My Month of November – 2017 edition

Another manically busy month draws to a close, with the prospect of an even busier one stretching ahead.

November kicked off with an evening of night flying at RAF Brize Norton – the start, I hope, of a night rating for me. It was great to fly the PA28 again – I’d not flown it since I did my SEP rating back in 2015. Flying at night is a rather surreal experience, as you obviously can’t see anything except for streetlights and car headlights. The bright full moon helped with being able to see the horizon, but it’s a whole other skill being able to fly at night.

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Brize’s runway is very wide, which makes it trickier on the peripheral vision when you’re landing anyway, but doubly so at night when the lights are your only point of reference. I flew for an hour, out towards Gloucester and back, and then we landed and swapped seats so Lee could fly.

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I flew the Robin again at the weekend, and was interested to see this small Roman settlement – Chesterton on Fosse – which grew up either side of the Fosse Way. This is a great time of year for seeing archaeology from the air, as the sun is low in the sky and highlights earthworks and other features. You can see Medieval ridge and furrow in the fields beyond in this pic, too.

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It’s also been a busy month with helicopter lessons, and I’ve done some more solo flying along with some more advanced dual exercises. These have included advanced autorotations, ‘practice forced landings’ (practising an engine failure scenario, including autorotation, field selection, mayday call and emergency drills), engine-off landings and some more navigation exercises. I’ve also started learning instrument flying, something I’ve done a bit of in the plane, which helped; it’s a challenging exercise because you have to wear special glasses that block your view out of the window, so you can only see the instruments. It feels quite disorientating. Oh, and I’ve passed my flight performance and planning exam, which leaves just one exam to go.

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Another exciting thing that happened this month was that I did a photoshoot that I won in a photo competition on Instagram. I was thrilled with the photos, of which this was my favourite. If you’re interested in this, check out Spirit Photography in Bath – they were brilliant.

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I had a lovely overnight stay in Wiltshire with my mum, as my dad was away. It was great to spend some time with her and with dear little Sally, our dalmatian.

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We had an outing to Frome, of which I took about a gazillion photos. I’ll share more in their own post soon.

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We also had a lovely country walk, more photos of which I will again put up in a separate post in due course (I’m so behind on blogging, as usual).

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On the subject of walks, I also met up with my friend Emma for a day at Westonbirt Arboretum to enjoy the last of the autumn colours there. More pics here.

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I also spent the night with my grandparents in Worcester this month, and was admiring their beautiful copper beech tree in its autumn finery.

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Bonfire Night is, of course, the highlight of November, and we enjoyed going to firework displays on two consecutive nights. The first was in Chipping Campden, a favourite Cotswolds town, after which we warmed up with a lovely meal at the Baker’s Arms, which is my new favourite place to eat on account of its serving macaroni cheese (all pubs should serve this).

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The frosty mornings have begun in earnest…

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…with gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

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The farm shop continues to delight with its supply of winter produce, and I have ordered our Christmas turkey.

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With the weather turning decidedly chilly, the winter menu is back in action in the Ingram household. I’ve been making hearty dishes such as lamb and leek hotpot, beef and vegetable casserole, and this chicken traybake with Hasselback potatoes.

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Halloween may have been and gone, but I’m still using the munchkin pumpkins to decorate the fireplace until Christmas comes around.

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November feels too early to be starting on the Christmas festivities, and I must say I’m not feeling remotely in the mood for Christmas yet, but we did have a nice evening with friends in Broadway last week for the annual late-night Christmas shopping event. The whole of Broadway’s main street is decorated with lovely clear lights and there’s a jolly atmosphere – brass band, mulled wine, the works.

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Another Cotswolds town we’ve enjoyed this month is Hook Norton, which I’ve only driven through once and never explored properly. It turned out to be a delightful hilly village (the best sort) complete with several pubs and, of course, the famous brewery. We had lunch at the Pear Tree Inn, and concluded that this village would be a good place for us to move to, if ever we can find a cottage we can afford there. I know I’m very fickle because I said the same about Blockley (and I would also love to live there), but I guess the upshot is that there are so many lovely places in the Cotswolds that I’d be happy to move to, and it’s always good to have options when it comes to places to live.

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On the way home I took this photo of Broadway Tower.

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I returned to Broadway Tower alone a few days later to watch the sunset. This is a favourite spot of mine and the views are spectacular.

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I’m now looking forward to having a few weeks off over Christmas and New Year, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of work I have to get through first. And I’ve barely begun my Christmas shopping… eek.

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