Where Was I?

The Christmas hols, even though brief in reality, seemed to go by at a very leisurely pace. It’s my custom to chauffeur on Christmas Day, Cook’s Husband’s Mother (97) to wherever Cook’s family happens to be staying for the Christmas break. This is invariably somewhere in Norfolk, a county that I always think that I would like to live in but know that it would spoil the treat. There’s something about its isolation and the sparseness of population that lends parts of the county an almost 17th Century feel; you half expect to meet Oliver Cromwell round the corner.


My charming lady butcher (see: The Mutinous Cell) provided a capon for Christmas lunch. I wasn’t aware of what a capon actually was until she explained to me that years ago, young male cockerels were injected with a ‘caponising’ drug. This was the poultry equivalent of putting bromide in their tea and (like castration – the alternative method) rather put the lid on their sexual urges and generally stopped them fighting amongst each other. All they did was sit down and get fat. The chemical treatment has since been outlawed and castration is the norm but, I gather that capons are not particularly fashionable and their production is not on an industrial scale. Anyway, the capon was absolutely delicious – more flavoursome and moist than a regular chicken and not as strong as a turkey. A real treat.


We all got wrapped up for the Boxing Day hike and this year we visited Sheringham Park. I’d never been there before and found it an absolute delight not least because the whistle and chuff of the steam engine on the Holt to Sheringham railway came drifting through the trees as we sauntered along. It’s not terribly clear in these pictures but the sea is always a presence, albeit in the distance, as are the rhododendron bushes which are quite clearly everywhere.

Sheringham Park

All this was far removed from my next Christmas treat which was to spend a day gliding. I haven’t flown for a few years and the thought of getting back in the air has more than once crossed my mind – gliding seemed to be an inexpensive and accessible option.


Although I wasn’t up for very long; 2 flights amounting to about 15 minutes in total (not a lot of lift about) it was enough to tell me that I had somehow moved on and the thrill of being in the air just for the sake of it, had been largely extinguished. I dare say that an hour or two chasing thermals might have put a different light on the exercise but having once earned a living in the stimulating world of the airshow business, flying for fun doesn’t really cut the mustard anymore. It confirmed to me that at the time I stopped flying, my thoughts about my horizons becoming parochial and the fact that it was often a lonely business – especially in a single-seater – were correct. Still, the tug pilot turned out to be an old acquaintance from those airshow days and although it was jolly cold – as airfields always seem to be – wall-to-wall sunshine was the order of the day and I really wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Accompanied by The Ambassador’s Daughter, a splendid lunch in Norwich with my own family, rounded off the celebrations for another year.

I think I was drilling some holes for the rear cockpit brace before all this distraction…


9 comments on “Where Was I?

  1. renaud says:

    Hello Nigel,
    I agree with your appreciation of the “chapon”. I cooked some, years ago, with friends at home. The drawback beeing that, due to the size of the beast, your hosts should better not forget to show! Even if they do you’re likely to have leftovers (albeit excellent ones) for the next fortnight…

    About Norfolk. In 2007 I went to Norwich for what was called “50 years of the seven” (Lotus) or 50YOT7 in short. As my wife was not particularly enthousiastic about the event, ahem, we did some touristic tour too and discovered the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Housed in a splendid architecture by the young Norman Foster on the campus of the University of East Anglia. This visit made our day as the collection is terrific. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury were certainly people of taste.
    Have the best of “réveillon” tonight Nigel!

  2. Twinks says:

    I agree with Renaud, the Sainsbury Collection at UEA is outstanding and well worth a visit sometime, says she who spent a whole year indulging in its delights as a postgrad (1995-96)!

    Bonne année Nigel

  3. And the same to you Twinks.

  4. Sheila Tuscott says:

    Keep up the blog Nigel, am loving it. Happy 2014.

  5. renaud says:

    Do you realize Nigel that GIRLS do love your blog? Keeping in mind that it is about cars I believe it’s a masterstroke really. I’m sure we will all enjoy it in 2014 Nigel. We all love your skill about car building and your mastefully writing about and around it.Thanks!
    Renaud (in 2013 to 2014 very windy Brittany)

  6. Thank you Renaud. That it was a mostly male preserve is one of the reasons that flying became less and less attractive to me. Cars include everyone and it’s been my experience that the hobby is so much more sociable and fun.

  7. Jon Stokoe says:

    Great to see the updates on the Jupiter. Keep up the good work.

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