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Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Inside Out - South: Monday February 20, 2006

Drugs in Winchester

Cocaine
The white stuff - cocaine concerns in Winchester

Like every City, Winchester had its fair share of drug problems.

But there's concern in some quarters that drug use may be growing.

Inside Out investigates whether drug use in the city is any worse than elsewhere in southern England.

We sent popular culture expert Normski out onto the streets of Winchester, armed with a drugs testing kit.

Testing for drugs

In the 1990s house music was in and everyone was out clubbing.

But to party for 12 hours at a stretch often involved the odd stimulant.

Fashions have changed a lot in the decade so does going out to party still involve taking drugs?

Inside Out visited some of Winchester's pubs where the tunes are still banging to test for evidence of cocaine.

Normski
Normski investigates drugs for Inside Out

In London, they use the flat, urine-covered surfaces in toilets to chop up the drug and snort it through used bank notes.

We wanted to see if the same was happening in Winchester.

Our drug swabs told us that there were traces of cocaine in several pub toilets.

So what can responsible pubs in Winchester do?

All the pubs we visited told us that they're working hard with the Police to solve the problem.

This obviously makes sense as no public house wants drugs on its premises.

One bar, Blondes, has even sprayed all the surfaces in their loos with some kind of sticky gunk which makes it impossible to chop up cocaine.

The Council also told Inside Out that they were doing everything they could to tackle the problem.

Bigger problem

But the drug problem isn't confined to pubs and clubs.

Twice we tested the staff-only toilets in the Royal Hampshire's A&E Department.

And one of our tests revealed small traces of cocaine.

The hospital says it's happy to investigate.

It's clear that Inside Out's investigation in Winchester is only the tip of the iceberg.

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Landscape photographer

Charlie Waite in countryside
Love of landscape - Charlie Waite seeks southern inspiration

Inside Out goes to a picturesque corner of North Dorset to meet an internationally renowned photographer whose heart is firmly fixed in the South.

Charlie Waite has lived on the River Stour for 22 years.

From this base, he's gone out to create classic pictures around the world on a mission to get landscape photography accepted as an art form in its own right.

Atmospheric landscapes

Charlie Waite is renowned for his elysium and atmospheric landscapes.

But he started his career in a very different role, treading the boards as an actor for 11 years.

In 1977 Charlie began photographing actors and theatrical productions.

"I often think of that rare fulfilling joy when you are in the presence of some wonderful alignment of events... where the light, the colour, the shapes, and the balance all interlock so perfectly that I feel truly overwhelmed by the wonder of it."
Charlie Waite website

This led to more photographic work, and in 1981 he was commissioned to produce the photography for a National Trust book of walks.

This was the start of his professional love affair with landscape photography, and he went on to publish several books of his work.

Charlie Waite is now firmly established as one of the most celebrated international landscape photographers.

"I need to get pleasure from something inherently beautiful… A lot of people would say I'm romanticising things but I'm alright with that," says Charlie.

"I think landscape stirs me more than anything else - I like to impose a sense of order - control it."

Southern inspiration

The Stour is a great source of inspiration whenever Charlie comes back from his global travels:

"I travel all over the place. I do always come back. I would like to work here more... when I return, I kiss the ground because I'm so thrilled to be back."

So what inspires Charlie to keep picking up his camera to take pictures close to home?

"This river is far from orderly... I love it.

"And what I like photographing is the little bits in the river - they make nice abstract patterns…

"I like the light here. But the light you find in the Mediterranean can be found here… you can get stunning light in the south of England."

A sense of order

Charlie loves the free form of nature, but his photographs often seem to pick out some sort of order in the landscape.

White horse of Uffington
One of Charlie Waite's favourite southern England spots

He has a list of places around the south that he returns to time and time again.

One of them in Oxfordshire is the landscape around the White Horse at Uffington.

His favourite spot here is a deep valley called the Manger, which Charlie believes is one of the loveliest spots in southern England.

But even the natural beauty of these hills can benefit from some simple enhancement, courtesy of Charlie's photographic bag of tricks.

Charlie describes his polarising and graduating filters as "my most important little friend".

Emotional hit

The Manger isn't just a stunning location.

It's the very spot where things really took off for Charlie when he was starting out as a photographer.

Charlie Waite
Emotional high - capturing the essence of a landscape

An early photograph of this landscape will always be one of his favourites, especially for the way he captured the light.

"What you're trying to convey is an emotional hit… something which moves something… much deeper and ask questions."

So has Charlie ever taken the perfect photograph?

Despite his success as a photographer, Charlie is remarkably reticent - he's always looking to push back the artistic envelope:

"I couldn't be so confident - I think lack of confidence should accompany any artistic endeavour."

But, wherever Charlie travels, the south of England will remain his number one inspiration.

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Air speed record

Aircraft
Speed sensation - Peter Twiss' record breaking plane

Inside Out looks at the remarkable story of how a British man broke the air speed record 50 years ago.

When you think of air speed records and pilots, names like Chuck Yeager spring to mind, but the south of England has its own hero - Peter Twiss.

Twiss was one of the finest pilots of his generation.

Inside Out tells the story of the memorable day in 1956 when Twiss broke one of flying's most sought-after records.

Record breakers

On Saturday March 10, 1956, time was running out for a determined British pilot and the small Fairey team.

They were trying to smash the air speed record, flying from their base at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.

Peter Twiss, flying the Fairey Delta Two, had had six attempts at the record "travelling up and down the South Coast like a bus" as he put it.

On each of the flights, at least one factor in the complex battery of measurements needed to prove the record had failed.

He was going for one last try.

Revolutionary plane

The plane was ahead of its time.

One of its features would later influence Concorde's extraordinary looks - because the way the plane landed, nose pointed skyward, meant the pilot flying blind.

The project designer was Howard Colliver:

"From the cockpit forward, it was decided the nose would be drooped on landing - allowing the pilot to see. That went on to Concorde."

The Americans were the current record holders with a speed of 822mph.

The small British team were committed to secrecy.

If news of their attempts leaked out, they were concerned the Americans could pip them to the post.

Peter Twiss on record breaking mission
Man with a mission - Peter Twiss takes to the skies

Yet they could hardly hide the sight of an unusual Delta winged aircraft hurtling through clear blue skies - or the sound of the sonic boom as it went through the sound barrier.

Greenhouse owners across the south were agitated as the boom broke glass windows.

One market gardener even threatened to sue the pilot for £16,000.

The Portsmouth Evening News came near to a world scoop that Saturday when it reported sightings of the plane, the sonic boom and the angry greenhouse owners.

But it didn't go as far as guessing the record attempt.

Amazing skill

What pilot Peter Twiss had to do required astonishing skill.

Taking off from Boscombe, he climbed south over Bournemouth and then accelerated eastwards to Point C near Chichester, the start of the course.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF AIR SPEED RECORDS


1906 - Pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont breaks 25.65mph in France.

1912 - Jules Vedrines breaks the 100mph mark.

1931 - George H. Stainforth makes his mark at 407.49mph

1945 - First jet-engined record by H.J. Wilson over Herne Bay at 606.38mph.

1955 - Horace Hanes sets first supersonic record - 822.13mph - at altitude.

1956 - Peter Twiss breaks 1,132.13mph in Chichester. He holds the record till December 1957 when US pilot Adrian Drew hits 1,207.63mph.

2004 - NASA's X-43A hypersonic aircraft breaks record at seven times the speed of sound - 4,780mph.

At that point he had to be directly over the huge camera which would snap the plane and start the timing process.

Then, in completely level flight, he had to keep his plane on course to Point D near Ford, where the second camera waited.

He was 38,000 feet up and flying at over a thousand miles an hour.

It was like finding two tiny invisible gates in the sky.

According to Cyril Witts, then Chief Radio Operator for the Fairey Aviation company, he had radar guidance and radio contact with the ground but nothing sophisticated in the cockpit to help him, "only a map, and a Mark One eyeball".

More difficult still was flying at these speeds with the reheat or afterburner on, meaning heavy fuel consumption.

"When the reheat was on, you could see the fuel gauge visibly dropping," says Peter Twiss.

After doing the course, he sometimes landed with as little as 10 gallons of fuel left.

Daring flight

A little after 11am on 10 March 1955, Peter took off for his final run.

Half an hour later, he was back - having flown the fastest course yet.

His cockpit instruments said it was well over 1,000 miles an hour - but one of the cameras on the ground had failed to capture the vital moment.

The team was deflated.

Norman Parker was one of the ground crew. "We just put the plane to bed and went home," he recalls.

The next morning, however, scientists at Farnborough had gone through the critical photographs and ground timings - and confirmed the record breaking run - 1,132mph.

That week, the press went mad and the team was front page news.

The British had taken on the world and won.

"I think the Americans were surprised," says Peter, laconically.

Speed king

Peter Twiss later swapped planes for boats in a career change that saw him appearing in several cameo roles in the movies.

Peter Twiss
King of speed and thrills - Peter Twiss today

He joined Fairey Marine in 1960 and was responsible for the development and sales of its day-cruisers.

Peter appeared in the Bond movie From Russia with Love, driving one of the the company's speedboats.

He also appeared in the film Sink the Bismark in which he flew a Fairey Swordfish.

Today Twiss still flies but takes things at a gentler pace - he's a member of Lasham Gliding Society.

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