What a fantastic, happy weekend - and against all the odds - we flew.
All the preceding week we had our eyes fixed on the weather forecasts and every website gave the same news....that of a deteriorating chance of flying, so much so that we made a collective decision to not order any gas. Just how wrong the forecasts were! Flying on Friday evening, again on Saturday evening and even more on Sunday morning.
The weather (favourite topic of us Brits) changed and changed again; we had very heavy rain, hail - and big stones at that, hot sunshine, and wind (especially after Alex' chilli on Saturday evening!).
Friday evening saw Austin, Harry and Kevin take to the air - which was totally unpredicted. All had a good flight and came home safely.
Saturday evening also surprised us, but with the gusts still being a little naughty, Harry was the only one to fly after Austin ripped out following a really big gust coming through on inflation. For one moment it was thought that Harry may not fly when his fan refused point blank to run - thank yu to Austin for the loan of his.
Sunday morning gave us clear skies and not a lot of wind so Derek, Abi and Kevin took advantage and flew. Harry, of course, didn't as he doesn't 'do' mornings! Other pilots didn't bring balloons given the forecast so missed out on three potential slots.
Both Friday and Saturday evenings descended into party nights; with Saturday being the best - Alex made a huge chilli and everyone dipped in. The evening was aided along with Barnie, Austin and Kevin tending the fire pit. Barnie was absolutely intent on sawing through a huge log with a very unsuitable and toothless hack saw. Kevin realising the enormity of Barnies task loudly asked - repeatedly - if everyone could check their pockets for an axe, strangely enough no-one could oblige, so he asked - repeatedly - if anyone had a chainsaw, again no-one could help. Austin couldn't rustle up any boy scouts either so they were reliant on lighters and any paper they could find. I won't mention Kevin asking if anyone had a beaver......
Barnie was in charge of some music and the requests were dance, trance or Peter Andre! Gillian insisting she is the subject of his 'Mysterious Girl' hit!
Even though Gillian is the mysterious girl, she was not leaving any mystery over her upset at Kevin for selling the new caravan and buying an older one, and that somehow ended up with her assaulting Kevin with the maracas (yes, you did read that correctly).
Robbie Traviss is now walking, as yet very much like his dad after three pints, but he (Robbie, that is) continues to charm all the ladies with his beautiful blue eyes and gorgeous blond hair.
Trudy is a new member of the club and came along with her dog, Sky, who similar to Robbie has beautiful eyes and a gorgeous blue coat and she too charmed many. We are looing forward to getting Trudy in a balloon.
It was nice to see Paddy Donkin again before her return trip to South Africa. Clare and Paddy have a love of Botswana so spent the evening chatting about their experiences.
Barnie did persevere with the log and eventually cut through it, to much applause.
We handed out an 'aerial images' quiz, with all the photos being of places within the Pennine region, and to slightly foil those who are unashamedly sponsored by Google, some of the images were flipped and some were turned around from their usual N/S orientation. Fifteen questions later and thirteen points were awarded to the Polish National Team SP-ARE. The real identities being the Marshalls/Stace/Traviss team. One of the flipped images was of RAF Leconfield and Roger marked the photo with 'S' at the top etc. and so won a special prize of a compass to help him learn the correct orientation of the famous NESW letters! The main prize (as ever, no expense spared) was a Space Hopper to continue their bouncing into space to look down and recognise the images whatever tweaks had been done to them. The Grimshaw/Briggs team won the booby prize of a 'dinosaur' glider as their knowledge of spotting famous landmarks was still back in the Jurassic. Although their description of the Angel of the North was pretty funny, calling him the Gateshead Flasher!
Other special prizes awarded were a single Yorkshire Tea teabag for Bryce, he ran out of teabags on Thursday evening, so never let it be said that Yorkshire folk are not generous!
Gillian won a twisty straw to slow down her consumption of 'pop', and Zara won a water bottle to assist her in drinking more water!
Last year the trophy was won by Malc Skilbeck, did he repeat it? Did someone else lift the divers helmet this year? Well yes, they did, but not exactly for a splash and dash, more for a soggy landing field and a long carry out splashing all the way, the honour going to Derek Grimshaw.
So, the trophy is back in neighbouring lands, come on Yorkshire folk, next year!