Well, technically we are talking about the flying machines (including birds) that can't fly that we encountered at the War and Peace show.
First up: Mr Wolf treated himself to a seat in a spitfire plane after speaking of nothing else for two days. It doesn't fly, being a replica, but he could sit in it and fiddle with all the buttons and even start the engine. That seemed good enough for him and probably for most lads, and has inspired much envy among his work colleagues.
He was instructed about all the gauges, buttons and levers and sat in the heat, in his wool uniform, until he was kicked out by the next punter coming along. A very hot and happy lad! The funds raised by the owner must barely cover his costs, as this guzzler chews through gas (it is only run for a couple of minutes for each person), and needs transportation where ever it goes. You can read more about the ambitious project of Graham, the owner, here. He travels around, educating people and presenting his replica spitfire, and hiring it out. It even appears in the movie Pearl Harbour, where Ben Affleck sat in the same very seat that Mr Wolf then sat in. *Swoon*
Next up were some fluffier grounded flying beings, the birds and owls of Many Hoots Owl rescue. I have known the founder, "Tiny" for a few years now and this year we took opportunity to hold a couple of his rescued birds. I chose to hold this lovely male because of his huge eyes and fabulous eyebrows that extend to his ears. (I am trying to replicate the look with my own eyebrows, but he is not amused)
Mr Wolf (here in normal work clothes as he had just arrived) was re-assured by Tiny that he should hold the Eagle. He was slighty disturbed you see, since we had just witnessed the Eagle ripping into the last of his dinner and Mr Wolf could see his own ear going the same way. Needless to say every time the Eagle looked at him it did look like he was getting sized up for dessert.
Tiny of course is a great hulk of a man, as you can see here. He travels with his family of birds that have been injured or badly treated and are in some way disabled now. Together they educate the public about these amazing creatures. The stories of the survivors are very sad, from neglect to abuse, indeed none of it is nice. Some birds that Tiny rescues become healthy enough to live in the wild again, but others, like these here, are no longer capable of surviving, either because of a physical disability, or because they do not know how. The happy ending it to say that these lucky ones are as devoted to Tiny and his helpers as they are to them. They are clearly adored.
Here's my lovely fellow doing the behind the back looking thing, which is quite eerie!
During the day Tiny plays music to the birds to help keep them comfortable and help drown out unfamiliar sounds. Ralph Harris doesn't go down well, but "Lady in red" does!
We were lucky enough to see all the birds put to bed in their cages for the night. Some were raised together, so call out to each other until they can cuddle up. They all know their own cage and once they are all in, Tiny and his helpers will talk to them to settle them down for the night. The owls naturally stay up later than the others, with the exception of Taz: a wee blind, elderly, barn owl that was dozing off in the late sunshine and was put to bed as the evening started to cool.
I encourage you if you ever see Tiny with his birds, or Graham with his spitfire, to drop by and say hello. Both are spending a lot of time, love and energy to preserve these magnificent (non) flying machines and educate our future generations. Well done Chaps!