The Black Pearl

After a day spent flying above the home of Shakespeare, Ben heads back to Coventry where before his departure he is in for one final surprise

Less than 2 weeks after my microlight flight with a friend's Dad up on Dartmoor National Park I once again find myself hurtling down a runway and bearing witness to the ground falling away from beneath me...

...This time though it was with James, my good friend whom I met and shared a house with whilst "studying" at Coventry University.

We took off from a small airfield just south of Stratford (the home of Shakespeare) and at an altitude of 3,500ft we flew above the surrounding villages and fields. Just as in Devon, the weather was perfect and despite feeling much, much colder than my first flight it was again an epic experience and one that I'd highly recommend if you ever get the chance.

Take Off in James' Microlight

Don`t Look Down


Back on the ground we had a good look around a couple of ex-World War 2 aircraft and a disused Royal Air Force helicopter which for all three we were able to climb right up inside and into the cockpit which was really quite cool and allowed me to take some decent shots for my "Goodbye Tour" photo album.

Then with our flight and explorations complete we made our way back to Coventry for what I was planning to be a relatively quiet evening. However, upon walking in to the kitchen back at James and Alex's to fetch James and myself a refreshing beer it quickly became clear that this was not going to be the case. Waiting in silence were a group of my close friends from University and best of all, my Sister, Hannah.

The night that followed, or at least what I can remember, was a messy one. What began with a civilised BBQ in the last of the evening sunshine ended with drunk Jenga in The Oak and me falling over more times than I can remember. But with enough beer, tequila and sambuca to bring down a bull elephant it was hardly surprising I took a couple of falls.

But apart from the falls it really was a fantastic night and really good to see so many good friends!!! Thank you so much to James and Alex for organising and of course everybody else for turning up - it was a proper good send off.

(Clockwise from Top Left) Chris, Ben, Simon, Rob, James, Alex, Mary, Hannah, Myself and Clare
I woke up the day before my flight with what can only be described as a killer hangover. The dry mouth, pounding headache and overwhelming need for more sleep made the prospect of tying up the last of my loose ends a horrible one.

But a bowl of coco-pops, half a dozen slices of toast, a bacon sandwich and two ibuprofen later I was just about starting to regain some sense of my normal human-self.

However, that didn't stop the day being one filled with nerves, for after counting down for more than 70 weeks it felt incredibly surreal to think that "this time tomorrow..."

Fortunately I had enough to keep me busy through the course of the day to keep my mind occupied and before I knew it I found myself saying my final goodbye to both James and Alex before making my way to Birmingham to get the coach down to Gatwick.

You know, I had long been dreaming about the walk I'd take down to the coach station and as that dream became reality I almost could not believe what it was I was doing.

Enter your email address to receive the latest journal entries the moment they're published: