I am not enamoured of steam engines. I don’t get a thrill out of the guts of old motor vehicles and nor do I give a fig for ancient aircraft. So when yesterday I was forced into a ‘family do’ at an air show in Shuttleworth I knew I was going to be in for a tad of a dull afternoon.
In fact as we arrived in the pouring rain to see hundreds of soggy anorak clad oldies watching nothing happen from open aircraft hangers whilst munching on their carefully engineered packed lunches, I was hit by a wave of ennui so brutal I nearly fainted. The problem is I am a coward when it comes to certain kinds of boredom – basically stuff that involves engines. I would crack like a nut under interrogation if the torture consisted of watching motor racing or researching aerodynamics. I have tried to fake interest previously but I am past caring now. I am never going to be really interested in what makes a Tigermoth fly, no matter how handsome it looks.
‘Boring!’ I howled, like a five year old, tugging at my brother’s hand as we morosely lurched around the darkened hanger interiors looking at dusty German and British fighter planes.
‘Boring!’ I wailed as my father, having the time of his life skipped over shouting, ‘hey have you seen the steam powered tractor?? Quick quick..its about to drive up and down the road for twenty minutes. It’s real coal you know….’
‘I’m dying here.’ I whinged at my mother on the phone as finally the skies cleared and some lunatic flew in spirals in something tiny and noisy above the crowd.
‘I can’t here you darling…is that a plane overhead?’
On the way home my brother poked me in the back and asked what on earth I would have rather been doing on a Sunday afternoon.
I thought about all the various things I would have rather been doing..most of them involving various methods of being asleep in a beautifully empty, quiet flat but I held my tongue.
And then there had been that one 1968 Wasp helicopter that the chap had actually ‘danced’ like some huge insect over the airfield. I hadn’t moaned once during his whole set. He even flew it backwards….I’m not sure if he meant to but it was very clever….