Balloon Repair Station

King King Gets Cold

Just to prove we do many other things here is a bit of a blast from the past. Somehow we got involved with building the inner frame, assisting with the bronze casting and working out the mechanics for the eyes and mouth of one of Andrew Sinclair’s (famous arty person) bolder creations. More about the building when I find the pics but meanwhile the coldest day of last year finally saw King Kong moved out of the studio to get his picture taken and prepare for his installation!

It was a bitterly cold day and for some reason, us wanna-be luvvies didn’t understand, Clive-the-Camera wanted to start filming at five, when it would be dark and even colder!! First problem though was getting the mighty Kong onto his back, a problem initially handled quite well in the film. We resorted to more mechanical methods, the trusty pickup, eight souls and the forklift. Felicity was positioned on the office stairs with a camera to record the moment. After building a mound of tyres on an envelope trolley we soon realised something a bit gentler may be in order. Visiting balloonist Andy Rawson suggested a hot-air-balloon! No sooner said than done. The bag containing the rotting remains of G-GULF was dragged out and positioned such that it provided a comfy resting place for his bum. Five minutes later and he was down, in one piece, and being wheeled out the door, Kong that is, not Andy R.


Navigating between large ride-balloon trailers and across a deadly stretch of ice, like an episode from Ice Road Truckers, he arrived in the middle of the yard. This effectively trapped the Wickers World crew so they had to stay and help! We chucked a couple of ropes under his arms and hoisted him up with the forklift, only just getting enough height to get him upright but, with much heaving and grunting, from the ground handlers, we made it and what a sight he was! With the sun going down, a backdrop of hoar-frost covered trees and hedges and the fields set off with a sprinkling of frozen snow, he looked brilliant, the colours of the bronze and copper dancing about in the partially lit setting. What an achievement for Andrew- Luvvie-Sinclair (ARBS) to have formed and sculpted the whole project on site. It seemed an age ago we were pouring bronze and watching the fantastic castings come out of the moulds.
Now he stood all complete, looking spectacular. Was it a sculpture or creation? Whatever it was we all agreed it was marvellous stuff and a fantastic achievement. Was that a tear in the corner of Andrew Sinclair’s eye? Satisfied the King wasn’t going to do a nose dive we adjourned to the workshop and toasted to King Kong, Faye wotsitits and the doomed pilots. Oh, and of course, Andrew S’s creativity.


By the time we re-emerged it was getting quite dark (and colder). Clive-the-Camera had fully lit the giant and if he looked good before, he was definitely stunning now. Clivey-Babe clicked away and the lights flashed. Visitors called in to collect stuff. Even Farmer Ferrit popped in and, before you knew it, there was a whole gang of people getting in Clive’s way snapping the mighty Kong with mobile phones and cameras of various types. My Kodak Instamatic froze but I had already used all 12 exposures on me dog! As the temperature sent the mercury lower we left Andy and Clive being creative and retreated to the blower heater and some beer. Eventually the filming took a break and a way was cleared so Team Rawson could leave, but not before managing to reverse into his basket cover that had just been repaired! In fairness it was dodgy manoeuvre, getting past the lights and King Kong’s outstretched arm.











Expectantly, Johnney-no-legs-Needles, Dylan and I prepared to rope the chap up again to get him under cover for the next couple of nights. It was not to be, not enough textural and foot shots apparently. The feeling was that Clive-the-Click was dragging this commission out a bit! We gave them another fifteen minutes (more beer) and unplugged the lights. That got their attention. By now the temperature had plunged to a rattlingly low -20ºC in the shade so, being expendable, Dylan was sent aloft on the forklift’s iced-up tines to sling ropes under Kong’s armpits. Very gently we backed our suspended charge out across the ice, wary of the occasional creaking and cracking, and dropped him off in the barn where he would rest until Monday, a Man-with-a-Hiab and a trip to Warwickshire, unless the pikies spotted him.


What a great end to the day. We left Andrew Sinclair (ARBS), all emotional being comforted by Dyl, wandering around a deserted yard and went to the pub where a very kind George ‘Burns’ bought us a pint. If you want to see some more of Luvvie Sinclair’s work have a look on his great website Amongst his creations is a four armed version of Johnney-nee-Needles as a puppeteer and fetchingly entitled ‘Marionette’s Conundrum’.