March 27, 2012

Light…tunnel…

Two words that came to mind this afternoon. The last few weeks have been rather dispiriting and a bit stressful as well. I knew that at some time my house sale and the purchase of my new home in France would be going through but after getting the process started, I seem to have been in a bit of a limbo for ages with no signs of visible progress.

I’ve made a good start on getting rid of stuff I no longer need or want to take with me but there’s still much to do. I know that retiring means that I’ll be stopping working, probably for ever, and will have to run down and cease my business, but not having a time-scale to work to makes planning for these things very difficult and, as I mentioned previously, all a bit stressful.

Well, hopefully that is now all coming to an end. I met with my buyer this afternoon and we agreed on a target completion date for my house sale of Thursday 19th April. We thought about making it a bit sooner but the date we finally chose seems to me to be about right. It means that I’ll probably have to book my removal truck, which I’ll be driving down through France myself, for the week commencing Wednesday 18th so it means that everything will have to be sewn up by then and all the stuff I want to take with me packed and ready to go.

It’s a bit scary I have to confess. It’s one thing to make plans that will change your life forever, but quite another when they start to happen in reality. But hey ho, there’s no stopping now… 😉

March 19, 2012

No fly day

I was thinking about having perhaps an hour’s flying yesterday but the weather forecast was a bit iffy. Actually, the Met Office web site indicated that the weather in the south-east would be not too bad for the whole day but the TAF for Southend said that things would get distinctly nasty going into the afternoon with thunderstorms and hailstones expected later on!

So I decided to give it a miss, and it turned out to be the right decision. Firstly, although we didn’t get the full works predicted by the Southend TAF, we did get rain preceded by low cloud and a freshening of the wind, so flying wouldn’t have been all that enjoyable in those conditions. But instead of flying, I decided that I had to get cracking clearing my spare room, because following conversations at the end of last week with the estate agent in Montignac and my buyer over here, my house move will soon become imminent and unless I get rid of all my rubbish and other unwanted stuff, I’ll be left with it all to do.

It was hard work but a day (well, OK then, afternoon 😐 ) well spent. I got quite a few recycling and rubbish bags filled up and realised just how much I still have to do. So that was a good thing – now I know I really must start getting my finger out 😉

March 10, 2012

Mixed fortunes today

I wanted to fly today because I needed a break after a particularly hard week and also because I wanted tomorrow free for sorting things to do with the house sale and move. But the day had a gloomy start and although brighter spells were forecast for the afternoon, there was a bit of mist around. Anyway, I decided to do a plan to take me towards the north-west and any incoming weather and thought I might see if I could get up as far as North London (Lippits Hill Reservoir) and back again.

As it happened, by the time I got to Stoke at around 1.30pm it looked as though the haze wasn’t too bad and with the wind from the north-west at about 8-10mph, I thought I’d give it a go. I was away at 2.35pm and all looked pretty good. However, by the time I got past the M25 in north-east London, it was pretty obvious that if I carried on, I’d be flying over a pretty densely built up area. It seemed silly to do that when I had no need to so I decided to turn back, head into South Essex for a bit and cross back over the Thames. I think it was a good decision. I got back to Stoke after just a bit under an hour so I thought I’d carry on over the Medway estuary and do a circuit of Sheerness.

I couldn’t believe the number of imported cars that were parked up there ready for sale – much more than in recent months so maybe a sign that the car companies think that the economic situation is improving. Unfortunately I couldn’t get to my camera so continued round to approach Stoke from the south over the estuary. Garry was doing solo circuits – well done mate, not too long now 😉 – so I joined downwind and slotted in behind him. Compared to when I’d taken off, the wind was now much more tricky on landing – gusting 15mph at 90 degrees to the runway – and I was surprised how skittish the landing was. But all was well and after taxying up to the top of the taxiway and switching off, I pulled MYRO through to the area next to the Club Hut where I got some help to pull it through the gap around to the tie-down area.

And who should then drop in with a student on a dual cross-country but my lovely friend Rosie in the C42 up from Clipgate. I was only speaking to her the other day about my French plans so it was a lovely surprise to see her at Stoke today. Hugs all round and she took a quick look at MYRO because it was the first time she’d seen it since the repair and indeed, since she did MYRO’s check flight nearly two years ago. My how time flies and now so must I to get ready for tomorrow 🙂

March 7, 2012

Chalk and cheese?

Not quite, but…. We had a lull in the weather yesterday – just a few light winds and conditions quite good for flying actually. But today the winds are back, not quite as bad as before but bad enough. 20 gusting 35mph from the north-west with a temperature of 8 degrees C and heavy rain expected this afternoon. I’ve just checked the weather for Plazac – wind 5 gusting 7mph from the west with a temperature of 11 degrees and broken cloud with sunny spells this afternoon. Like I say, not quite chalk and cheese, but I know which I prefer 😉

March 5, 2012

Those terrible winds again

No flying last week-end because of windy weather but because the forecast was for the winds to increase dramatically, I dropped into Stoke anyway on Saturday to check that MYRO’s tie-downs were nice and tight. And as usual, while I was there I made sure as well that both of the X’airs that are tied down in the same area were also secure.

Well, it turns out that it was a good move. The wind was gusting 50-60mph again from the north-west last night and as I type this at 9.30am after returning from a visit to the Dentist, it’s not blowing very much less strongly now and conditions are still pretty wild. But now with a bright blue sky with clouds racing across it. These constant storm-force winds are becoming very monotonous this winter and I just hope that no harm comes to MYRO before I get my chance to fly south away from all this awful unpredictable Atlantic weather down to where the conditions and climate are so much more microlight friendly 😉

I’ve just returned to edit this post at 8.00pm. These winds are truly hellish. We’ve had them all day long which means that we’ve now had strong winds with gusts in excess of 50-60mph for over 24 hours. In fact I would think that some have been higher than that even, as they’ve hit the conservatory where I’ve been working all day like an express train passing through a station. Now it’s dark, the security light outside keeps switching itself on because of the movement of the trees and bushes in its vicinity and I really am becoming fearful for MYRO. This is not the kind of weather for any aircraft to be tied down outside, especially one as light as MYRO, but there’s nothing I can do except sit it out with my fingers crossed and hope that no damage is done. Luckily after the last experience a few weeks ago, I locked MYRO’s rudder to the horizontal stabiliser struts with cable ties otherwise I’m pretty sure it would by now have been battered enough against the elevator trim to have done more damage to the rudder fabric and possibly even to the rudder cables. I can’t remember a winter with winds like this for many a year – we had a few last year, but I flew almost every week-end from Linton, right through until the spring. This year is quite different and I have to say that I’ll be glad to escape all of these problems and be somewhere where the weather is less extreme. I was going to say ‘chaotic’ because that’s how it feels right now with the winds outside – like it’s chaos out there 😐

March 1, 2012

Overnighter? Refuel?

The other evening I was talking about my planned route down to Plazac with Bob and he suggested that I might want to think about adding Dave and Amanda Lord’s Wanafly France as a possible waypoint. When I checked I actually found that Wanafly is almost slap bang on my route between Blois and Limoges so it could be a distinct possibility.

Given that it’s about 3/4 of the way down and that I’ll be flying in MYRO which is not the fastest aircraft for international touring by any means (that’s an understatement!), it could well be that that’s as far as I’d be able to make in a day, either because of failing daylight at this time of year, or just through sheer tiredness. And at Wanafly I’d be able to get a nice bed for the night, a terrific meal I’m led to believe and fuel, so it sounds like a good idea to have the option available.

So I’ve amended my route pic in my previous post to include Wanafly and I’ve also added a little jink to the south of it to make sure I stay clear of Limoges controlled airspace. I also noticed that on my way to Dover, I will pass directly over Clipgate Farm near Canterbury which is the farm strip where I did my microlight training with Rosie right back at the beginning. It seems really appropriate in a way that I will be flying over where I first flew MYRO all that time ago for what could be it’s final flight in UK airspace, back to France where it originally came from.

So it’s all getting more exciting by the day and I just know that it’ll be an amazing flight 😀