Pickering War Weekend 2014

I cannot believe how quickly time has flown and yet again Pickering War Weekend has been and gone thus marking the final event of the year for us. What a weekend it was and one that never disappoints. Like every year we stayed over in Whitby and then travelled in to Pickering each day and prefer doing this as we love to spend time in Whitby too. We have many rituals that we like to do while we are there such as walking down the pier and having fish and chips at the Magpie Cafe.

We stayed at the Riviera B&B again this year after being so happy with the room last year and the owner's, Emma and Zed, kind generosity. They helped us out of a tight spot when at 10pm we were sat in the car on the West Cliff wondering what to do as we had no where to stay that night. Luckily this year we both had the Friday booked off work so instead of the drive over being a mad panic we were able to take our time about it and enjoy the journey.

After getting settled in to our lovely room we went out in search of dinner. I have to say I was very disappointed with where we went which was quite a let down since for years we had been saying we wanted to go. After that we went for a walk down the pier while the sun was setting. The sky was beautiful and we couldn't believe how good the weather was. There was a distinct nip in the air but really it was much milder than I was expecting it to be. That said I still ended up getting quite cold as I went out without a coat so we headed back to our room and I jumped straight into a hot bath.

On the Saturday, after scoffing our full English cooked breakfasts, we popped over to visit a vintage fair in the pavilion first since it was only over the road from the B&B. I snagged myself a lovely black lizard skin 1930s handbag so the day was off to a pretty good start. Then we hopped over to Pickering; the weather was still generally quite nice and we enjoyed wandering around in the great atmosphere. We spent a large part of the day at the show ground as there is a shuttle bus there for only £1 each way and there's a lot more space since Pickering does get a little crowded in certain parts. Also there's lots of shopping to do there so can you blame me? At the show ground they have singers and performers inside on the stage and battle re-enactments out on the grass. After heading back into Pickering we met up with some friends for a quick drink before going back to Whitby for dinner at the Magpie Cafe.

The Sunday was spent wandering around Whitby in the morning as is our usual ritual. We hiked up the steps to the abbey, which I always love doing, and wandered around the little cobbled streets. I love Whitby so much with it's little cobbled streets and dark corners leading to mysteries. We sat for a while in the warm sunshine on the West Cliff but as time got on we decided to head over to Pickering again and spend the afternoon in the village since we hadn't seen all of it on the Saturday. At about 4pm we had to set off back for Lincoln as we didn't want to be home too late since it was school in the morning.

The year has just flown by and it only feels like the other day I was getting ready for Woodhall Spa 1940s weekend but here we are in October and there will be no more events for us now until the spring. At least there will be Christmas to look forward to and hopefully I will be able to begin my sewing projects now that the hectic summer is over.


Goodbye VeRA

This summer the only other airworthy Avro Lancaster in the world, Canada's VeRA, made the massive trek from Hamilton, Ontario, to England to join with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Lancaster here in our very own RAF Conningsby, Lincolnshire. Now I'm no plane buff but even so I was pretty excited about this as I highly doubt it will ever happen again in my lifetime, or ever. However, from the moment she arrived it seemed my chance to see her fly would be plagued with ill-fate for one reason or another. When she arrived in Lincolnshire on 8th August they were supposed to do a flypast of Lincoln Cathedral but it just so happened that at the same time the heavens opened and it was cancelled due to the weather; that was fine by me though as I was at work and unable to leave my desk. I consoled myself with the fact that this was a two month tour and fly pasts were scheduled to take place at a number of the events we were planning on attending this summer. Thanks to the British weather and mechanical issues with VeRA they were all cancelled. 
Photograph courtesy of Michael Hill at http://survivor79.smugmug.com/

Those two months flew past and before I knew it VeRA was due to fly home on the 23rd August. The day before I had read that a final flypast was scheduled for 10.15am and my heart sank as I had an appointment for 10am which I was certain would not be finished in 15 minutes. That morning I dealt with my appointment as arranged and everyone else went out to witness this historic moment. I wasn't annoyed this time like I was when she had arrived, I was just deflated and had resigned myself to the fact I would never see it happen. I watched the clock and while my appointment took longer than 15 minutes it was relatively quick; no one had come back in the building which meant that it hadn't happened yet, VeRA was true to form and reliable in her unreliability. She was running late! As soon as I was able I was rushing down the corridors hoping to at least catch a glimpse.

When I got outside everyone was still standing with their eyes to the skys; I joined the crowd and was informed that VeRA was running late. The weather was stunning, a far cry from the experience of when they arrived two months previously, the sky was a beautiful shade of blue and the Cathedral, which always looks amazing on the skyline, was standing tall and strong. The atmosphere was lovely as everyone was happy to be sharing the occasion and cracking jokes, particularly when a pair of the numerous swans of Lincoln flew overhead. 

Before we saw anything we heard the engines; the distinctive low thrum. Goosebumps shot up on my arms and we all looked around the sky to see where they were coming which was, in fact, behind us. They headed straight for the Cathedral and watching them fly with that as their landmark again was wonderful. The moment lasted just minutes, if that, and we watched until those great machines were mere dots. During the time they were flying over everyone was pretty much quite but after as we headed back towards our building everyone was chattering. 
Photograph courtesy of Michael Hill at http://survivor79.smugmug.com/

For me, and some others, it felt really quite emotional and I was just so elated that when I had totally given up seeing them something was on my side. I also felt that what I had just experienced was a tiny glimpse into a past window. The noise was what really struck me and they had even set a couple of car alarms off but back in the war the skies over Lincolnshire would have been filled with them which I couldn't begin to imagine. I also thought of what an experience it must have been for the Canadian crew to come all of this way and how their whole route over the UK would be lined with people, like ourselves, hoping to catch a glimpse and enjoying the historic moment. Those were my thoughts but my heart was with everyone who had lost their lives; the 10,695 servicemen who died while flying with Bomber Command during the Second World War.