Sunday, July 29, 2007

Just a little bit SCARY!

Yesterday, I finally managed to get a break and found a good weather day when my 3 times cancelled microlight flight (I now know it’s really called a “flex wing”) was a GO GO GO!

Mrs DeeJay and I had to get up at 6 a.m., drive to the back of beyond near Rochester (UK that is) to meet my pilot at 8:30 a.m. After climbing into my flight suit, donning gloves, a weird type of balaclava, earphones and a helmet I had a very brief briefing and we were away!

A 1000cc engine propels this thing at anywhere between 40m/p/h and 80m.p.h. and we were incredibly quickly at 1700 feet. For 60 minutes we flew along the Medway River, across The Thames and up as far as the QE2 Bridge at Dartford before we had to turn as at that point you start to encroach on the airspace of London City Airport and you certainly don’t want to start playing with those boys – they are in an entirely different league.

Back to Rochester, once again avoiding that airfield, flying over

- Bluewater shopping mall (already filling with cars),

-The London Golf Course (deserted – but hey what do you expect at the sort of membership fees they charge!),

- Brands Hatch (getting ready for next weekend’s World Superbikes)

and many other really fascinating views that you only normally see from the motorway.

I don’t think it is something that I now want to take up as a hobby. It is far too cold, noisy and hard work in any sort of turbulence. Oh yes, I did actually fly it when we were airborne. That was the SCARY bit!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Photo Friday

I'm feeling a little whimsical today as I think I have been rather too serious of late and need to lighten up a bit.
This is a collection of photos that someone close to me pointed me at the other day and are all examples of fantastic shutter control timing or maybe simply fantastic good luck.

and ... the piece de resistance ...

Have a great weekend

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

British Flood Disaster

In order to gain a wider audience for the discussion that I have been having with Shirl over on her blog, I thought I would make a post of my own about the trauma suffered by thousands of folks here in the UK over recent days due to torrential rain causing severe flooding where it has never occurred before. I think Shirl's post of Tuesday 14th July just about sums up the emotions of sadness for the poor folks affected and of anger that once again too little is being done too late to help.

I also point you to Raedwald's post also of Tuesday about the government's potential treasury windfall arising from this disaster.

PLEASE - Give To The British Red Cross National Flood Appeal

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What a Girl!!!

This is the best laugh I have had in ages!
I heard it on the car radio this morning and was sat at the traffic lights with tears running down my face. I just hope everyone who saw me was listening as well.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Next Challenge

What is it about me that needs a personal challenge every few years?

There have been the seemingly endless list of Formula Ford Racing, 4x4 driving tuition, hot air ballooning, microlight flying lesson, light aircraft flying lesson, sailing lessons.

There was the challenge to learn to drive a 40 ton HGV truck – achieved with only a total of 24 hours tuition and never used since.

2 Years ago I decided to learn to ride a motorcycle for the first time in my life. Passed the test, bought my beautiful red VFR, passed my advanced riding test and wondered why I hadn't done it years before.

Now I am on the verge of deciding to learn to play the guitar. I have spent time this weekend in a couple of music shops as well as time last week talking to Furtheron and a non-blogging colleague to get their advice.

I am getting set to commence learning after the end of the summer when I have had my holidays, when all of the summer distractions are gone and the winter cold and dark nights are upon us.

Watch this space! I won’t ask you to listen unless I get there.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Weekend Trivia Postcript

So here are the promised pictures of the proud swans and their two fluffy cygnets. I am pretty pleased with them from a camera phone.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Weekend Trivia

Despite some horrific weather at times over the weekend when thunder storms turned the daytime into night and in advance of the storms there were swarms of storm flies in the air, it was a pretty good weekend over all.

I managed to get to the golf course and played to my handicap, I spent some time in the sun on the allotment and also in the garden. The potato crop this year was extremely disappointing with most of it having gone rotten underground due to the wet weather. I harvested some lovely beetroot, broad beans (very sweet), some radishes and cabbage. At long last the runner beans seem to be getting going!

Yesterday Mrs DeeJay and her mother went for a long walk (6 miles) along the Royal Military Canal and ended up in a nice pub in Appledore.

Why is it I always remember my camera when I am already on my way? I really must try harder to remember it. I took some photos of a pair of swans and their two cygnets on my camera phone I must download them tonight to see if they are any good. They better be as I put myself into some danger to get them with Mr Swan taking a hissing dislike to me and telling me to go away in no uncertain tones.

We also had a classic motorcycle show and jumble in the village and there was some real nostalgia with 1950s/60s triumphs, BSA and Nortons on show, and yes you have guessed it – I forgot to take my camera there as well!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

A Little Bit of France in South East England

Sunday was the 3rd time that Le Tour de France has visited the shores of England.

The first time was in 1974, when the authorities deemed it “impossible” to contemplate road closures as it would be far too problematic so the cyclists had to repeatedly cycle up and down the newly completed but as yet unopened Plymtree by-pass. Then again in 1994 and now 13 years later they were here again. This time far from refusing to close roads, it seemed that at least half of Kent was closed off!

However, undeterred and prompted by superb weather, Mrs DeeJay and I dusted off, oiled and mounted our own trusty steeds (they have not been on the road for probably over a year!) and cycled about 7 miles to a vantage point on the route. How convenient that just at that access point there was a convenient pub with good beer and a lunch menu with a well placed grassed area from which to see the race.

Some 2 hours ahead of the cyclists we began to see the “caravanne” of team support vehicles, sponsors and carnival like vehicles along with dozens of English and French motorcycle police. It was a good job that we didn’t blink as the cyclists came past at they did so at a tremendously fast pace and were gone again within 20 seconds.

Just time for one more pint and then the cycle home again. After going to the gym in the morning, cycling nearly 15 miles, to say nothing of the beer, I slept like a log last night!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My New Discovery AND Inspiration

I expect that many of you guys out there will be telling me that I am way behind in the street cred stakes as I have only just discovered Rod & Gab.
However I think that they are awesome and have inspired me even more to try to bring forward one of my retirement plans to learn to play the guitar. If you haven't heard them before, there are plenty of these on YouTube. Just listen to some of them without watching the video and you will believe that there is at least a trio if not a quartet playing!

So watch out Furtheron, I will be looking for advice on the best way to get started pretty soon :-)