The time of my life!

You are about to see penguins fly!

You are about to see penguins fly!

There must be something about August!  Apart from it being the height of an English Summer and my wedding anniversary month, I seem to have some of my very best memories from then. You have no idea how ridiculously excited I was to be going to the Bristol Balloon Festival!  And I wasn’t even flying (maybe someday?)

I won’t share with you the whole saga right now.  Sufficient to say that it was a very long walk home (even by Restlessjo standards), and that the people of Bristol are some of the nicest folk I’ve ever met.  Are you ready for this?

It all starts with the moment that life is breathed into these beauties

It all starts with the moment that life is breathed into these beauties

Look Mum! I'm surrounded by balloons!

Look Mum! I’m surrounded by balloons!

Even a square one!

Even a square one!

I had arrived at the showground early, and been royally entertained with flying model aircraft and the beautiful gardens at Ashton Court- all in radiant sunshine.  But there was no doubt of the spectacle that everyone wanted to see, and excitement began to build as the teams drove out onto the field.  The baskets were tipped inelegantly on their sides and the balloons draped around them.

As the first one juddered and stammered to life, a thrill went through the crowd.  And then it was proudly erect!  Pink, white and perfect, it waited patiently while all the other balloons performed their own ballet.

Faster and faster they rose!

Faster and faster they rose!

As the baskets were righted and the excited passengers climbed in, it was the job of one man to hang on to a rope for dear life to stop the balloon plunging away.  In moments they were airborne, one after another, amid the gasps of spectators.  Necks craned and we waved as the passengers waved back.

Against a mackerel sky

Against a mackerel sky

Who could help but smile?

Who could help but smile?

And wave!

And wave!

Although the skies were clear and bright there was still some doubt as to how many balloons would be able to take off.  The occasional gust of wind across the airfield gave no real sense of how breezy it might be in the skies overhead.  But one by one they pulled away, and the excitement never faded.

A certain twosome were eagerly waiting

A certain twosome were eagerly waiting

And then there was Swatch

And then there was Swatch

Anyone know these guys?

Anyone know these guys?

Airborne at last!

Airborne at last!

Don't forget the polar bears!

Don’t forget the polar bears!

In minutes they were clear of the trees and gone, in the direction of the city and Clifton Suspension Bridge.  Part of me wished I was waiting by the bridge, but there is no guarantee in which direction they will head, air currents being vital to this.  On the field, the numbers of balloons dwindled, but I remained rapt.

Two red letter days?

Two red letter days?

But look whose turn it is next!

But look whose turn it is next!

Totally adorable!

Totally adorable!

'Balloons' was one of the last to take to the sky

‘Balloons’ was one of the last to take to the sky

And then it was over, for a little while.  Wilkinson Cup began to be deflated and the balloonists were off being collected from their respective landings.  That would be fun to see too!  Then began the wait for evening and Nightglow.

The cup takes a curtain call

The cup takes a curtain call

Without ever seeing Paula’s Guest Challenge this week, I knew that the subject was Time, and that with Debbie in the driving seat there wouldn’t be much of it to spare.  Mine is rather a large ‘snippet of time’ but a very special one, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it with me.  Please click on the links to see Debbie’s wonderful post, and Paula’s interpretation of it.  I hope I can play my part in making Thursday special.

And I musn’t forget a mention of a very special friend, whom I was lucky enough to meet in Bristol.  Viveka, this one’s for you!

157 comments

  1. Love, love, love those balloons…especially since I am viewing them at sea level from the comfort of my boat and not riding in them enveloped in fear in the sky. The penguins were my favorite. Love them. The balloons reminded me of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was a balloon handler in the parade for three years (which I cared about photography at the time….I could have taken some amazing shots). “twas a treat..

    1. The penguins were my standout favourites but I just loved the whole excitement of seeing them blown up and then take off into the heavens. Thanks so much for your company, Lisa (and for the tweet too). About to watch Rafa at Cincinatti but will join you and your boat tomorrow 🙂

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