Dear Mr Editor,

It would be too easy to moan about the weather [or lack of variety in the same] so I shall return to more fertile pastures.

The Helicopters are back, even if some are allegedly are being flown by chums and relations of Hungerford folk, so are automatically seen as “friendly”, whatever the time or antisocial hour they may choose to visit us. I am also reminded that many carry high-resolution photographic equipment so objectors should not risk being caught on film making gestures of annoyance towards the skies.

Innate grumpiness was tinged with sadness as I watched the impressive and emotional 100 year celebration of the RAF. My grandfather was one of the first pilots to join as he transferred from the Army's Royal Flying Corps which combined with the Royal Naval Air Service to constitute the newly formed service. Again, as part of the fly-over, it was confirmed that the Multi Role Combat Aircraft will shortly be phased-out of service, reminding me how durable these jet fighters have been; during the early 1970s (which was of course well before we had formally entered the E.U.) I personally participated in the work with our European partners in the design-and-build phase.

Anyway, to escape the aforementioned noisy aircraft, whether fixed or rotating winged, I have found a new haven in that Oasis otherwise known as the DownGate Inn. The pub's new Secret Courtyard and Garden offers a place where you can have a quiet rendezvous away from prying eyes....I recommend you try it!

Elsewhere, new initiatives continue to abound in Hungerford. Readers are well aware of the last five years' efforts of the Charlie Barr and Andrea Hodgkin led committee which have resulted in a new and buoyant Youth and Community Centre [following West Berkshire's abandonment of the old Hungerford schemes]; these are so well supported by individuals and institutions in Hungerford and surrounding villages that the Committee will now look at a new and expansionary phase. Building upon the achievement, an initiative has been announced to investigate and, maybe, to launch a charity expanding the Hungerford [and feeder district] Youth Services with new and enhanced courses such as 'youth training and leadership', Outward Bound activities and the like. Grumpy wishes them well.

Finally, congratulations to HADCAF on another brilliant and eclectic festival. Grumpiness was truly banished by a combination of The Kinks, which had the golden oldies bopping in the aisles, and subsequently the exquisite singing of Kennet Opera in a selection of Puccini's operas. Contrasts and contentment combined.



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