March 30, 2012

A Woburn Abbey Birthday Message

Hardly what you might call a regular day today, which started-out with a 50th birthday banner for the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey,

This job had taken some planning, not only keeping it a secret from the Duke and most of the estate staff but also creating a landing strip adjacent to the 'Shoulder of Mutton Pond' for me to operate from, organising a five minute private road closure, liasing with the police and keeping the deer away while I was working.

As it was, the weather was far from great and when I transited over the 26 runway numbers at Luton, the visibility was awful and getting worse all the time. In fact, without my GPS, I doubt I would have found the abbey at all.

I dropped into the rather tight and bumpy runway with the light wind all over the place and had immediate help to set-up the banner. Ready to go in ten minutes, I got airborne for a display right on time although the conditions were at their visual minimums.

Afterwards, the Duke and Duchess came out to meet and thank me and kindly helped  collect up the banner and I took his small son (pictured) for a brief ride, which I'm sure he enjoyed.

After that, it was another very misty transit over Luton and back to Rochester to refuel and then on to the next job for the afternoon, which involved locating and photographing, in equally poor visibility, the Sussex houses of celebrities Jordan, Adele and Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, which are all within two miles of each other and Jordan and Maude as neighbours. Why I had to do all this I think you may find out in the Mail on Sunday!

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