It’s been a busy few weeks for The Scribblaire. There was barely time to recover from the excitement of the Olympics before some relatives arrived from Malaysia for a two week holiday. Our 11 year-old nephew wanted to visit Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, so five of us headed over to Weymouth for the weekend to take in the English seaside and spend a day at the museum. Whilst I personally find it a little sad to spend so much time looking at machines designed to kill other people, I have to say that the museum is incredible, especially given the size of the exhibits. The entrance fee allows visitors to go back several times within a year, which would be good value for locals or people who didn’t have to travel far. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but made a young man very happy!
August bank holiday (25th-27th) saw The Scribblaire, two sisters and one niece head off to the Isle of Wight for the traditional annual scooter rally. Every year, thousands of scooter owners (the mechanical kind, not the kids push along ones) gather to ‘ride out’ from the town of Ryde on the island. We camped in the grounds of a speedway stadium with hundreds of scooter owners. We camped in relative luxury since we had travelled by car and could therefore carry a large tent, fold up beds and cooking bits and bobs. It was still cold and uncomfortable, but we stayed for the planned three nights, despite predictions that we would end up in a hotel after the first night.
The scooters were many and varied, though mainly Vespas and Lambrettas. Some were very old and others new. Most were works of art, lovingly cared for by their owners. The ride out on the Sunday was great. The noise, smell of two-stroke and sheer number of riders was a real spectacle. Some people dressed up in period clothes – 1960s ‘mod’ or 70’s skinheads mainly. As well as the scooters, there is a strong link to the fashion and music of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Northern Soul, Ska, Reggae, Motown and 80s mod revival music was played in the bars and clubs. It was fun to be somewhere where there was a shared passion.
Yesterday saw us girls head over to Biggleswade to the Bird of Prey Centre for a half day ‘Raptor & Reload’ experience. This entailed handling and flying some of the fabulous hawks, eagles and owls at the centre. The Scribblaire’s highlight of the ‘Raptor’ section was handling a Chilean Blue Eagle called Levi. Although Levi is used to people, it was still amazing. We also met and handled Merlin the long-eared owl who was very cute and laid back. We then went to a clearing where the group (17 people in total) took turns to allow first a kestrel and then an eagle owl to fly to the glove. Let me tell you that an eagle own has sharp talons when it accidentally misses the glove!
After the bird section, we all went to a field where four sections were laid out, including archery, crossbows, rifles and handguns. All participants got to try each in turn. The Scribblaire wasn’t overly keen on the bows, but excelled in the shooting. Shooting an apple with a handgun was my particular piece de resistance!
It was a great day out and it’s quite possible we’ll be doing it again.
The Scribblaire needs a rest next weekend and will likely be watching the closing days of the paralympics on TV. Then it’s off with a friend to a forge in Wiltshire to learn ironwork and create my own work of art. What shall it be I wonder?