Saturday, June 19, 2010

marigold, Lancaster, wasp

Posted by Picasa A pot marigold in the herb garden. The petals provide streaks of gold scattered on  salad and add the taste of spice.

As I walk through The Grove, I hear the roar of aircraft engines, not jets, but powerful internal  combustion engines from a different era. I look up and low above the roofs of Little Mount Sion and Berkeley Road I see a World War 2 Lancaster bomber. Reader, I run forward to get a better view, hoping that it might return or that I might get another glimpse of it, and sure enough it circles and flies back directly overhead in the direction of The Common. It is very low and I can clearly see its camouflaged fuselage and rear gun cockpit. It is no longer a weapon of war intent on dropping bouncing bombs on reservoirs, but a working antique, an aircraft, which recalls a boy's wonder at what was then a monstrous, overwhelming machine. But now, in comparison with sleek, sinister, modern war planes, how small  and innocent it looks! Earlier today I had  caught sight of The Red Arrows, jets ripping through  the sky over our house in formation, leaving behind thick vapour trails like grey streamers,  and  deduced that somewhere in Kent or Sussex, an airshow must be on. But this is more thrilling, than The Red Arrows acrobatic team, more unexpected, a stirring reminder that technical achievement does not belong entirely to the electronic age.

While I am sitting  by the window this afternoon reading, I see in the corner of my eye the shadow of a wasp cross the wall. I look up. On the sunlit glass, there is the wasp itself. Tap tap. A faint buzzing. I am glad that the window is closed. The wasp flies off. For good.


The Crow said...

I feel toward the lumbering Hueys the same way you do toward the Lancaster, even though the Huey is a (more recent) helicopter, not a bomber. I think it has to do with the Huey's connection to my youth, and the war, then, that seems to have defined (or, at least, colored) so much of my life.

When I hear that familiar whump-whump-whump of the rotors slicing though the air, I have to run, too, for a glimpse...for a visual reminder of a time gone by.

Jane - Grove said...

The fly-overs are for the '1940's' weekend at the Spa Valley Railway, and the flypast should happen again tomorrow! I certainly enjoyed the vision of the Lancaster flying low - sadly I missed seeing the Red Arrows, but I certainly heard them!

Unknown said...

Crow Nostalgia for aircrafts seem to be infectious. The helecopter sound you describe makes me want to run outside and look for one rising over the rooftops.

Jane Thanks for that information. I shall certainly look out for the Lancaster this afternoon.

Roderick Robinson said...

I have mentioned this before but it concerns one of those experiences that could never have been predicted. During my RAF training as an air wireless fitter I spent a couple of hours in a hangar among truncated versions of fighting planes, checking where the radio kit was to be found. At the time (1955) the RAF was still flying Lancasters for navigator training and I was able to burrow into the bowels of a wingless Lanc and finally sit in the pilot's seat. What captured my heart was the functionality of the environment - no fitment was in anyway unnecessarily decorated. Everything was designed to be used intuitively, clarity of purpose was self-evident. Dreaming of being Guy Gibson I never did find out where the VHF transmitter/receiver was located and my ignorance was brought to light in a subsequent interview. I felt I'd let down the Lancaster.