Daedalus 75 Anniversary Event June 2019
The weather on Saturday, 8th June was probably much as it had been in D-Day week 75 years earlier when an unseasonable summer storm had delayed the start of D-Day by 24 hours. Now the same weather was threatening to uproot the marquee in which we were setting up our stall. Yes, we are aware that the hovercraft did not play any part in D-Day, mainly as it hadn't been invented. But we were there because in some ways Daedalus is the home of the hovercraft. It is where Christopher Cockerell and the Inter-service Hovercraft Trials Unit (IHTU) operated in the early sixties.
Surprisingly the weather worked in our favour as the marquees were a great place to duck into during the frequent heavy squalls. From 10am to 5pm, a solid surge of windswept, rather damp members of the great British Public processed slowly by our stall leaving them wide open to all the high-pressure selling techniques that the four members of Shivering Sheep could muster. Frightening people into thinking that it was Father's Day the next day was a mean but effective ploy. But, as we explained to those who had no choice but to listen, If Hovercraft Can Go Anywhere, How Did We End Up Here? is enjoyed by women as well as blokes - indeed, we have been told that its rather Bryson-esque and Bill Bryson has a huge female readership.
The truth is, once you get talking to people, nearly everyone over a certain age has had a hovercraft experience to recall: many had worked in the industry, or had taken the hovercraft to the Isle of Wight or France; locals remembered traffic on the road outside Daedalus being routinely stopped to allow craft to hover across it and onto the slipway.