Lots going on this year!
Friday evening arrived and we were off!
But that was after the news of the nearby Austin Reed outlet shop closing down on Saturday, and rumours of incredible bargains to be had - many of us trotted over and came back with bags of discounted goodies, it would have been rude not to have wouldn't it?
So, back to the meet and taking an early lead in the White Horse stakes was Kevin Graham with his little thoroughbred (egged on by many others as his balloon was the lightest to man handle), followed hotly on his heels by John Boy Russon and His Honour Pete, both threatening to be up and off at 4am. Kevin managed to hang on to the lead as the 4am threat didn't materialise......could have been something to do with the frivolity and partying going on!
Meanwhile back in the paddock, a fairly raucous night was underway with an attempt at the world record caravan stuffing championship, with Mr Ball in the lead with at least 12 good (wo)men and true in his new van - rumoured to have elastic sides. Alex was under the spotlight for quiz answers with a blatant attempt at alcoholic bribery, but not to worry, he gave duff info; Harry Lime didn't figure in any of the questions and answers!!!
Sadly no flying on Saturday morning so the launch field became the backdrop for pet portraits by Charlotte Graham - see Facebook for Jess (Bellamy) and Alfie (Billany)'s starring roles.
Saturday afternoon we welcomed Dave Court and Steve Donkin from the NWBAC to educate us in the finer points of digital mapping, with their excellent talk on setting up and using tablets, phones, laptops etc for, er, digital mapping. Clearly everyone enjoyed the session and learnt lots of tips useful in flight and in preparation.
Saturday afternoon/evening Team Russon and Team Graham went on their annual pilgrimage to the Black Swan, for a thoroughly good time.
Saturday evening and the quiz began quite late, not to worry though as the quiz finally got underway to be eventually won by the team 'Smug Mouth' comprising of Claire Westwood, Pete Donkin, Linda Crossland Clarke and Bryce Alderson. Linda also won the bottle coin flip raising £31 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Sunday briefing was cancelled as the weather still wasn't playing ball, so the debrief came around and to everyone's amazement Martin Read hadn't had a crack at the trophy despite the rumour that he had already had the salver engraved for 2016! So the first, and only, past the post this year was indeed Kevin Graham.
Even though the Sunday weather wasn't ballooning friendly, it was a lovely day and everyone hung around in the sunshine.
One or two little asides;
....Team Russon are concerned that John left the quiz without finishing his pint. Is he alright?
....Has Malc Skilbeck really changed his name to 'Sir Austin' following his upping the ante of ballooning apparel?
....Does Mike Ball's caravan really hold the record for holding the largest number of inebriated balloonists?
....Was the mountain of BBQ food at the Smith/Stringer/Billany BBQ ever consumed?
....Elaine Howarth wishes it to be known that she DID reverse the trailer into a tight spot!
....Has anyone actually had a horse follow them home after sticking an ice cream cone in their back pocket?
....and finally, how many of the Austin Reed bargains will end up on Ebay?
Thank you for coming everyone; it was another good, friendly, sociable meet despite the lack of flying.