Tuesday, June 19, 2007

One for Flighty

I live by a tiny airbase. Well, I say by, it's a mile or so from my house. I've never been there as a grownup, but as a child I went samphire picking in a marsh with a friend and her mother one evening, and we were ushered away by a man who said we'd be blown up by the bombs if we weren't careful. I remember being quite thrilled. A favourite book of mine was Carrie's War, and as a wee one, I imagined myself in all kinds of dramas, so this was probably lovely. I'm not much better as an adult, chucking myself into dodgy situations. Anyway. I never really think about the place much -the father of a schoolfriend of Bonny's works there. He's a bit of a drip, and though Bonny's friend says he is a pilot, she also insists that she has a flat in Big Ben, so I suppose he is someone who manages graphs or something. I drive past the sign that says R.A.F VeryTinyVillagebytheSea twice a day too, but I don't really give it much thought apart from when I'm outside in the garden and very noisy jets fly over, or there is some bombing out to sea and then I get a bit annoyed as the village is very quiet otherwise.
Today whilst sunbathing off the effects of a miserable visit to the dentist (more later) both myself and Hats the Mutt were alarmed off our lazy bellies by an HORRENDOUS noise. It sounded like a huge, giant sized zip being drawn across the sky, and went on for a good while. The dog leapt up, ears all spanish policeman hat shaped and I was aghast. Wondering what the hell it was, I called dad - he used to be an aircraft engineer in the RAF years ago. I tried to explain the sound - like the big sky zip, but also like something horribly wrong with a speaker or an amp at full blast, when it happened again - Oh, dad said, I hear it now (he lives 10 miles away to give some idea of how loud it was in my garden). It's puff the magic dragon, he said.
It's amazing how quickly thoughts of alzheimers, dementia, how mum would cope can whip through your mind. Puff the magic dragon? I mean I know he lived by the sea, but wasn't that in a land called HonnerLee or something, rather than VeryTinyVillagebytheSea?
Turns out it was this. It fires 6,000 rounds a minute. That's a hundred a SECOND. All firing off into the north sea, inches from my hammock.

Ok, well not inches but it bloody sounded like it.

It went on all afternoon.

Today hasn't been a great day. Nine o' clock had seen me at the dentists, where Petr the Over Friendly Polish Dentist, did something like the Lindy Hop as he tried to remove a molar from my mouth. For twenty minutes. "Are you okaaaay?" he asked, sweaty droplets landing on my brow.
"Of course I'm fucking well not you great OAF" my eyes replied. With a hint of "oh, I'm just a fragile little thing please stop hurting me."

"Vell, I aim doink it now, so sorry, please vait"

Please wait. Honestly. Six hours later my mouth (and tongue and nose) were at optimum numb, too late. Which made me sound very, very stupid as I tried to negotiate a place on a course at the local college in August. I have to go tomorrow to take an hour long test to see if I am capable of passing the course.
In Maths.

*weeps softly*

Puff, come back for me.


Flighty said...

Hello Pesk! I'm sorry to disappoint you but it won't have been a Magic Dragon. They no longer fly, and never did in this country, however it was almost certainly a 'Hog'. That is a United States Air Force A-10A Thunderbolt II (nicknamed Warthog). They are stationed in Germany but come over for training occasionally.
It's a tank destroyer using a large Gatling type gun in its nose as you can see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-10_Thunderbolt_II#Weapons_Systems
When fired it makes a very distinctive ripping sound unlike anything else.
As an aside two of these aircraft were at Northolt Families Day/Photocall the weekend before last. I overheard someone say that neither carried any live weapons or ammunition thankfully!
I hope that you've recovered from your visit to the dentist yesterday.
Good luck with your test today. Maths was always my worst subject.

Pesk said...

aha! Thank you flighty - will amend it now. And will also tell dad he is wrong (ooh he wont like that ha ha)

How did it make a loud noise if it doesn't carry live ammo? Or would they just be fake bullets now? Still - not a nice noise, especially in a rural area. Bet there were plenty of cow pats dropped yesterday afternoon... I almost dropped one myself.
Maths is bad for me too - I have a Honours degree in English, but Maths.... brrr.

Flighty said...

You're welcome. Don't be too hard on your dad.
I think that the ripping sound is literally the shells, large and lots of them, zipping through the air so it doesn't matter if they're live or not.

Pesk said...

just spoke to dad - he says that it is the gatling gun that is 'puff' not the aircraft... named after an army guy in the 1800's who invented it. my fault for posting a link to the wrong aeroplance. And that I should do more research.
He's in a right huff.
You two should meet, you'd get on like a house on fire :o)