Considering the impressive cunim's crowding the sky (see previous post), I rode to Booker thinking I would be met with an empty clubhouse and a note on the window saying, "Are you mad Brian? Fly? Tonight? Have you not seen those cathedrals of doom in the sky? Have you not read your lapse rates?". As I dismounted and walked towards the clubhouse, hail hammered into my helmet. Oh well - at least I showed willing.
Richard and Graham had other plans...
"Are you ready to fly?"
"When did you last fly?
"...erm... yes, well. Ermm.."
At this I must make a confession - I haven't flown since September.... unfortunately my circumstances mean the evening groups are the only times I can slip the surly bounds... and all that.
By the time we had wriggled glider and tug from the clutches of the hanger the weather gods relented and between 7pm to 8pm yesterday Booker was slap bang in the middle of a lovely weather hole. We had cunims' over Alyesbury and south of Heathrow - but nothing close.
With Richard in the tug, Graham in the back seat, a nifty tyre under the windward wing (no wing runners see!) we were ready.
I'm not sure what outsiders in 'the pad' thought of our ensemble: To the untrained eye, they would have seen two grown men enter a vehicle, close the 'window', then watched as the windows steamed up and the vehicle waggled and rocked!
Enough innuendo! We trundled off down the grass into the blue yonder with a hop, skip and a jump.
As ever Graham devised fiendish tasks on and off the tow. Off the tow we rumbled about the sky on the point of stall as a test of flying accuracy: This however supports my theory that Graham has two speeds in a glider - plummeting to earth at Vne gathering the energy to corkscrew about the sky, or flying slower than stall... preferably upside down.
As we plonked back down on terra firma, with a clean bill of health, I set off again on my own.
Ah the joy! As air whispered passed the canopy, and we got above rope break territory, the panorama was wonderful: The storm clouds in the distance were beginning to turn pink with the setting sun. Planes in the stack south of Heathrow lent scale to these monsters of energy. Passed Aylesbury the grey touched the ground with curtains of mist and rain. Yet in our hole, for miles around the air was benign and welcoming. In fact a tiny line of lift kept us aloft for a few more minutes.
I know there have been some amazing cross country flights so far this year - but for me, just being in the air and teasing even the tiniest bit of energy from the sky feels like an award justly won.