2017 so far, as viewed through Instagram

Six weeks into a new year and Christmas is already a distant memory. I’ve been ridiculously busy with work since starting back after the Christmas break, and various non-paying clients are causing me a great deal of stress and distress. Any days off we’ve had have largely been spent in a tired stupor by the fire at home, or catching up on boring life admin. That said, I’ve a few photos to share with you, some still left over from the Christmas break, and others from the odd outing we’ve done that hasn’t quite warranted a post of its own.

Over the Christmas holidays we had a day out to Stow-on-the-Wold. I had driven through it many times on the way to other places – it’s on the Fosse Way – but I’d never actually visited it properly. I found it every bit the charming Cotswold town, and while it’s a bit big for me, I could easily envisage living in a local village and having it as my nearest big town. We had lunch at the King’s Arms, which has some splendid old writing on the front.


The weather was looking pretty threatening by the time we emerged from lunch, but I rather liked how the sun lit up the golden Cotswold stone while the clouds darkened behind.


On a green area in the town centre, we found these old stocks. A tramp sitting on a nearby bench drinking cider commented, “they should bring them back”. I didn’t point out that he might have been put in them himself for drinking cider on the streets!


This looks more like a shop than a pub, but you can see where it gets its name.


Changing the subject rapidly, our airfield was in the news at the start of the year, because it’s been allocated as one of the so-called ‘garden villages’. Of course we already knew it was going to be built on, but the news brought this threat into sharp focus. We arrived at the airfield to find various news crews hanging about, and even offered to take the Sky crew up (they said yes initially, then spoke to their bosses, who said no for ‘health and safety’ reasons!). In the end we went flying ourselves, me at the controls of the beloved Robin, and spotted ourselves on BBC Midlands Today later that evening. That was exciting!


On the subject of the beloved Robin, a nice lady we met in the cafe at Kemble Airfield a few months back just sent me this fabulous photo of me photographing this Boeing 747 as it taxied past the Robin.


Back to non-flying matters, I found time last month for a little forage around a great antiques centre that we pass on the way to the airfield. I picked up these two jam pots, which originate from a jam company in the Orkney Islands. I also got the two irons you can see to the right, as we felt they would look good next to the log burner.


I also purchased this gleaming Victorian copper kettle, which also looks excellent on the hearth. I just love how elegant it is – a far cry from the ugly plastic ones we have now. Copper was apparently cheap back then (unlike now), and it’s a good conductor of heat, so kettles like this were common.


The day after we got back from our New York trip, I had to head down to the airport again and fly out to Italy for another client meeting. I don’t particularly like travelling on my own anymore, so I find these trips a bit of a challenge, but it’s good to push myself outside my comfort zone from time to time. And at least Italy is a country I’m very familiar with, and I had visited this client before and met the people I’m working with on this project, so it was less intimidating this time than it was the first time. This was the scene outside the hotel as we waited for a taxi to take us across the border to the client’s office in Switzerland.


And this was the view from the client’s office in Switzerland. You can’t see it here, but there were numerous heaps of snow lying around on the ground, and I thought it odd that there should be snow at ground level but none up on the mountains.


Which brings us up to this week just gone. The farmer has moved his sheep up to next to the clubhouse at the airfield, so we’ve been enjoying the company of our woolly friends. They’re quite funny to watch; some of them bend down on their knees to eat the grass, while others just sit there chewing the cud looking unimpressed with life. I love them – I could watch them all day.


The other day we had an afternoon at Gloucestershire Airport, which is always a pleasure to visit. I did all the flying on the inbound trip, including the radio, which is quite complicated going into Gloucester, involving listening and speaking to several different frequencies at different stages of the flight. I felt proud that I managed to handle it all without slipping up. Here’s Lee closing up the beloved Robin before we headed over to the cafe for a spot of lunch.


You can get a great view of Runway 27 from the pavement along the road near the cafe, and the planes come in right over the top of you as they come in to land. I would love to see it in action when the opposite runway, 09, is in use, because then the aircraft would be taking off towards you.


I took this photo of a yellow Piper Cub that was parked next to us on the apron at Gloucester. I like how the camera has focused on the rain, even though I had been trying to photograph the rainbow. The Cub belongs to Arthur Williams, a TV presenter and keen pilot whose Channel 4 programme Flying to the Ends of the Earth we enjoyed not so long ago. He gave us a wave as he headed off, so that was nice.


After we landed back at our home airfield we felt in the mood for a country pub. We’ve been really enjoying the¬†Hidden Villages series on Channel 4, presented by the inimitable Penelope Keith (the wonderful Margo from The Good Life), and we particularly enjoyed the episode in which she explored the Cotswolds. One of the places she went to was a little village called Ebrington, which it turns out isn’t far from us, so we headed over there and called in for a drink by the fire at the delightful Ebrington Arms. It’s pretty much the perfect Cotswolds pub, and highly recommended.


Another post on the way as soon as I can squeeze in the time to write it. :)

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