Friday, 9 January 2009

The Balloon Ride

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek



I was travelling on the bus in Bath, when I saw this hot air ballon. Fortunately, I had my camera on me and after a few attempts I managed to get a reasonable picture of it. Of course it was taken through the glass window but I didn't think it was too bad a shot.

Anyway, seeing this hot air balloon reminded me of the time when my husband, Harry and his twin brother, Larry, were about to be 65. My sister in law, Rhoda had decided it would be a good idea to treat Larry to a hot air balloon ride and my son Sam and daughter Deb decided to treat their father too, so that the twins could go together.
We had thought that it would be a fairly simple operation and that they would be able to just take off after the tickets had been paid for.
How wrong we were. We were told that the weather had to be just right and that the twins had to be prepared to come when summoned at short notice.
Unfortunately, they could only do that on a Saturday or Sunday evening, as Harry was still working, and they were put in a long queue and their Birthdays came and went!
The summer of that year was not really good and weather conditions were either too windy or too rainy. The company didn't want to run the risk of them crashing into the sea or being knocked into a power line. There is not much margin for error if the weather is wrong or suddenly turns bad.

Anyway, after waiting weeks and weeks for the flight, we had the phone call saying that the flight was imminent and the four of us quickly managed to get to the given site in time for a Sunday evening flight.
We all watched while the hot air was pumped into the balloon shell and the pilot told the twins to get in. Not an easy task to climb into the wicker basket, as they are not particularly tall. There were two other people going with them. No, Rhoda and I preferred to stay on terra firma. 
The balloon shot up fairly quickly and after lots of waving they took off towards some trees. It looked like they were going to go directly into them, but they managed to skim over the treetops. The weather was almost windless and the balloon hovered over the city and did not seem to go very far at all.
After what seemed like only a few minutes, the balloon started descending slowly and we wondered where it would come down. We had been told that they would be brought back to the starting place, so Rhoda and I just waited.

Apparently they had hovered over the city and seen some amazing sights and for some reason had landed in a park in a rather rough area. The balloon was mobbed by teenagers and the twins were a bit worried they would be mugged or something. However the balloon and the twins were packed safely into the land rover and brought back. They had a fantastic time but were a bit disappointed that they didn't get a longer journey. No two trips are ever the same apparently.




This photo and this story have been produced for Photostory Friday, hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.

29 comments:

GoneBackSouth said...

I've never really considered much the potential dangers of balloon-riding. I guess you're totally at the whim of the wind. I think if I'm up there, I'd rather have an engine. We had a giddy summer of parachute jumping one year (before kids) but at least once you're up in the air you know the only place you're going is DOWN!

Lindsay said...

My dad and I enjoyed a balloon ride, a Christmas present from my son, about 15 years ago. The trouble was Son had chosen a site in Warwickshire and we lived in Gloucestershire. We were given a call one evening informing us we were due to take off the next day at 8am. We had to get up very very early to make sure we found the site buried in the countryside. We had a spectacular ride. Dad had to borrow my jersey to wrap round his bald head - the gas flames were hot! We had a sudden landing next to a railway line. The field in which we were was padlocked and we saw the recovery vehicle coming down the side of the railway with BR staff running in pursuit!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Great shot of the balloon Maggie - you did well to get that through a moving bus window.

Good story too about the twins' balloon ride. My daughter and her now ex-husband had a similar experience with having to wait for just the right conditions. The original trip was planned for her birthday - (in order for him to propose mid-flight!) and what with one thing and another by the time they finally took the trip they were married!

A x

Casdok said...

Sounds wondeful! Something i would love to do. My sister who lives in Bristol is always inviting me up for the balloon festival. Maybe one year i will get there!

Kimber said...

What a wonderful story. Sounds like so much fun.

Jeni said...

The son of a first cousin of my Mom's had a hot-air balloon -this was about 25 years ago -and I recall one time he flew it (is that the correct term?) from his home in New Jersey to our area, landing it in a big field adjacent to my great-uncle's house. Talk about excitement in this little village! WOW! That was it for sure.
I thought it was pretty cool that he was able to navigate it so well to land it in the field by our great-uncle's place -and then, to take off and return to his home then too.

VioletSky said...

Even though I have a fear of heights, I think I might, maybe, sortof enjoy a balloon ride. It looks so leisurely.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

gorgeous- I took a balloon ride once - awesome!

lmerie said...

Oh wow, great story. Kinda made me want to take a balloon ride!

Moannie said...

Great story and good on you for capturing that picture on the move, but just the thought of going up in a balloon, or worse coming down in one gives me vertigo. Think I'll just keep on admiring them from a distance.

DARWEN REPORTER said...

I love to see hot air balloons on a hot still summer night just drifting peacefully along.

But as I'm scared to death of heights I will never actually be able to participate in this.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

Wow, what an exciting trip. Glad all was safe and sound. I love the shot you captured, it really is pretty.

Akelamalu said...

That's a great photo! You wouldn't get me up in a balloon I'm scared of heights!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Oh wow! I have always wanted to try a balloon ride. ALWAYS!

cheshire wife said...

The girl that used to live next door to me years ago, got married on a hot air balloon flight somewhere over America. Not every girls idea of a fairy tale wedding.

Jules~ said...

Hi there Maggie! Oh it is so good to be back and visiting again. I enjoyed reading your post. I think the picture you took was great adn I couldn't even tell that you took it thru the glass.
How fun to ride a hot air balloon. I have it on my list of things to accomplish someday. I had no idea how picky the weather conditions needed to be though. THat is really good to know.
Blessings to you.

Kellan said...

Great story and great photo! I'd be very afraid to ride in a hot air balloon - eeeeek!

Have a good weekend - Kellan

Chris said...

That sounds great.
I once booked a balloon for our anniversary, but when we showed up, the guy had forgotten the burner -- how you forget the burner when you fly a hot air balloon is beyond me, but we never did get the trip.

Wendy said...

Wow - sounds like quite an experience!!

scrappysue said...

i had a hot air balloon ride for my birthday few years back - it was AWESOME!!!

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Whata fun memory. I have always wanted to takea balloon ride.

Retiredandcrazy said...

OG and I were bought a balloon-ride once too. Then we had the foot and mouth epidemic and rides were cancelled so the trip was postponed until the next summer. That summer was so poor we could never arrange flight times. Then the company went bust! Pity.

Mean Mom said...

You took an excellent photo Maggie!

We went on a balloon trip for my husband's 40th. Weather was good, that year so we had no problem. It was fantastic lengthy ride, with Champagne on landing. We landed very close to Whipsnade, but not in it, fortunately.

Working mum said...

Glad they eventually got to enjoy their birthday presents. I had the chance to go in a balloon over the Masai Mara when I was on holiday there, but, not liking heights, I stayed on terra firma like you!

RiverPoet said...

This is one thing I would love to do. Thanks for sharing that with us...Peace - D

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Maggie,
Great photo! I do love to see hot-air balloons, although I must admit that nobody would ever get me anywhere near one as I am terrified of heights! No, if somebody ever booked me a hot-air balloon trip I would have to politely and calmly decline whilst panicking and sweating inside!! X

Rose said...

I've always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon! My children think I'm crazy because they know I'm afraid of heights, but it looks so peaceful and beautiful. I never thought about the landing, though. Glad your husband and his brother weren't mugged:)

Suburbia said...

I've often thought I would like to try a ride in one! Not just going up and down again though!

Hilary said...

I dislike heights, yet at the same time, for some inexplicable reason, I'd love to go on a balloon ride, and really hope to some day. Great shot of that balloon. Thanks for sharing the story. :)