There is a microlight flying club over the the top of the hill from us, about a kilometre away. It's very well hidden - in fact Anne wasn't even aware of its presence until Monday. The crash-site itself was no more than 400 yards away from our house on the other side of the main road. Which is pause for thought.
And that thought almost inevitably leads to Icarus, and Breughel's painting of the fall of Icarus, and the two famous poems about the painting by WC Williams and WH Auden. Because, as those two poor blokes were plunging to their deaths into a sea of green barley right by us, we were simply getting on with our lives completely unaware. Pottering around in the garden, watching Wimbledon AFC climb the divisions. We noticed the air ambulance helicopter obviously, but mistook it for the police one and were joking about Shifnal being more dangerous than Tooting.
We had no idea anything untoward had happened until watching the news some hours later.
Auden's take on the painting is certainly the better poem, but I've always thought it was the wrong interpretation. He talks of the people in the painting seeing the disaster but carrying on anyway. I've always preferred William Carlos Williams's interpretation – that the people in the painting simply weren't aware at all of the disaster happening right in front of them. I think so even more now.
Terrible as it is, I assume the pilot, at least, was aware of the dangers of flying microlights and did it out of love and passion. Jack Gilbert's poem on Icarus gets closest to that - “Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.” I've no idea if that is of any comfort.