But there was no time to relax. No sooner had we got home from Malvern than we were getting ready to head of to Sywell near Northampton, for the Light Aircraft Association’s annual fly-in and rally.
So on the Thursday we hitched up the trailer and headed over to the airfield, where preparations were well in hand for the largest fly-in in the UK calendar. We had been allocated a spot in the marquee complex with space for 1264 on one side and a sort of mini-cinema on the other, and a large screen TV had been provided for us to play the film.
It didn’t take long to get set up, and we headed off to our hotel to relax.
On Friday morning we arrived ahead of the crowds and set up a trailer on the TV playing continuously, advertising the showing of the complete film twice a day.
A couple of air cadets came to have a look, and one of them sat in the cockpit.
The day was as busy as always, and the film showing, particularly the afternoon one, was popular since it gave people the chance to rest their weary feet!
By the time the show closed we too, were ready to rest our weary feet in the Sedgebrook Hotel, which had reasonable facilities including a restaurant, where we saw a good many other exhibitors.
Theo had long harboured an ambition to win an award at the LAA Rally, and so we filled in the form on the Saturday morning to enter for it, and left large ‘J’s on the wing to tell the judges we wished to count us in. I’m not sure we were expecting anything particularly, but we felt a twinge of nervousness when Rob Millinship, who regularly flies the Shuttleworth rotaries, turned up as one of the judges.
The day was even busier than the Friday, and we met so many people with interesting stories to tell that we were almost glad when it came to closing time.
There was one boy who was asking particularly intelligent questions, and was overjoyed to be allowed to sit in the cockpit to have his photograph taken. Talking to his father, it appeared that he had a business making replica guns and he promised to look into the possibility of making us a proper gas gun for the Scout. then all I need will be some gunshot transfers to apply to the propeller and we’re all set! Unfortunately I didn’t get his contact details so if he’d like to get in touch we’d certainly be interested to investigate further.
The day passed quickly, Sue’s Guinness cake proving to be a popular attraction, and we were once again glad to get back to the hotel and put our feet up.
The Sunday was quieter owing to the poorer weather, as a result of which there had been something of a mass exodus on the Saturday night. But there were still plenty of people there, and for us the day was rendered very special indeed by the news that we had been awarded the Pooley Sword, awarded annually for the best replica aircraft. The formal presentation will be at the LAA AGM in October. Are we going? You bet we are! I think we must be the oiliest aircraft ever to be awarded this very prestigious award, and we intend to make the most of it.
The following week I was working, among other places, in Bristol, and when I pulled in at my hotel – the Arnos Manor – I was completely amazed to find that it was situated immediately opposite the Brislington tramworks where 1264 was built. The archway is very impressive, and although the buildings themselves are now a small industrial estate, I would imagine that they are the ones that were there in 1913.