat without guilt (I was supporting the locals, of course).
English country gardens are traditionally beautifully colourful, vivid with different flowers and plants and perhaps a little messy. There was a competition at our local garden centre for which my wife asked me to take some photos.
But this hot-air balloon was merely something that I spotted near the A1, on the way to work one morning.
The Hay Festival has long been an object of some exoticism for us. Finally we had a chance to spend a few days in the area and participate. The talks were great, and this chap talked about the Glamour of Grammar, David Crystal signed my book, but I snapped this while in the queue.
The book shop in the tent at the Festival site was spacious, as it had to be when there were long queues of people waiting to have their books signed by the willing authors. This chap had to sit while waiting . . .
Normally I don’t like queueing, but my fellow audience members made for interesting subjects.