The Dodgey Archive for 2013

Greetings from the Dodge household at the end of yet another year. 

This was a year that, in it’s latter stages, saw a new arrival as well as the end of an era.

January saw us head of to Tenerife again.  However our departure co-incided with the arrival of a blanket of snow that closed the runway at Bristol for six hours.  This is the view as our FreezyJet gets it’s de-icing treatment, shortly before departing just over eight hours late.  At least we got there on the right day however, which was more than as awful lot of people managed.

Labelled, in case he forgets where he is......


Early morning view from Laguna Park


....and at dusk.  For those that have spent time at the Santa Maria with us in the past, it's distinctive shape can be seen to the left of the Villa de Adeje Beach.


Sometimes, late afternoon ice-cream just has to be done !


Another whale and dolphin watching trip aboard the excellent Freebird 1


Flipper and his pals duly obliged.....


The charmingly named Puerto Del Colon and environs, viewed from offshore.  This year we were in Laguna Park, which is the creamy covered place with green windows, our apartment being just visible above the just above the Loro Parque sign.


'Benchi Express', viewed from Playa de las Americas


Dusk - the dibblers* are out, and the bars and restaurants come to life.


February saw a weekend at Lee Abbey with the Roberts brood, minus Chris who was working abroad, but plus partners, along with 'honourary cousins' Yvonne Adams and Jane Bragge.


Kate, Jo and Hannah


Robertses are very easy to feed.....


Hannah and Jo showing considerable fortitude - this is February remember !


Colin Smith celebrated his 60th birthday in March


We've been framed !


A new weekend venue discovered in March - 'Sandpipers' at Instow


Nick Harris and Lucy Meaker were first to arrive..... time for tea then drinks on the patio, on that last day that we naively thought that it being the 10th March meant that spring had arrived !


We were also joined by the Harper family (Tom is out of shot here) plus Jenica's friend Megan, second from right.

Megan and Jenica spent most of Saturday evening in their room.  Producing a movie.  On an iPad.  As you do.


This is what we still, laughably, referred to as our 'Spring Boating Holiday'.  Precious little evidence of Spring here, and, believe it or not, this is 1st May !


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We did have a couple of decent days however.  Here it's time for the Full English, just south of Marple.


Derwent Water reservoir, Derbyshire, 16th May 2013.  Why ?


The Dambusters 75th Anniversary flypast


There were also flypasts by two Tornados of the current-day 617 Squadron.......


....though the star of the show was undoubtedly the BBMF Lancaster.


Poised for action.....


...and on the way home, a tea drinking ceremony at Astwood Top Lock. Who need motorway services ? !

Derwent Water photos by Mel Cunliffe of Mendip Flying Group


In June, Chris's mum, Margaret, celebrated her 90th birthday with a small family gathering...


Mum cuts the cake


In June we returned to the fabulous Canal de Midi in the South of France.  We had a lovely holiday, albeit after something of an omni-shambles the first day.  There was however an extremely sad element to it.  This is a typical ‘Midi’ shot, dominated by the plane trees that line most of it’s southern bank, and large stretches of the northern one as well.  Look carefully however and you will see that part of the picture looks as though it was taken in black and white – there’s a fungus killing all the trees !  You can see the full story at - note the spelling correction at the end of this article – we are talking about The Grauniad here aft trawl !


In future, the Midi will still provide spectacular views, but they’ll be different ones.  Here for instance the snow-capped northern face of the French Pyrenees is captured with a 300mm lens, not many miles from the canal, where we were getting temperatures in the mid 20s.


One of our favourite moorings - the basin at Castelnaudary


The ancient city of Carcassonne seen here at dusk


No more 36" waist !  38" trousers are a requirement for Chris these days.  This photo provides a possible clue as to why !


A regular sight on the Midi, this is Anjodi, which featured in 'Rick Stein's French Odyssey' some years ago.  Accommodating 8 guests, it's a snip at around 3000 each per week.


Steve and Rachel Wells joined us for the second week this year.


Sunset at Les Onglous, at the western edge of the Etang de Thau.



Ascending the six-rise staircase at Fonserrannes


A happy crew at Capestang.


To Cardiff in July, it's former colleague Greg Dash's leaving drinks, as he heads for Swindon to become a Train Running Controller


Eddie Michel, Darryl Williams, Mark Arnold and Colin Pilot, amongst others


HP42 (model) and Dragon Rapide (the rill dill) at Old Warden in August


And back there once again for the Flying Proms three weeks later.  Here the London Symphonia bring the show to a rousing conclusion.


New toy ?  Sadly not. Spitfire PM631 was holed up at Bristol with it's tail between it's legs following brake problems.


A weekend with Colin Smith in August included a visit to Brill Beer Festival.  The associated classic car show included this intriguing combination....


...and a very rare Morris Oxford Traveller


Whilst there, Denise hand-feeds Oscar, known as the Hodgson's Close community cat, who, sadly, died just four days later.  Oscar and Bonzo had a relationship best described as being based on mutual wariness and respect.


Look carefully, who's that on Grommit's back ?


Some time ago Chris took the decision that, in order to keep all those holidays coming for the foreseeable future, he would save some money by stopping flying.  Those trips he did in the latter part of 2013 therefore took on a special significance.

This was one of the last trips, in early September, to Duxford, home to one of the country's most significant aviation museum collections ( .  Here, Chris demonstrates the sartorial elegance for which he is renowned, along with flying-buddy Mel Cunliffe.

As we walked back to the apron late in the afternoon, the famous Flying Fortress 'Sally B' returns from from displaying at Shoreham.  A Dragon Rapide can also be seen in the circuit prior to landing.  On arrival earlier we'd been asked to hold whilst a Spitfire took off in front of us.  It's that sort of place !


Sally B and BG sharing the apron, as Mel prepares to fly us home.


Another weekend, another exotic destination.  This is Upton Chippy ( as recently featured in the Radio 4's 'Food Programme' - Britain's only coal-fired Fish and Chip Shop.  It's only a short Brompton ride from Sturgate airfield, which is in turn a few miles west of the better-known RAF Scampton.

You won't see this anywhere else !  Click here to hear the Food Programme extract


'Fox Sierra' used to be used for training at Bristol, and features several times in Chris's log book, most notably for both 'Trial Lesson' and 'First Solo'.  Newly restored to flying condition, she now lives at Halfpenny Green, near Wolverhampton.


Nick and Lucy joined us to navigate The Stourport Ring in September.  This is our first water-stop, at Stourport-On-Severn.


Lucy loved her first week afloat - they are joining us for a week in France in 2014.


Negotiating Delph flight, near Stourbridge


A rare photo this - both of us on the bikes - captured by Nick, on the towpath heading south towards central Brum


About to pass under the M5.


During the summer, Denise decided that she was ready for a new kitten, having lost Morris at the end of 2012.  We decided we wanted another Burmese, Denise spent an evening on the 'net...



And here he is !  Meet Jensen, born on July 22nd.  This photo taken by his breeder Vicki Bull when he was just 5 weeks old.


Almost white at birth, here, at around 9 weeks, he's already darkened to his 'Lilac' colouring.


Within half an hour of meeting us for the first time, he's asleep on Chris's lap !


And four weeks later, "My name is Vikara King Triton, but you may call me Jensen"!


"Now then, what do you want ?"


Our hope is that he will become a travelling cat in the manner of Denise's first Siamese, William.  Morris did not settle well once away from home.  Jensen does though !  Here, just 10 days after he arrived, he gazes adoringly at Andy Tandy on his first weekend away, at Foxdown in late October.


Here he gets to know Wendy Tandy


Minus cat this time, a trip to Bude on the following afternoon


Back at home, exploration continues.....


Jensen's speciality - when in doubt, do a meerkat impression !


In November, fortuitously for Chris, Mendip Flying Group took the decision to sell Bravo Golf and disband.  A deal was done with Bristol Aviation which enables the former MFG members to continue to fly BG at a competitive rate.

By pure co-incidence, Chris's final flight in BG took place on November 10th, a trip to Shobdon and back with David Floyd and daughter Adrianne

Here, with all of 45 mins experience under her belt, Adrianne confidently flies BG over the Somerset levels.

Flying ? - it's child's play !


With Dad David after the flight


That's it.  Flying career over, and, truth be told, feeling rather emotional about it.



Back to Foxdown again, this time as November gives way to December.  This was the view from 'Alladyce' on the Saturday morning.


Getting used to his harness and lead....


...and to riding on shoulders....


...and to the stream !


Instow, as seen from the Tarka Trail


Sunset over Appledore


It's that man again ! On 2nd December Mel pours champagne over BG's spinner...


...before Chris formally hands her over to new owner Richard Nightingale.

L-R: Bob Cannock, Stuart McManus, Mel Cunliffe, Richard Nightingale, Antony Lovedale.


Now, time to get Xmas out of the way....

And........relax !


Have a great Xmas 2013, and a happy and prosperous 2014.

Chris & Denise

*  Dibbler:  One who dibbles, silly ! 'Dibbler' was originally a rather seedy character in Terry Pratchett's 'Discworld' novels.  Chris subsequently used the word to describe those characters who lurk outside bars and restaurants touting for business on Tenerife, and no doubt many other places besides.

P.S: If by any chance you feel the urge to look at previous years, here are the links:


2011   2010   2009   2008   2007   2006

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