Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Animals and Airliners

On Saturday I met up with a friend from the furry writing circuit for Animal Tales at the British Library. This is a small, free exhibition covering animals in literature, from fables and fairytales to allegories for adults. There are beautiful first editions, signed and numbered prints of Ted Hughes poems, and sound recordings including Art Spiegelman on Maus, Alan Bennett reading from The Wind in the Willows and T. S. Eliot reciting Macavity, The Mystery Cat with obvious and charming enjoyment. There would be enough material for a much larger exhbition, and I wish they'd gone for it, but their selection is interesting and enjoyable.

It was the first Sunday of the month, and I seized the opportunity to visit Croydon Airport Visitor Centre (where Martin takes [Spoiler (click to open)]the Princess of Liechtenstein, Cabin Pressure fans). It's only open between 11 and 3, one day a month, and although I have lived near Croydon for years, this was the first time I'd managed to get it together to go.

I'm glad I did. Formerly a First World War airfield, Croydon was London's original airport, the world's first international airport, and the birthplace of Air Traffic Control. Alan Cobham took off for Cape Town from Croydon, and Amy Johnson flew solo to Australia, although she complained that traffic on the A23 kept her awake the night before takeoff.

In the booking hall as was, black and white photos help you imagine what it would have been like to fly with Imperial or KLM on a Handley Page HP42, De Havilland Dragon Rapide or Junkers Ju 52 (I can't decide which of the last two I would like more). There's a tour led by enthusiastic volunteers, a reproduction of the radio room, lots to look at and try out, plus views of Crystal Palace, the Shard and the Wembley Arch. Oh, and a nice cafe.

Later I headed into central London for drinks and a meal with wardy, who was spending the night in the capital before an early flight to the USA. Bon voyage, Wardy!

Tags: books, planes

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