Wednesday, 17 April 2013


Well, I think we've done the subject of Our Greatest Ever Prime Minister With A Handbag to death (so to speak), bored with that now. But here's something I didn't know about Our Greatest Ever Prime Minister With A Cigar. Who knew that Winston wasn't considered safe at altitudes of over 8,000 feet, or that they manufactured a custom-made prime-ministerial survival pod* in order to avoid the PM popping like a badly-stored champagne bottle** whilst being shuttled to important conferences in the unpressurised planes of the day?

*in the event, the skyPod seems not to have been needed, although I'm not sure whether they resolved the problem by risking Winnie's health at high altitude, staying under 8,000 feet, or finding a pressurised or partly-pressurised plane (a rarity in those days).

**I was once told, by someone in the wine trade, that Winston's taste in bubbly extended to include Freixenet cava. Although Freixenet's not bad stuff and quite good enough for the wedding of somebody like me, unused to a champagne lifestyle, I rather doubt whether someone with Churchill's aristocratic pedigree would have bothered with a good imitation of champagne, when the family budget would have easily stretched to the best vintages of real thing. We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here, and we want them now, as the saying goes.

via Dieselpunk and io9 

Corrected - I originally suggested that the skyPod wasn't used, as Churchill's Avro York transport had a pressurised cabin fitted anyway. In fact it seems that the York's intended 'pressure chamber' was the skyPod, which was never fitted or used.