Such a kid at heart – Red Arrows

There are a few things that bring out the child in me – chocolate oranges at Christmas (move over Terry, it’s not yours, it most certainly is mine), bubbles and the Red Arrows.  I would pretend to be flying Red 1 when I was little, sat in a cardboard box and making all the vroom and whoosh noises and I would still love to get the chance to fly with them.  One of my earliest memories is standing on Torquay harbour wall, with my mum and dad, watching them shooting over always precisely at 6.00pm and then the corkscrews, loops and hearts that the smoke trails left across the sky.

This weekend marked the second Torbay Airshow and, I have to say, it was pretty damn good.  If you get the chance to see any of the air shows around the world, please do so.  They truly are remarkable.  The skill and precision involved will impress any one harbouring even the tiniest flicker of OCD in their personality.

True to form for summer on the English Riviera, it is a little overcast and the wind is whipping in from the sea.  It’s summer for goodness sake – we’ve had warmer days in January!!!

Firstly, let me apologise…the quality of the photos is not fantastic…most were taken with my (not so fantastic) camera at full zoom, with all the shakiness that comes with a brisk wind and trying to hold the camera steady!!!!

So, just after 2 o’clock the planes start coming over.  The sun is a bit shy, just peeking out from behind the cloud long enough to stop my teeth chattering before hiding behind the next cloud.  I start taking photos, not sure how clearly the flying specks will show up with my camera on full zoom and then my camera switches itself off.  The battery died.  “For the love of…”; and, to add insult to injury, a low-flying seagull quite literally had the c**p scared out of it by a plane – all down my shoulder and arm.

Oooh, you know what I could do with right about now?  A refreshing cold glass of Pinot Grigio and then I can settle down to watch the display.  However, the cold bottle of plonk had first been opened some time over the Easter weekend and the remainder has been in the fridge ever since.  It now smelt like vinegar and could be used to unblock the cloggiest of clogged drains.  I opt to be quintessentially British and enjoy a nice hot mug of tea instead.

Two minutes until the 3 o’clock scheduled arrival of the Red Arrows.  The excitement is palpable.  I have a fully charged battery in the camera.  I now resemble the dishevelled lookout in the crow’s nest on The Black Pearl.  Hair tangled in the wind whipping around me and nose and cheeks bright red from the wind (sadly, not a tot of rum involved).  My head and binoculars snapping this way and that, just trying to catch the first glimpse of the 9 planes in their Big Battle formation (it’s a real thing, honest, google it; it does kind of look like the Big Nine 2; but very different from the Wineglass 1).

With the naked eye, I spot some black specks in the clouds and start clapping like a demented seal.  I grab the camera in order to get the money shot of the entrance of the planes and zoom in on – a flock of seagulls in the distance – as the Red Arrows thunder overhead in the other direction.  Hrmph!!!  I turned so quickly, I think I might have whiplash!

This year, I am determined to get a decent photo of them and here I am, clicking at anything and everything in the sky.  This is when the sun chose to burst out from behind the clouds right in my eyeline and “Argh!  My retinas are burning”.   However, quite arty shot with a nice spectrum of colour visible in the cloud!!

005_spectrum blinded

Now, this is where I find a huge design flaw with these fabulous fandangled cameras.  They have these huge screens on cameras and phones which are fantastic to view everything so clearly, until the sun comes out and all you can see is a reflection of yourself squinting with some distorted sneering expression as you are pointing the camera in the general direction of your subject matter and start clicking feverishly.

Needless to say, I have a fair few photos of clouds…


Smoke trails…

001_missed them

another (but, I think you will agree, much prettier) cloud…

004_pretty cloud

a bird….(secretly quite like this one!)

bird airshow

OMG I got a photo of a plane and it looks like a plane, woo hoo!!!

006_red arrows

Until next time Red Arrows.  You were fantastic.  Going to browse Amazon now for a camera with a decent zoom do-dah and one of those viewfinder thingies!!!!


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