Up, up and etc.

Too many updates but I just realised that I’d left sad and ranting all over my blog. Then I realised I hadn’t written about my skypirate adventures, so I shall rectify that immediately.

After months and months and months of being thwarted by gales, blizzards and fuck knows what else, a week or so ago, I finally managed to get my hot air balloon flight. And, oh, it was completely worth the wait. It was wonderful – better than I could ever have dreamed. I could have drifted in that endless blue horizon forever, I think.

A couple of people said they thought I was brave when I mentioned that I was going for a hot air balloon ride. This made me slightly anxious because I’d not previously considered that bravery might be required, and, truthfully, I’m not over-endowed in the stuff. But it wasn’t, it wasn’t at all. It’s far more pleasant than flying in a plane and, even though you’re hanging there in a basket, you don’t feel exposed. I think looking down is only stomach-churning when it’s relational – you see your own feet and then you see how far it is to fall, and then you freak the fuck out (or I do). But in a balloon, since you’re sort of looking past yourself, into the distance and down at the world, you don’t ever get that vertiginous “oh shit I could die and that would be bad” reaction.

I didn’t take many photographs in the end. I made an executive decision not to take my camera because carrying a camera massively changes how you interact with the world. It’s a distancing act, steeped in looking. And sometimes you don’t want to merely be looking, you want to be experiencing. I do, however, have a hasty snap of a balloon interior mid-way through inflation because it looks amazing:

Balloon Interior

Click to embiggen (if desired)

Ever since I’ve been returned to earth, I’ve dreamed, and daydreamed, about that damn balloon. I really miss being up there. I think I’m probably quite a neurotic person (no shit, Sherlock) so I’m deeply attracted to activities that are wholly and encompassingly themselves. Does that make any sense at all? I think there’s quite a lot pressure/expectation that life is a multi-tasking business, and I am not really a multi-tasking dude. I juggle flaming bananas perfectly competently but sometimes, just sometimes, it is blissful to be doing one thing, and for that to be the ONLY thing you can be doing. Cooking, for example, is one such activity. I am not great at it, and usually I don’t have time enough to do it, but when you’re goofing around in the kitchen nobody expects you to be doing anything else. Having a bath, I guess, also fits this category, although I haven’t had a bath in years (I have, uh, washed, obviously). Running, too, is its own private peace. Or rowing. Being in a punt. And being in a hot air balloon. There’s just endless space and time to be and think. The clamour of the world is silenced.

I wonder how you get into hot air ballooning. It didn’t look that difficult, to be honest. Pull a string when you want to go up, pull a string when you want to go down. Well within even my somewhat limited capabilities. And, to be honest, our pilot didn’t seem what you might call … actively good at it. When it was time to land, he found what looked like a promising field, missed it entirely and instead brought us thumping spectacularly into a field of oil seed rape. Since this sort of behaviour tends to make farmers (entirely legitimately) angry, his solution was for me to get out and push and for us to sneak into the next field over.

Sneak? In a giant red hot air balloon. Right.

So, yes, I did – in fact – get out and push, running through like an absolute idiot through this field and hurling myself back into the basket just in time for a mini-takeoff, a collision with some trees, and a second landing in the next fallow field across.

Hot air balloons. They do not make good getaway vehicles. True fact.

Also it was about the least subtle thing I think I’ve ever experienced. I mean, I couldn’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, when the farmer saw the enormous balloon shaped furrow in the middle of his crop and the enormous red balloon one field over, he might be inclined to, y’know, suspect something. Just sayin.

absurdity, indulgence

12 Responses to Up, up and etc.

  1. Issy says:

    *giggles* hey, if the basket was round, you could claim it was a crop circle! 🙂

    Sounds wonderful 🙂
    And hey, you should really pick up your balloon adventure again, now you can speak from experience! 🙂

    I used to have friends that were into ballooning, but as they were in the SW not SE, is probably no help to you, as it takes like 10 hours on a rickety bus to go like 100 miles.

    I had similar feelings to having nothing else to do and not feeling guilty about it on a narrowboat weekend. Never felt so relaxed in my life as then.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Yeah, the basket was was sort of square, so it would have to be a very geometrical sort of alien. Also I think my urgently scampering footsteps probably gave the game away, a bit.

      Oh yes! Definitely more balloon adventures. Also you could definitely have sex in one – I mean, theoretically, it wasn’t something I actually attempted on account of, y’know, being with H’s brother’s girlfriend AND having a balloonist looking on and I am SO not into that.

      I had a friend who lived on a narrowboat once – I wouldn’t want to live on on myself, but it was gloriously relaxing to just be there for short periods. I used to lie on the roof reading and sun-drunk. Mmmm…

  2. Anne says:

    *Hot air balloons. They do not make good getaway vehicles. True fact.*
    Now I wanna go!

  3. Hanne says:

    I’m thrilled that you finally got to take your balloon flight after all the postponements, and I hope you found a suitable replacement hat, since the old feathers “had died”…. 😉

    “juggling flaming bananas”, now THAT is something I’d like to see! 😀

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Yeah, I just wore my topper, which was kind of a bit less skypirate, but, y’know, still cool. I looked a little bit of a prat frankly because I wrote to my friend and was all like “you know when they say ‘dress for a walk in the country’ they mean ‘dress like a skypirate, right?’ and she was all “totally”. So, of course, I turned up in my best skypirate garb and she turned up dressed for a walk in the country. So I was horribly sartorially BETRAYED.

      But it was still wonderful. I hope you get to try it when you’re in Spain. Errr, being a hot air balloon I mean, not dressing like an idiot.

      • Hanne says:

        I am sure you looked absolutely fabulous in your Sky Pirate garb including your Topper! So what if she was dressed for a walk in the country! I guess you were both the victims of the common problem of communication as in “not speaking the same language even if both speak English”. 🙂 Happens to the best of us (to me – very frequently!)

        I’m still trying to visualize you juggling flaming bananas, although I have come to a realization that they’re probably not actually on fire (as in “in flames”) – see ref. above to communication! LOL and snaughling

  4. Aww, I can totally imagine all of that now ^^.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      It was amazing – in some ways I wish I had more photos so I could be “look at this awesome!” but, at the same time, I’m glad I wasn’t stuck behind a camera all the time.

  5. pamela1740 says:

    Hmm, your blog is cool! I especially loved your post about house hunting and real estate craziness and what that does to relationships…. If you want to play, you’re “nominated” for the big blog love known as the Liebster blog award…. information and other shenanigans here: http://badassromance.com/2013/05/25/a-blog-award-for-badass-romance/
    – Pamela

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Heee, thank you 🙂 I blog utter nonsense, but I’m glad it’s vaguely entertaining to someone.

      And thank you for the nomination, yay games! I will try to get off my arse and do something about it … err .. ASAP 🙂

      • pamela1740 says:

        No worries about the silly blogging games… I do want to know if you decided to stick with VIkings…? The ep I watched last night had Ragnar’s brother shirtless (lots of Scandi-Celtic inkery) for at least half the episode.

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