Yesterday Bina and I were given a huge and unexpected treat. A student at NHTV, Jan Pijpers, who I don't actually teach but chatted and joked with, was part of a group of students who organised a welcome back gift for me. Which of course was my lovely mad black kilt (which needs taking in still). Jan however also managed to discover that I have a love of aircraft...and his dad is an officer in the Dutch Air Force, responsible for organising events...such as the Airforce's annual air display in nearby Glize Rijen :D
In an INCREDIBLY kind gesture, Lt Col Pijpers arranged for us to have VIP tickets to the event, and we therefore got to see the show from the exclusive comfort of the VIP marquee, where we were introduced to the Lt General in charge of the airforce, the Air Commodore in charge of the base and were treated to food and drink all through the event.
Loads of fantastic displays including the Red Arrows all watched in comfort and style with just about every senior officer of the Dutch Air Force present. I took over 150 pics, so it'll be a little while before I can sort them through for posting, but I will do soon.
Fantastic, just fantastic. A particular highlight for me was the Hunter and Spitfire displays, I am much more into Vintage aircraft than Bina who loves big noisy jets, so the Spitfire display was fantastic. Imagine my near schoolgirl glee reaction then when Lt Col Pijpers, taps me on the shoulder and introduces me to Air Commodore Chris Lorraine, who was the pilot flying the Spitfire display.
He joined us for a drink at our table as I quizzed him about this Spitfire and his experience of it. He had just started flying it and was equally excited about it, it was an absolute pleasure to talk to him and hear a little of his background. He'd only had 10 flying hours in the 1942 Spitfire, so he gets a big thrill every time he flies it.
I've never been to an air show as a VIP before and I have to say I never want to go any other way again, just an amazing experience, Lt Col Pijpers was an exceptional host with his son acting as a perfect guide all day, we were treated like royalty and the smile took hours to leave my face. I tried to express my delight as I was leaving and thanked him again for the 50th time, but I think it just came out as "wibble wobble flubble" I must write a letter of thanks and appreciation for making such a memorable day possible.
I dont' have enough superlatives to express how much I personally enjoyed it, Bina was also totally overwhelmed by the event as all the big thundering jets whizzed by her smile got even bigger. A perfect start to her Birthday weekend, this was just as much a treat for her as me. I kept turning to her saying "how cool is this?" in an ever higher pitched voice.
Later, to top things off..Bina went for a pre-birthday girlie night out, with drinks before hand, still in our VIP formal wear as we had little time to change (I looked AWESOME in a suit with tasteful Simpson tie). When the girls headed off to do whatever it is that girls do when alone in the presence of large amounts of food and drink...we boys went for a curry.
VIP Airshow and curry.
How, I mean really, how can you have a better day?