Winter is coming – no not a Game of Thrones reference, but it’s time to admit it’s getting harder to fly after work. Darkness encroaching on those evening flits.
I’ve flown and flown this summer and it’s been brill. I haven’t written the half of it up – not the BBQ at Western Zoyland or the coastal Wales wandering (here anyway – see Flyer for that one!) or the endless evening bimbles.
So instead of trying to write all that up a list of some of the things I’ve seen that stuck in the mind this summer. So, in no particular order of time or significance…
A stump of a windmill, sailess on a windy shore and another high on a green hill.
Llyn Tegid awash in fog creeping up to drown the lakeskide woods and spilling over the pass into the next valley down as well.
Llyn Celyn, mirror still, reflecting nothing but sky.
The little X’Air’s shadow chasing over the dunes.
The dull pewter edge of an inversion as I spiral higher and higher looking for the top and the better vis.
The Bristol channel as iron grey as the carrier ships traversing it below me.
The dew on the newly trimmed runway as silver as the morning haze above it with nothing but the swallows flying yet and the gentle flap and clink of the windsock the only sound.
The traces of forts and long gone farmsteads, the only evidence of their remains now the longer shadows they cast on the contours of the ground at sunset.
The laughing crowds at the summer barbecue.
The glee on the faces of first time flyers, the children and siblings and partners and parents of pilots sharing their enjoyment of the sky.
The purple-grey profiles of Yr Eryri in the late afternoon haze, the peaks higher than we’re flying.
People with their back to a Spitfire because on the other side of the sky are two Lancasters.
My poor mum, one leg in the air trying to tuck it into the pod somehow while I giggle too much to really help.
The tent tucked under Rhubarb’s tail as I weave my way back to it in the dark.
The silent concentration on the face of my nephew who’s never silent and the light, delicate hold he’s taken of the stick which I’ve never consciously taught him but which he tells me makes it easier to “tell when the aeroplane’s wandering off”.
Chalk white, limestone grey, red clay cliffs and quarries of a dozen different parts of the country.
The taxi driver who’d taken us back to the little microlight field we’d stopped at pulling over and flicking off the meter to sit and watch us take off.
And a dozen dozen more which will pop back into memory over the course of the winter on those days it’s too wet and wild to fly…