Friday, August 10, 2007
I got in it sitting next to two ladies. The door closed behind me, but didn't appear to have been closed properly. I tried to tell the attendant this, but we were already many feet in the air!
The noise was horrendous. The two ladies pressed against me. We all had earphones which were supposed to be giving us a commentary as we flew over Chester. But because the engine was so very noisy we couldn't hear any commentary at all.
The helicopter banked over so much that I was worried in case the darn door should fly open!
I was very glad when we landed and I could get out of it.
Helicopters do - of course - do excellent work, but for me this was no 'joyride'.
p.s. I am going into a respite home next Monday for two weeks, as it will give my wife Margaret a break.
Monday, August 6, 2007
One of our sons, Russ, still lives with Margaret and I here at Caerwys.
Russ always excellent and gentle with our Guernsey herd when we were farming, far better in fact than I ever was. But now, as we are no longer farming and living at a private house, Russ now has some lovely, gentle and large American Bull dogs that he looks after. He has trained his dogs expertly.
Russ, who is a retired undisputed World Champion kickboxer, has started up a security business. Four people work for Russ.
Russ has a fully-equipped gym on the ground floor at our house, while Margaret and I live on the first floor - I have a special type of electric lift which takes me in my wheelchair up to our floor. Russ lives in the fully self-contained flat on the top floor.
Russ, at their request, visits local schools, where there he teaches self-defence (very popular with ladies and girls in particular), temper control and generally helps people to become model citizens. In fact, one headmistress has said that one her pupils was so naughty that she was on the verge of expelling him. However, since attending Russ's classes, he is now a model pupil.
Recently, Russ travelled to the Ukraine where he has set up a number of kickboxing clubs. His dogs love him very much and miss him when he goes away on these trips. On one such occasion, I was sitting on my recliner in our lounge, when Trigger - one of Russ's dogs - came to me whining. He appeared distressed and obviously wanted me to follow him.
I struggled into my electric wheelchair and obediently followed Trigger to the bottom of our stairs. It became clear that Trigger wanted me to go up the stairs to fetch Russ for him! With Russ being abroad I couldn't grant Trigger's wish, so I gave him a big hug. This seemed to pacify him.
I told Russ about this when he returned. Now when Russ goes away, he makes sure that Trigger sees him leave so that the dog understands that Russ is not hiding upstairs and knows that I cannot call him down! Russ has been away since, but Trigger has never asked for my help again.
Friday, August 3, 2007
I had a request from the chairman of a gliding club.
He'd read an article that I'd written about the fauna and flora on Halkyn mountain. I'd written it in my pre-MS days. I was a District and Community councillor back then and was disgusted at some folk who were dumping rubbish on our 2000 acre Halkyn mountain. I hope that my article would help more people appreciate some of the interesting beauty there.
Anyway, the gliding club chairman, Ken Payne, wrote to me because he wanted help getting publicity for the club. He said that I could have a free flight in one of their gliders if I would write an article about it.
I was happy to oblige.
Here's what I wrote in the article...
There is an old saying 'That if God had meant folk to fly, He would have provided us with wings'. Well, He didn't so folk get up in the sky in all types of aircraft.
The gigantic intercontinental airliners make for very boring long flights, I think. The longest that I have ever done was to Melbourne, Australia.
Then there are the monoplanes, from which I did my two sponsored charity jumps.
The double wings, Tiger Moths, on which I flew whilst on holiday in the Isle of White. We flew over The Needles.
The remote-controlled tiny unmanned aircraft for photographing fields.
But the ones I enjoy most are gliders.
The first glider I flew in was winch-controlled. This meant there was a winch about 100 yards away from the plane. A car parked near the glider would flash its lights, the signal at which the winch would begin to tow the glider along the ground. The glider moved very quickly and then bump-bump on the ground. Suddenly, we were up in the air and climbed very quickly up to 1000 feet. It made Concord's take-off seem sluggish.
The glider pilot would seek a thermal to fly on which would keep us in the air much longer. The deafening silence was truly lovely. I was so busy taking photographs that the time went by very quickly.
The next time that I went up in a glider it was towed up by another plane. The plane towed us up to 10,000 feet at which point the glider pilot released the towing cable. This would cause the glider to come to a complete stop. I thought we would plunge down to our certain deaths. But no, we would glide happily about.
Compared to my other favourite outdoor pursuits of sailing, golfing and motorcycling, gliding is without doubt also most delightful.