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Procopius

PC and Cookie's Big Adventure (feat. Navy Bird), the CedB cut

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1 hour ago, Procopius said:

We then had a lovely dinner made by Ced's wife, and then Cookie, Ced, and I all retired to his local for a drink or two. Drinks in a pub in England are shockingly cheap, I learned. It was about £3 for a scotch and soda, or barely $4 at present rate of exchange. In Chicago, the same will easily set you back $10 or $12. 

 

They make their profit on volume sales. I hear they drink like fish over there. Not sensibly like us North Americans!

 

 

 

Chris

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Re Concorde. You didn't miss much by not getting inside, except perhaps the chance to boast that you've done it (and frankly, who ya gonna impress with that?) She's small and somewhat cramped, and very, very 70s internally. The cockpit would make a good steampunk set, and that's about all that's positive about the interior. The exterior, however, is a thing of beauty, and brought me, a strong man, to tears when I gazed upon her perfection. Not often that that happens.

 

I did but see her passing by...

 

or, perhaps more aptly seeing as she does not move, this little gem from the other English bards...

 

... the way she looked was way beyond compare

So how could I dance with another (Ooh)
When I saw her standing there.

 

I'll stop now.

 

Enjoy your touring lads, it looks like you're having a grand time.

 

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PC, you lucky boy, there’s another Concorde at Yeovilton so you get a second chance!  The inside of the FAAM one is test equipment, but it’s still Concorde!

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And, of course, there’s yet another Concorde at IWM Duxford.  It’s a prototype and has test equipment in the cabin.  It was used for cold weather trials in Canada.  The Duxford Aviation Society (who care for all the airliners at Duxford) take pride in the ability to operate the ‘Droop Snoot’ nose occasionally.  Not sure if that’ll happen on November 11 or 12.

 

Welcome to the UK,  PC & Cookie ... .

 

Jonny

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Concordes, they're all over the place.

Don't forget the ones at Brooklands, East Fortune or Manchester Airport, where they are open to the public. There's also one at Heathrow being used by British Airways as a storage shed!

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I had resisted the temptation to mention the East Fortune example, since it is a matter of regret that I cannot meet up with the guys this time round. However it is very much in “in service” condition I believe and I’ve never had to queue to get on board!

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On 11/2/2019 at 8:22 AM, Procopius said:

.. and so I was greeted by what I hope will be the first of several hauls while in-country:

 

IMG_20191102_081749

 

Limbering up gently for Telford, I see.

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Using one as a storage shed! That sounds typical BA. Time for a story?

Many year’s ago I was doing an airfield familiarisation trip for a couple of new  guys and we drove into the BA maintenance area were there was a very sorry looking Concorde. The hydraulic systems had been contaminated and it was being cannibalised for spares, the engines had gone and there were many open panels. One of the guys had a camera and asked me if he could take some photos and I said why not, it was in the good old days when ATC had free rein on airfields. He got out with his camera and a BA engineer came rushing up and said we shouldn’t be there taking photos, and who are you ( not being able to read the NATS logo on the van ) “ATC mate” I said as we drove off. I did think later that there might have been some sort of comeback but heard nothing.

The aircraft went into service again a couple of years later when the supersonic “ around the bay “ ( of Biscay ) trips became very popular and they needed every aircraft they had.

 

John

 

 

 

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Sorry for the slight delay in updates, chaps, it's been a busy two days. 

 

Yesterday we went to Boscombe and met up with @Avereda and @Ex-FAAWAFU, both very nice fellows, though I'm afraid I was too star-struck at meeting a Falklands veteran to really properly speak to Crisp. We puttered around the hangar there, and in a sudden burst of unwarranted confidence, I became convinced I could wriggle into the bomb-aimer's position of a Canberra B.2; I cannot, which I'm putting down to my broad, manly shoulders and the fact that halfway to having my face pressed to the glass, I became dead certain that if I got in all the way, I was never, ever going to be able to get out. How a crewmember was supposed to get into there in flying gear, let alone get out, is one of life's great mysteries. Cookie, more cautious than me, elected to sit in the Tornado F.3 cockpit, which he adjudged to be the most comfortable-looking available. Look at this steely-eyed killer:

 

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I don't know about you, but I feel the need for speed now.

 

Crisp had to leave (or was simply fed up with us, can't rule it out), so Avereda, Ced, Cookie, and I all proceeded to the Army Flying Museum, where @Aeronut very kindly took us on a lengthy tour of the museum, which was most informative. Happily, it also turned out 234 Squadron flew from the field during the Battle of Britain, and I'm doing a pair of 234 Spitfires right now, so that was a nice bonus. 

 

There's much to recommend the museum, but I was most taken by their selection of artisanal jams, a product I think we can all agree is virtually synonymous with army flying:

 

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After an emergency stop at Tesco's -- apparently, in England, people have two weeks worth of clothes and wash them at the end of that period (or wash half of them after a week, but have to wait for them to dry then), whereas JD and I headed over with pretty much every item of casualwear in our dressers and had less than a full week of clothing -- during which I took the opportunity to pick up some wine gums and some Cadbury bars, we then visited Salisbury Cathedral, which has, I'm assured, the tallest spire in England, 123 meters.

 

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Yes, I know I'm fat. I blame my children, I was in pretty good shape before they came along.

 

The Cathedral is pretty nice even if you're not trying to murder someone on behalf of an authoritarian government:

 

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We then made our way to our hotel (a very long drive which Ced managed with aplomb -- he really is a very nice man), where I was totally bushed and fell asleep almost immediately, despite not being able to figure out how to turn on the detached cottage we'd rented's heat. 

 

Today, after our third Full English breakfast in a row (I may achieve my goal of dying in Britain, via heart failure, before the two weeks are up) we headed over to the Shuttleworth Collection, which is really, really impressive. Flickr is unfortunately betraying me and refusing to upload my photos of it, but it wouldn't be a proper trip to Britain without seeing a Spitfire, and theirs is quite lovely. It also had two of my favourite Bristol aircraft: the M1C and the dangerously alluring Boxkite, an aircraft that in kit form would be little more than a collection of arts and crafts materials:

 

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There's something about it, though...majestic. 

 

After that, we lunched in the Shuttleworth canteen, and I had a cheese and pickle sandwich, which is indeed spectacularly good. Ced had cake, but we mustn't tell Mrs B. 

 

Then it was time to go to Old Buckenham, where my great-uncle Mike flew B-24Hs with the 734th BS of the 8th Air Force's 453rd BG, including on D-Day. I never met Uncle Mike, as he died in the 1960s from cancer, but I'm immensely proud to have some small family connection to the liberation of Europe. This leg of the trip turned out to be incredibly special.

 

There's a small memorial to the 453rd at Old Buck, and I paid it a visit before we went into the museum proper:

 

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Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,

I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

 

We then went into the museum itself and looked at the many interesting exhibits, when suddenly Jim, the one-man-band who takes care of the museum and collects and provides the artifacts for the displays appeared, by a stroke of incredible luck; he normally isn't there on Mondays, as we later learned. He overheard me talking about my uncle's aircraft, and he asked me if I was interested in a particular plane. I explained that Uncle Mike had flown a few aircraft, but Sky Chief was the one on D-Day, and he told us to come 'round the back to his archives in the other building in just a few minutes.

 

When we got there, he had pulled out a heap of photo albums with photos of aircraft and crews, and among them was a photo of my uncle with his crew:

 

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He wasn't done either, not by a longshot. When Cookie mentioned his own grandfather had flown with the 466th BG, Jim handed him a thick volume on the group and refused to take any money for it, then plied us with other stuff: 453rd BG pins and keychains, and a personal guided tour of all of the many amazing artifacts he'd accumulated.

 

As we stepped outside to say our farewells, he said to me "you're walking in your great-uncle's footsteps; this is where he would have stood before heading to take off." Perhaps it may sound foolish to you, but I felt just a wave of indescribable emotion. All of Jim's kindnesses and his great goodwill and generosity to us had been bought and paid for before we were ever born by men largely far younger than me who got into these great machines and headed out to take the fight to the enemy; when they died, and died they did, they were burned alive or blown apart by cannon shells, or killed while or after coming down in their parachutes. And here, four thousand miles from their homes, a single man has dedicated his life to preserving their memory at considerable personal expense. I will never deserve that kind of love and devotion, but they did. And they've gotten it. 

 

Jim also mentioned to us that he could use some help getting models for his Eighth Air Force displays; he'd like eventually to have a model for each group. If you'd like to donate to him, please shoot me a PM and I'll give you his contact information. Anything you'd care to do for the museum, I'd consider a personal favour. 

 

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Procopius said:

As we stepped outside to say our farewells, he said to me "you're walking in your great-uncle's footsteps; this is where he would have stood before heading to take off." Perhaps it may sound foolish to you, but I felt just a wave of indescribable emotion.

I know that very feeling quite well. When meeting my uncles friends that served with him in Vietnam i first found how emotional it is. Ive been adopted into his unit since then as an honorary member, and have attended a few of the reunions.    

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You really are a very good reporter Edward, thank you.

 

Despite all the bad news, rage, strife, hostility, irritation and petty vindictiveness in the news it is always refreshing to get a reminder that, at 'ground level' at least, most people are fundamentally decent and some soar even above that :) 

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

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I feel that the steel eyes of Cookie’s Tornado are closely matched - nay, even surpassed - by this young man in a Swift (at least the label said it was a Swift - @Fritag has already pointed out that it looks distinctly Hunter-esque, amd he has a point!

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The pleasure was all mine (though sadly short) - see you again on Saturday
 

Crisp

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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2 hours ago, Stew Dapple said:

You really are a very good reporter Edward

Seconded.  The PC travelogue is required reading with a breakfast cup of coffee.....

 

I used to live in a little village called Weston Longville, about 20 miles north of Old Buckingham, which I mention only cos it’s almost on the boundary fence of another old 8th Airforce Base, RAF Attlebridge and I know that the 466th BG flew from there; and there’s a memorial to the 466th that Cookie might like to see if you’re passing nearby.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beeStsajki4

 

 

 

 

Edited by Fritag

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27 minutes ago, Fritag said:

there’s a memorial to the 466th that Cookie might like to see if you’re passing nearby.

Thanks Steve - added to the list!

 

I’m also guilty of having got a little behind* with posts here so I hope I can catch up with some ‘location selfies’:

 

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* I know, not from where you’re standing :D

 

 

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That’s why you really got the selfie stick wasn’t it? Go on admit it!  :rofl:

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Wot a luvverly bunch o' coconuts! It would appear that you chaps are having a good time and enjoying each others' company. Long may it continue.

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Had a mighty fine day with The Three Amigos ably supported by @Ex-FAAWAFU and @Aeronut, so much so I briefly entertained the prospect of a late dash to Telford to do it all again - sadly finances dictate otherwise. If you get chance to catch up with this merry band, take it while you can.

 

My only photographic contribution below, Ced advising Iceman and Maverick to stop writing cheques their bodies can’t cash.

 

49020197937_3748ca4352_b.jpg

 

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Having had kind comments from all three in the past, I look forward to meeting them (CED again) at Telford. BTW I look nothing like my avatar on here. 

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I managed refrain from making jet noises while in the Tornado cockpit, at least conscious ones anyway.

So wonderful to be in the land of Britmodeller itself, and having the privilege of putting faces to (screen)names, the experience of a lifetime for sure.

Sorry to hear you won't make it to Telford Avereda, it was great getting to pick your brain on both aviation and archeology in the short time that we had.

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Today was comparatively sedate; in the morning, we visited the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, which Ced and Cookie found a bit chilly, much of it being open air, but the weather here right now is just about perfect for me and I quite liked it. And if you're not walking through damp grass on a wet morning, are you even in England? 

 

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The museum's collection is pretty good, especially as far as JD and I were concerned. The likelihood of seeing a Mystere IVa in the 'states is pretty low, and between that, their Canberra, Super Sabre, Hunter, Javelin, Sea Vixen, and others, it really has quite a bit to see, though unfortunately the positioning of the Sea Vixen makes it pretty inaccessible. Plus what is as far as I know, the largest surviving section of one of my oddball favourites, the Bolton-Paul Overstrand!

 

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They also had a nice collection of artifacts (including some bits from shot down Luftwaffe aircraft, and more sadly, crashed RAF and USAAF aircraft) and built models, some of which were inspiring and others of which merely boosted one's confidence. 

 

After that, it was time. Time to go to Hannant's Lowestoft. This was technically a silly place to go, since we could pick up anything we wanted at Telford at a 10% discount (and will), but I kind of wanted to see the warehouse I've been paying for for the last few years. 

 

The good news right off the bat: Hannants are wasting not a penny on the exterior, and the savings is doubtless being passed on to you, the consumer.

 

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Inside, it's divided more or less into two rooms. A front one where the staff sit, and where mainly decals are stored,

 

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and then, through the door into the back:

 

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Cue celestial choir, please. Ced has expressed some concern about how I'm going to get everything back (our plan: ruthlessly abuse the carryon and checked bags limit), and so I kept my purchases today limited (plus, uh, I have a large order to pick up at Telford), so JD and I mostly ambled around taking it all in, while Ced, who said he'd gone "box-blind", retreated to the car to contemplate the life choices that had lead to him being imprisoned in a medium-sized SUV while travelling the length and breadth of England with two weirdos from the United States. Cookie picked up the Special Hobby/Tarangus Viggen, and a number of DK Decal sheets, and I grabbed the following:

 

IMG_20191105_200336

 

The 109D was supposed to be for @Corsairfoxfouruncle, since Dennis had asked me to bring him back their Condor Legion Bf109D, but amazingly the box reads "Condor Legion 109" on the side and not on the cover. In any case, they didn't have the Conor Legion one in stock, so I'll just be forced to keep this one and trust AMG has one at Telford. , 

 

 

After this, we explored Greater Yarmouth and gazed out over the North Sea (towards Dogger Bank and Jutland, I learned from Jamie at Sovereign) and walked along the beach there for a spell. This too, with its gaudy, Las Vegas-style (the only thing missing was the stale smell of cigarette smoke, and, as Ced pointed out, free drinks), is Britain, as much as the rolling green hills and the beautiful misty mornings. When you're a native of a country, you have the rare privilege of liking it or hating it in parts; you're already part of it, and, for example, not caring about baseball or hating the police doesn't make you un-American, any more than loving those things could make you more of one; you simply are, if that makes sense. Anyone coming to another country, or perhaps idly-dreaming about coming there, has to take it in and accept it in toto, until the process of becoming is complete. You have to know and understand what it's like before you make the commitment, whether that commitment will ultimately entail changing it for the better (or worse, I guess) or accepting it as it is. 

 

Speaking of love, I called Mrs P to see how she's doing with our two children. Seems to be going well: Grant had gotten hold of first the fly swatter and latterly the crevice tool for the vacuum and was going after her with it. I don't miss America much, but I do miss her a great deal. Grant and Winston...perhaps less so.

 

We also went out to a Wetherspoons for dinner, and I had two double bourbons with ginger ale, pretty close to my preferred tipple of rye and ginger ale, and discovered to my immense pleasure that the time it took for my companions to finish their pints was plenty of time to move beyond the deleterious effects of the drinks on my system and straight into feeling like an invincible superman. Perhaps wisely, we stopped after the two rounds and retired to our rooms. 

 

Once again, I have to doff my cap to Ced, who has tirelessly driven us all over, organised everything, and made sure at every step we're enjoying ourselves. We certainly are, and it wouldn't be a tenth as much fun without all of the hard work he puts into the whole endeavour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Mr T said:

BTW I look nothing like my avatar on here. 

Disappointing! Mr T lived in the town where I grew up, and I would often see his pink Rolls-Royce with the vanity plate MR T parked on the kerb outside shops.

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8 minutes ago, Procopius said:

The 109D was supposed to be for @Corsairfoxfouruncle, since Dennis had asked me to bring him back their Condor Legion Bf109D, but amazingly the box reads "Condor Legion 109" on the side and not on the cover. In any case, they didn't have the Conor Legion one in stock, so I'll just be forced to keep this one and trust AMG has one at Telford. , 

Gees make me sound spoiled ! 😉 Im good with anything 109D if there isn't any Condor Legion kits ? 

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Well what an adventure you guys are having. I could have joined you at one or two of the locations, but priorities dictate finishing some theme builds for Telford. Also had a slight unplanned visit to Bournemouth A&E yesterday with a suspected detached retina, which proved (thankfully) not to be..........

 

Anyway, hope to meet as many of you folk as possible this weekend. I'm on the IPMS Dorset stand opposite the US Navy and Fleet Air Arm folk in Hall 2.

 

Terry

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On first seeing those pictures of the inside of Hannants, I started having palpitations. After a walk around the kitchen and living room, I have calmed down enough to finish reading the rest of your posting.

 

 

 

Chris

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