Sunday, 11 November 2012

Guy Fawkes at Tutbury and the A380 Flyover

Fairly low key weekend this week as we used it to catch up on work, chores, sleep, etc.  But I do have a few things that happened since the last blog to report on.

Monday (November 5th) was Guy Fawkes night here in the UK. On this day in 1605 (!), Guy Fawkes was arrested when the "Gunpowder Plot" to blow up Parliament (and King James I) was foiled.  He was the poor sap guarding the gunpowder under the House of Lords.  His fate was being hanged, drawn and quartered (not for the faint at heart).

At any rate, the day is a celebration of the foiled plot (and some say anti-Catholic sentiment) and fireworks are set off.  In fact, pretty much the week before and after are free game based on what we've seen and heard this time around.

So, to celebrate, we decided to go to Tutbury Castle with the Seppanens.

The bad part about fireworks in November?  It's cold!  As a family, we do not like being cold so we are bundled up pretty well as you can tell by the unfortunately blurry photo above.

The good part?  You can shoot them off at 6 pm and go home. 

We got to the castle a little bit ahead of time to see it in daylight.  Well, what's left of it.  One of the castle's claim to fame is that it imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century.

The crowd is starting to gather though most were in the heated tent with the bar.  The keep (?) is on the hill to the left and was where the night's festivities would culminate.

Here's a few of the volunteers doing a demonstration on combat.

The irony of Tutbury fireworks is that it wasn't about Guy Fawkes at all.  For some reason, they've decided to do a Viking re-enactment on this weekend (and in previous years).  I didn't catch the connection since the Vikings would have pre-dated the castle but I assume they had some connections in the area.

There were some fighting scenes with "Vikings" with various weapons.  They then abruptly shifted to a Viking funeral procession (presumably of the leader but I actually wasn't paying much attention).  Here they are marching up the hill (to the keep) and the "viking ship".

Note:  you can learn much more from Jay's 2011 description.  (He paid more attention).  His photos from this year are at the bottom of this post.

 up to the top -- getting ready to light him up (in the ship)

 and more impressively, the fireworks (note the slightly smoldering ship on the right side)

 and now the ship is really going

We enjoyed the fireworks and hanging with the Seps.  Afraid I didn't get much out of the Viking story (as that is painfully obvious now).  Good times.  We'll probably try the more traditional Bonfire Night down the road next year.

A380 XWB Flying Test Bed Flyover

Recall that the attempted 787 flyover was a washout.  On Friday, there was a different flyover.  This time it was an A380 equipped as a flying test bed for the new, soon-to-be certified Trent XWB engine.  The other 3 engines on the A380 were the normal variant Trent 900s.  Note, this is standard practice to get flying time on a new engine by putting it along side 3 already certified engines (just in case).  Significant amounts of ground test-bed running has already happened by this point.  Engines don't get put in the air on a whim and prayer.

Now, I don't work directly on either of those engines, but what the heck, it's an A380 flying down our street.  I'd better check it out.

Unfortunately, I didn't remember to bring my camera so these are from my phone.  There it is in the distance.   [Almost there.  Stay on target.  Almost there.  Stay on target.]

 getting closer

and finally overhead

Here's a much better picture from Jonathan Fletcher Photography as the plane took off from East Midlands Airport.  Which engine isn't like the other?

Massive, massive plane.  Those engines are huge and look tiny hanging from it.  [The turbofans as almost 10' in diameter.]

Here are a couple of links that I highly suggest if you like to see a little more.

1)  Someone else from work (Chris Green) recorded video of the flyover (link)
2)  ITV has a nice writeup with photos and video as well (link)

I come home to find an e-mail titled "Geek" from my friend and co-worker Andrea.  In the e-mail is this picture.  I've added yellow arrow to point me out.  Andrea successfully nabbed me on her iPhone from her posh window seat at work (thanks for that, Andrea).  :-)  Andrea couldn't be bothered to actually go outside to see it I guess.

By the way, that's fellow ex-pat Tim Hillstrom to my right, also geeking out with his phone photography.  Former UK ex-pat to Indy, Ian Macdougal, is to my left for anyone back home that knows him.

Other Notes
Interesting development on Friday.  I made a "booking" (reservation) for 4 at a nice pub up the road in Duffield, The White Hart.  Talking to the kids on the way home and they decided they'd rather stay at home rather than sit through a typical 2-hr UK meal.  Suits us.  We left them to their chicken fingers and pizza while (not going to say whilst) we enjoyed a nice, relaxing meal and conversation.  Win-win.

Kuk got a call on Saturday from the restaurant saying she left her purse there (yikes).  Not sure how they tracked down her mobile number but we are glad for that.  Kudos to the staff at White Hart.

Yesterday we had one of Alex's friends (and his parents) over for dinner for the first time.  This is his new best buddy from his new school.  They've hit it off really well and we had a good time with the adults too.

That's all for now.  Have a good week everyone.

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