Saturday, 13 June 2015

RAF Northolt Open Day 2015

This was my - asked-for - birthday present from the Swan Whisperer.  At first we thought we wouldn't be able to go, as tickets were sold out, but they released more tickets if you went on public transport.  They said that Ruislip Gardens Tube Station was about 10 minutes' walk from the entrance.  Which, indeed, it was - but what they didn't say was that it was about twenty minutes' walk from the entrance to the actual site! 

And the weather didn't co-operate at all.  It wasn't really raining, not really, but there was very thick, low cloud, and most of the flying displays had to be cancelled.  We couldn't even have the Queen's birthday flypast, and, indeed, the news says that much of the flypast in central London had to be cancelled.  So although there was a Chinook helicopter
driving about, it couldn't go through its paces, and another aircraft landed and stayed that way.

And it was cold!  We decided to avoid the fast-food trucks and their queues, and instead bought rather delicious Portuguese ham and cheese rolls, and later went back to that stall and bought two strawberry tartlets, which were equally delicious, but rather sticky.  We wandered round the area, looking at a few aeroplanes (they said there would be 30 in the static display, but there so weren't - about five or six at most!) and vintage cars and fire-engines.
There was a modern fire-engine, too, and a queue of children waiting to make its siren sound.  There were also a set of pedal-cars in the shape of vintage planes which the children were very much enjoying - I couldn't take a photograph, for obvious reasons.

We found a bench and sat down to eat our strawberry tartlets, in front of the arena where the RAF band were playing, and very nice too:
There was an ancient bi-plane buzzing around while this was happening, but none of the shots I aimed at it came out!  Ah well.

After this, we decided to call it a show, and set off on the very long walk back to the bus stop (we regretted not having caught the bus up to the gates), but just as we did the sun came out, and the Sally B, the only Flying Fortress (B17) bomber still flying, was able to come and display:

We thought we'd just missed a bus, but luckily another came along so fast behind that we had to run for it!  And again, we almost had to run for our Central Line train, but it meant no waiting.  And by the time we got back to Brixton, the sun had come out - too late, alas, to rescue the day.  Which was enjoyable, but really, since what one goes for are the flying-displays, a little bit of a bust.  Oh well, what do you expect in the British summer?

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