And now the weather

It has turned all cold and horrid today and so I have hurried home to close all the windows, put on the central heating and some cosy warm jumpers, and get out the extra duvet. I quite like it when it is cold, especially at autumn time when everything smells different and it seems like people ought to be having fireworks and getting ready for Xmas.

I would just like some warning that is all, so I do not spend the day at work shivering in a flimsy T-shirt. Well I am warming up a bit now, looking forward to a nice hot dinner and a glass of posh wine, then maybe a relaxing bath! I hardly ever have baths so it is a special treat, do not laugh it is obvious what I meant. I am surprisingly clean when you look at my messy flat. Perhaps people with super tidy houses are secretly crawling with lice themselves!

In book news, it was such a long ride out to Heathrow and back on the tube that I read the whole of Out of Africa which is brilliant, I practically cried at the end when she had to leave the farm, except I turned it into a pretend cough halfway through. I do not think anyone suspeckted.

Then yesterday I read a book all about the history of the Royal Marine Commandos (Robin Neillands’ By Sea And Land) which was moderately intresting, except it just made me sad reading about all the people whose lives were stupidly thrown away for nothing much at places like Dieppe and Anzio and the Falklands.

Anyway that is my phillersophical observation for the day, war is rubbish. Then today I have been mostly reading Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of the Orange which is fantastic. The reviews of her books always go on as if they are all about food, which is silly really, like saying The Lord of the Rings is about jewellery. Yes, it is central to the stories, but Harris’ books are always full of dark secrets, suspicion, lust, alienation, mystery, otherness ekcetera which makes me think that she might be a jolly good cook but I would not want to be round at her house after dark. In case she did something horrid to me after dessert.

Keep watching the skies

More pics from my Heathrow adventure. I went for a wander after dark, getting a bit lost around the maze of freight depots and car parks that surround the airport. I found Concorde! Which was pretty exciting. It was just standing in a yard behind a big fence, next to some bins, which seems wrong. It should be in pride of place in the middle of Terminal 5 or something. You could put 10p in the slot and kids could sit in it and pretend to fly.

The ILS localiser array at the end of 27L. It broadcasts a signal which pilots miles away can zero in on and line up their aircraft precisely for the runway, like airborne Bisto kids. In fact modern airliners can land entirely on automatic, which is fine as long as they do not suddenly home in on the nearest pirate radio station and try to land in Brixton High Street.

Unidentified aircraft about to land on top of me. The next few frames from the camera are blurry, but you can just make out my terrified face diving for cover in some bushes.

The Concorde I found was G-BOAB “Alpha Bravo”. It is a shame that Concordes do not fly any more as it is a beautiful machine, essentially a jet fighter with extra seats. If you look at Heathrow carefully in Google Earth you can see Alpha Bravo in its previous location just off one of the taxiways, surrounded by cones!

This went a bit wrong as you can see, but I quite like the squiggly bits!

F-ODVG, a Jordanian Airbus A310-304 freighter. The next time you go on an aircraft make sure to get its tail number then you can stalk it on!

Unidentified 747 passing a few yards above the heads of oblivious motorists on the A30 at Hatton Cross. It is impressive to see something the size of quite a large building flying around the place. I walked around to the departure runway and watched a succession of aircraft throttling up for takeoff, standing behind a 747 while it does that is quite a thrill. It is possibly the loudest sound I’ve ever experienced except for a Mogwai gig I went to once.

And so we leave the exciting world of the airport, at least for a while. I stood for ages in the dark watching aircraft taking off, imagining all the exotick places that people might be going to, eg Hong Kong, Sydney, New York, Rome, Phuket. Then I had a refreshing coffee at the terminal and got the tube home to Finchley.

Welcome back... to colour

Well you knew I was not going monochrome forever, I am like Picasso and his Blue period, only black and white (I am not saying I’m Picasso; that is for others to say). I had a super adventure on Saturday to Heathrow Airport, to take some intresting pictures of planes. This is an unidentified commuter jet, probably an Embraer ERJ145, inbound on short final to runway 27L, just around sunset.

G-CPEM, a BA Boeing 757-236, and friends, on the same approach. If you go to Hatton Cross tube station it is right next to the end of the runway, so huge jets are passing about 80 feet over your head! Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world, with aircraft landing about 60 seconds apart, so you can actually see them queueing up on final. Do not try to jump the queue especially in front of a Jumbo.

It is a jolly long ride out to Heathrow on the Piccadilly Line, so I was glad not to miss the golden hour when I got there. It had been a fine sunny day, but now heavy cloud was rolling in from the east creating a pleasing letterbox effect.

9V-SPM, a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412. You can see the wake from each of the four engines, ordinarily you do not want to get this close to them. It could cause a seriously bad hair day.

There is a mesh fence just too small to get a telephoto lens through, they must have designed it specifically to annoy photergraphers. There is razor wire on top specifically to annoy terrorists. Still it is quite attractive visually, this was shortly before the police and Special Branch arrived to arrest me for taking suspicious photergraphs of the security perimeter.

Getting about


I have been feeling a bit rubbish due to having what is invariably described on HR forms as ‘a debilitating pulmonary viral infection’, or in plain language, a cold. It is one of those that makes you sniffle continually and feel tired if you walk to the kitchen. Still I am immensely brave and do not complain, mostly, there is no point being a tremendous martyr if you do not tell people about it.

I went to IKEA the other day and it is quite entertaining, I like noticing the bizarre and inappropriate names that they have for household things, eg an ashtray called GROGGY, or some cutlery called ALERT, or a range of attractive yet practical bathroom furniture called PERISKOP. I also like thinking about the imaginary lives that the invisible people who live in IKEA showrooms have. They appear to be quite tidy yet always leave the duvet artfully tousled, and spend a lot of time reading freakishly obscure books in Swedish like ‘En Belyst Historia av Gaffel’ or ‘Düde, var är bílen?’ They obviously do not have children as all their furniture is still intact, and the walls are not covered with felt pen and sick. All their CDs have been recently stolen to judge from the vast empty racks, but this is not surprising as they are always out, yet do not take the most basic security precautions such as having walls, or a front door.