In 2002 we bought tickets for a balloon ride, to celebrate jointly reaching our half centuries. We were living in Sydney at the time but had chosen to fly over Canberra, because we liked the idea of looking down on the National Capital scenery, including its monumental buildings and central man-made lake, which I've blogged about previously. We drove down the night before and were up bright and early, arriving at the meeting point as required, around 5 a.m. I think. Unfortunately the weather wasn't looking too good, but the company remained confident in forecasts that the squalls and showers would clear in time for us to take off. The photos below include one showing my husband helping to tether our balloon while it was being inflated.
Up, up, up ...
... and away! It appears from that fourth shot that we were aboard the first of the four balloons to become airborne.
Above and below are two rather gloomy shots of our view from on high, including the old and new Parliament House and the High Court. You can see rain approaching in the distance and after only half the scheduled flight time, our pilot decided that the safest and most advisable course would be to descend as rapidly as possible. We didn't complain, as there was nowhere to shelter away from the heavy rain streaming down the sides of the balloon canvas and funneling into the basket and its occupants, so by that stage we were completely saturated. We landed unceremoniously in a lakeside car park, feeling happy to have avoided ditching in the lake. Our tickets included a sumptuous hotel breakfast but we were way too wet to be able to enjoy that and instead we just headed straight back to my mother-in-law's Mary's place to get warm and dry.
We were offered either a raincheck (!) or a half refund, and we did try to book again some months later, but that day turned out to be too windy to even take off, so that was it. We didn't try a third time as it was too difficult to arrange when we didn't live close by. By then we had left it too long to get that refund, but never mind. Our balloon adventure came to a soggy end, but it was fun while it lasted, sort of!
I took the following rather contrasting shots in 2006 during the annual week long balloon fest held in Canberra. We were again visiting Mary and enjoyed being spectators around the lake on that occasion. The building on the right is our National Library, with a balloon house floating above it, and you can see the Flying Sćotsman up there too, together with a bee and a few other unusual balloon shapes as well, their colours reflecting in the lake. Lake Burley Griffin itself appears blue rather than brown or grey on a blue sky day.
Here's the Flying Scotsman landing
and going down, down, down, in a rather undignified fashion.
We see early morning balloons floating over our house here in Melbourne quite regularly, but we don't feel tempted to join in. Mishaps don't happen often, but when they do they can involve near misses or worse. One had to make a forced landing in someone's front garden last year. It wouldn't have fitted into ours! For more ups and downs of various kinds, just float away and see what other bloggers are doing for Sepia Saturday #305. very possibly involving more sepia that you see here.
Perhaps there will be balloons of another kind at our son's wedding, which we're flying off to attend next weekend. I rather doubt I'll have a chance to post next Saturday.