Wednesday, 11 July 2018

RAF 100 years

I am back after a period of lassitude and suddenly I have too much to write about, which in my opinion is sod's law as I haven't done much up until now!!

As you may know I look after my great nephew, 4 year old Will, every Tuesday and as this stops at the end of August, when he goes to school I decided to give him a treat.  The date (10 July) had been booked for ages as I wanted to go before the schools broke up for the summer holidays as we were planning to go to the Science and Natural History Museums.

BUT two days before I learnt about the RAF flypast that was taking place with 100 aircraft to celebrate 100 years since they were set up.  The flypast was taking place down The Mall and over Buckingham Palace with the Royal Family watching.

So we set out by train, with my phone number written on Will's wrist (brilliant idea from No 2 son) in case he got lost.  Our first stop was to have coffee with Mummy at work - the BBC!
Will excited to see Mummy at work
We had coffee in the Media Centre where you look down on the News Room but photography not permitted. 

This band (don't know who they are!) were setting up just outside the 'One Show' studio.  The reflection is the Radio Theatre studio where the public are admitted for recording of radio shows. We hopped on an 88 bus and headed down Regent Street that was hung with banners

by Joe Tilson to celebrate 250 years of the Royal Academy of Arts.  We got off the bus at Trafalgar Square and walked down The Mall

hung with the Union and RAF flags.  Poor Will was completely surrounded by thousands of people and being little didn't see much so started asking for lunch.  When I got us near the Victoria Memorial I sat him on the kerb and provided his lunch whilst I got ready for the flypast - and so follow lots and lots and lots of photos!
Pumas and Chinooks

… and at this point came the Dakota followed by the Battle of Britain memorial flight and I couldn't get my new camera to focus ****** - bad language.  Suddenly it worked
P120P Elementary training

Basic fast jet training

Military training


Electronic surveillance

Voyager air refuelling 

Intelligence and reconnaissance



and finally the wonderful
Red Arrows RAF Aerobatic flying team
and watching on the balcony were all the Royal Family

(L to r. Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Andrew, Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, The Queen, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Anne, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent) - phew!!  Click on the photo to get a better look.

Now it was Will's turn and we walked round St James's Park and saw various ducks, swans, a heron (in the middle of London!)  and the pelicans -
Three Pelicans

and Will told me all about how they stored fish in their beaks!!  We found this little house in the park that had a lovely garden
The productive kitchen garden
and a bug house

Not sure what species of duck (?) this is

A moorhen on its nest
Meanwhile we were walking past Horse Guards Parade where there was a reception going on attended by all the RAF personnel who had taken part in the day, including the arrival of the Earl and Countess of Wessex.  I did take a photo of this but it was not good.
The reception on Horse Guards with a number of aircraft on show.

I did wonder how these aircraft got there; was it under their own steam or on the back of a lorry?

Anyway as it was still 'Will time' we headed for Hamleys on Regent Street with its five floors of toys and after that met Mummy for a pizza and the fast train home very late.

NB - my apologies if I got any of the aircraft wrong as there were so many.  However do go to this link that I used RAF100 from their Facebook page.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Women's Tour

The Women's Tour was coming to Rushden; how exciting is that so I decided I must let you know all about it.

It is one of the biggest events to hit our small town since Rushden Lakes was opened last year and we were going to get the start of Stage 2 so I started planning what to see and photograph and then disaster struck.

Firstly I fell off my bike and have damaged my left leg, but that was not going to stop me but the major catastrophe came when I went to take a photo - my camera was not working!! It has been hard worked for about five years so I decided to buy a new one so I was very much a learner when I took the photos that follow. 

The day before, I went to Rushden Hall Park to see what was going on but it was all quite quiet -
Now owned by the Council and used
as offices

The start being built
The run from the start
Next day I was down in the park good and early and what a transformation and what a buzz of excitement. 
Motorbikes galore
Lead cars in place
… more motorbikes
Police road closure instructions
I did ask one motorbike policeman if there were any left in the county and he said only two were there and all the rest came from around the country, including Wales.

The 'Start' had been built from yesterday, the teams were being introduced...

WNT-Rotor a British team

Not sure who they were!!

BTC City Ljubljana

I wandered round all the different areas admiring the size of the accompanying vehicles

Noted our local councillors/mayors wearing their chains of office (you have to take my word for it) having a free coffee and a bun.

whilst the cyclists were warming up
 A member of Team Storey preparing
 and then I decided to make my way into town past all the motorbikes again.

I took up my position and at 10.15am the procession started with the Peloton (100+ riders) following
The TV cameraman motorbike on right
and they headed out for a tour of the town before returning to where I was standing on the point of a traffic island

before setting out on the race and the finish in Daventry.

A great morning out and great for the town and well supported.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

More Bank Holiday jottings

Started Wednesday after the Bank Holiday - you will see why I have mentioned this later!!

Here in the UK we are still having reasonable weather for this Late Spring Bank Holiday; at the moment as I write this it is cloudy but muggy and we had heavy rain overnight, which is so good for the garden that is looking quite green.

I love hot weather (and loathe the cold) and as I was sitting on the patio enjoying the sun and the garden I realised that these needed a haircut
My Box balls
 I couldn't even get to the pond behind.  Note my sieve on the end of the pole for cleaning it and something peering out from under the right hand ball.
After a haircut and I can now see 'Duck'
However I had to clear the box cuttings out of the pond and straightaway I fished out a frog, and subsequently fished out a number of newts, common ones, but even so I know that with them around I will not have tadpoles as they eat them.  It still amazes me how they got into my pond because there are no ponds nearby.  I apologised to them and returned them to the pond. 

I was sorry to see this floating in the water on my bird table, having drowned.
Zygaena Carniolica or Crepuscular Burnet

Not a butterfly but a day flying Moth.

On a glorious Sunday morning I decided to cycle the route that I had to cancel last week due to a low battery and so for the benefit of my local readers I went to Yelden again, up the hill and down passed Melchbourne heading for Riseley.   I turned off and did a loop through Swineshead, back up the slow incline and then took this photo that is so familiar to cyclists -
Fast ride down with impetus to climb the next hill

I felt quite pleased with myself as I did this hill both ways with not too much battery!!  21 miles completed that day.  I find that I can now turn off the battery for quite long stretches so my legs are getting stronger. 

I had been told that there was to be a Flower Festival at Bolnhurst Church so I went over on Bank Holiday Monday to support them.
The kneelers

One arrangement
Some embroidery done by the Embroidery Guild

… more of the above
Continued Sunday 3 June

I am 'hors de combat' at the moment as I fell off my bike yesterday and have hurt my leg, so on instructions from younger son who is a qualified trainer, I must rest it and take the odd pain killer when needed.  I would rather have my teeth pulled than go to A&E as it is not broken!!

So the blog can be finished.

After giving the box balls a trim last weekend I was picking out little pieces when a bird flew out and there was this
I think that these are Blue Tit eggs
 and I was worried that she might not come back but last night she was back on the nest.
I went on an organised cycle ride yesterday and I was delighted to see this pair of swans and their babies.  This is why I love this time of year.

It was after I had left the ride and was heading home that I fell off!!  Luckily no-one around to see my downfall, but it as shaken my confidence a bit.