Travelling The South or Why Isn’t Anything Open?

After seeing Rogue One (again) Mr O and I decided to visit a military museum. Rather, what we did was use the POI thingy on the Sat Nav and it came up with the Military Museum in Aldershot. I’d never been to this garrison town before and it is something to behold! Plenty of red signs everywhere.

We journeyed from Guildford to Aldershot. The road was a curious one making its route atop a ridge.

Journey Part 1
Journey Part 1

After arriving at the museum we noticed the gates were locked shut. We weren’t that far from a set of armed guards securing the base itself so we tried a search for something else. This time we checked the website to make sure it was open. Off we set for Tangmere Museum. It would appear the Mr O misread the website as it clearly states it opens in February. But, we weren’t aware of that and so drove to Tangmere near Goodwood.

Journey Part 2
Journey Part 2

Along the way we saw many lovely countryside sites with layers of fog which, if we had a decent camera, would have been great photos. It was very picturesque. Except for one bit. We had seen a race course on the top of a hill and we were discussing whether it was Goodwood or not and BLAM. The sun was directly in our eyes along the line of the road. I came to a halt. I couldn’t see shit. The sun was literally in line with the road.

Blinded (highlighted bit)

We had to try and drive for about 200m without being able to see. I found that if I moved my head so the door pillar blocked the sun I could just make out the left and right sides of the road. I still couldn’t see anything in front but we ambled along and hoped that someone else would stop if they were coming the other way. It was a curious experience and one I don’t really want again. We should have made a note of the time because there would be a decent set of mathematics to be done to check where the sun was and how much it aligned with the road. If I had the inclination we could probably work out where and what time just from the facts I have already said.


Another set of locked gates indicated closure. Bugger. All we wanted now was a cup of tea and some cake. We knew Goodwood circuit was nearby and so we drove to that. Everything there was also closed. The day had turned out to be a series of closed places that we wanted to visit. We had to drive back to (near) Reigate for a cuppa.

Journey Part 3
Journey Part 3

The journey itself was fun, interesting and a delight. It’s just a shame everything we were trying to see was closed.


This particular communication is very delayed. I went to Brooklands in between christmas and new year 2015. It was great. There are plenty of wonderful aircraft, some lovely cars and also motorbikes.

I didn’t take any photos of the planes, which is weird for me, but I did have my kids and so that probably stopped me being as free with a camera as I would have liked to be. I did take some shots of them in cockpits, but they don’t get published here.

I really want to talk about the stratospheric chamber!

The chamber is a “room” that will simulated the conditions at high altitude. This type of research was really important just after the Second World War. Fighters and jet planes were being designed to fly higher and fast and they needed to be tested safely under these conditions.

The Stratospheric Chamber looking like a Star Destroyer
The Stratospheric Chamber looking like a Star Destroyer

It’s the largest in the world and quite fantastic to visit if you know what you are looking at. Just the idea and audacity of building something so large that can simulate those conditions. It is quite a remarkable piece of engineering and well worth seeing. I have a feeling it was only recently declassified and that makes it that much more interesting.

I would love to write loads of stuff here giving details and very interesting things but, unfortunately I don’t have the time at the moment. Also, as this is only eleven months late, I can’t remember the plaques around the design!!


A few days ago I went to see the film “AKIRA” at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank. It was part of a Sci-Fi series of films they are showing. I have already rated it on IMDB because it is of my favourite films.

By the pure definition of my IMDB rating system Akira gets 10. This was the first time I have seen the film in a cinema but I have purchased it in many formats, VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray. I have the books. It is a film I have watched many times.

I think I first saw this film in around 1990 or 1991 or so. I remember John had a copy and we must have watched it one evening. I was instantly fascinated. It was a cartoon, hand drawn, but it was violent, it was futuristic, it had biker gangs, it had teenage angst, it looked bloody brilliant and I didn’t understand what the fuck was going on. Until that point cartoons had always been childish, happy, Disney and Looney Tunes. They left me nostalgic for my childhood and growing up. Cartoons used to be innocent, but incidentally full of violence. Akira changed all that. It, whatever it meant, was DIFFERENT.

I went and bought it on VHS.

Akira – the story of a post world war Tokyo where the government struggles to maintain power, religious sects rebel, biker gangs fight each other, the military experiments on telekinesis subjects and it all goes to shit-town. Who is Akira?

Every time I watch this film I see new things. I notice new stories. I am amazed by the ending. There aren’t many films that do this. I thoroughly recommend watching this but be prepared to be shocked and freaked out.

My next main memory of the film was living at Winchendon Road with the Fulham Five. Rich and I must have watched Akira at some point, it’s always worth seeing once every few years. This ANIME thing was rare, different, exciting and “underground”. Rich had read the story when it was released in magazines and we quite likely spent a while discussing the film, while wearing sunglasses in a dark room and with Megadeth playing. So, we found other Manga films, most notably


It is at this point that you realise that Anime and Manga is different. It is great stuff but is quite likely to mess your head up a bit. None is the sort of film to show your parents.

Here’s a problem: Akira was my first Anime film. Akira is probably one of the best Anime films. Therefore, most films I see after that always fall short. I love the Japanese animation films. They still excite me and simultaneously make me question everything and I struggle to understand what it happening quite often.

A good Anime film leaves you stunned at the action and amazed by the story.