Sunday 21 March 2010

Like a Virgin

With a title like that it can only mean one thing. Paul is on the blog!

Today was an early start, up at 4.55am for me, why you ask (well even if you don't I'm going to tell you) well in September 2006 when I left my last company (the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society) my very kind colleagues bought me a stack of goodies including a very special present of a hot air balloon ride. I was very excited indeed…

Unfortunately whilst that Mr Branson seems able to control many aspects of our daily lives his influence on the wind speed up here in the North East is highly questionable. The Virgin hot air balloon experience does throw up its challenges. Firstly you have to book online, then the day before you are due to fly, you phone up to find out if the weather conditions are appropriate. If the conditions are not good then the flight is cancelled and you go to the back of the queue, sometimes waiting three months for your next turn. In my case this goes on for 6 bookings and three and a half years! On booking number three I did actually get to the launch site (a mere one and a half hours away), to be told that the wind speed had picked up – not what you want to hear when you wake up at 5am…

Anyway enough of my operations manager perspective and a bit more about the nice bits to cheer everyone up on a Sunday evening, or at least anyone who’s vaguely interested in my balloon trip instead of the alternative post which would have comprised feeding, watering and cleaning up dung (how else would we possibly want to spend a Sunday).

So, hold on to your basket, here is my adventure by pictures. The cartographic ones among you can follow the journey from Witton Castle near Witton-Le-Wear drifting with the wind North East to our crash, I mean landing site of High Shincliffe.

Picture number one is my action shot of the flames leaping up into the balloon as we took off.

Picture number two is of a grinning buffoon who finally got to fly...

Picture number three is of our green and pleasant land on a frosty morning – fantastic!

Here's one of Penshaw monument. The frost was melting causing a mist to rise so the shot isn't brilliant.

This is my favourite shot of the whole experience. Nine, yes nine deer scared witless by some odd people flying at silly o’clock in a hot air balloon. We sometimes see three deer here at Barnacre but I’ve never seen this many in the ‘wild’ before.

Well, that's your picture tour of the North East over with, hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed watching the Irish lose in the 6 Nations at the weekend. We won't talk about the other result.

Night all.



janet said...

Glad you enjoyed the long awaited balloon flight Paul. Like the photo,s you took.

Zanzibah Alpacas said...

What a great and the expression on your face..paints a thousand words..I must say,...I think you were very brave...that high in a wicker basket....under a flame...did you have a parachute.....Jayne

WillowBank Alpacas said...

Cracking pictures, although no pictures of the crash landing!!
I have always wanted to go in a hot air balloon, so a little jealous at the mo.

Apple Vale Alpacas said...

Fantastic Paul - for an event like that, you're welcome to go off subject, Dave.

Lucy said...

Wow that looks fantastic!