Tuesday, 21 July 2020
Friends, and beers, and Little Red Jets!
Yes, the observant amongst you will notice that the photo is NOT a little red jet....I’ve not had time to process those yet! Allowing for where I am tonight though - the photo above is somewhat fitting...
A not so early start this morning and a drive up M11, A14 and A1 to Scampton to see the Reds practising this afternoon. Summertime practises always feel like a real luxury - winter training tends to demand 5am alarms and freezing cold muddy fields, but this time of year things tend to be later in the day - so a leisurely start, and if we’re lucky some nice warm sunshine. Not quite so much of that today, but still warm enough. Once flying was complete, back to Claire’s for a brew and then for me, back to Scampton to meet my pal at my accommodation for the night - a house just outside the wire of the base, available to friends and family of those working on camp for a very reasonable rate, and handily within walking distance of the rather excellent pub in Scampton village... A good natter and brew with Fletch, then Claire turned up (also staying here tonight) and shortly afterwards it was time to head to the pub for dinner.
The Dambusters Inn at Scampton is probably my favourite pub anywhere. The food is excellent, they always have a range of beautifully kept beers on, and almost invariably I go there with brilliant people - nothing not to like there then! Tonight was no exception - steak and all the trimmings, followed by Lemon Tart and ice cream - delicious! Washed down with several pints of Rudgate Brewery’s Ruby Mild - a beer which won the prestigious Champion beer of Britain award when we served it on our bar at the Great British Beer Festival some years ago, and as such still a firm favourite of mine. Good company in the form of Claire and Fletch, plus a chap I’d not met before but who works with Fletch. Greg, Steve and the team at the pub have clearly worked hard to ensure that they can safely reopen under the new Covid-secure guidelines - tables inside are reserved for those eating, and well spaced out, while people just wanting drinks use tables outside - also very widely spaced. Having all table service and not going to the bar feels a bit strange, but very pleasant nonetheless. Above all it felt safe - something which I was a little concerned about having not sat inside a pub for quite some time - and I will be extremely happy to return again any time!
The best thing about today was it just felt normal - aside from the inevitable topical references which you would expect, it didn’t feel that different to pre-Covid times. We ate, drank, exchanged gossip, traded banter and talked of plans for the future - and it felt wonderful to *have* positive plans for the future too. There may not be masses of air shows on the horizon, but as ever we have proved that we can still have fun, regardless - and that counts for a lot!
(The relevance of the photo above? RAF Scampton was of course the home of 617 Squadron and where the famous Dambusters raid launched from during World War 2.)