The weather’s been lovely of late. The world feels like summer, though it’s barely spring. Long, slow, lazy days wandering the Downs and Ashton Court, walking the tortoise in the garden, ice cream looking over the Avon Gorge. These are the building blocks of which good nostalgia is built.
We had some fighter pilots in the chip shop tonight. My curiosity was piqued when I heard them mention wingmates and copilots in offhanded manner (my eavesdropping, it is ever so subtle), and then the one paying looked at me and said, more or less out of the blue, “You sound like a smart lad. What are you doing here?” And I told him that I was just on the slow crawl from school to Birmingham, and he told me that he and his four friends were Harrier pilots in the Fleet Air Arm, though not currently flying much of anything. I didn’t press for details about what they had done, where they had served, because they were there for fish and chips, but I did have an entertaining natter about WW1 contact patrol aircraft. The evening went so quickly, really. I barely had time to write.
I’ve always been impressed by how straight-out gentlemanly most members of the forces seem to be, and these men were no exception. I don’t care for the government who sends them out to die, or the braying loons who cheer a little too loudly for “OUR BRAVE BOYS”, or even that much for their methods, but the men themselves have in my experience been beyond reproach.