Thursday, 16 June 2016


I have been so excited over the last few days, as on the spur of the moment I contacted a friend who work (volunteers) at the AVRO Heritage Museum, Woodford about helping on the project and she suggested I came the following day. I had been hanging on not knowing when I could come because of my Mum's hospital appointment.

The weather couldn't have been worse - it was bucketing down and I could hardly see the hills as I drove the long track around to the museum from the Gatehouse.

Do click on the pictures to see some of the detail on the plane.

I had to climb up a huge ladder, safely tied up with rope to the scaffold and was given a fancy rubbing down thing, like a plastic holder on Velcro with a stick on sanding pad. Very effective used with a bit of water. I was standing on the wing! Woo hoo! The closest I will get to being a Breitling Wingwalker. It was so exciting! When I looked at the enormity of the project I thought it was an impossible task. We all set to doing our various bits and owning a section (I had bagged the RAF roundel as part of my work). I was working in a triangular shape from a narrow top opening out to the back of the port wing. The wing sections in between the rivets were just under or about 2ft. We didn't only have to sand, we had to get it to feel smooth to the touch and there was lots of camouflage paint on there which was very gritty. About 30 rubs each way had to be done before the surface was satisfactory to provide a surface for preparation/painting. Then every so often we'd grab a pressure washer (great fun, particularly when you wanted to give someone a wee shower!!!!! HAHAHA) NB: No humans were drowned in this operation and it was under cover as well

Look at the extent of this, it's incredible.

This tail needs quite a bit of work to it.

Some of the lovely guys who I was working with, Hmm, I was the only female.

In addition to the piece of wing leading down to this I wanted to claim this one.

Of course you have to have your photo taken in strategic places, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Dave, one of the volunteers, just had to pose here! This is for the girls! You can see what a mucky job plane sanding is!

You just gotta do it! Guy Martin went down this and checked the compression blades. There is actually one engine down there.

This is showing the compressor blades in the engine, right down that tunnel!

What a shame, this is the cockpit on XM603, sadly in a terrible state. I hope they manage to restore it. Someone left the ladders down and I just had to get up there and investigate. I was really mucky - note the kneepads.

I went back there the next day for a bit more scrubbing - I took some more photos and might add some at a later date. Some of the volunteers from museum seem to think I am part of the furniture, every opportunity I get, I seem to make for there.

Once again, I am sorry if I am boring people with the Vulcan offerings, but it is very important to me and I am so proud to have had a hand in the restoration of this beautiful plane. There will be more work done next week, I hope to get over there one of the days.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016


Last Sunday was the AGM of the Vulcan to the Sky, which would be the last one in its present form and we wanted to go for that reason, to meet up with fellow enthusiasts and also as RAF Cosford has a wonderful Cold War aircraft museum - all on the same day.

RAF Cosford is set in a lovely part of the country, on the way to Telford from the M6. Mostly flat with lots of green fields and nice scenery. It is a huge site and we parked right outside the fantastic building which houses the Cold War collection. I'm not going to bore you too much with lots of aircraft as you're probably fed up with them by now - just a few but some interesting artefacts were on display.

Our meeting was 12 but there was coffee and a get together at 11 and as we were in the refreshment area, I spotted - was it REALLY him? Yes, my hero, Squadron Leader Martin Withers DFC, former Chief Pilot for the Vulcan XH558 and the pilot who flew XM607 all the way to the Falklands Island, and was responsible for putting the runway out of action, then managing to survive until finding a Victor Tanker plane to refuel him to get the plane home. An amazing feat. I have wanted to meet him so much but never been to an air show where the planes have landed to meet these people. He was so nice, even gave me a kiss! And allowed husband to take a photo. I also met Dr Robert Pleming, the man who was responsible for bringing the Vulcan to the sky, the pilot who took Guy Martin down the runway at Wellesbourne on the TV programme most people saw and the first ever pilot of XH558, who is now 90 years young and carried out 444 flights. A very lovely man indeed.

This next paragraph is for my friend and blogger Barbara from March House Books (is that what you're called now Barbara?) I recently bought a Kindle against my better judgment as I love having a book in my hand. I'm still not convinced but I've just read three books on it and I have been unable to put the tablet down as they're so exciting. They are by L J Ross, an author who was in the legal profession and turned to writing. The first one is called Holy Island and is set on - well, Lindisfarne and is about dark and mysterious murders happening on the island and the subsequent solving of these crimes. The main character is DCI Ryan, who is just recovering from a personal tragedy which happened during the course of his work and he is drawn back to work by this crime. The second book is called Sycamore Gap and is based around the area of Hadrians Wall, probably the area near Housesteads and the third one is called Heavenfield. The latter two are following on about the theme running through the first one but don't want to tell any more. They are compulsive reading if you love crime stories and really make you think about "who dunnit!

I have to say I don't find it easy to go back to pages in the book that I want to check up on, like something I failed to notice. It seems to have gone and flipping back pages seems to me to easier. However these books are not in print! They are only two or three pounds though, so quite unusual for me to buy E books as I like to go to places like Gutenberg Press for out of print books.

Right, enough of books - here are some photos.

I have actually read  a sign like this at Checkpoint Charlie in the late 60s when it was REAL!  Shivers down the spine as you go through into the Eastern Quarter!

The first of the V bombers in Cold War period - the Valiant. We have never seen one of these before.

The next is the Victor, which eventually ended up as a tanker plane and fuelled Vulcan all the way to the Falklands (well there were actually 11 of them fuelling each other in turn fuelling the Vulcan and then back again.

And of course - my very favourite Vulcan!

The car of the Cold War era, the Trabant.

The equivalent in West Germany of the time no need to name!

And of course our own Mini of the period.

A Lightening - it's speciality was just that - going straight up! Amazing.

The TSR2 - a shocking thing that this plane was destroyed and could have been a world beater. 
This amazing wall of the Cold War Hangar, was supposed to represent an aircraft wing.
Well that's all for now, not TOO many aircraft today but I had such a wonderful day out after all the worry that I've had over the last couple of weeks with my husband and mother both not being well. Speak to you next time.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Oh yes, another post. Apologies in advance for all the aircraft pictures but this seems to be the main source of interest at the moment. I don't have much time for cycling as I am at my Mum's every other day with the odd time that it's every day and I don't really have such an exciting life that there's anything much to tell people about.

Every year in Spring there is a classic car event "Drive it" Day where everyone who has a classic car is encouraged to - well, drive it. In advance I had a Facebook post saying that a couple of car clubs were going to be at Woodford displaying their cars. Thoughts going through my head were, we might have the opportunity to have a photo shot of our car in front of XM603.

We arrived before opening time and sure as sure, my contact asked if we wanted that. Of course we did and tootled off to park ours in place. Here are a couple of photos.

It would be amazing to pilot this wonderful plane

This is where it all began, maybe. I hope this building doesn't get demolished

So, that's all for now, this will give me time to catch up and read some of your blogs, as I'm sadly failing in this at the moment as I've been painting over the last few weeks, it's a bit job as one bit leads into another bit and I'm definitely not stressing myself about it with so many more important things to worry about.

Bye for now, until next time.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Oh, no, I've been such a lazy blogger recently, just been so busy with my Mum, decorating and trying to fit in all the things I really need to do as well as attempting to declutter as well. The name of the blog seems to be rather inappropriate at the moment as I use my Beetle from time to time, don't take her to shows and am struggling to find time to cycle as well.

There had to be a decision made by members of the Vulcan to the Sky club on the future of the club, as it was no longer connected to the sky! Therefore we attended an EGM at Bruntingthorpe to hear the result of the vote from members prior to the AGM which will be held this coming weekend at Cosford.

We wanted to go also to see the aircraft which are at Bruntingthorpe so combined the visit. After the meeting we had access to walk around all the planes, some awaiting restoration and some just sitting there for anyone to go up to. 

We did really want to see the Victor, which followed on from the Vulcan and which was a very important plane during the Falklands war, as a large number refuelled the one Vulcan which aim was to bomb the runway so the Argentinians couldn't take off in their planes. I think it was 13 Victor tanker planes which refuelled each other then eventually there was only one left to refuel the Vulcan on her way back home after a successful raid on the runway at Port Stanley.

She was an impressive plane and so large too. So pleased to have seen her. 

Also on display was a Shackleton which is in the process of being restored and I was (hmm) allowed into the body of the plane and clambered over the high bulkheads to get to the cockpit. Strictly speaking we shouldn't have but the people involved let us in. A very interesting plane in that she stayed up in the air for hours on end on coastal observations and so there is on board a little kitchen etc. The job was similar to what the Nimrod did before the powers that be decided to scrap brand new ones which had been built at Woodford.  Say no more about that!

One of the most amazing sights was the Guppy - I have honestly never ever seen anything so big in my life. It was rather like the Hindenberg, with wings. This is an extreme load carrier and very impressive. I think it used to fly wings from Deeside to where Airbus was being built. 

Guppy - It really does look blown up!

Victor (V bomber)

Inside Shackleton

Another inside the Shackleton

Lots to do here
Sorry I chopped the top of the cabin off. This was the only one I got of the outside

I'm going to surprise you and put on another post with some pictures from Woodford - in which we had our car photographed in front of the Vulcan there.

Bye for now and sorry for the late posting and for all these aircraft posts. I hope you're not bored with them all. 

Friday, 25 March 2016


Wednesday and Thursday were busy days for me as I decided to attack the bin full of papers that needed shredding or burning. Fortunately I managed to unblock the shredder with my trusty paper knife that I used at Lanstar for the same purpose. Apparently nowadays you can buy shredders that cope with pages and pages at a time. Mine only effectively shreds about 3 at the most. However, after stopping every few piles, and unblocking, then waiting whilst it cooled down, I achieved the objective and the bin was empty. Then I decided to attack the papers in the shed which had apparently acted as bed and breakfast for an army of mice or other rodents. These were incinerated in the rather rusty bin (which now needs replacing). Halfway through I realised that I had to leave it there, as I had to be at my Mum's and couldn't leave the bin smouldering. An other day!

The day before I had managed to paint the three panels of the fence between me and next door's driveway. I then painted a bench to match the garden chair. I'm getting worried I'm becoming domesticated.

Good Friday - well I was going to go to Woodford to see the white Vulcan XM603 again - it was a beautiful day, wall to wall sunshine, but I did my usual messing around, drinking coffee, having a go at crocheting a sock and other diversions. I wondered if my Mum might like to go, so realised she would want to have her lunch first. Then I decided it would take 45 minutes to get there and maybe it was too late. Went to Mum's armed with a huge branch lopper - she didn't want to go to Woodford, said she was not well enough but we went into the garden and attacked some shrubs and I was glad, as she would have foolishly had a go herself.

Now it's 22.29 on Friday night and the prospect of the rest of the Easter weekend is wet and windy. Still 603 - sorry, there is going to be another weekend. Then I might even be able to stand on your wings and clean you up!

My husband is suffering badly from hip problems, I'm really very worried about him, and his business. Being self employed is no joke if there's only you and the running costs are rather like having a rather self indulgent mistress.


Barbara, my friend from March of Time Books, might be interested in this photo which I found on the internet. We had been talking of the 60s and I had shown her a photo of my living room in 1966, which I had accurately described to her, then strangely my son gave me some slides from his Dad with one of our living room. I managed to take a photo of it and I'll post it here too. In the 60s, there used to be an Ideal Home Exhibition held at Manchester every year which we used to go to. One of the exhibits was a Futuro house, which has stayed vividly in my imagination ever since. I really wanted one of these houses, which looks rather like something from The War of the Worlds. There was a George Clark programme which I managed to watch on Catch up (channel 4) which showed a man who had bought one of these houses and was restoring it. 

Isn't this amazing?

This was around 1966/7, it could actually pass today without much difficulty.

Well, I think that's just about enough. Next time I'm going to put on some photos of me in Paris in the 1960s. I hope the weather isn't too dire for the rest of the weekend but if it is, I'll just do some crocheting and more decluttering.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016


My friend had emailed me to say she was coming down from the NE to visit her sister as her husband was doing a show at The Whitworth Art Gallery on Valentines day, would you believe. We don't pander to that occasion, so I had no problem with saying I'd join them. I have passed that building many times but never been there. The most simple arrangement was that I should get a train to Oxford Road and a bus up to the Whitworth, as we would be walking up to Rusholme later. 

Whilst waiting for the bus near the station, I heard a hoot, then realised a steam engine was passing overhead on the line I had just travelled on. There were two lovely steam engines and a row of carriages. I didn't have time to get my camera or phone out to take a shot. If only I'd stayed in the station a little longer I would have seen them go through towards Piccadilly.

Walking past The Academy at the University I stepped back to take a better photo of Holy Name Church across the road, when I fell flying as I hadn't realised there was a kerb behind me with raised bike racks. I hurt my upper arm as I fell with that on the iron bar. Good job it wasn't my head! The wounded soldier hobbled along the rest of the way and met up with my friends in the cafe bar at The Whitworth, which is a long room with floor to ceiling windows. I passed through a gallery where my friend's husband was telling stories to children, dressed up as a entertainer, knee length wide velvet coat and other items of clothing rather like a wandering minstrel. I forgot to take a picture as I didn't want to disturb his act as he might have noticed me taking a picture.

Coffee and cake 10/10. We had a walk around the gallery, I like to paint/draw a bit but am not really interested in things that don't look like what they're supposed to look. There were lots of photos relating to the period after the war when life was drab and the process involved in 'brightening' up the country. There was also a display behind glass of a robe which I believe was from the 6th century? There others and also a very fine hand knitted tunic in silk which dated from I can't remember but was extremely old. I enjoyed that. I'm just going to show you a few pictures to show you rather than go on at too great a length, as if you're interested you can look up The Whitworth on the internet.

I remember the building before this being demolished. We heard what sounded like an explosion when I was doing a German course at the building below. It was only afterwards seeing the rubble I realised what the noise was, a large ball hitting the previous structure. It's lovely inside.

My course was in the second building down, the one with pillars, another beautiful entrance hall, going right up to the top with galleries around it, a beautiful change from functional building further up behind The Academy, where we were first of all.

Holy Name Church, a very famous landmark along Oxford Road.

This is a theatre, I can't remember what the name of it is.

A shame about the scaffolding at The Whitworth, there are new buildings build onto the back of it to give lots of light and space.

Lovely old stairwell in The Whitworth 

This was another stairwell, that lovely mobile was designed for that spot.

A lovely fabric picture

I took this for my friend's sister, as she asked me to - her daughter's favourite colours.

A lovely paper 'patchwork' quilt made by children who had a session all sitting on the floor around it.

This was a battle re-enactment in the park, I couldn't wait to see more as we had to eat!

I was amazed just how much there was for young children, the entrance hall was absolutely chock full of push chairs, there was story telling, painting, flower making and this paper patchwork. Apparently you have to book early as the sessions fill up fast. It's free too I believe.

There was also a shop downstairs which sold all sorts of interesting things, lovely wooden toys and books for children.

We then walked up to Rusholme to find a few recommended Indian restaurants, came back, didn't find the one we wanted, had a meal in another, then found the one we should have gone to afterwards. It was very nice the one we went to. We had three different vegetarian dishes and shared them between us so we had a lovely selection. We didn't have a dessert and really it was pretty cheap, about £9 each which was amazing for Manchester. There was a funny sign outside the restaurant we wanted to go to, apparently recommended by Nigel Slater.

Well, we had a nice visit to the gallery, a tasty meal, lots of chatting as I don't see her and her sister very often and I hoped to read on the train home. However, it wasn't possible as I was absolutely jammed into a corner, the train was so full.

So that's all for today, until the next time. (Did you notice anything? No shots of Vulcans)