There were two occasions in 1943/4 when I watched Lancasters taking off.  It was an impressive sight and sound, there were perhaps twenty taking off in line astern.  With their full load of fuel and anything up to ten tons in the bomb bay they flew very low over the field of wheat at the end of the runway as they struggled to gain height, on their way, no doubt, to rendezvous with hundreds of others before heading into Europe .  The sound from so many Merlins was very emotional and unforgettable.  As a boy, although I knew that some would probably not return, I remember wishing I was going with them –  the
foolishness of youth.
It is seventy years since the last of those two occasions and I don’t think I have ever seen more than one Lancaster in the sky at any one time since then.  That was until August 21st  this year, the day when the Battle of Britain Flight Lancaster was joined by the RCAF Lancaster flying round the Marham airfield.  The RCAF Lancaster is, as most of you are no doubt aware, on a visit to the UK.  Many other folk including, I expect, a number of readers, were aware of the visit and had parked on the outside of the airfield.  June and I had a spot along the Narborough road but, to my surprise, there were very many parked along the A1122, some in rather dangerous positions, I thought.
It was a brilliant little show and an opportunity to see two Lancasters together, a sight that may never be seen again.  First the Lancasters appeared with the Vulcan leading, a tribute to AVRO.  The Vulcan headed off but the Lancasters did a number of circuits of the field before a Spitfire appeared and gave a very impressive solo aerobatic display, diving and levelling out close to the field several times.  The Lancasters returned and continued to fly low round the airfield sometimes banking quite steeply above us so that we had a good view of
the top side, they then flew away and we thought the show was over, but they returned again, this time escorted by two Hurricanes, a rarer sight than Spitfires these days.  It was great.(From the markings it seemed possible that the Hurricanes were navy and maybe they were actual Sea Hurricanes, an even rarer sight.  Can anyone confirm?)
Ron Watts

October Gardening

October Gardening.

October days are often glorious with many deciduous trees and shrubs providing a riot of colour. However when the leaves fall from trees and shrubs, clearing them up can seem like an endless task. Don’t look at this as pointless as recycling fallen leaves is the easiest way to make free garden compost known as leaf mould. Most leaves can be turned into leaf mould, but some take longer to compost than others. Oak, alder and hornbeam will soon rot down, while sycamore, beech, horse chestnut and sweet chestnut take longer. Leaves from evergreen plants can take three years to compost and are best added in small quantities. Pine needles should be collected in a separate heap as they slowly rot down to produce an acid leaf mould that can be used for plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas and heathers. Walnut, eucalyptus, camphor laurel and cherry laurel contain substances that inhibit growth so leaves from these plants should be avoided. Also avoid collecting leaves from the side of the road as these would have been exposed to pollutants. Do not collect any infected leaves (e.g. Rose Black Spot) these should be cleared away from the plant and destroyed to prevent the infection spreading. Leave behind any fallen leaves that are under hedges and out of the way area’s as these provide an ideal home for hedgehogs and other wildlife.

Continue reading

What does the Doctor say for August?

A view from my world into another world – which one is the real world?

 Alyson, our daughter, works as a medical secretary and general fac totum in a GP practice near Redditch, in the Midlands. For years, she has been describing the torrent of abuse she receives from patients on a daily basis. (For the rest of this article, let us substitute the word which begins with “f’ and ends with “ing” with “Xing” and life will be easier). An example – one of Alyson’s very nice doctors, a Nigerian, came in, took morning surgery and then asked Alyson to rearrange some of his patients’ appointments because his brother had just been murdered in the family home and he was mightily distressed. Alyson had permission to explain the reason for these changes and set about telephoning the patients. Several of the responses were along the following lines – “Your Xing practice is Xing useless. We Xing wait ages for a Xing appointment and then you Xing ring to alter the Xing thing. What kind of Xing outfit are you Xing running? For Alyson, this was the last straw. This is the sort of abuse she and the other staff suffer daily and she has had enough of it.

Continue reading