Tag Archives: Balloon

Basket case: a balloon flight in Cambridge

The balloon gets laid out flat
Big up the balloon bag

Finally, after two and a half years of failed attempts, the skies cleared, the winds calmed, and Mr Branson adjudged it safe to fly over the fields of Cambridgeshire.

It had been a Christmas present back in 2012. We had tried five times and been thwarted by mild weather conditions – such as “breezes” and “mist” – deemed too hazardous to risk a launch.

At 11pm the night before, we made the call to find out if the flight would go ahead. When it was confirmed, we finished our game of Scrabble – in a haze of excitement and disbelief – and went to bed; we’d have to be at the airfield by 5.30am in the morning.

We met 12 other bleary-eyed passengers at an empty airfield a few miles from Cambridge, and set about helping the pilot inflate the balloon. It took about an hour to get it all set up, inflated, heated and upright.

Continue reading Basket case: a balloon flight in Cambridge

Up, up and a whale of a time playing Scrabble

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.

Continue reading Up, up and a whale of a time playing Scrabble