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Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

Externalised Memory

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Yet More British Aeroplanes
Drawing of a trike
Who knew I was so interested in aeroplanes? Not me! And indeed after this trip, I may need to give them a rest for a good long while... And might also be odd considering that I'm fairly vehemently opposed to wars in general. Let me rephrase that - I'm vehemently opposed to unjust wars, of which there have been far to many in history, and far too many just in the last few years.

Friday, I slept in, which I highly recommend. I was over the jet lag, so far as I could tell, by this stage. Having only every having experienced it once before, and that being a few weeks prior to this, my sample size is not large in my jet lag recovery statistics!

So eventually I popped myself on a train out to, er, Colindale I think it was called - that was the station anyway. I had to buy another tube ticket to get out there because it's in zone four or five or something - I concern myself with the details of the London public transport system only as far as I have to!

The train dumped me on a non-descript street, so I pulled out the maps I happily have on my iphone - although I have to compare them with a compass because my sense of direction is shot here. Couldn't tell you which way was north if my life depended on it! I bumped into an old Englishman and his somewhat younger wife who had leapt off the same train and were looking for the same place. I pointed in the direction I was planning to walk, and strode off.

Reassuringly there were signs pointing me to the RAF Museum - er, not sure if I mentioned that that was my ultimate destination!

Said museum is jam packed with aeroplanes, mostly British, which is odd because there's no runway there at all. They must truck 'em in and reassemble them - no mean feat, I might add, some of the planes were big indeed! The first area had an interesting mix of planes, including the first Mosquito I'd ever seen in real life, and lots of quite interesting engines. Not to mention the odd captured German plane, like an Me-262, although they can't really explain where it came from - it was picked up in Germany towards the end of the war and then flown in Britain to try it out, but they're not exactly sure when all this happened nor what it was up to whilst in Germany.

The second room was in some ways more interesting. It was full of bombers - which are big aeroplanes. They had a Lancaster, a Vulcan, a B-29 and a B-17, plus a whole pile of other planes I now can't recall. All jammed into one large hanger, so close together that one plane's tail is within feet of another plane. The Vulcan, which is a very large V-shaped plane, had it's nose pressed into one corner, and was so placed as to be very difficult to photograph. Not to mention trying to imagine such a huge thing lumbering into the sky. Still, I've sat in two, larger 747's in the last month or so!

The last room had some slightly more modern aeroplanes, along with some oddities, such as a Spitfire built so late in the war that it had only been flown for seven hours. Plus a couple of unique planes which are the only ones of their type still in existence. It is interesting how there were so many of them at one stage that they just scrapped them willy-nilly, only to realise some decades later than in fact these things were historic and that there were often zero examples still left... A bit like the carrier pigeon, really.

And that was about all I got up to that Friday. I raided the gift shop for postcards as usual, and then staggered back to the train. The ankle strap I'd picked up a few days before was serving me well!

There was one entire hall, the Battle of Britain hall, that was closed by the time I got around to it. But I'm guessing the kinds of planes that were in there, and that I've probably seen them all before. And now that I've been to, let me think, three museums featuring lots of aeroplanes, I think I really am over them for a while!