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Dogfight [by the_gneech]

Great to be Thirty-Eight

Long-time readers will know I like to spin my birthdays out for as long as possible. I started this one last weekend, when kowarth joined me at my mum's so the three of us could eat pizza and watch The Green Death.

On Tuesday I headed to Goodwood in the hope of watching 40 Battle of Britain aircraft take off. The weather was grim when I arrived, but the sun did eventually venture out, although it was announced that the schedule had been put back two hours. I met up with Howard and we settled down to wait. At one point a car proceeded slowly round the circuit with a hand waving from the back window; Prince Harry, I presume.

September 15th, 1940 was the hardest day's fighting experienced during the Battle of Britain, and has been Battle of Britain Day ever since. At two o'clock the first aircraft took off, and they kept coming. In groups of two, three or four, they passed over our heads, made a circuit of the airfield as they joined up in formation, did a low pass then swept off for destinations all over the south of England, in a recreation of how the sky might have looked 75 years previously. One Spitfire failed to take off, sputtering its way to the end of the runway and slinking back to the dispersal area with its tail between its legs. It did get another go at the end, and made it this time.

One of the two-seater Spitfires did some aerobatics for us, then there was a lull, and Howard and I decided to depart as some of the first groups to take off began to return and land. As we filtered past the queue down a country lane, a Spitfire in Czech markings went over my head.

We were spending the night in a nearby hotel, selected by me because it had a tiny pool. By the time I'd had a swim and a bath I was more than ready for a meal, even though it meant eating so early that the restaurant was entirely occupied by old people.

It was a nice dinner and a comfortable night, although I did dream that we overslept and missed breakfast, and woke up in a panic to check my watch. (It was 6am.)

Our destination for the morning was Tangmere Aviation Museum, home to vast quantities of Second World War memorabilia and an impressive collection of Cold War jets and cockpits. I sat in a replica SE5 cockpit, complete with engine noise, wind, and machine gun sounds, and in a Hunter, and Howard sneakily booked me a slot on the Lightning simulator. One of the museum's many lovely volunteers gave me some guidance so I wouldn't crash, and helped me fly between Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower and The Lipstick.

Then it was time to head off into the rain. For me this meant home to London, and shortly afterwards out again to a tour of the Sipsmith distillery. The rain was torrential when I emerged from the Tube at Stamford Brook, but the distillery was warm and cosy, and I was very grateful for the introductory G&T.

A handful of my more gin-minded friends had managed to book on to the same tour, and we learned the history of gin, admired the three copper stills (Prudence, Patience and Constance) and, most importantly, enjoyed some tasting. Afterwards, we went to a nice pub. It's probably just as well that this was some 15 minutes' walk away.

I arrived home shortly before midnight, secure in the knowledge that I had birthdayed hard.
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Comments

Again, happy birthday!
Thank you again! :)
Happy happy birthday! Ah, I remember being 38... LOL!
Thank you! Need to start making plans for the round-number one!
(I always think of you and smile, when I use this user icon... and now it is extra special to use today! 😉)

Sounds like a perfect b-day week! ☺

I also like to celebrate a birthday week! 😜

(Which means that both your visit & the awesome Christmas festival will be a part of MY birthday week!!!! 😜😛😆 Yay! We can celebrate Christmas themed birthday funz!!!!!! 🎄🎁🎄🎁 Decorating the tree, Christmas songs. ... hot cocoa and some MEGA Christmas shopping, with my bestest Husky Pal & my Tiggy, sounds like the most perfect way to wind up my Birthday week! 😆)

I hope my text yesterday to wish you a very happy birthday was not too early, esp given that you were taking a fun bday day off from work. 😯 So happy that you had a great birthday day & week!!!! 🎂🎂🎂

*hugs*
Thank you! And not too early at all, I was just about to go for my birthday morning swim :)

I can't wait for your birthday week!

*hugs*
Sounds like you had a great birthday!
I did!
A handful of my more gin-minded friends

This isn't a phrase I see very often around my friends' posts on LJ or otherwise! This is absolutely not a complaint, however! Everyone should have a reasonable number of unusual/esoteric interests. =:)
It indeed resulted in like-minded folk on the evening. ^_^ I only wish some of the others were on LJ! Our host indeed keeps a fascinating stock of friends. ^_^
I try :) Certainly when I found out about the tours it didn't take me long to think of a dozen or so potentially interested folks.
For the first time, I seemed to have missed your birthday.

So belated good wishes!
Thank you! Perfectly understandable with the way your September seems to be going - hope things calm down soon.
Belated happy-birthday to you!

Sorry about the lag but last week I was pinging around Florida's pan-handle like a pinball that just drank way too much espresso!

Tangmere is great - me an Silverwind went there a few years ago although I don't recall there being a Lightning simulator; it must be new!

Congratulations for birthdaying hard! Seeing as your 30th was held on an airliner, maybe I should look into "borrowing" XH558 for your 40th.

What? I'd return it when we were done...
Thank you! I am already cogitating the next round-number birthday!