Tag Archives: technical writing

Vulcan XH558 takes the Gloucestershire Copywriter back in time…

It’s a short but sweet reminiscence this week, prompted by the chance sighting of our only flying Vulcan G-VLCN (military identifier XH558) as it headed for the Weston Air Festival on a recent Sunday afternoon.

Seeing  G-VLCN (I thought our personal number plate was a good one!) flying over was a wonderful experience. I only just caught her, saw her heading south from a bedroom window, rushed to grab the camera and snatched a shot at full zoom just as the V bomber was about to disappear over our neighbour’s roof.

The Vulcan took the Gloucestershire Copoywriter back in time...

Avro Vulcan XH558 about to fly into my neighbour’s open Velux window!

Why the emotion? Well, the last time I saw a Vulcan flying for real was back in the early 1960s when we lived in Bristol. I must have been about five then, when Vulcans – at that time part of our main nuclear deterrent – flew over regularly.

Seeing G-VLCN The Spirit of Great Britain again reminded me how far I’ve come in 50 years. Back then I drew and wrote little stories, made aircraft and hangers out of plasticine. Now, as well as doing all those things (!) the writing’s taken on a whole different meaning.

It’s been a fascinating journey from a Bristol childhood to working as a freelance copywriter just up the road in Cheltenham. I think back over growing up in Bristol, then in Northern Ireland through The Troubles. Then uni at Cambridge (and pistol shooting under the wing of a retired Concorde at Duxford) followed by years in technical selling, marketing, business development, technical writing,, copywriting and PR across southern England. I developed a passion for Switzerland and British Columbia, got married, got divorced, married again, wrote a novel with an aviation theme and settled under the Cotswold escarpment with the two loves of my life – my wife and my words.  It took nearly 50 years from sitting in that garden looking up at the Vulcans, but I finally got back to where I’m meant to be – a passionate creative who loves using paper and pencil (or a word-processor now) and has been known to do aviation and defence-related copywriting.

Over the years, my interest in aviation sustained, probably helped me get into an aviation tech pubs firm where I worked for Airbus (including doing my bit on the A-380 Tooling & Equipment Manual) and Rolls-Royce (manufacturer of the Vulcan’s Olympus engines) and worked alongside people who maintained and flew Vulcans in those halcyon 1960s days… including one who carried the Magna Carta to the USA aboard a Vulcan.

Vulcan XH558

Beautiful! Simply beautiful!

Looking at the Wikipedia page for G-VLCN/XH558, I see that the aircraft first flew on 25 May 1960, which makes me a few months older than her! We’re both going strong after all those years: me with my marketing, website, brochure, technical and case study copywriting; the Vulcan as the only surviving flying example of a bygone age when Britain’s airborne nuclear deterrent really was something to be respected and admired.

That particular branch of the RAF may have gone, to be replaced by a handful of sinister, prowling missile submarines. But the Vulcan continues to rouse the passions of virtually everyone who sees (or hears) her.

Talking of passions, there’s more copywriting to be done…

Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Cheltenham copywriters write poetry too

 

 

 

And now for something completely different.

I was rummaging through my digital files and came across a poem that I wrote over a decade ago, years before I was one of the copywriters in Cheltenham. It reminded me that a bit of unashamed creative expression can be very good for us. It makes a refreshing change from firmly focused commercial or technical writing (I was working for a Bristol technical publications firm when I penned the poem that follows).

Reading ‘C’ ‘ for the first time in so long, I was reassured by how it still felt as fresh as it had when I first wrote it. So here, for the first time on the Interweb, it is:

C

Where are you going today?
Climbing through the dawn’s first glow
While we still sleep on earth below
You’re brighter than the sparkling pearls
Of airfield dew that fall
From rushing wings
You’re gone; you’re on your way

Leave breaking dawn; embrace the day
Outshine the sun
And show the sky, so easily
What beauty truly means
‘fore making happy love with clouds
That can never match your charms

Bright the winter sky may be
But I would say
If silky clouds could only see, or know
How fortunate they are
To spend their days with you, their friend
Above the fields and seas

All things must end, not least today
As evening comes, and you return
To land as twilight fights in vain
The fall of night’s soft cloak
Upon the shoulders of the day
Still you shine on and I, like clouds
Get joy from simply sharing space with you.

© 2001 Al Hidden

 

So there you go. A tiny insight into another side of this Gloucestershire copywriter. And now back to the newsletter content that I’m just finalising, the 35 pages of new SEO copy I’m crafting for an animal charity, and the case study I’ve got to complete for another client.

From the wistful contemplation of aviation and clouds to the gritty realities of client case studies in a paragraph… Versatility. One of my strong points. Probably a good thing too, because Andrew Motion will hardly be quaking in his boots at my poetic efforts.

Never mind. I’m pleased with it – even after all those years it still says what I set out to say in 2001. What do you think?

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.