As ever a very warm welcome to you and thanks for visiting. We’ve got loads going on so to get the what we are, what we do and that stuff out the way we are in fact an EASA Part M Subpart F&G Organisation offering everything you need to keep your hot air balloon in the place it should be, the wild blue yonder. There, that didn’t take long. As this year draws to an weathery (at present) end we are quietly winding down on the inspections and work front and looking towards those winter roundtoits that we seem to collect throughout the year. Of serious importance is the latest CAA sneaky publication CAP1123 a ‘must read’ then comment on. Cunningly disguised as a report it is actually a statement that offers comment. It involves the way they haven’t addressed the ever increasing red tape they throw at us all and their now apparent U-turn on EASA. Personally speaking it is the biggest bit politically driven non-information they have produced for along time and we should react strongly to it if they are even to be halfway believed just to make then actually follow through. Its in the news under GA Red Tape Challenge, another bit of the originally vote-grabbing equally broken promise by the Government to reduce red tape in all areas. We’ll publish our response as soon as. Closing date for responding to it is the 6th December. Please let everyone know about it, it is important. On the upside though following its long recovery from acrobatics I managed to finally get on my horse and ride it down the village and back enjoying a port break at the Swan into the bargain. That lifted me spirits I can tell you.
Sadly we have to report that the old Bluebird balloon G-BLUE, a Colt 77A serial number 11 built in 1978 and re-discovered by the BBM&L, has been looked at and failed in most departments so was pronounced no longer airworthy and well beyond economic repair. I once nearly bought the thing back in the early eighties when it was advertised on the Zebedee List, which was a bit of Roneoed Half Imperial, and it wasn’t that good then so I have to say we were amazed it had survived this long. I suspect it will go into the BBM&L collection and be dragged out on an inflation day talking of which there should be one next year. I’m still trawling through mounds of paper and photos from me late departed dad. Amongst it all was an article on a flight in Short Sandringham. It was from a copy of Air Pictorial a fine old publication which these days is known as Aviation News. Well suddenly I twigged that it had been written by the renowned, all things balloons, Pete Bish. We called him up and he kindly sent us some of the pics he used and a bit of background so we have re-published it under Of Flying Boats, Hot Summers and The Short Sandringham. Its great. We often end up chatting about Cloudhoppers and following the publication Mr Steve Roake’s latest Cloudhopper news we have penned a short piece about our first meeting with the Smirnoff Cloudhopper. The trailer brake thing is still ongoing, should be finished next week, turns out to be more than I reckoned.
Despite our best efforts the other workshop seems to be collecting stuff faster than its going out despite not a single visit to eBay having taken place although I do quite fancy getting a Maxi as a company hack but I’ve nearly got over that for the moment. I’m having a bit of a break for a few weeks but come the New Year it will be all hands on deck with the intention of using the bikes a lot more in the coming year even it means building a sidecar for me dog. Saw a lovely one on a pushbike at the Benson Bike Rally back in the summer so all inspired. Down the garden the old shed has now gone and we have excavated through the Royal Observer Corps shelter and anti-aircraft gun concrete base down to the old Roman pavement. Now that’s been broken up with a Kango we will be set to go down next year. Out the front the old step has gone and the base prepared for the tower that will be the entrance. We are now scouring skips for suitable Gothic windows. Up at daughter’s farm we have now built a field shelter for the Shetland ponies out of Kate Bowley’s old shed and blow me down they won’t come out of it now! Right, best foot and digit forward. The lovely sun we had here this morning has turned to grey overcast so paperwork beckons. Thankyou again for visiting, please have a look round, have a chuckle and respond to the CAA publication even if it is “Why are balloons in EASA?” They’ll have to respond. All the best John, Jane, Alice and Chris.