Mid summer – Early Autumn 2003
July - End of August 2003
After Concorde I use to walk back to Hatton Cross which normally took around an hour to do….. Some times if I was very lucky friends use to see me walking up the North Parameter road, they use to stop their cars and give me a lift to the relevant side of the North runway but 99% of the time I went up there on my own and I went back to Hatton cross on my own.
I did this 4-5 times EVERY single week for 6 months…….chasing Concorde became like a way of life….. it was like an unpaid job….. No one was my boss….. no one paid me for taking photos of Concorde I did it because I loved Concorde and “ I wanted “ to do it not because I had to do it “ I wanted “ to do it.
Most weeks I use to get a weekly travel card which allowed me unlimited travel on trains, tubes and buses for 7 days…… Even travelling over a 5 day period the weekly travel card still worked out to be cheaper than getting a daily train ticket from Romford to Heathrow for 5 days….. Other times I use to get a daily train ticket which cost me £5.10 a day.
This is one of the many daily travel cards
I used to chase Concorde in 2003
After going to Heathrow for an average of 4-5 days a week every single week things reached a stage where I was often running low on film…….At the time my camera bag carried 8-10 spare reels of ASA/400 film (which I got when I bought the EOS 3 in 2001).
At home I had I guess another 10 spare ASA/400 films in case I needed them……All this film sounds expensive but they weren’t as I used Truprint who send you 1 “free“ film with every film processed so I never had to buy any film as I had plenty on me.
For Concorde I always used 1 film for Concorde landing and 1 film for Concorde taking off after that I sent the films off to Truprint to be processed which normally took 7 days – 8 days to come back.
I sent off an average of 8 films per week every single week when they came back I used the free film Truprint sent back with each film to take more photos and sent those films off to Truprint etc.
A few times due to postman being late it reached a stage where I was forced to buy an extra 10 reels of ASA/400 film from Tescos which sold 5 x 24 exposure films for £5 so I bought two packs as emergency films in case Truprint didn’t send me my photos and free film in time…..There where a few times when I had to use the emergency Tesco films.
On one occasion in August 2003 in the middle of a monsoon there was a huge power cut across all of London, I was on the Piccadilly tube I didn’t know that there was a power cut but I knew the train was moving extremely slowly and then it suddenly stopped I looked at my watch and knew I had missed Concorde landing but on the bright side I had 45 minutes left before Concorde took off.
We had just gone past Acton Town station so from there is was only another 20-30 minutes to Hatton Cross I knew I still had time to see her…… But the train just got slower and slower, I started to get very worried and anxiouse……. As time went by I kept on anxiously looking at my watch every 2 minutes working out and re-working out how long it would take me to get to North runway from Hatton Cross.
Eventually the train just slowly limped home to Northfields tube station (a snail could have gone faster than this train) I thought
If the train can be fixed I should get to Heathrow in time to see Concorde take off
on runway 27R (the North runway) towards Hatton cross.
but as I time went on this wasn’t meant to be, by the time the power was fixed it was to late ……….
It was dark, almost black outside and still monsooning down but I heard Concorde flying over our station and knew I had missed her taking off I was utterly gutted by this as 2 hours on the train had been completely wasted for nothing because I didn’t see her taking off.
The Piccadilly line was still stuffed so in the cold miserable pouring rain I had wait for a bus outside Northfields Station to take me to Ealing Broadway where I got the Central line to Liverpool st station before getting the British Rail train to Romford, it was a bad day for me as I missed Concorde.
The next day I picked up self up, dusted my self down and went back to Heathrow more determined than ever to see Concorde as I wasn’t going to let the rain or power failure on the London Underground stop me seeing Concorde.