Last flight of WF791 - 21 years on

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I lived in the suburb of Ernesford Grange in Coventry as a kid, about three miles from Coventry Airport (better known then as Baginton Airport).

Twenty one years ago today, my dad and I were watching the annual Warwickshire Air Pageant from our back garden. It was, like today, hot and sunny and our proximity to the airfield meant we had a good free view of all manner of wonderful aircraft flying over our house as they took off from Baginton and turned around to be back on the return flight path.

Previous years had seen the likes of the Red Arrows performing spectacular fly-bys, however they had pulled out of the 1988 pageant after Birmingham air traffic controllers said they 'could not perform in safety'*

Nevertheless, the 1988 show promised some highlights such as an RAF Falcons parachute display and US Air Force F1-11's which were the first American planes to take part in the Warwickshire Air Pageant.*

Also taking part was 38 year old Flight Lieutenant Peter Stacey in a Gloster Meteor T7, registration WF791, a plane built by the company of local man and father of the jet engine Sir Frank Whittle.

Me and my dad stood in the sunshine of the back garden and watched that Meteor streak across the blue sky from left to right with the sunshine bouncing off its frame. Then it turned towards us and lowered altitude. It didn't register with me at the time and, in fact, it wasn't until I heard my dad telling the crash investigators later, that when it was just a couple of hundred metres above ground level and just a couple of hundred metres away, it was silent. The roar of it's engines had stopped and it was losing altitude and heading directly for our housing estate....

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Thank you Roper Rhodes

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Don't you just love it when a company backs up its products?

In early 2006 we had a new bathroom installed and it has been something of a disaster. The Italian shower tray (don't ask) arrived weeks late, was chipped and a year after installation the waste pipe broke off and flooded into the room below destroying the ceiling (although every cloud has a silver lining and now something much funkier has replaced the horrible plasterboard). The pop-up waste for the sink and bath never did pop up (do those things ever work?) The dual flush toilet only ever worked when the full flush was pressed and the cistern keeps over flowing. Also, the expensive designer radiator is useless and wouldn't warm up if we poured petrol over the thing and set fire to it.

To cap it all, a few weeks ago something deep within my Roper Rhodes bath tap broke leaving the shower/tap selector stuck on the shower setting.

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Eight years and one month

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R3UK Limited is eight years and one month old today!

Well, that is to say, the company was officially incorporated on 21st March 2001 although I had been doing some private wheeling and dealing for about two and half years prior to this.

These days the company is effectively dormant with the last invoice issued back in 2007. At the moment I'm waiting for the accountant to close the thing down for good - something I asked him to do last May and that he still hasn't gotten around to (he needed a couple more months he told me recently!) I wish he was this slow when it came to sending me his bill.

Time to look back at my stint of company ownership and get a bit misty-eyed about how things used to be....

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Reading: The Computer (a Ladybird book)

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You've gotta love retro books. This beauty was £4 on Amazon and dates back to 1971. On its opening page it says [computers] "are fascinating when they are used in rocketry and space research" while "we are inclined to be alarmed by their complex mechanisms" and that "many people think of them as almost human machines with 'brains' that allow them to think".

How cool is that??!

The Computer

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Not visiting: Starbucks

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It was interesting to see Howard Schultz the Starbucks Chief Executive on BBC Breakfast News this morning. It seems Starbucks are closing a lot of outlets however when asked if reducing prices to bring in the customers would be sensible in the current economic climate he didn't seem to think it was a good idea.

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