OUTING to BROOKLANDS MUSEUM – Thursday 22nd November

We set off on a fine but chilly Thursday morning (22nd November). We needed to use the M25 and the timings were a little tight. However Captain Kirk (Darren, our daring coach driver) got us there in good time despite some heavy traffic. We all tumbled into the Club House for a coffee and whatever. Concorde tickets were distributed and we set off in two groups ably led by two volunteer guides, Mike and Mike – no confusion. Having a guide makes a heck of a difference and brings the whole place to life- not that it’s not fascinating anyway. First stop was the ‘ladies lounge’ or the (Dame) Barbara Cartland room as it’s known. Wow! I thought she was ‘just’ a writer of romantic fiction. Think again. First woman to race around Brooklands and countless other achievements. Look her up in Wikepedia- quite some woman. All motor racing terms seem to come from horse racing – paddock, clerk of the course and so on. Then, on to the vintage and classic cars from Brooklands racing days. The marvellous Napier Carlton and a great array of Morgans amongst many, many makes. My brother helped build Morgans in Malvern Link so it was particularly poignant as he is long dead. On to the ‘plane hangars and what planes, old and new. WW1 and WW2 to the modern day, Sopwith Camel, Blenheim, Hurricane, Hunter and Harrier, all these plus countless others. No iconic Lancaster but even that didn’t matter, the displays are SO good. My Dad was a Lancaster airman – so again, great memories.

Lunch then lots of viewing time for the outdoors display of the airliners of yesteryear then on to the star exhibit, CONCORDE. Still looks as if it’s just ready for take-off. First stop, the British Airways bus for a brief chat about its history. Then up the steps, passing through the rear cabin to our seats at the front. Is it really this small? The Captain gave us a quick chat before take-off. We were in New York and back before we’d even finished our champagne. (actually, champagne and dinner is available but at a very special price- not today). Really excellent. Must do it again really applies in this case. I thought the visit was good enough to eat if I can describe it like that. The park closes at 4 o’clock in Winter which enabled dashing Darren to get us back home for the Marlow snowstorm and lights switch on. See you at Hendon Air Museum next November? You don’t have to be a plane buff to enjoy it.

Roger Smith