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Champagne in the mountains

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The Cambo/Observatory eclipse.

Champagne is what you drink when you want to celebrate something. In the early days of flight when any trip in a rudimentary aircraft would likely be your last, it was drunk by hearty aeronauts just to celebrate being alive. Balloon pilots have clung onto this tradition, not because hanging around under a big bag of hot air is particularly dangerous, but because it’s classier than knocking back VB at eight in the morning. Last week however, we had real cause to celebrate, and had the empty bottles of bubbly to prove it. Continue reading “Champagne in the mountains”

It’s showtime.

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You’re never too old to swing an axe.

We were warned: don’t expect much from the Moree show. True, it’s no Sydney Royal Easter Show, but it wasn’t packed with thousands of people either. Food prices weren’t inflated and the entry fee was only $5 while parking was free and close to the main gate. Unlike Sydney, the scene wasn’t staged. Here the flies were real. The dust, cattle dogs and smell of horse poo was normal. The stock pens weren’t phony rustic, they truly are neglected and falling down. Continue reading “It’s showtime.”

What the fog?

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Weather hold is aviator speak for waiting.

The marginal weather days are the worst. The mornings when it’s obvious that flying is on or, when it’s blowing a gale or belting rain, definitely off, are easy. The problem is when you know you will have to get up and troop out to the launch site only to cancel and come home, that are a pain. This morning was just such a day. Continue reading “What the fog?”

The balloonists cycling spectacular.

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Plenty of smiles at the start, but even then the clouds were building.

While there has been a distinct lack of any spectacular ballooning at the Canberra Festival this year, there hasn’t been a shortage of other activities for pilots and crew. Some pilots have even been spotted walking to the lookout at Mount Ainslie. And if that’s not physical enough there was once again a record number of participants for the social ride. This year around lake Burley Griffin. Continue reading “The balloonists cycling spectacular.”

When the wheels fall off your chariot.

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Of course it will fly.

Gretta has a saying from her days as a skydiver ‘deceased was wearing borrowed gear’. Too many skydivers would borrow their mates parachute and having never used it before, or made themselves familiar with it, jump out of a plane and attempt to work it out on the way down. Needless to say it didn’t always work out well. Continue reading “When the wheels fall off your chariot.”

Canberra Festival here we come.

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Festival dinner: more posh than the Oscars

There’s only six sleeps to go until Canberra Festival. This year we’ll be ticking off two firsts. This will be the first time we’ve attended as non-locals and stay in the hotel with the other pilots and crew. And it’ll be the first time we fly without Custard since Gretta became a pilot. Continue reading “Canberra Festival here we come.”

A very technical Christmas

20161224_200642With New Year flights to book and the obligatory calls to make to family over Christmas, Camilla went and did the unthinkable. She dropped her phone in the toilet. While we listened to Frank Sinatra singing about the snow as we sipped our G&T’s in the afternoon heat, Camilla had to reboot an old phone with her Danish SIM. Things didn’t go well. Continue reading “A very technical Christmas”

Chocolate Balls!

Hosting a dinner party is a bit like the duck analogy. Above water it appears to glide serenely by while below its little legs are working hard to keep up the momentum. Of course, you want your guests to feel that your little soirée has been no effort at all. For the most part this year’s Christmas party wasn’t, especially as we had the luxury of a huge house and no need to move furniture around to fit in the dining table. But I must say, desert was a near run thing. Continue reading “Chocolate Balls!”

Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

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It must be time for a full Christmas roast.

Getting our guests to this year’s Christmas party was like a Top Gear challenge; the real Top Gear, when it had Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, Captain Slow and was worth watching. Our six guests were coming from Canberra and Sydney which just goes to show how entrenched in our social calendar this dinner party has become. They had all chosen a different form of transport and with a heat wave sweeping across the state we were keen to see who would arrive fresh and ready to party. Continue reading “Trains, Planes and Automobiles.”

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