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Lovely Island

One of the great truths of Britain is that for every run of good weather, you pay for it by rainy days to come. Right now the weather is prone to heavy showers. Typically I got dampened by drizzle as I arrived at the library, only to see sunny skies out of the window as I'm typing this. I'm not tempting fate by declaring when I want to go home.


The other day I was watching the birds in the park. The feathered ones I mean. Their antics are fascinating, especially when one gets cross with another. They don't just spar and conclude it like mammals, birds really do bear a grudge and once they don't like somebody, the aggressor keeps attacking the victim incessantly until it goes away.


Or until an RAF Typhoon fighter screams across the park overhead. What a racket. But then he was shifting, using that surplus of power for airspeed, going about his potentially dangerous business. I didn't think of it any further, other than he blasted across Swindon at more or less the same altitude that civilian light aircraft often do. Come to think of it - there weren't any light aeroplanes about. Perhaps the Typhoon had chased them away?


Then I spotted the unmistakeable presence of foreign airmen trying to understand the British cabbie as they flagged down a taxi. Not in ordinary or dress uniform either, but in their flying gear no less. Hmmm... I surmise, Dr Watson, that an air show is taking place within driving distance. I further deduce that since RIAT takes place at nearby Fairford Air Base around this time of year, that the town is strangely packed out with shoppers, and the roads jammed with endless queues of cars, that they are about to take part in Britain's premier airshow. But you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to work that one out.


Life In The fast Lane
Although I'm not a Formula One fan, I did watch the British Grand prix this weekend. It started under a cloud, literally, with one of those heavy showers. This made for some dramatic racing. The drivers must have been all too aware how easy it was to lose control of their powerful lightweight machines, not known for being easy to drive at the best of times, and you could see real seat of the pants driving going on as cars wobbled and slid all over the place. I though F1 was boring? This was good viewing.


Here's the funny thing though. The danger hotted up as the sun came out and the track began to dry. With grip returning, drivers were pushing their cars harder right up until they strayed into a puddle and whoops - there goes another rubber tired car, sliding spectacularly for hundreds of yards, unstoppable in true Hollywood fashion by any of the run-offs or gravel traps. I saw formula one cars doing four wheel drifts as they coped with unexpected issues in the bends. You don't see that every week, not in a sport that relies on downforce and grip.


The speed of pit stops was stunning. The last time I took any serious notice of F1 racing crews took six or seven seconds to change tires. These guys were doing it in half that. I watched spellbound as Verstappen overtook his rival on the outside, earning a 'fastest lap' in the process. Woah - that was racing, full on. But as the water evaporated the average speeds of all the cars lifted and the race turned into the usual high speed traffic jam. Yawn. Oh well done Hamilton. Nice victory. I fancy a spot of lunch. Time to raid the fridge.


So there you have it. To rescue Formula One from the dullness of anonymous insectoid machines buzzing around the track in an endless technological blur, hold the races in Britain. Forget all those exotic foreign locales with guaranteed sunshine and yachts in the harbour. Bring it back home to Britain where the weather can turn a certain result into a jaw dropping spectacular. Or at least until technology eventually finds a gizmo to cope with British weather once and for all.


TV program Of The Week
I nominate Love Island. Get a bunch of working class hunks and babes and watch them compete for lurve. Or not, if you have the gumption to change channels before you get sucked into this pointless farrago. The television announcer breathlessly sets the scene for us, musing over whether one guy or another will get a certain girl. Oh how the tension builds. Truth is, the entire rationale appears to be that we watch a bunch of nobodies trying to be somebody by shagging anybody in front of everybody. Truly missable.