Number 18 - Ride in a Helicopter

This one has been on the list since the beginning, its one that I had no clue when I would be able to achieve it, it's just not something you wake up and do. Still, the story behind this is that I was awarded a Red Letter Day from work to the value of £250 - result! There were all kinds of things available to do; some time back in 2014 I decided that it had to be the Helicopter, in close second to Skydiving (Number 1). 

Time went past and before we knew it it was winter, so never bothered booking it in. Around March I gave the helicopter company a call and asked to book it in, conveniently the next weekend was myself and Victoria's birthday! That was settled then! 

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On our birthday we drove to Stapleford Aerodrome in Romford, Essex and prepared for the flight. I could tell by this stage that Victoria was really rather nervous about the whole affair (eventually admitting to 'googling' how safe helicopters are). The staff at the aerodrome were very friendly and professional and ran through a full safety briefing, how to enter and exit the helicopter and what we shouldn't have in our bags (no x-rays here!). 

After the briefing we were driven over to the helicopter, strapped in, set-up with headphones and introduced to Pete the Pilot. The Helicopter taking off was *the* strangest experience, it just made a lot of noise and went up a bit like a lift I suppose. 

After take off we followed the M11 south and past stratford to the west, we followed the Thames west from the barrier, passing Greenwich, Docklands, City everything you would expect to see. Unfortunately Portman Square (work) is a bit too far from the river to be able to see it. At Vauxhall bridge we turned around and headed east via the same route, on the way back we got some fantastic pictures of Victoria's university and The Shard. Highlight of the tour was seeing the new Siemens Velaro Eurostar trains at the Temple Meads depot. 

After a 30 minute flight we landed back at Stapleford and went on with our day. Ever have the chance to go in a helicopter? Do it. Don't even think twice. 

Number 18 - done. 2015-04-12

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

This was kind of a good birthday. It's not often that it falls on a Saturday, and even less often that is is followed by plenty of annual leave. This birthday @tigziefc and I went to Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Broadstairs was lovely, we had a quick go on the penny pushers and even won a prize from the tickets! After that we got to see two lifeboats! bembridge_lifeboat_selfie_c

Above is the the oldest Mersey class lifeboat still in service with the RNLI RNLB Peggy and Alex Caird (ON 1124, Op. No. 12-001). She was last briefly stationed at Dungeness as a relief vessel while their lifeboat had some work performed in Ramsgate. Prior to being stationed at Dungeness she was stationed at Bembridge between 2009-2011 while a new station was constructed for their Tamar class vessel. It's not clear why she was out of the water in Ramsgate, although presumably she is waiting for her next relief assignment, perhaps undergoing some maintenance.

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Above is Ramsgate Lifeboat Station. RNLB Esme Anderson (ON 1197, Op. No. 14-02) can be seen in the water, she is a Trent class vessel which has been stationed at Ramsgate since her construction in 1994. A blue davit can be seen at station level which is used to launch Ramsgate's inshore lifeboat Bob Turnbull (ON B-765) a Atlantic-75 class rigid inflatable. rnlb_peggy_alex_caird_c