By the time they had landed and taxied up to our flight line, I was standing outside the flight room with everyone else to see who were these people with so much time on their hands that they could meander about the sky at will in an elderly Stringbag. Maybe a trio of ancient admirals. Perhaps a clique of unemployed commodores. Possibly a cluster of senior captains.
Instead they appeared as one venerable chief and two grizzled three-badge, long-service, petty officers. Unhitching their bicycles with the aid of some ground crew, they mounted up and rode over to the hangars where they were greeted warmly by some of our older petty officers. Later in the mess, they were having rum sippers with some old pals from prewar years. And some time even later that afternoon, we saw them weave back to their aeroplane and get their bikes made fast. Then they climbed aboard and went zig-zagging off, as is proper in a tail-wheel-equipped single-engined aircraft, down the perimeter strip. Then instead of turning onto the runway, no doubt deep in conversation, they went straight ahead and actually slowly traversed the whole circumference of the airfield before arriving once again at the duty runway. This time they waited for their green light from the control truck, then opened up their engine to roar along the runway and wobble up into the air. With heads bobbing animatedly together, they disappeared into the blue to only they knew where.