Well a happy New Year to everybody and I hope this short newsletter finds everybody healthy and likewise your family and loved ones.
We can only hope that the pandemic is slowly subsiding and some form of normal life slowly returns to us all if slightly different than before.
As I create this newsletter I am looking out of the window at yet another overcast, grey and cold day. The only consolation is it’s not raining, the lovely Carol Kirkwood (breakfast TV weather lady) assures us that we are in a spell of high pressure, it would be nice to see some sunshine in the high pressure. One thing is for sure it’s the time to be checking over your models, assembling new ones, refurbishing old ones all in time for the oncoming spring and glorious summer that we are well overdue.
What’s going on you may well ask in the relation to the events planned for the summer. Well the newly elected committee which includes our new events secretary (Jake Reid) are working on the schedule of events for the summer. As soon as these dates are firmed up they will be published to you all so you can mark up your calendar, fill in your filo fax, scribble on the kitchen wall and even ask Alexa to set up reminders for you.

Before Christmas the annual quiz night and hotpot supper took place. As is the norm the quizmaster (Mr Swarbrick) took any challenge to his answers personally and deducted points from anybody who dared to challenge his answers, in fact he just took points off anybody who opened their mouths. It was a great light hearted evening topped off with hotpot followed by apple pie and cream.
Everybody went away with some form of prize kindly donated by Jake Reid.

I recently received some correspondence from somebody who is actually building a real model from a plan and balsa bashing like the old days. Anybody want to guess who it might be and have a guess as to what the model being built is?? Photograph below.

Secretly we have been visited by the one and only will sparrow. It was a lowkey visit and he was obviously on route to warmer climes. He very kindly sent me some observations from his visit which I have included below for your reading.

A VIEW FROM THE HEDGE. (By Will Sparrow)
Well, 2022 is here at last. The winter solstice is now way behind us (Have you noticed just how much extra daylight there is nowadays?) and Christmas has left us with its usual warm glow and memories of festive cheer and presents. We can all look forward to spring and all the happy flying days to come. We sparrows, as always, eagerly await the rekindling of the flying spirit amongst you members because, as you know, there is nothing better than watching you lot provide us (and especially me) with amusement and entertainment. We are so fortunate to live in a hedge so conveniently placed.
Sunday, 19th December at last promised the prospect of a decent flying day. The day had zero wind, but it wasn’t long before banks of mist began to roll in and spoil the morning. Models were on the point of vanishing! A couple of members were exercising cute, little edf jets. All went well until this duo started doing opposition figure 8’s. Phrases such as “it’ll all end in tears” and “prepare for a bit of foam confetti” were clearly audible to us viewing from the hedge. Sure enough, the two models had a passionate embrace – ironically, when they were travelling in the same direction. My mate, Jim Sparrow, asked what ironically meant: we ignored him. The waves of sympathy coming from the watchers on the flight-line were noticeable by their total absence! Other models embraced the sky that day – a couple of aerobatic models and even a glider – but the visibility was approaching legal limits and flying was terminated. After consuming much cake and mince pies, the brave souls departed as the allure of warmth pulled them homeward leaving the view of the hallowed turf to us sparrows. As the mist intensified we heard the honking of many geese from above the mist. I don’t really understand goose-speak, but the gist seemed to be “keep flapping, lads!”
We all know that you modellers are labouring under the shadow of the plague, but you are not the only ones to suffer: Bird Flu is stalking the land and birds might fall from the skies. We are all taking as many precautions as we can (no visits to other hedges, no flying visits to relatives in order to check our eyesight and keeping at least two twig-lengths from other sparrows). The latest strain of our plague is the omicron variant; by all accounts this is extremely contagious. One hedge-wag remarked that if Lolita Sparrow were to become infected then she would take a good half of the hedge with her! For you, who might not know, Lolita is one of our more “affectionate” hens and has lots of cock sparrow “friends”. One is reminded of the quote from Samuel Pepys-Sparrow’s plague diary of 1665 which seems very apt. “The season growing so sickly that it is much to be feared how a sparrow can ’scape having a share in it”.
Be of good cheer. The worst is over (probably!) and you, I know, will be finishing off your winter projects and mastering putting the stickers on those artfs that Santa managed to squeeze down your chimney. I, for my part, am looking forward to you providing me with enjoyment (and a few laughs) as I view your antics from the hedge.
May your pecker remain ever elevated, as the saying goes…

Finally one last thing to conclude this short newsletter

First they banned the plastic bags
And I thought little of it
Because I was not a plastic bag
Then they banned the cotton bud sticks
And I thought little of it
Because I was not a cotton bud stick
Then they banned plastic coffee cups
And I thought little of it
Because I was not a plastic coffee cup
Then they banned plastic cutlery
And I thought little of it
Because I was not a plastic knife or fork
Then they banned me
Some thought little of it
But foam aeroplanes everywhere shed a tear

John Higgins (with apologies to Martin Niemöller!)