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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines - War and Peace show part two

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!

Shona x


  1. My boyfriend has been trying to get me a flight in a Spitfire for ages, but apparently you're not allowed to sell flights in them..? If no money has changed hands, it's ok though, supposedly.
    It looks like you had fun! I wish I could've gone :)

  2. Before I say anything I LOVE the new header :o)

    That looks like such fun and oh my the birds, how lovely, but also how scary, no wonder he was a little on edge he he!

    Very cute last photo too!

  3. Hi Kate O. You are right, you can't fly in one, I did buy Mr Wolf a flight in a T61 Texan, otherwise known as a "Harvard" for his birthday. Apparently it is as close as you can get and is what spitfire pilots would train in. Most spitfires can only fit one person in them, so not exactly the right kind of thing for a day tripper! Here is the link we bought his flight from: http://www.warbirdexperiences.co.uk/fly_a_spitfire.html

    This one at the W+P show was grounded, and wouldn't fly because it is actually a fibreglass replica. It is rigged up with a real engine so you get all the excitement and no risk. He was still happy with it!

  4. Hi Shona! 3 Things:
    Number 1: Love your new header! Are you a tech wiz and did you do it yourself?
    Number 2: The Fleur dress is exquisite and looks beautiful on you. I am wanting one badly but funds are sadly low at the moment. It's on my wishlist though!
    Number 3: We are having a replica spitfire outside my work for a while over the Battle of Britain anniversary in a week or so. I wonder if it's the same one? I'm really excited though.
    Lovely birdies too. Great post!xxx

  5. Fiona: cool or WHAT! I have some other wee updates planned too. This was put together by Gill and Bob of two thirds design: http://www.twothirdsdesign.co.uk/

  6. Jenni - not a tech whizz, I wish.

  7. I love the floral dress, too! It is absolutely gorgeous and looks awesome on you.
    Take care,

  8. Oh, my favourite thing about this is definitely those beautiful birds. They're gorgeous! It always saddens (and angers and disgusts) me to think of animals being treated cruelly (creepy crawlies not included as I am both a hypocrite and a scaredy cat ;]) but it also cheers me to think that there are people who dedicate themselves to bring a better quality of life to the ones that have been treated badly in their lives. I have nothing but the highest admiration for them!
    -Andi x

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  11. Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!


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