Mike Allisstone 62C

Notes for Guidance of Cadets

This edition was issued in 1965 shortly after the arrival of No 91 entry. Was this reminder in any way connected to qualities & standards evidenced in those new recruits?

101  Entry who had time on their hands!

Hands - shame it's in black and white. Large day-glo orange cardboard hands tied onto the clock tower. The weight unbalanced the mechanism and we were to be faced with a humongous bill to repair. Fortunately, Dick Leonard on 101 Entry (later a group captain with an OBE) a keen mountaineer climbed back up, untied them and got the mechanism working again.

The Reckoning

Excuse me - Saint Peter?

Yes, my boy. Oh of course, you're Richard Robson, aren't you?

We've been expecting you. Come with me. We'll just pop into my office for a couple of minutes while I go through your notes and put you in the picture.

Interesting flying career. If you had your time all over again, would you want to do it again?

You bet!

Hmm, I see you got a final assessment of “exceptional” as a pilot.

Yes, well, I am not sure that I would have rated myself as highly as that if I had been carrying out a flying check on me. Still, it was nice of my group captain to sign my log-book like that. My father would have been pleased.

So why did you leave the RAF?

Pushes and pulls, like most people. Too many postings. Kids reaching secondary school age, needed to be more settled. That sort of thing. Wanted to try a different career.

Let me see, what did you do after you left the service? Ah yes, university and then into school teaching. Wanted to do something more constructive than teaching people to drop atomic bombs, eh? A bit of idealism, eh?

It seemed a good idea at the time, right enough. But the idealism soon wore off… in about three weeks.

School teaching is a very different kettle of fish from training people to fly. Ten per cent of the kids are ratbags who take ninety per cent of your attention just to keep discipline. It's not fair on the ninety per cent of decent kids. And the paperwork, and the marking - but I don't need to go on about it. It was a mistake to go in for it middle age after dealing with adults all my life before.

I hear what you are saying. Teachers are allowed a second helping at teatime when they come up here because of what they have gone through.  

What's for tea?

Bread of Heaven and Angel cakes, of course.

But back to your notes. I see that you died in bed. A lot of your old mates didn't, and came up here early, as you know. Some of them have been asking about you. I saw Creek in the crew room just now. Ken and Neil are down in the vineyard sorting it out. The Grapes of Wrath all got trampled during the American Civil War, you know? Anyway, did you miss flying?

Of course, but I was able to do a bit of gliding. Didn't really get hooked on it though. A lot of running about laying out cables, retrieving gliders, holding wing tips and so on before your turn. Not much to do once you're up except to look for rising air so you can stay up. Nice view of the scenery, then you start thinking about a call of nature…

Some chaps up here run a gliding club. Some quite good thermals over the infernal regions, I believe. As long as you don't mind the smell.

But we've spent enough time gossiping. Like most people, you got several things wrong during your apprenticeship down on Earth, so you'll have to go over to Ground School for a few lectures and a simple test paper. When you come back, I'll arrange your interview with the Boss. We get a table furnished for you as well, in presence of thy foes.  

How long will I be at Ground School?  

Not very long. A thousand Ages. 'Tis but a morning gone. The test will be a piece of cake, so you don't need to worry. Our main problem is the religious lot: the vicars, rabbis and immams and all that crowd. They all think that they know the answers already and don't pay attention to the lectures. So, they keep having to do resits.

Will I need a harp or anything?

No, not yet. In any case, harps are not compulsory here anymore. We got fed up with them. You could play the trombone later, if you want. Bagpipes, even! Anyway, enough just now. I'll take you over to your room in Ground School in a minute. Have you any questions?

Well, I did mean to ask what has happened to all the past. Did it really exist?

Yes, I saw all that deep philosophical nonsense in your book. I think I saw what you thought you meant. You'll get it all in your lectures anyway. Basically, there's no time book here, just eternity. Was, is, and evermore shall be. That sort of thing. Never mind just now. How about some ambrosia? Hey, watch out, thy cup runneth over!

Richard Robson self penned obituary

RIP 27 June 2020