I begin this post feeling very guilty about the fact that I’ve not blogged at all since last month’s update. I have such a big backlog of posts to write, but no time or energy to write them. Every ounce of creativity is being taken up with my copywriting work at present, and what little I have left over is being claimed by my private handwritten journal. And sometimes, it’s nice to just enjoy things without feeling I have to blog about them. So, please accept my apologies for my laxness and for the time being, enjoy some snaps I’ve taken this month.
I’ve been super-busy with work this month, but I’ve managed to do quite a bit of flying. At the start of the month I took my friend Julie flying in the beloved Robin. Another happy passenger – yay! I can’t wait for the day when I can take people flying in a helicopter.
Mid-June Lee and I flew down to Old Sarum in Wiltshire to meet up with my parents and deliver their birthday presents. (Pic courtesy of my dad)
We were also joined by my sister Nel and her other half Tom. It was nice to be able to introduce them to the Robin at last.
Wilhelm has been in maintenance at Gloucestershire Airport, so we’ve had a few trips there again. It’s always interesting to see GCHQ on final approach.
I dropped Lee off and flew the Robin home on my own again. I always feel a sense of accomplishment flying out of Gloucester, as it’s quite a busy airport and requires using three different radio frequencies to get in or out.
Of course I’ve also been doing lots of helicopter flying, and that’s been going well too. It’s a big challenge – so, so different from fixed wing. But I’m loving it, and I’ve got just under 12 hours now (a minimum of 20 needed to go solo and 45 for the licence, less about five hours because of my fixed wing experience). I can now do hovering, spot turns, hover taxi, take-off and landing, transitions between hover and forward flight, autorotations and lots more. Rather excitingly, I got to fly my first R44 helicopter this month. This is a more powerful four-seat version of the two-seater I normally fly. It’s the white one in the pic below (the other one in the background is the smaller one I usually fly).
The cockpit is more spacious but very similar. I loved flying it and you can really feel the difference in power. We were at 5,000ft in no time!
Here’s a pic of me at the controls courtesy of my lovely instructor Matthew. You can see Wellesbourne Airfield in the background.
I had some inspiration for my helicopter training in the form of spotting this picturesque helipad at the lovely Greenway Hotel, where we had a relaxing overnight stay at the start of the month. I have almost finished a post on this, so I’ll share more pics soon.
We once again found ourselves in Toddington on the way to the Greenway Hotel, admiring this magnificent locomotive. I was talking to one of the drivers about what it takes to learn to drive a steam train. He said you have to volunteer for years doing jobs around the station, then if you’re lucky you might become a fireman (shovelling coal basically). If you’re any good at that, then after a few years you might be lucky enough to be considered for training to be a driver! Erm, much as I’d love to learn, I’m not sure I want to spend years shovelling coal to be able to do it!!
Another delightful spot we enjoyed in the Cotswolds this month was the beautiful village of Stanton, which seems largely to be off the tourist trail, and much more peaceful for it. That’s not to say that it isn’t still very much an archetypal Cotswolds village.
Apart from its streets lined with idyllic cottages (every one of which I would happily move to), and the charming church, the main attraction of Stanton is the fabulous Mount Inn, which is up a steep hill at the end of the village. The views are truly magnificent – much better in real life than in this photo. The food was lovely too.
Back home, I made the most of the heatwave by having my morning coffee and writing in my diary in the garden at the start of each day. This photo was taken at 8am!
I’ve been doing lots of reading in the shade of the apple tree, too (pictured: Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford – wonderful).
On one of our days off we had a nice day in Stratford, boating on the Avon in the sunshine and spotting super-cute ducklings.
On the subject of super-cute, I’ve been doing lots of puppy cuddling as always; here is one of my adorable charges from this month.
Last night I went to Oxford for a posh reunion dinner in my old college. The dinner is called a ‘Gaudy’, and it’s about as classically Oxford as you can imagine. Black tie and free-flowing expensive wines from the college cellar. Champagne reception in the President’s Lodgings. An oration and grace in Latin before four courses of feasting starts in Hall. Then a second dessert of chocolates and fruit in the Senior Common Room. And it’s all free. Makes three years of essay crises seem worthwhile…!