A very Happy New Year to you and yours from us all. If this visit is a New Year Resolution then well done and thanks for visiting if you’ve come in search of information or a bit of a laugh then welcome to you to (perhaps that should be two!!). Although we are officially an EASA Part M subpart F&G Organisation looking after airworthiness issues hot air balloon like we do have rather varied interests along with our many lovely customers so, apart from balloony stuff, you will find, should you search through the various categories (which don’t really make much sense at the moment either), stuff on everything from Rickmansworth to Nuremberg and Inspecting Balloon Baskets to Replacing a Damper on a Westfalia Trailer. 2013 was a tricky old year for us what with the loss of some good old friends, the high speed approach of HS2 and me having some R&R in the closing month or two but here we are in 2014 and the telegraph has been set full ahead. I grant you the opening pages are a bit on the blustery side weatherwise but things will improve. We will be back in the office from the 7th or 8th January but the Answerphone should be working and will be checked. Must try and find the handbook and change the message. Nearly forgot, the piccie is a Hurricane with skis. Our man tells us that it maybe one converted by the Canadians. Aerodynamically they couldn't have been that successful but thanks Trevor for this rare Christmas picture.
Big congratulations to Don Cameron who made it into the New Years’ Honours List and will need a trip to Moss Bros before too long in order to take a trip to London and collect his Gong. Apart from that its a quiet time on the news front so we’ve taken the trouble to add a bit of an update to a few articles and included them in the news bit and added them to the articles themselves lest the fount of knowledge be lost. One thing that I have come to realise since writing and researching stuff for the site is that coincidence is the main ingredient and related stuff keeps appearing in emails or in rediscovered books and photos. I strongly recommend having a long and careful perusal of the old folks photo albums, this time checking out the background. There is a lot of history there. What is clear is that webby-type photo albums are just not the same. There must be a thousand images taken by the kids in various poses but I can’t say I can remember any of them. When you had to pay dearly for a photograph, even from Bonusprint, I think a bit more attention was paid to the content. Going through my parent’s pictures and albums I now have enough material for most of forever, just a shame that the majority have nothing written on the back!
Sadly the Piaggio Hexagon seems to have lost its compression so that’ll be an early job but fortunately we found another on eBay so Alice’s boyfriend is back on the road, or was until a very large pothole was encountered causing the exhaust to fracture so today’s job (laying down) is to weld it back together. What it has done though is encourage me to get on and purchase, or knock up, a bike lift. Not having been up the jolly workshop for a few weeks means stuff of a gentle nature has been done at home instead, not least chasing blown mini ceiling lights and fixing door catches that stopped working many years ago. Top of the list when the weather lets up will begin the digging of the new workshop down the garden and the erection of a porch to replace the large hole following the demolition of the grand sweeping entrance steps meaning crampons are required to get through the front door. Amongst my presents (few by request) is a wooden biplane to put together (glue supplied), a rather smart padded jacket which Jane nearly gave away to visiting friends thinking someone had left it by accident and Reindeer poo. So, as you see, I didn’t get down to any writing after the last update, in fact I didn’t go near the computer until a couple of days ago so apologies if you have written and not had a reply, I’ll do it now. Now I must practise writing 2014. On this very wet and very windy New Year’s Day, once again, we wish you a very happy and lovely New Year. All the best John, Jane, Alice, Chris and Dotty.