Sunday, 24 March 2013

Fleet Air Arm Museum

Anyone struggling to fill the days while the kids are off school?  Have you ever been to Fleet Air Arm Museum?  The website comes over as a little ... old~fashioned shall we say, but please don't let that put you off ~  particularly if you have mini pilots in your family ~ so so many aeroplanes!  The photo above shows Smiler playing with the fuzzy~felt~on~steroids they have there ~ a wonderfully accessible and enjoyable idea.

The pricing small print explains that if you make a donation instead of paying the entrance fee (a donation equal to the entrance fee) then you get a free annual membership which means as many visits as you like for a year.  It all seems a bit confusing, but if you ask at the entrance I'm sure they will explain it much better than I could!  There's so much there to see, even if your children are at the 'look at it ~ poke it ~ run around behind it' stage, they may well run out of energy (as well as concentration) when there are still plenty of planes left.  It's all indoors, so very handy when the weather's bad, and loads of room for pushchairs / wheelchairs / walking frames.  

I'm not sure if this makes me a horrible over~controlling mean parent, but I love annual memberships so if Smiler / Noah / Petal misbehave, I can do the 'you get one more chance, but if you don't behave properly we will go home!' and not be thinking in the back of my mind that it cost loads of money so I will have to pretend I haven't noticed if they pinch each other another few times ... (is that just me?  You ever done that?)

Look at this ~ a plane with wings that fold up.  Did you know those existed?  (well, I didn't) They don't just fold up once though, if you follow the wing up away from the main body of the plane you'll see the tips of the wings fold again ~ clever or what!

This is something I keep meaning to check out ~ two female glider pilots in 1897, one of whom seems to be dressed as a man ~ you know there has to be a story behind that!  I'm thinking the shocking level of gender inequality back then would have meant that a woman simply would not have been 'allowed' to participate, so either Ella or Dorothy did a 'Mary Ann Evans / George Elliot'.  What do you think?

There's just so much there ~ there's an interactive exhibit upstairs where you can try and land a plane or bomb a submarine ~ apparently I did not miss my calling ~ I was not destined for the Royal Navy.  There are photos and paintings and models and a motorbike, and then there's a whole aircraft carrier experience which  has been closed for maintenance but may have reopened already.

As usual, my camera and I (maybe I should name the camera ~ its such a feature of my life at the moment it seems wrong to call it it.  Any suggestions? ...back to the point Lucas...) camera and I got completely distracted by ~ well, not the planes exactly, more the industrial innards of the planes ~ plane intestines!  It turns out I also have a thing for propellers ~ who knew?!  I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear I'm saving (most of) those for another day.

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