Thoughts of a Fruitcake: Human beings are incredible – by columnist Carolyn Aldis

Poignant: The Red Arrows
Poignant: The Red Arrows

So, last week we went away for our holiday and travelled down to Bournemouth.

We had booked an apartment and once our bags were deposited, got ready to spend the day at the beach. I hadn’t realised that the Bournemouth Air show was on, so finding a spot on the beach was tricky. I’ve never really been one for aeroplanes and so, having found a good spot, took out my library book.

Human beings are incredible ... the overwhelming support of the community of Shoreham for the relatives of the victims portrays this well.

There were a couple of helicopters flying around the bay, landing on the deck of a huge ship and re-enacting their defence of a pirate boat attack… I glanced up briefly and carried on with my chapter. Then, there was the unmistakeable sound of a Chinook helicopter and as I looked up, it appeared on the horizon, coming in quite low.

Across the tannoy, a pilot on the local radio described how the Chinook would now do some stunts. I was interested, as this was a huge machine that seemed to defy gravity and looked impressive. My stomach lurched as it seemed to go up vertically, held itself in the air and then swung back down, like a huge fairground ride. It spun round as it flew upwards and even moved sideways, completely opened up so that the guy at the back of it could clearly be seen waving.

The Hunter jets were next, making a huge noise as they showed off their aerobatics and I marvelled that there were human beings operating these machines, flying upside down and performing incredible stunts.

The announcer then said there were some special jets about to appear from behind us.

As the Red Arrows flew over the clifftops in perfect formation, I was surprised to find myself feeling emotional as the crowds cheered their arrival…there is something quintessentially British about them, enhanced by the red, white and blue smoke from their tails. The pilot’s flying skill was phenomenal, often within 7 feet of each other, turning upside down and rocketing up vertically…by now, I was hooked and wanted to watch more, much to the annoyance of my children.

The Vulcan was up next and my husband told me that this would be one of the last times to see it fly…the lump in my throat returned. Hearing it rumble in from the west, with its massive wing span and deep sound of the engine, I marvelled that it could fly at all, let alone zoom around the bay so low, we had to put our hands over our ears against the deafening roar.

I felt sorry for the bi-planes that were up next, because although they were acrobatic, nothing compares to seeing the jets.

We headed back to have our evening meal and I turned on the TV. The horrific accident in Shoreham involving a Hunter jet was just being reported and detailed the devastation caused.

Watching the Red Arrows and the Vulcan again the next day was even more poignant…

Human beings are incredible ... the overwhelming support of the community of Shoreham for the relatives of the victims portrays this well.

It’s another British response of which I’m proud.