Mid summer – Early Autumn 2003
July - End of August 2003
Mum - Concorde
We then slowly walked to the BP Petrol station got freshened up, got some water and made the long journey back home to Romford……….
It was a great day out and mum really really enjoyed her self and she now under stood what Concorde meant to me……… I was glad I took mum, the next day I was back at Heathrow on my own chasing Concorde again.
Chasing Concorde - late summer
At Heathrow during hottest part of summer 2003 I use to sweat a lot so drank 2 litres of water day but due to the intense heat of the August sun Heathrow often felt like an oven…… after taking photos of Concorde I use to slowly walk back to Hatton Cross.
On my way back to Hatton Cross I sipped more water but due to sweat I was still loosing more water through sweat than I was drinking……. When I got to Hatton Cross my body use to feel awful like I had flu……it ached all over and I was some times ready to collapse but luckily across the road there was BP Petrol station…… this place was like an oasis in the middle of a boiling concrete desert.
I use to go in there and the air was ice cold that was bliss…… I use buy a litre of ice cold mineral water and a few Mars Bars before going to the men’s loo to do personal things…… then I washed my face in cold water to re- hydrate the skin.
Before I walked back to Hatton Cross I use to stand next to the cold drinks freezers to feel the cold air coming from them when I was cool enough I left the petrol station and made my way home.
If I left Hatton Cross at 8.30pm I didn’t get home to till around 10.30pm. Before I went home I always phoned mum to her know I was on my way home……. If I didn’t phone mum she would stay up late and wait for me as she was worried about me……When I would get home she would nag me a lot and ask me
Why didn’t you phone me as I was worried about you.
So to stop mum being worried about me I use to phone her on my mobile phone to let her know I was ok and I was coming home........
By the time I got home mum use to be a sleep but before she went to bed she use to make the dinner early and leave it in the microwave……. As soon as I got home I went straight to the kitchen had my dinner, then posted my films to Truprint, reloaded the EOS 3 with fresh film for the next day.
I checked and cleaned the lenses and checked that batteries where ok. Once this was over I logged on to the internet sent more job hunting CVs out on spec, applied to any suitable job adverts I saw.
On top of all this with 3 other people I was also organising my year’s school reunion so I had to contact a lot of old school friends to tell them about the school reunion and to see if they where coming by around 2am my body was dog tired and I went to sleep.
The next day I was up by 9am, had breakfast and did the same before I went to sleep but I didn’t check camera and I didn’t e-mail any one for the school reunion but 5 minutes before I left for Heathrow I checked BBC Teletxt to find out what time BA002 (Concorde coming from New York) was scheduled to land at Heathrow and I looked at the weather around Heathrow to see what direction the wind was blowing.
If the wind blew towards the South East, North East, South or North I knew Concorde would roughly take off over the west side of the runway towards Windsor……. If the wind blew towards the North West or South West then I roughly knew Concorde would take off over the East side of the North runway towards Hatton Cross.
Once I was happy I use to leave home by 3pm so depending on trains I could get to Heathrow by around 5.15pm to try and get her landing and this routine carried on until Oct 2003.
Since the 2000 Paris crash Concorde only used the North runway (27R side for take offs or landings from the East and 09L side for take off and landings to the West).
Reason behind this was that in 2001 the South runway (one next to Terminal 4 and also know as 27L and 09R) was damaged due to a FAT, heavy 747 landing to hard and making a dent on it. Subsonic planes like the 747, 777, 767 etc couldn’t feel this dent but Concorde could.
Because Concorde took off and landed faster than other planes it was paramount to safety that she had the smoothest and most level surface possible……. Heathrow Airport managers allowed Concorde to use the North runway as that was the smoothest one they had…….While Concorde was using this they where also slowly repairing the South runway so in time Concorde could use both runways.
Even though she was using the North runway on any one day I didn’t accurately know which way she was going to take off or land until I got to the North runway and found out what way the other planes where taking off or landing.
If Concorde landed from the East on runway 27R depending on what photos I wanted I use to get to Heathrow visitor centre and walk across the road to the parameter fence to get side on photos or I use to walk to the end of runway 27R…… When she flew over my head I got the EOS 3 and took 36 photos of her in 6 seconds.