I still can’t get over the fact that I actually went up in a balloon.
It was purely for my Dad’s birthday that I went up myself. Didn’t really want him to go up alone, and Mum certainly wouldn’t have gone up – I think getting into the thing would’ve posed a big enough problem, let alone the height issue. So there we have it. I’ve done something that not many people can say that they’ve done.
I have to admit, it was a surreal experience. At one point, it seemed like we weren’t actually moving at all – suspended in mid-air, hanging like a loose, useless Christmas bauble. If we looked carefully and closely, we could tell we were moving, but ever so slightly. Apparently, we travelled about 10 miles, and were up for around 50 minutes. Doesn’t seem that long, but it was, in fact, lovely to be up there.
Packing the balloon away in a random field was rather interesting, although I have to say I was more interested in drinking the remainder of the champagne that was on offer. I think me and fellow flyer Liz, drank most of the second bottle. We did say that it would be rude not to! We were all stretched out along the balloon, folding it over, and then we had to grab a piece each, and kind of ‘conga’ so they could put it into the bag – a bit like putting a huge tent back into its bag. Then, in between sips of champers and puffs of cigs, we sat on the bag to expel the air. It was then hoisted onto the Land Rover, and we all piled in for the trip back to the launch site. It was, and will remain, one of the finest moments of my life to date, and I’ll remember it forever. I think it helps that I’ve got lots of photos to remind me of it.