My young friend went to Japan last week for a few days to attend a conference where she made a presentation. Don't ask me what it was about as it's way above my comprehension. I have a really interesting app on my iPad called Flightradar24. This enables me to follow, in real time, any of the thousands of aircraft flying around the world. So last Monday I started to follow my young friend's flight as she took off from Heathrow airport. After a couple of hours her little plane disappeared! (I should add that my eyes weren't glued to the screen all the time - I looked at it from time to time as I painted). After several attempts to find her I spent a while checking on the news for plane crashes or hijackings! (I have a very active imagination). Seven or so hours later the little plane reappeared on my screen about a couple of hours on the way down to Tokyo. Breathing a sigh of relief I then deduced that as the route was over the North Pole, Russia and China the GPS signal was somehow blocked. All's well that ended well, so on Friday I picked up her return flight as it flew down from northern Sweden and followed it all the way home. Here's part of the screen.
Her aircraft is the little red one. And here we have the view from the cockpit.
There's a lot of planes around all approaching Heathrow airport.
And then of course came the inevitable stacking, which you can see from the blue route track.
She was about to land and as the plane approached the runway I suddenly saw another plane coming from the opposite direction! Panic stations!
Awaiting the inevitable head on collision both planes evaded each other just in time and my young friend landed safely! I'll have to curb my over-active imagination in the future.
Talking of my young friend I'm finally reaching the end of a bronze sculpture head I'm attempting to make of her. On Friday it was time to cover the clay image with silicone rubber and reinforce with fibreglass. It's a surprisingly tiring process as the silicone has to be vigorously mixed until it reaches the exact consistency. Then on the fourth covering fibreglass sections have to be worked into the pink gooey covering. This shows the result to date.
Bronzing starts next week, and I hope to finish the whole work in time to exhibit it together with the other two heads at my exhibition in November. Incidentally if anyone who lives not far away from Warborough is interested in joining Shirley Collen's sculpture class, let me know.
My sister-in-law,Val, has watched her many hedges grow a bit bushy, so the other day managed to recruit all her sons to come over to Henley and trim them. Their children came too so the day was full of activity with a couple of bonfires lit to burn the debris. Here are some of the family at work.
And at play.
Becca, my oldest great niece, who was also at the big clear up, is now working in London, and has recently been meeting a number of really interesting people for her publisher employers. She recently interviewed the Countess of Carnarvon in Highclere Castle (the setting for Downton Abbey). The Countess also came to Henley to talk at the recent Literary Festival. And here is Becca, on the left, the other day interviewing Mo Farah.
I was thinking the other day of some of the things I don't like. Here's a few. Number one - people who talk loudly in restaurants with utter disregard for other people. This is followed by wire coat hangers. I get really cross when they get entangled with their mates in my wardrobe; As far as food is concerned I hate garlic with a passion, followed - with less passion - cheese, tomatoes and pasta. Then there's people who don't use their indicators when driving; Next comes swearing by young girls in the street; Losing things; Finding them again just after I bought replacements; My iPad losing work after I've spent hours doing it - especially my blog; Screamers and 'whoopers' in the audience of TV shows such as The X Factor (itself not one of my favourites anyway). Unfairness; Bullying; Ed Balls; I could go on about little Hitlers, 'Elf 'n Safety', EU intrusions into our way of life; Not being able to remember things, and oh yes that was it - Politically correctness! I'd better not go on any more or you'll think I'm a grumpy old man! When in fact I'm mellowing with age. Not that my young friend agrees.