Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Old Sarum Air Show

We recently ventured up to Wiltshire to the first Old Sarum Air Show for a day out.

Mother really wanted to see the Vulcan again before it is permanently grounded later this year so she bought us some tickets, checked we could take the dogs and off we went!

There is an awesome greasy spoon cafe in a big layby on the A303 (near a place called West Knoyle) so we had to stop there for a delicious breakfast. The doggies also had their breakfast and a leg stretch.

We arrived at the Airfield and I immediately noticed lots of men on their own (no wives/families) carrying big cameras and wearing anoraks ;-)

Thankfully the weather was dry and when the sun came out from behind the clouds it was very warm!

Little planes started arriving before the main show and Monty got a bit gobby because he's not seen a flying noisy thing up close before. He went and told them who was boss though so he settled down after that.

The doggies were so well behaved and lots of people commented on how good they were.

The displays put on were excellent and there was lots of variety and a packed schedule.
There were so many I can't remember them all but looking back through my photos, I have definitely missed out a few!

2 Spitfires did a display and I love that amazing noise from their Merlin engines. Fabulous!

There was also a little gyrocopter which is an interesting machine - there is no power to the rotors... I wouldn't fancy getting in one!

There was a team of 4 planes who did a "barnstorming" display. Barnstorming was what the pilots did between wars by flying to farms and flying their planes through the barns for the villager's entertainment. They were flying about 3 feet above the ground! For this display, they had cones and bunting forming a small gap to fly through and under.
Another thing they did was have someone on the ground release a balloon as they approached and they had to pop it using the plane's propellers. Amazingly skilful and very entertaining!

They had a young lady in a Pitts aerobatic plane throwing herself around in the sky - making me feel sick just watching her!!

The display before the Vulcan was due to arrive was a "Battle of Britain" flight with 8 different wartime planes including bi-planes and tri-planes.
What they hadn't told us was that they would be using bangs and gunfire so we were merrily chatting with some people next to us and Monty was (obviously) on his back waiting for belly rubs when all of a sudden there was explosions and gunfire. 
The doggies were terrified! Thankfully we had thought ahead and brought cotton wool with us to stuff in their ears for the Vulcan flight as it is very noisy so we were frantically jamming cotton wool in the dogs' ears and bandaging their heads to keep it in place. We managed to make some doggy ear defenders and they soon settled down and went back to sleep with their silly headwear on.

Disappointingly, we were told as we were waiting for the Vulcan's arrival, that it had got a split in the fuel tank en route to the show and had to turn around and head back to base. 
Everyone was absolutely gutted - particularly us as we had travelled so far to see it!
The Vulcan was going to display with the Sally B B-17 Bomber so we did at least get to see another beautiful old plane to round the day off.

Other than the disappointment of the Vulcan, we had a really lovely day out and have said we'd definitely go again or we'd go up for a couple of days and explore Old Sarum Castle which is right by the Airfield.


Friday, 11 September 2015

A Weekend in Somerset

The last weekend in August was our annual trip to Pontispool Equine Sports Centre for their 3 day camp.
We'd been looking forward to it for soooo long!

We trundled up the M5 and stopped in our favourite place for our traditional pre-camp breakfast at Sheppy's Cider Farm near Taunton. 
I can't recommend their cafe enough - if you're passing Taunton or are even looking for a motorway stop that's about 5/10 mins off the motorway then go here!!

We arrived at camp waddling through the gates after our huge breakfast and checked which stables we had been given.
Every year, we ask for the same stables which are the furthest away from the main yard and they are next to a hedge overlooking the arenas.
This year, we had been put in the same block, but on the other side looking into the busy main yard and the vehicle thoroughfare.
We went over to the office and asked if, as we were the only 2 in the entire block of 8, we could move round to the other side because we like the horses to have a bit of peace and quiet and we're also a little antisocial!
Our wish was granted so we bedded down the 2 middle stables which meant we had an end stable each for storing all of our junk. Luxury!
There happened to be an old bench just near the hedge so we pinched that to put in our 'private yard', hung A's radio she'd brought from the door and put the ciders in a bucket of water to cool down. 

The view from our stables

My beautiful horse

Amazing sunset

I managed to put all our human gear in the wrong cabin so we had to relocate when we realised we were in the cabin next door.... ooops!

We were very lucky with the weather and managed to avoid getting really wet while we rode. The one time it rained a little bit, the rain was evaporated before it hit our skin because we were so hot from working hard!

I have to say I was so pleased with Fern all weekend; she was agreeable and seemed to really enjoy herself. Normally any jumping is a huge battle of wills but she was so good all weekend! We had a different instructor who absolutely adored Fern but she didn't get to see the usual argumentative hormonal madam that she usually is!

I was so proud of our achievements all weekend and I was really proud of A and her horse - they are unrecognisable and have so much more confidence in each other.

I love this picture of A and Zak. So proud of them both!
The highlight of the weekend was jumping an 'owl hole' fence where you jump through a hole. It took several attempts but we bloomin well did it and I was so pleased!

She did it!!
A and I asked the photographer to get some nice shots of us galloping so we found a lng grass strip and set off one at a time down it at a flat out gallop.
I haven't had that much fun for ages! I couldn't stop and was just laughing my head off as we thundered up the strip. 
We turned back and F took off again absolutely flying! We had to go up and down several times before I could stop.
That, to me, is what horse riding is all about - pure freedom and the thrill of going so fast on a big animal. I had no worries in the world at that moment; just pure love and laughter with my horse and my best friend.

The best time with my amazing horse and my best friend
We rounded off our fabulous weekend with the showjumping competition where Fern and I came 3rd and A won!!  
We were bursting with pride and both nearly crying!

What a fabulous weekend. I can't wait to go back!