Imperial War Museum, Duxford
Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the Imperial War Museum (Duxford) (on our way to pick up an E-bay item that Kevin bought). It was just at the side of the M11 and the motorway was clear so it was a good journey. The plan had been that if the weather was good we would go to Butterfly World in Hertfordshire. If the forecast was for rain we would go to Duxford. The forecast was for torrential rain, hail, thunder and floods, so armed in cold weather clothes and waterproofs, we arrived for lunch. It was blistering hot, open airfield space with the sahara sun. Parking was plentiful and hassle free. Lunch for me was a sausage roll (not your average tasteless meat in a soggy wrapping) – really good and the equivalent of at least 3 sausages. After a week’s holiday of every meal coming with chips I settled for a giant plate of baked beans instead. So we started in hanger 1 and worked our way round the mile long road of hangers.
It was immediately apparent that accessibility had been built into the design of hanger one ‘Air space’ and not as an after thought. Hanger 1 told the history of flight, how aircraft fly, what they are made from and the jobs they do (with lots of planes of varying types in the hanger). There was braille descriptions, signed videos, lots of hands on and models of planes to touch. I could see and get around everything at wheelchair height, doors were electric opening, modern toilets including mirror image layout (and toilets in virtually every hanger or building) and lovely smooth floors to glide along.
Nothing beats whizzing down a really long ramp made with a smooth finish – and the American hanger (above) had a delightful curvy ramp all the way down to the lower level with a glass rail panel. I don’t think the ramp is the star attraction… but hey ho, it pressed my buttons.
I’m quite partial to helicopters that are painted to look like Tigers :-). My head was about floor level of this Sea King -it’s huge!
We left Duxford and headed off to pick up Kevin’s new purchase which was about another hours drive away. Just as we picked it up the heavens opened and thunder banged. At about 6.45 we set of back home to Kent. We stopped for about an hour at the Cambridge Services and ate Mexican listening to Edge of Glory. Thanks to the M25 cut down to one lane and traffic at a standstill for Dartford Crossing bridge repairs. Some lunatic thought it was a good idea to get traffic from 5 lanes to merge into 1 – resulting in us not going anywhere for about an hour. We had also forgot the mains lead to plug my vent into the car so I was on battery power wondering if it was going to run out. That was a bit worrying. We got home at midnight – strange night in all!