Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 6th December 2015

When you go to the doctor they only tell you three things: drink less, exercise more and eat less!” declared Roger Appleboom as he reversed the gold Disco down the mist covered track at 20mph (a testament to a. his driving skills, b. the Disco's wing mirrors and c. the effect work to date has had on the smoothness of the track...but why was he reversing??) We achieved all three of those objectives today, plus using up what was left of the pile of '¾ to dust' that had been left by the Saturday crew.

The Weather – ‘nuff said!  The visibility didn’t improve all day.
There was also the prospect of setting to work the club's latest acquisition, yes, the new petrol propelled compactor has been delivered beckoned from the hangar to deliver the airfield a fearsome whacking... And so, with great physical effort, we got it up to the top, only to realise BEFORE use that, the ground being so wet, whacking the infill would simply make it outfill, and so we relented – well actually foreman Dave Downton told us so...and whipped us into a chain gang redolent of two weeks ago. There has been great progress with the track which is now much smoother and hence, after each load had been delivered by Richard Roberts's van and spread by us, Roger was able to reverse the gold Disco back to the start - also because it was impossible, in spite of using screen washer and wipers, to see through the windscreen (on subsequent examination, we thought the wipers might have passed their sell by date...)

Roger Appleboom and Dave Downton at work on one of the holes on the track.
 Certain people relish a challenge, glider pilots more than most and so it was not surprising that, once we had sighted a puddle the size of a small swimming pool we just had to set about filling it in – and were almost successful until the 'never ending' pile of hard core ran out before the swimming pool did... Send for another delivery, please! (And if possible get it deposited on the track rather than in the car park...)

The Big One..!  Dave Downton and Roger Appleboom
discuss whether we have enough hard core to fill it...
The Big One – Two... Answer: No.
But we were not far off.  Another delivery, please...
After a late lunch, Richard Roberts managed a successful aerotow and hour's ridge running in Estonia – courtesy of the simulator, whilst the rest of us (with assistance from Dave Bourchier) pressure washed the tools and vehicles (and put the -very heavy- compactor, unused, back in the hangar.)

There was one H&S Cautionary Tale to relate. With all the rain that has fallen over the last month some of the holes on the airfield have become quite deep, as an unwary Dave Downton discovered almost to his peril (see photo) and it took all the efforts of Roger Appleboom and Richard Roberts to save him from drowning!

“Have you found the bottom, yet, Dave?”
Roger Appleboom and Richard Roberts use all their efforts to support Dave Downton
as he (unwittingly) plumbed the depths of one of the deeper holes..
On returning to the surface Roger asked Dave if he had found the bottom, to which Dave splutteringly replied “No, but I think I almost grasped a smoked salmon, about THIS big, which would have done us proud for the Christmas Breakfast to be held in the clubhouse on 27th December..” Oh how we laughed, for whilst not many people have signed up to the Club Christmas Breakfast to be held in the clubhouse at 0830 on 27th December (even though it is on the club calendar), everyone knows you can't catch smoked salmon in Devon - (you have to go to Scotland to do that..!)

Martin Cropper

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