The summer is coming! The summer is coming! Well almost, as I write this it’s pouring down yet again, but despite the hosepipe ban and drought orders, we can try and look forward to a summer of long, sunny days, with BBQ’s and beer gardens and days out…
And a lot of people will be visiting an air show, or maybe two, this summer. Now I am not a massive fan of air shows, party because I have spent far too many air shows WORKING them, but also because I am not a massive fan of aircraft (this previous blog refers).
But people like them, and I do like seeing the historic aircraft flying and on static display, and they are nice days out for people who I’ve taking nice pictures and for the family AND they often raise lots of money for service charities, so they are worthwhile events, and there are lots of big ones this year that look to be great days out.
But. This story comes from when I was working the RAF Cosford air show a few years ago. Our job then was to run the information tent, which also doubled up as the complaints tent, the lost and found tent and the lost children’s tent. This meant we were very busy, dealing with all sorts of odd problems that large numbers of the general public generate. Cars with flat batteries, where is the nearest cashpoint, where is my friend Barry (really!), lost children, forgotten where cars have been parked, lost keys, found keys, found cameras., found children…hectic, but generally good fun.
Some occurrences were genuinely funny, even though they WEREN’T. But it does illustrate that you need to keep your wits about you at an air show…
The air display was well and truly underway, and the Red Arrows had just finished. Into the Information Tent walks a very nice, but very posh chap.
‘I say, do your chaps deal with the Lost and Found?’
‘Yes, sir,’ I reply, ‘how can I help you?’
He looked a bit confused and said, ‘Has anyone handed in a jacket?’
I knew for a fact that no one had, so I got out a form for him to report his loss.
‘Can you describe your jacket, sir?’
‘Yes, it was a jolly nice one,’ he said with a posh plummy accent, the sort you’d hear in a London Club. He was in his early 40’s and you could imagine him to be an ex-pubic schoolboy, works somewhere in the city, doing something which involved a lot of money. ‘A leather one, dontcherknow, sheepskin lining, big collar, lots of flying patches. Only just got the bugger, cost a bomb, thought it’d look jolly nice here, you know. Sort of a flying jacket.’
‘Oh right sir,’ I said as I started to write the description on the form. ‘if you give me your details, if it’s found, we can get it back to you. Where we’re you when you last saw it?’
‘Well, funny thing, haha, the old Red Arrows had just started and everyone was looking up at them, jolly good show, those boys put on, and I remarked to the chappy standing next to me, ‘Jolly good show those boys put on’ and we got to chatting. He said to me that he liked my jacket, and he was thinking of getting one and asked me if he could try it on.
‘So of course I said of course, and let him try it on. We stood and watched the old Reds for a bit longer and then I turned to him to say something, and, well, bugger me, he’d gone! Couldn’t find him anywhere. Must have gotten himself lost in the crowd…was still wearing my jacket…’
I sat in front of him, pen in hand. Mouth slightly agape. Not sure exactly what to do or say. I gave myself an imperceptible shudder to bring myself back to the situation in front of me.
‘Sir, can I introduce you to Cpl Williams, he’s with the RAF Police, I think you might need to talk to him…’