Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

Sun, Sand, Sea and Spitfire

On Saturday I dragged Howard, who hates heat, crowds and beaches, down to a hot, crowded beach for the Bournemouth Air Festival. We bagsied a likely spot and waited for the thunderbolt_b contingent. Despite a delayed train, silverwindblade and his girlfriend Anna along with silvante and Ultrafox joined us without missing too much of the action.

A grey and drizzly start had miraculously turned into a bright, scorching day. Having foolishly left my swimming-costume behind, I did what I always do: griped about it for a couple of hours before giving in and dashing into the water in my underwear. You'd think I would have learned over the last 31 years that I'm incapable of going within half a mile of the sea without sticking bits of myself in it, whatever the weather, but no.

My feet got so burned that the mere act of wearing socks is causing me acute discomfort. But it was worth it.

Our party had settled some way along the beach from the pier area - more or less at the centre of the display line, as it fortuitously turned out. All around us were beachgoers for whom the airshow was merely a bonus tacked on to the serious business of paddling, picnicking, sandcastles and sunbathing. We, however, kept our eyes to the sky (and, sometimes, our feet in the sea) for all the events: the Yak Aerostars, based locally at Compton Abbas, the Red Bull Matadors, the Royal Navy Black Cats and all the rest.

With a vast horizon stretching out to left and right, eyes and ears were strained for the next item's approach. The Red Arrows still managed a spectacular surprise, however, as they appeared from over the cliffs behind us in a sudden burst of scarlet and streaked out to sea for their display.

Also on offer was the most sexist commentator I have ever encountered, who referred to Team Guinot's wingwalkers as 'aerobabes' and expressed concern at the proximity of their 'little tootsies' to those 'terrible great propellors'.

After some time in a queue twelve wide and three deep, I closed the plastic door of the HandyLoo behind me just as the characteristic rumble of Vulcan XH558 reached my ears. Damn! Luckily it was still displaying when I emerged. I think this was the one item that everyone from 0 to 90 looked up and watched.

All the aircraft looked very close to us - I don't know whether this was really the case or an optical illusion created by the sun and the sea - and it was magical to look up at the enormous yet elegant machine and feel the vibration of those engines.

The Eurofighter Typhoon closed the display, zipping about over the sea with afterburners sizzling before climbing vertically until the black speck disappeared among the high clouds.

On my way home on Sunday I dropped in on my mum, and we had our own private flypast as the Vulcan thundered past the bottom of the garden.
Tags: airshow

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