A previous post told of the postponement of a balloon ride for Daughter’s 40th birthday, accompanied by Lady of the House. After a number of attempts to re-arrange it, we at last heard from her that Saturday was to see it all come true.
At 11pm on Friday night she confirmed the good news that a morning flight would take place from Biggar near Lanark….the bad news was that we had to be there by 7 am!
Biggar is a pretty little town in the middle of the south Lanarkshire countryside, and working backwords it was established that Lady and I would have to be up by 4.30 am to pick up daughter at 6!…..and with another hour’s drive to Biggar!
But you know what happens when you have to be up very early….you don’t sleep very well, and I was awake at 3.45 am and at my cereal by 4am!
The journey there all went to plan and we arrived at the site on a lovely autumn morning with a layer of mist and low cloud. Even then there was some doubt about whether it would take place because of the wind speed limits and the low mist.
All was OK’d and the laborious task was started to unpack the balloon from a bag the same size as you see the round hay-bales in. It was a bit like unwrapping a tent, but of gigantic proportions! The noise of the fans and then the burners, to expand the envelope was ear-damaging, and the sight of seeing the pilot walking about inside the balloon, checking for leaks, as it was being blown-up, was somewhat surreal!
There were 16 passengers tightly-packed into the wicker basket….fat people would not have been able to clamber into the basket, never mind sit down with any degree of comfort!
I had been taking a video record of all the preparations, and was taking some final still photos before they took off. I turned round briefly to get the video out again, and when I turned back, they had lifted-off and were rapidly rising into the clouds! The pilot was obviously not prepared to descend and rise again, just for me to get some more shots!….but hey, that’s just life!
My intention had been to follow the balloon by road, keeping visual contact, but I never saw it again, even when the sky was a perfect blue! I drove around some of the beautiful Borders roads, with my eyes gazing upwards. I had to admit defeat however, and return to Biggar. A mobile phone call told me that they had landed safely, and allayed my fears that they had disappeared into some kind of Bermuda Triangle in the sky!
IS THAT A NOOSE I SEE BEFORE MY EYES?
Theywere brought back for champagne and a chat about the events which happened when they spooked a herd of animals, and the farmer’s reaction!…but that’s another story!
But what do we give her for her 50th?