Code, Beer and Thunderbolts

Triumph Spitfire
The only time my Triumph Spitfire had a proper passenger. That’s David in the passenger seat.

When I wrote about being at The Molly Wee Pub, David Pennington commented to remind me that he and I spent some time in that bar. There have been plenty of posts where I could have included “David moments” in the description, but I realize that since I’ve never introduced David, I’d have to add a few hundred words to an already over-the-limit-post. I have been telling myself that “the right time to introduce David will come” but every time I try to write that post, I don’t know where to start or where to end.

As you have probably guessed, I have found a starting point.

Actually, if it hadn’t been for the fact that fathers trump all else (except maybe mothers) and a 500 word limit (of which I am already over a quarter of the way to hitting) I could have used the Cherished Blogfest to introduce David. He’s not cherished, well that’s not true, we cherish David in our family; I meant to say that I have a cherished object from David. Actually I have several. So, before I get too much further, allow me to introduce David Pennington, a.k.a. Long-Haired David, a.k.a. “our eccentric Uncle David.

David lives in England, and we are not related. He and I started working together after I purchased some software from him in the mid-90s. Now that he’s been being introduced, I’ll be able to tell that story at a later date. After several years, we had our first opportunity to meet face-to-face at a technical conference sports bar in Cincinnati. I knew that I liked David before we met, but that first evening cemented a bond between us that has lasted over 20 years and routinely crosses 3,000 miles and five times zones. David might be the most interesting person I have ever met. I have to think about that, but if he isn’t the most interesting, he’s in the top 1%.

Trade show
Manning the Totally Objects boot at Smalltalk Solutions in Cincinnati

David has been: a currency trader, a magazine publisher, a software designer, a programmer, a consultant and a software vendor. He has owned a scrapbooking store, a model shop and a mail-order business and he blogs about making models, model railroading and life alongside Ipswich Harbor, or is that harbour?. Wait, did I mention that he’s been a very, very good friend? After post edit: I forgot that David also operated a cabinet shop for a couple years.

David and I have worked together, traveled together and, remarkably, we have visited each other’s houses. That’s remarkable because, while David easily fits the description of “world traveler,” my visit to England is the one and only time my feet have been off North American soil.

In future posts, I may talk about when we visited Canada and Niagara Falls, visited the Molly Wee and other bars, completed various software projects and when I showed him around north central Connecticut and when he drove me around the middle east side of England (I think). At least those are all the draft posts I have squirreled away in Evernote. Today, though, it’s about an A-10 Thunderbolt II a.k.a. Warthog.

Last week, as I was viewing the blogs I follow, I stumbled upon a story about a model A-10. Comments were exchanged and I was led to another story on that modeler’s blog about another A-10, one decorated in the fashion of the Connecticut Air National Guard (CT ANG). Now, I know something about CT ANG. They were based about two miles from my house and before the idiots in Washington transferred the A-10s out of here, they used to routinely fly over our back yard.

I have also seen the A-10s up-close-and-personal because a former coworker was the maintenance manager at the base and he invited us to attend Family Day with him and his family. Our daughter Faith got to sit in an A-10 (soooo jealous).

David, well aware of my love of that particular aircraft, turned his considerable model-making talent to making me one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received – a model A-10 in CT ANG colors as they were painted when they deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Desert Storm.

I looked for a blog post to share with amateurairplanes, but I couldn’t find one. David has written about tons of model projects. Could it be that he never wrote about my A-10? Maybe he didn’t want to spoil the surprise. Maybe he’s still waiting for me to send photos. Maybe the search option on his blog isn’t working properly. Oh well, now the post has been written, David has been introduced and other stories can be told.

68 thoughts on “Code, Beer and Thunderbolts

Add yours

  1. David, pleased to make your acquaintance. But now I have a question for the author who wrote, …”my visit to England is the one and only time my feet have been off North American soil.” – That surprises me – is there a story there, too? (Silly question, I know – there are ALWAYS stories!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Silly question indeed Maggie. I told part of it quite some time ago, perhaps before we connected. You can read it if you like: My job keeps me away from home more than I like, although to not very interesting places. Maybe when I retire, I will venture off the continent again, but it isn’t a huge goal for me. I think if I had to choose, I’d go back to England and sit and have a few beers with David.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will read that post, thank you. I suppose the reason that phrase stuck out for me is because I, too, have traveled overseas only once as an adult, and that was to England. Neither do I have any hankering to travel abroad. There’s enough to see here in Canada.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome to David! I honed in on “owned a scrapbooking store.” That doesn’t seem to fit in with currency trader and software designer. Does he like to play with scissors and bits of paper?

    It’s simply awesome to connect with someone who lives so far away and remain friends for 20 years. Here’s to another 20 years of friendship!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How I enjoyed your post, Dan. Your sense of humor keeps on peeking through and I just LOVE it!! What IS it with you men and your “toys”? Now my brother who is a pilot could probably appreciate a whole lot more the plane you were describing …. the A-10. Me? Clueless, sorry! I suppose I just will stick with flowers and whatnot. Thank you for making me smile today!!!! Love, Amy <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David builds model airplanes and other military models. He also assembles some of them into dioramas depicting a military scene. He also paints busts and historical figures, and he’s quite good. I loved playing with Legos with my daughter when she was younger, and I think we saved all the kits. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to play with legos too as a kid, but the lego models my friend puts together, I wouldn’t even begin to know how to put together, because you have to read the dirrections, and snap them together in just the right order to build the model. It sounds a bit complicated to me, but my friend loves anything to do with planes, and trains, and he loves building models of them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We bought my daughter the Lego electric train because you actually got to build the cars. It was cool because you could build the locomotive in at least two different styles and then she could add things on her own. She would add silly things like a chicken to the roof of the boxcar but it made the projects a little more fun.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, great friendship, great fighter jets, awesome pilot (Faith) and I wondered if we would ever hear details about ‘my friend David’. I live stiries about frindships, and ones that include Brits and beer (that’s not a brats and beer typo) generally have a bit of humor in them. I’ll read the link you gave Maggie and look forward to David being set free from EverNotes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He truly is the most interesting person I know. I’m trying to tag him everywhere I can to get him to reply to some of these comments. This was one of those friendships that seemed “meant to be” in that our interests overlap so well. I forgot to mention that he owned a cabinet shop for a while too! (I think I need to edit)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Well, how about visiting India after retirement? I have a question for you, that just popped up in my mind right now. Supposedly, if I visit USA, which 5 places would you take me along to see? I mean now you know me quite well, so which places you think would really make me excited. Let’s see what names you come up with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to think about five places Sharukh. New York and Washington, DC are on your list and I would keep them. I would suggest Pittsburgh, but most people wouldn’t. Since you like to hike and I think you have friends in Maine, I’d suggest Acadia National Park (I can point you to my daughter’s blog and Flickr site). If you flew into Boston, it would probably be worth spending some time there as well. That’s pretty much just the northeast corridor, not really much of the country, but it’s a good section.


  6. Ok I can’t comment on your prior post, but I marveled at how you compared your travel nits to the life-changing journeys of your grandmother. I had forgotten Syria was in your history. Gives me pause … What might have been … What is …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What might have been is very scary to think about. She remains the all time hero figure in my life. And, consistent with Sammy-timing, she’s about to appear at the bar on Saturday, you know, if we were having a beer. I swear you’re tapped into Evernote :)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. We actually lost power for about 15 minutes during the morning. Almost time to panic. Power is back, AC is on and beer is cold. I think Windsor Locks gets the mention because the NOAA station is at the airport.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. We all need a David in our lives. When we have one we are enriched beyond measure. Funny you should speak of the A-10 Dan. Just recently I watched a program on the A-10. What an aircraft! I was fascinated by the history of modifications done on the aircraft to keep it up to date and in service. You only modify an aircraft like that when its good, very good. That growling nose gun is one of the most ominous things I’ve seen and heard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Don. I have two very good friends that are extreme characters. It’s definitely a bonus. The plane was built around that gun. The local air museum has one of the guns on display and it’s hard to imaging getting it into a plane, let alone getting it off the ground. There’s a point when they would be making their approach that they would be on an angle where the wings and the tail would appear in the same plane and it was hard to tell if they were facing us or going away, until you saw that gun sticking out. If you were the enemy, that would be too late.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, here goes. Dan is my best friend so we reciprocate. We found out early on that a lot of our personal interests were the same – aircraft, beer, software, making furniture, beer (oh did I mention that?). I dreaded meeting him in Cincinnati. Imagine if, after years of getting on so well over e-mail, we hadn’t got along. Two hours later, we felt that we had known each other all our lives! Prior to that we had never even spoken on the phone. Imagine that!

    There is no description of the A-10 on my blogs because it pre-dates them by a few years. It wasn’t me that started the scrapbooking shop. It was my daughter’s idea and I just fell in along as I was looking for something to do once I had closed the furniture shop. Eventually we realised that it wasn’t going to make enough money so we converted it into a shop selling plastic model kits. I do sew but I make tapestries and patchwork. You can check out my other interests here – but it doesn’t get updated much!

    I will tell the full story of the A-10 in my next modelling blog post so check out in a few days time.

    Dan, thanks for the wonderful comments – “aw shucks” comes to mind. Last thought, you should have know me when I was a currency trader. You might have seen a different me – big grin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll stick with the David I know :) Thanks for answering the questions and providing the additional link. I’m embarrassed that I initially forgot the cabinet shop since I walk by the little clock you made every morning.


    1. Sadly, no John. I bought it new in 1979 and I put over 100,000 miles on it. I used to enjoy working on it but it was demanding too much attention. Also, at 4″ off the ground, it wasn’t as much fun to get in and out of. It needed a ton of work to be made as reliable as it was (which was never great). I kept it long enough that my daughter was able to drive it one summer but we got rid of it in 2009.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I would drink a beer and be quiet as a mouse, I would like to have been a “fly on the wall” while you both were telling stories and filling my ears with wonderful imagination and the gift of flight and history included. I have to run right now to help my oldest daughter relocate her boys room into her bedroom and reverse the furniture in rooms.
    It will probably make sense if you have me come by another time. Weekends will be my only blogging moments, since dumb me lost my beautiful Galaxy 5 Android to a thief. (Yes, again, not the library though. . .) I loved being able to check my posts and others, too, while watching t.v. and other stuff, Dan. :(

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think this is the perfect post to share with me. I’m sure I’m not the biggest A-10 supporter but I try my best to be. It’s such a menacing aircraft. It baffles me as to why we would consider removing it in a time when it’s needed the most.
    Nice kits by the way. Thanks for visiting and the link to my site. It’s very much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I can understand wanting to retire the plane, if they had something to replace it with. I don’t see anything in the current inventory or on the drawing boards that do the job, let alone do it as economically. Flying low and slow, carrying 1,200 rounds of ammunition and 8,000 pounds of ordinance sounds like close air support to me. Seeing it fly over our house so many times, it was easy to understand what it would have felt to be targeted by that plane. That’s not a good feeling.


      1. It’s perfect at what it does and unfortunately I don’t see anything being able to replace it either. We are focused on technology when the far from state of the art A-10 is saving lives daily. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that terror. No way!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Friendships that cross the years and miles are quite special. I look forward reading more about the fun times, and stories you have to share that are about David.

    Your Triumph looks so cool! I love cars. There’s something about the curves, chrome, grills, rims, and speed that thrill me. Don’t ask me how cars work outside of filling the gas tank, and putting the key in the ignition and turning the motor over though. I’m totally clueless beyond that. I can drive them…I can even drive a manual transmission. My Corolla is a 5 speed. I just don’t know how to fix them or make them go if they break. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. This is a special friendship and I hope to be able to work David’s myriad antics into some stories going forward. The Triumph is gone, but it was a fun car. Never quite reliable (it broke down inside of its first 1,000 miles) but a great driving experience. If I hadn’t been able to repair it, it would have been gone much earlier as it was a money pit. I do miss driving a manual transmission car, that does give a certain feeling of control to the driver.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I always enjoyed building model planes when I was a kid, along with model cars. But the part that really got me was the passing reference to model railroads. One of my favorite things from my youth was the model train set that my father put up every Christmas — a platform about the size of a large door with a little town surrounding the tree placed right in the middle of it. My brother and I loved to operate that thing. What a nice memory that will always be.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You visited Niagara Falls? This must have been before we met because I know you and your cool friend, David, would have contacted me and arranged a visit otherwise! I love when I hear about friendships that are not deterred by miles. If I have gained one thing from blogging, it is definitely that. Awesome! Say hi to David for me.


    Liked by 1 person

Add your thoughts or join the discussion. One relevant link is OK, more require moderation. Markdown is supported.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: