Back in 2005 I arranged a surprise 25th birthday treat for Chris. I told her that I had booked a top restaurant near her Dad’s place in Goodwood, but things were looking frantic at work…an air ambulance was desperately needed and I had to stay on to get it fixed….
I didn’t want the restaurant to go wasted, so told her to go to it with her mum, and I’ll try and get down there later…
On the Friday of her birthday (May 20th) her mum said that they had to drop into Goodwood to pick up a birthday present from her Dad on the way to the restaurant. This meant that Chris, her mum and her dad would all be at Goodwood aerodrome at a set time…
My good friend Sudeep “Soggy” Jacob is a pilot…He has a ‘plane based near Oxford and others that he can use.
Once all that was cleared and Soggy had the aircraft, we then had to wait for the weather to clear again so we could take off and head down south to Goodwood. The weather was rough, but nothing to really moan about (that would be Sunday’s trip back to Oxford…).
Time ticked on and the weather stayed bad, and it was down to just seconds before I called the flight off (I had planned for bad weather, so I had a set time to call the flight off and then drive to the restaurant)…Soggy came over to me and I let him speak first before I gave him the bad news. Luckily the news Soggy gave was…”I think we can do it…”
I told her that we had flown down from my work place to get to the restaurant in time, and that it was lucky that Soggy had his aircraft with him that day. Eddie had just come along for the flight, and was going back with Soggy whilst I went with Chris and her mum to the restaurant. Lies, all lies.
As the aeroplane was at Goodwood, and we had time to spare, I offered to have everyone go for a quick flight around the airfield before we all did our separate things.
At the restaurant I had arranged a quiet area….and a load of Chris’s
friends…and some top presents that Chris had been after for some time (“Oooh, I REALLY like those”…she said…every time we had been to the restaurant in the past…).
All in all it was a great day. Everyone played their parts superbly, and it was all down to the very last second and split second timing. Looking back, almost a year later, and I’m still surprised that we pulled it off. There was so much planning involved, and so much against us. A good job all round.
The photos are available on Flickr (MY PHOTOS link at the top of the page).