Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blast from the past

Just landed.
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
At Wanaka, the area which provided the backdrop for several LotR scenes, there is a museum of fighting aircraft, the Wanaka Warbirds. Today was so grey and chilly we decided to spend the morning in a draughty aircraft hangar, and ended up standing riveted for an age on an even draughtier airfield watching this wonderful plane.

And listening to it - for one of the well-documented features of the WW2 Spitfire was the amazing growl of its Rolls Royce Merlin engine (I know - you never realised I had this laddish background knowledge, born of years of reading boys' books). I spotted a bloke heading out of the hangar towards the Spitfire with a flying helmet in his hands, and we followed him. He was strapped in - the same solicitude you see in old war movies - by the mechanic; a fire truck appeared and hovered encouragingly; there was much slow-mo turning of the engine - someone shouted "dead as the dodo" - and then suddenly a great roar and puffs of smoke and that was it. Off he taxied, belted down the runway - we'd all run like four asterisks over the carpark to be in the right place - and took off, circling around against the backdrop of the incredible mountains. Later he landed - and we were the only spectators. I even recorded the sound on my phone (I can't believe I was carrying on like this). It was rerr.

Later we thawed out in a great "Soul Food Cafe" in Wanaka, and went for what turned out to be an idyllic walk along the lakeshore. Now we've come home and lit the woodburning stove in the house - we never thought we'd get doing that! It heats the whole house on a big log - we're on our third now. Outside, it smells like incense.

But I can't see how we could fit either a woodburning stove or a Spitfire into our usual existence - or even the 4x4 Isuzu with thermonuclear protection. Life *will* seem dull!

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