This year's weather was identical: Howard and I rode across from Dorchester in miserable rain, then arrived in Bournemouth under blue sky. We were looking for somewhere to park when the Red Arrows began their display directly in front of us.
Parked, we hurried to the seafront to catch the rest of their display. All the clouds had cleared, and the team was obviously revelling in the chance to do their 'high' routine rather than the 'flat' show they put on when visibility's low.
The Reds were followed immediately by the Merlin helicopter, after which we fought our way along the crowded beach (some of the audience must have arrived very early indeed to have constructed such elaborate sand forts to protect their space) to meet silverwindblade and Ultrafox.
The Breitling Wingwalkers put on one of their best displays ever, causing the commentator to come out with the title quote (he would later compare flying the Tutor to 'climbing into a box of frogs after a hard night on the town doing something else'), the Blades were precision-sharp, while the history of aviation was represented by Spitfire, Lancaster, B-17 and Sea Vixen. When there was a gap in the programme, I seized the opportunity to have a dip.
A wonderful day, spoiled by news of the fatal crash involving one of the Red Arrows pilots.
He was the same age as me, which rather shocked me - though he had a far more awesome life. I'm glad I was privileged to see what turned out to be his final display. It was, as always, flawless, and I hope the Reds, currently grounded, will be gracing our skies again soon.