Whilst we were back in Grain we decided to head down to Middle Stoke and have a bit of an adventure at Medway Microlights.
To put matters quite simply, I love the sky. I love the freedom of it. I love the sheer vastness of it. I like the clouds. I love the fast walls of wind that fly thousands of feet overhead whilst the breeze on the ground whispers and swirls beneath. I love the freshness of the clean air up there. I love the peace; I like it when you are completely alone in the sky, away from everything and everyone. There is something profoundly existential about being up there, all alone.
When I was a child I used sometimes to dream that I would shoot up into the sky like a human bullet. Within a second I was thousands of feet above the ground and had no means of stopping myself. I would go so fast that my sight would blur and my head would be forced down into my chest (I had a theory about this – that as I slept my head was pressed against the headboard. It was this, I thought, that made me dream my head was being pushed down into my chest). My arms would be pinned down against my sides. The force of my speed fixed me in a streamlined position that my body could not escape from.
I would have to focus every ounce of concentration and every straining muscle on shifting my head slightly into in order to change my direction. I would try to send myself into a wide and graceful arc, turning back to the ground before I reached a point of no return hundreds of miles up. And if I managed to turn back I would suddenly realise that there was no way of stopping myself. The ground would grin and come to meet me as I sped down, unable to slow. I would have to concentrate my entire being on trying to pull up. More often than not I would manage to swoop into a turn at the last moment, grazing the ground as I did so and feeling the individual blades of grass brush against my fingers as I swept passed at a million miles an hour.
There were some occasions when I was able to control my direction completely. I could loop and swoop freely around the sky, fast or slow. But the best times were when I was rocketing and barely in control.
I used to love those dreams. I had them regularly as a child. As I grew older they stopped. To this day I miss them and I wish there was some way of getting them back. I have even tried pushing myself up in my bed before I go to sleep so that my head is pressing into the headboard, but I haven’t been able to bring them back for years. If I am lucky enough to die peacefully in my bed then maybe the dream will come back to carry me away.
Anyway, that’s my dream.
The reality is slightly different. For starters, they make you look like one of the Teletubbies.
Points on this walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Stoke Airfield: N 51° 26.679 E 000° 37.888
- Date of Walk: 17 May 2014
There are some dreams I used to have as a kid that I wish I could bring back too… ~sigh~
The old railway carriage conversion was one of a string of carriages that used to be there in the 1950s. Every year we decamped from London to stay there and the one in the picture was called White Wings. Others were called Greengage and similar names. Absolutely nothing there for kids other than shrimping around the breakwaters when the tide was out and riding my bike along the beach. Simple times when there was no computers and we made our own entertainment!
I’ve a host of pics from the time if there’s any interest out there.
Thanks Clive – but which carriage conversions are you referring to? I don’t recall seeing any in Grain or Stoke…? Nic