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'There's a point,' whispered my chum, 'When you have to admit the things you wore in your 20s don't suit you anymore...'

The pub was full of ageing goths and rockers; Some looked grand like the old guy with feathers in his hat and silver full-finger rings covering his hands, and some needed a little help, like the fulsome blonde with the bad tat of Axl Rose; It wasn't her night in some ways. She approached another chum and announced to him that she was going to be dancing 'here,' meaning right in front of him. He was a bit surprised, but nodded and told her to carry on, entirely missing her intention that he should join her. Still, if she struck out with our unusually obtuse friend, at least she was all about the music. The pub was packed for a Guns'n'Roses tribute band, and the house was rocking.

Live bands always make a night better, even when they're bad. These started well, then it all began to slide... November Rain got thoroughly mangled, and having confused themselves mightilly the band decided to try Sympathy for the Devil, learning that there is only one way to make a gig worse than playing badly and that's not knowing the song at all. They ended up hopelessly cooing 'Woo!Woo!' into the mike for what seemed like hours, and then took what the lead singer described as 'A long-deserved break.' The audience certainly deserved it. When they came back, they gave us a great version of 'Sweet Child o Mine.' Just as well really, a few scalps might have been lost otherwise. We sang, we danced, we rocked the night away, a great time with great friends.

The next day we found ourselves at North Weald Airfield near Epping forest for a skid-pan experience. It was a present larians had received either for birthday or last Xmas, and as I couldn't join him, I decided to wander round the old airfield and take some photos. Alas, my phone was out of juice, wretched thing! So instead, I found the cafe with its NAAFI clock and old time music. It was full of pictures and posters, including a terrible thing that sent a chill down my back; a bombing map of Germany from WWII.
Still, there were other more gentle images including Coulson's rather lovely 'Off duty Lancaster';
I presume it was a print of the original. One thing I noticed was that the images I see on the net don't show cobwebs dangling from the hemlock umbrels, and they were certainly bright and present on the one I saw. Or maybe I have conflated two pictures into one, but I don't think so.

Turns out that the airfield has an honourable past in the two wars, a place once frequented by many famous pilots and beautiful planes. 'There's more next door,' they told me, once I was armed with a cup of tea. So I wandered through. They were holding some kind of big Christmas do there, bunting, union jack cushions, a Christmas tree and very happy veterans and their families, all most cordially inviting me to come in and look around. The airfield will be 100 years old in 2016. Memorabilia was everwhere.

'See that poster?' said a lady pointing to a much yellower version of this:

'He's standing over there...' I had a brief chat with the wartime model, who said 'Those pictures were taken in the desert. I was out there 4 years before I saw one!' We shook hands and I went on to gaze at bubble sextants, helmets, old typewriters and those wonderful posters warning us to always carry our gasmasks, beware of 'Firebomb Fritz,' and of course, never forget the perils of a wily blonde:

And if one is going to invite a pretty German spy to the Officers' Mess, let's not stub cigarettes on her arm or tip booze down the sofa. It can't help.

There was much more to see and hear, but the smell of great roast dinners was filling the air, and I had been made so welcome I didn't want anyone to have to ask me to leave so that food could be served. So I made my way back to the car and waited for Larians, who turned up as thoroughly pleased with his day as I was with mine.

And now: more to do, more to be done. First of all, some flu remedy. This sniffle has aspirations to turn into a proper cold.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2015 12:16 am (UTC)
Saturday night was a giggle. You shouting "Don't do that EVER again!" at the band will stay with me for a long time. :)

Incidentally, who was it that the blonde was wiggling at? I missed that bit. Eric said he used to go out with her years ago, but she's no-one I recognised.

And the airfield stuff looks really interesting - I must drop in there next time I'm passing. Thank you for sharing.
Dec. 16th, 2015 12:08 am (UTC)
The blonde was making moves on Ross apparently.

I am not sure if the North Weald airfield would be as interesting without the celebrations but as its centenary is next year, it might have some special events on.

Re Saturday night, I had forgotten my advice, but I hope they take it! :-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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