Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Part One: A 1940s weekend with helicopter

Well, I am so clued up about 1940s stuff now that I may as well draw seams down my legs and be done with it. As you know, when I left you with that tantalising teaser on Thursday, I was heading over to Rougham Air Field for the Ploughs and Propellers 1940s weekend. Except it wasn’t, quite, as advertised…

The first clue should have been there was precious little information available about what was going to actually happen at what time, things that are surely useful to know. So we plumped for midday, and turned up to a varied mishmash of stalls and styles, with barely a nod to the era they were supposed to be representing. There was a tea tent with a lady singer trying bravely to sing songs from the 40s over the rap music blazing from the modern fairground. There were stalls selling the usual air field dooberries – incredibly large overalls, spitfire mugs, plane books, an assortment of what looked like plane parts (or lawnmower insides) dumped on a tarpaulin for people to pick over. An orchestra started up opposite two stationary Merlin engines, just when the Merlin engines were scheduled to start twirling and I guess you can guess the result (Merlin Engines 1, Orchestra 0). But no actual air show or proper 40s anything at all, so we were about to leave…

Then we saw a helicopter.

There were two lonely looking people manning a lonely looking table way over the side of the field, so we thought we would stroll over, and see how much a flight cost. Most of the times these are quite expensive, so we decided no more than £20 each. Well, bored people said it was £50 for two, so I asked if, since there was not much happening, whether they’d accept £20 each and they said yes. Woo-hoo! So there I was, waiting to go up in a helicopter, except…

...except is now the time I mention I’m not that keen on heights?

No, now is not the time, I thought, as we bound across to the helicopter a bit like the President of the United States but not quite. No, now is not the time at all, I thought, as I sat in the back and found my seat belt and the door was slammed. Oh goodie, I thought. A helicopter. I fumbled for my camera with trembling hands, cursing myself for being so weak. Yay helicopters… (said weakly).

The pilot was a grumpy old sausage who walked over in full complaint mode about some car parking mistake, and he didn’t even bother to acknowledge he had guests, just started the propellers and suddenly, up we went.

Oh wow – what can I tell you? Me and my pal later decided that planes are all about the ‘along’ but a helicopter is all about the ‘up’. We were up in seconds, and for at least 30 of them I was trying to stop being such a wuss with red teary eyes and everything! Oh dear… can I blame an adrenalin rush? Still, after a bit I allowed myself to relax (i.e not sit bolt upright squeezing my hands so tight together my knuckles had gone white) and just enjoy it, and I did! It was fab! It lasted all of five minutes, but we were buzzing all weekend from it, and I would definitely do it again. Maybe next time I would use waterproof mascara just in case though.

Will post part two of the 1940s weekend tomorrow!

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