|Subject||1/9/2007 A weekend away in the country (no music!)|
|Warning: If you only read my blogs for all the music related stuff then maybe you'd best skip this one as you'll probably find it rather boring - although if you are interested in aircraft/WW2 then you might find one or two things of interest if you persevere...|
I had a really good weekend, actually the best for ages - and amazingly, music wasn't involved at all! I went to stay at a top secret location out in the the wilds of rural Northamptonshire to visit my brother and his wife. They live in a cottage on a country estate miles from anywhere - no shops, post office, pub or anything. It's great! In the two days I was out there I didn't see a single soul walk past. It's quiet - apart from the animals - some of which provided part of my breakfast. These chickens provided the freshest possible eggs - far better than any you can buy!
My room would have had a wonderful view - if only it wasn't for the bloody trees! Who put them there?
The walls were about two feet thick - solid - no cavity walls so I imagine it must be a bit cold in winter - I like my creature comforts!
It's great for walks in the country - here is the country house the estate belongs to.
We met some interesting local characters too, who told us tales of what went on in the area during the war - which was actually quite a lot, although it was top secret at the time. Close by was an airfield run by the yanks - doing very hush-hush things over Europe in their black painted aircraft.
Unfortunately, there is little left to see of what remains of the airfield itself, although quite a few traces can be found in the countryside if you care to explore a little. If you stand by the memorial on one of the old airfield perimiter tracks (partly now a road) and stare out towards the former runway you can sense quite an atmophere at this windswept spot - there are a few ghost stories surrounding this old airfield... I have been told it can be quite eerie driving down this road at night. I guess all WW2 airfields have their share of ghosts...
There as a fascinating museum dedicated to the clandestine wartime activities of this USAAF air base - it's housed in the old concrete Command Centre building and is well worth a visit if you are interested in that sort of thing.
The following day we visited another airfield in the same county, only this one was very much still in use and is a thriving civil airfield these days. Unlike most old airfields still active which usually seem rather run down and dilapidated, Sywell is beautifully maintained with excellent modern facilities as well as a rich history from pre-WW2. It is a very pleasant place to visit and has a special raised viewing area by the (free!) car park where you can watch from close-up as a variety of aircraft start up and taxi out to take off. This airfield is popular with the aerobatic fraternity and you are likely to be entertained by a free aerobatic display over the field as pilots practice their art. There are excellent bar and restaurant facilities and even a hotel all within a stone's throw. There is also a small but fascinating (and also free) aviation museum to visit - I highly recomend dropping in if you are aviation minded and in the area. It's only about an hour and a half's drive from London and was a really nice way to end a great weekend on the journey home.