Friday, 20 July 2012

Issoudun Friday 13 July and Saturday 14 July 2012

It was overcast and drizzly this morning when I climbed out of bed and very much colder than in previous days; it certainly didn’t look very good for flying.  This was confirmed at briefing when the Director declared the day to be ‘cancelled’ for all classes.
We had received an offer from Brian and Gill Spreckley to visit their home and small holding so that Michael could take a look at their sheep, which we eagerly took up.  After lunch we set off to their home which is about one hour’s drive South of Issoudun Airfield.  It’s a wonderful place that they’ve spent the last few years on building, extending and improving.  They have a fair amount of land on which they have in previous years had pigs, and this year they now have sheep.  Gill also has a reasonably sized vegetable patch and a polly-tunnel under which she is growing tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins (accidently as she thought they were melons!).
We took a tour around the various fields to see how they were reclaiming them from the wild and it was surprising just how hilly and UK-like it was compared to Issoudun which is very flat with extensive arable farming.  The weather just rained and rained and rained and everyone kept telling us ‘it’s not normally like this…should have been here last year’..
In the evening we went out for an evening meal with the whole British feminine (and crew) contingent, which was very pleasant.
Saturday 14 July
My goodness me, another torrid night with storm-force winds that rattled and shook the whole tent.  There are poplar trees on the South West side of the camp site and the wind howled through them all night keeping us all awake.  At one point, it went deadly calm as if it was the centre of the storm and then shortly afterwards, the wind and gust let rip once more.  It was so severe that Steve got up at 03:00 to check on the glider that was rigged next to the trailer as we were concerned that either the glider or the trailer would move and cause damage; he was not alone, there were several cars driving up and down the glider parking area checking out the situation.
At briefing, yet another Area Assigned task was set.   This was duly drawn on the map and programmed into the glider.  We then proceeded to grid squat with the 18m class in front of us on the grid.  Yet again, because we didn’t fly yesterday, I was on the front of the Feminin Class.  This is a nerve racking time because you are never quite sure when the launch is going to take place and you are forced into hanging around the glider, and as a female, it isn’t always easy to make a last trip to the toilets either…
So there I was sitting in the cockpit at the suggested time of first launch.  The Director said the magic words for launch and the 18m were hurled into the ever darkening sky upon which is was possible to see heavy rain heading in the airfield’s direction. 

As I sat there thinking, he can’t be serious, surely the Director won’t send us too, the rain began to fall.  In this photo you can see the situation from my perspective.  I tightened my straps and prepared, just as the Director scrubbed the day for us. 
So that was it, the end of the competition in France; no further chances to improve my position.  Overall result for the British ladies was:-
1-      Liz Sparrow
5 – Gill Spreckley
7 – Helen Hingley
25 – Kay Draper
26 – Claudia Hill
28 – Jane Nash
31 – Ayala Liran
In the evening there was a huge Closing Ceremony and party with food, wine and prizes awarded to everyone.  It was a great experience to fly in France; I wish the weather had been better for gliding so we could really ‘get our hand in’.  Maybe next year…..?

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