Visiting Duxford

Monday 5th June 2017

Venue : Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridge


An early morning start at IWM North on Monday, as we met up with fellow volunteers and staff from the other branches at IWM Duxford for Volunteers week.

We travelled south through the Midlands on our journey, stopping off on some familiar services on the M6 and M1… the route usually adopted when I visit my relatives there.  It was a bit rainy on the way there, but I was looking forward to visiting Duxford.  Due to that branch holding most of the museums Aircraft Collection

We arrived at Duxford’s Entrance around about noon, and then after a short repast, we all entered the main hall, where the chairman of the imperial war museum welcomed us all and the ceremonies for the volunteer awards commenced.


I received my award for “Developing in a Role” from the chairman – and heard my Vollie Manager deliver a wonderful (more than a ) few words on why i’d won it!

How I started as a guide, then doing object handling and family history….

I did whisper at one point….”Ta boss! you can stop now….!!!” (sic)

Matt by Fighter Aircraft

After the awards ceremony, we took a look around the hangar and the various activities on display, this included seeing how concorde dipped its nose, to sending messages by morse code – to walking on board a Lancaster bomber.  I enjoyed walking round the RAF Fleet, and got a really good view of the planes from the top deck of the gallery.



its the Chinese New Year today (uk) so in celebration 🎉 I’ve been busy with a spot of art.

Celebrated by enjoying a meal 🥘 of noodles and beef  and sweet and sour chicken 🍗


Happy Year of the rooster everybody!





I kind of had a guess things would be moving on Sunday…

the first candle on the Advent wreath….lit

lights dangling like icicles off the Lowry shopping mall ceiling

festive drinks on sale both inside and outside the mall,

at least one Christmas tree at each venue I passed

smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves floating in the air

as people lined up for a cup of mulled wine or festive hot cocoa

the cold snaps come quick – you could break bits off it

like candy floss – cinder toffee – air mints

and all the while – bright lights colour the night sky

but it was all confirmed this afternoon

in a flickering of festive lights….

Dad’s put up the Christmas Tree.


The Christmas Market

10 December 2010

The Christmas Market

The beginning of the Christmas season, for me, always starts when the first frost hits the fallen leaves from Autumn, which are lying on the ground. This year, it coincided with the first of the festive celebrations at the northern branch of the Imperial War Museum, where I am involved as a volunteer.

Having carefully navigated the icy pathways leading to the museum, I climb the stairs to the Main Exhibition Space as familiar faces from the museum say hello. I’m then passed a cup of cheer in the form of a festive mulled wine, a welcoming sight for someone trying to take on Amundsen at his own game. It primarily relieves my hands from the cold snap outside, which was so cold it had left an ice sheet creeping beyond Ontario Basin. Indeed, it was cold.

As the cup warmed my fingers, the mulled wine’s aroma hit my nostrils. A wonderful mix of festive smells greeted me, travelling slowly up my nose and warming the back of the throat. First came the scent of the cinnamon. It was spicy and warming. Then, the smell of the nutmeg, and fruity flavours – it was Christmas in a cup…A perfect accompaniment for the Mince pie, which was both fruity and warm. Christmas had arrived.

We chatted and talked, as we finished our drinks, before leaving the museum and heading for the new home of BBC North – Media city UK, where our festive carriage awaited. I make sure I’m wrapped up warm before leaving the museum. The Cold still bites. Thankfully, no sooner as we get there does the tram arrive at the platform.

I watch from a window as our golden carriage travels down the line. We pass through the Quays and Manchester central. The Night air crisp, filled with stars and Christmas lights. People are out in the town, celebrating. Then, the tram stops at our destination. It brings back familiar memories. As we walk the short distance from the St Peters stop to the market, coloured festive lights lead the way.

I look above me at the Town Hall clock and spot Father Christmas sat happily on the town hall roof, where he brightly lights up the night sky. Familiar sights and smells greet me and my friends, various stalls selling almonds and roasted hazelnuts. Fudge and pancakes. The smell of Aromatic sausages mixes with Intoxicating Hot rum punch, full of fruit and spice. Once again the smells of Christmas fill the air and I can smell the scents of citrus and marzipan hanging around the stalls.

In a corner of the market is a Swiss clock maker, his cuckoo clocks chime so I check my watch, the clocks have chimed the quarter hour.

Amongst the shoppers I can hear the distant sound of an Oom-pah band playing by the Bavarian Beer house, but it’s being drowned out by the sound of that song by Noddy Holder. I pass the toy stall and reminisce about when I was younger….You know, I Had one of those as a kid.

We can hear the staff singing and chatting in a nearby bar – They’ve got the right idea, there’s a definite nip in the air. It’s time for a hot drink me thinks. Our small group like a band of brothers head for the warmth of a nearby coffee house. A Warm Cup of Minted Hot Chocolate is waiting. It is both satisfying and warming at the same time.

The tea is just as nice. I order a pot – it’s got one of those funny teabags in it. Ah well, I chuckle, it is Starbucks after all.

The cuppa puts the evening to bed. A very pleasant time has been had in the company of my chums in the volunteer squad but my bed awaits – I make a bee line for the Metro Stop. Christmas Dinner waits at the Museum come Sunrise.



With Guy Fawkes Night approaching – A Tale of Fireworks

Firework blog

Golden Fireworks over Manchester Town Hall

Flying towards the night sky
In celebration
Rapid maroons, rise in the air
Exploding in delightful colourful displays
Wiry tracers disperse in pretty pattern
Over the heads of wide eyed children
Rumbles of the rainbows exploding overhead
Keep the awaiting crowds in
Suspense, as the next rocket rises