|Epilogue||1st Nov 27th May 3rd May|
|Competition||30th Apr 29th Apr 28th Apr 27th Apr 26th Apr 25th Apr 24th Apr 23rd Apr 22nd Apr|
|Training week||20th Apr 16th Apr|
|Preparations||3rd Apr 7th Mar 4th Mar 1st Mar 22nd Feb 17th Feb 8th Feb 10th Jan|
Epilogue - 3rd May 2011
I had that morning gone to say my farewells to Broadhurst and to the RAF. I had made a point of going to HQ at Schleswig in my 'Grand Charles.' Coming back I had taken him high up in the cloudless summer sky, for it was only there that I could fittingly take my leave.
Together we climbed for the last time straight towards the sun. We looped once, perhaps twice, we lovingly did a few slow, meticulous rolls, so that I could take away in my finger-tips the vibration of his supple, docile wings.
And in that narrow cockpit I wept, as I shall never weep again, when I felt the concrete brush against his wheels and, with a great sweep of the wrist, dropped him on the ground like a cut flower.
As always, I carefully cleared the engine, turned off all the switches one by one, removed the straps, the wires and the tubes which tied me to him, like a child to his mother. And when my waiting pilots and my mechanics saw my downcast eyes and my shaking shoulders, they understood and returned to the dispersal in silence.