Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Birthday Visit to the RAF Museum

With my birthday already off to a great start after the reappearance of Sherlock and me actually getting a proper birthday this year (29/02) I wanted to actually do something 'celebratory' for once.  I fancied a day shopping (I needed a haircut and some clothes) but upon the realisation that finances would make this a fairly short lived celebration we opted for a family day out to the RAF Museum at Henlow.

The stories and happenings of World War 2 fascinate me, and I love visiting the museums which never fail to teach me something new.  With the buggy staying at home I also wanted to visit an attraction that would give Alfie a chance to be on his feet and not create too much mayhem.

As soon as we arrived he was lagging behind.  He'd spotted a school trip crossing the car park and wanted to make the most of the opportunity to wave at the kids and shout "Bye!".  What he (or I) hadn't expected was that the entire class turned around in unison and waved and shouted back at him!  Needless to say the next five minutes were spent waving and shouting across the car park!

Sometimes there's only one way to get the kid moving, and that's to pick him up!

There is all manner of awesome aircraft inside the museum, and loads of detailed displays which I found fascinating.  This prop press is super cool - if fact I'd quite like a propeller mounted on one of our walls in our lounge!

We are always quite early to lunch, and seeing as we left the first building approaching midday we made a route straight for the restaurant.  It was a fantastic place, and with a Merlin displayed in the middle of the room what's not to like?  Even Esme wanted a good look round!

In the afternoon we entered the main halls and had a fantastic time checking out the birds on display.  They ranged from early Flying Corps examples;

Right through to the more obscure WW2 aircraft like this armed bomber water plane, and even included modern day birds like the Euro Fighter.

They also have loads of cool memorabilia from WW2, and I've always loved the 'score charts' that you found on the side of bombers illustrating how many bombs had been dropped.  These were genuine examples now found on the walls of the museum ... I wonder what happened to the rest of the aircraft?

As you reach the end of the main hall there is a really cool interactive area that Alfie loved.  This gives you the chance to see how bombs fall after being released, the impact of airflow, and even learn basic plane controls.

 With the museum covered and the kids getting tired we decided to fill up at the pick 'n' mix station in the souvenir shop and hit the road - destination Pizza Express.  I know its not exactly the most glamorous of venues, but its a fantastic place to eat if you have rugrats in tow and beside, I had a voucher!  As is often the way, Tash and I took it in turns to eat as Esme was bounced and then the meal was finished off perfectly for Alfie as he painted himself with a Chocolate Sundae!

A brandy with my coffee rounded things off nicely for me, and it was the end of a really pleasant day.  Lets hope I enjoy being 32 and much as I did being 31!

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