The Battle of Britain, the sight and sound of the world’s favourite fighter performing aerobatics, and new insights into the challenges of flying the Spitfire… These were the benefits accruing to members who attended the April lunch.
Air Commodore Chris Lorraine gave us a very entertaining talk which in a very short time covered subjects including piano destruction and debagging (ask Alistair!), running the Dutch military aviation airspace organisation, and flying the one remaining Dutch RAF Spitfire. Amongst other points, we learned that taking off requires pilots to have 3, and preferably 4 hands, in order to hold onto the control stick (1) whilst getting the wheels up (1), and closing the canopy (2). Landing requires the pilot to have a third eye located 2 metres above the canopy roof to see what is in front of the ‘plane, and some sensitivity in the seat of the pants to avoid the rear of the ‘plane overtaking the front whilst braking. Failure to manage this successfully invariably results in the ‘plane stopping with its propellor buried in the ground, at which point the seat of the pants changes colour.
Sue Bennion won a bottle of Beefeater London gin as she was deemed the most patriotically dressed, the reason for this being that we were celebrating St George, the patron saint of England.
St George was Syrian by birth, with a Turkish father and a wealthy Palestinian mother, and it is unlikely he ever visited England. The perfect choice for a patron saint! He is also patron saint of Georgia, Egypt, Bulgaria, Aragon, Catalonia, Romania, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Iraq, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine and Russia. He never slew a dragon, but was a successful officer in the Roman army; there he professed his Christian faith for which he was martyred by Emperor Diocletian on the 23rd April 303, allowing us to celebrate his demise every April.
Last weekend we had a most enjoyable Diamond Jubilee We had a lot of fun, and raised 555 Euros in the raffle, which will be split between Stichting Jarige Job and The Lymphoma Association. We danced until midnight to the sultry sounds of Jazzterix, and their female vocalist, with the new CADS dance floor (don’t ask) at times completely full…
Next Friday Wout van der Toorn OBE will come to the lunch to tell us all about his new book, The Logbook of The Low Countries. Come along and enjoy an excellent lunch, and the opportunity to learn more about the past history between the Dutch and the British (and others).
In the wider world the Euro continues its slow slide, dragged down by Europe’s collective ability to throw good money after bad to countries addicted to debt and in more than one case openly advocating they have no intention to repay what they are loaned (but can we have another 100bn next month).
As Paul Claudel said after Hitler annexed the Sudetenland… ‘In the short space of time that remains to us after the crisis and before the catastrophe, let us drink a glass of champagne.’ Well, we are not yet at that juncture, but we must work harder to realise a just and sustainable future for ourselves and our children… …see you next Friday!