Today I made another trip to East Fortune. During the previous one I was the dutiful son-in-law. For this one, the dutiful grandfather. The contrast between the two visits was a real eye-opener for me. For the first there were reminiscences (father-in-law was in the Fleet Air Arm in the 1940s). For the second there was sheer wonderment – at biplanes, helicopters, Concorde (East Fortune has Concorde alpha-one), airships and rockets – all close-up and hands-on. And engines, of course (but those were for me, not for them).
The highlight, for a ten-year-old, was her flight-simulator-bloody-brilliant-landing of the R34 airship (here, then click numbers 2 and 3). She’s not in the photo, unfortunately. I was so gobsmacked by the way she controlled the thing that I forgot to take photos. I even found myself having to explain the differences between helium and hydrogen, and how it was stored in airships. The ten year old was taking it all in, as expected. But so was the three-year-old. As we drove out, a lot later, he asked ‘Papa, what’s a gasbag?’