Thursday, 27 November 2014

Polluting East Kent

Air traffic control in 1929.
Back in the 1920s when commercial aviation was in its infancy, this corner of England was already the main road to Europe. This illustration is an 'airway traffic controller' in 1929, plotting the route of an 'Air Express' by means of radio triangulation. The planes flew from Heston Air Station and then later, Croydon Air Station on daily services to capital cities in Europe. By 1930, fifty aircraft per day were crossing the Channel, and they all flew over Kent.

Air pollution in 2014.
Fifty per day? 
Now it must be fifty per hour. 

This is the East Kent sky. What you might believe to be cloud is pollution from aircraft. Those pretty silver vapour trails that aircraft inscribe in the blue do not go away -- they get broader and spread across the sky.

Roman-built Richborough Castle
 under the polluted sky.

This would have been a clear sky and a sunny day for us in East Kent had it not been for the thousands of you above us intent on your holidays.

So next time you check in for your flight, spare a thought for those whose lives you are blighting.

By the way, I enjoyed my trip to New Zealand in February.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Not a real fox -- faux fir?

On a rather damp cycle ride with MyMate John (of Hunting the Golden Lion fame) a few days ago, he drew my attention to this fox foraging in the front garden of a cottage.

Of course he knew that it was there because he also knew that it was a statue.

From our viewpoint in the lane, I could not see sufficiently clearly to discover what the fox was made of.

It could have been carved from a log. 

Would this, I wondered, have made it faux fir?

See how a real fox copes with being hunted, visit my post:

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Holiday Inn Aylesbury -- could do better

Arriving at the Holiday Inn Aylesbury at midnight on Monday after a two and a half hour drive we were looking forward to a quick shower and a good night's rest.  The lad at the front desk had our check-in details ready and all looked good. When we got to the room, things started to go wrong. We had no towels. 

It's pretty obvious that there are
not towels on this rail
 I telephoned the front desk and he assured me that he would send up some towels. At half past midnight we were still towel-less so I picked up the phone to call front desk and discovered that we were also now telephone-less. It was as dead as a dodo. So I had to get dressed and present myself at the front desk in person. 

I was the only person there. The Holiday Inn, Aylesbury, was the Marie Celeste. The lights were on, nobody at home. After a few fruitless minutes I went off to explore and down a corridor, through three doorways, in a back room I found a human being. He very kindly offered to deliver the towels to our room in person, a feat which he achieved at 00.41 hours.

Holiday Inn!  You knew we were coming. We had booked and paid for our room in advance. You had had all day to get it ready.

What were you doing with your time?

Friday, 7 November 2014

Hawkinge and H. E. Bates

I cycled through Hawkinge yesterday. This Kentish village used to be dominated by a World War 2 fighter aerodrome which by the time that I bought a house nearby in 1975 had ceased operation and was earmarked for housing.
Hawkinge aerodrome in 1933

When the field was ploughed up I recall seeing the distinct remains of the chalk circle which had been laid out to identify the field from the air. It is now covered by houses and I wonder if any of the gardeners ever ponder why they have a line of chalk running through their flower bed.

Cat & Custard Pot Public House
When living there I read the Kentish novels of H.E.Bates -- an occupation whose enjoyment was augmented by the realisation that I was living in the 'field of operations', as it were. 

He even mentioned a pub which the airmen used to frequent, called The Cat and Custard Pot. It was our 'local'.

The pub is still there and now fully recognises its heritage by declaring on its sign that it is 'An original Battle of Britain pub'. When I knew it, the pub  was jocularly known as 'The Temporary Sign' because the original sign had been taken down to be repainted and was not replaced for ages.

Although most of the airfield is now under bricks and tarmac, there are many interesting indications of its existence still remaining.
The cleared area alongside this lane is one of the dispersal points outside the perimeter road where individual fighters were parked and camouflaged to protect them from an attack on the airfield.

And this rather sinister looking mound with the vents is the former underground fuel store. You can see the new housing estate behind it. 

I hope the store has been properly emptied.....

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Banksy -- here today, gone tomorrow.

A graffiti (or should that be a graffitum?) attributed to the artist Banksy appeared on a wall in Folkestone a few weeks back.

Very quickly one could see life imitating art. 

But not any more.

I went to Folkestone today and it had gone. A section of the wall had been sawn off and carried away.

It seems rather a drastic technique for removing graffiti.