Holiday diversions, part 1

The letters Q and N plus an RAF roundel painted on the sillver, riveted side of an old RAF plane at the RAF museum in Hendon, England
Insignia on the side of an old RAF plane at the museum in Hendon

The Royal Airforce Museum at Hendon is a top day out with the kids – especially now that, like all national museums and galleries – it’s free. It’s a pretty sobering experience too – war is not glorified here (although the ejector seat display is pretty exciting).

The most striking thing is how flimsy these aeroplanes are – not just the stiffened linen and bent wood of the early warplanes but the dodgy looking riveted aluminium and steel of the modern fighters. I’m sure the pilots and engineers know better but some of these crates bring to mind nothing more solid than the creaking plywood holiday caravans of my youth – only with nuclear missiles hanging under them.

Nothing invulnerable about these machines – and nothing trivial about getting in one and setting out over enemy territory…