It’s 9pm on a Saturday and Swarana and I are once again in Cambridge passing the time before we give Richard Branson a tinkle.
We’ve been doing this every once in a while since 2013; driving up to Swarana’s Mum’s, playing a nice game of Scrabbs, eating dosa or bhel puri or tasty shaak, and nervously picking up the phone to dial the Virgin Dick.
You see, back in the Christmas of 2012, I lovingly bought Swarana two tickets on a hot air balloon from Virgin Balloon Flights. But every time we’ve come up to punch those tickets, the flight gets cancelled at the last minute.
The thing is, you have to call them up at 11pm the night before to find out if conditions are suitable. And they never bloody are…
“A bit windy” is the most common problem.
We’ve even had “A light mist” that kept us grounded. A mist!
What shitty mode of transport can’t cope with “A light mist”, for God’s sake?
I have no idea how Phileas Fogg did it. Without a health and safety adviser, I expect. Nor the prospect of eye-watering legal action for death or injury.
So, we’ve scanned the skies, and it looks calm. But it always looks calm. Always. Nary a leaf moving in the tree. Sometimes it feels like a giant practical joke – or a money-fleecing scam.
Bah! What a joke. In the meantime, another game of Scrabbs. Although, it’s rather hard to place the letters with all your fingers crossed.
I’ll let you know tomorrow how it goes (if it goes).