Well here we are nearly at the end of another year. Before we go any further thankyou all very much for your custom and support, it really is very much appreciated. We are extremely lucky in having such a great pile of friends some of whom have even discovered they can drop by in a purely social sort of way. As a lot of you will have noticed we have been using the back field a lot more this year which has meant that it is far more convenient to do those while-you-wait jobs at the time of the inspection even if you have to clutter off to the Black Horse for lunch. On the subject of the Black Horse it is truly superb and we do miss the excuse to have a lunchtime swiftly but we can be convinced if we’re not actually mending your balloon. On the whole its been a good year, not as busy as last and, if the trend continues, we reckon next year won’t be as busy as this, of that I’m sure. We bade a fond farewell to at least a dozen or so balloons which have now been sold and the owners moved on to other hobbies like crochet, yachting or building a traction engine. Thanks very much for your past custom and we hope you enjoy whatever it is you have now taken up, like having a lay-in on a sunny Sunday morning or getting down the pub for last orders! For us 2015 will see the arrival of the consequences of HS2 and hopefully we should have things sorted soon. It looks like we may well be able to stay put until April but for the longer term we are still working on a plan. Worry not we won’t be retiring anytime soon, in fact we may try and do some expanding, at least Alice will be as she is expecting again.
This time round I think we have managed to get some bits together for our last publication this year. We hope that they make you think, entertain and educate but not necessarily in that order. There is of course the news where we have a rant about the FAI and publishing competition news and results, EASA for being idiots (nothing new there then). They’ve started issuing a couple of supposed newsletters, more on that next time. The CAA have published exam dates, the BBAC Inspector and Instructor Days plus, the Pennine Region has confirmed a list of events to ensure you stay with UK events this summer. Up is an article on ‘SNAFU’ a lovely USAAF term, a great little bit about ‘Who really designed the HOT Tom?’ and, seeing’s its Christmas, some ramblings about model railways. Whereas the SNAFU article took ages and involved a lot of thorough research, not that I didn’t enjoy it (despite nearly becoming obsessed), the Trainset jobbie was a sheer delight and did bring back some fond memories for me and me brother. It also forced me into the attic to see what was still salvageable so be prepared for updates in that field as the year goes on. The website has had an amazing amount of hits this year and sadly I have to report that the most frequently clicked, or whatever its called, article is the one on Knott brakes which gets around a dozen a day and has now overtaken the Allan Scythe article. Over Christmas we’ll sort out the pictures for the first part of the Inspecting Burners Section and put it up and maybe have a tidy-up.
Despite our best efforts and a tremendous patronage of eBay and general selling the other barn still seems as full as ever which was not the plan. Getting that sorted over the Christmas period is now top priority and as soon as we get a chance we’ll be taking Rover for a flight with a view to flogging it and reluctantly Prudence as well. There are only so many balloons a bloke can fly. Most of our spare stuff has been sold but once more it seems the 'write it down' method has failed and we appear to have lent a Worthy to someone and not got it back, still its made a bit of room on the otherside. The roundtoits still include welding the pickup which now has a window in the front wing and a new heater matrix for the rude Golf. I’ve now eaten far too many mince pies to be healthy writing this lot so best I go and power-walk Dotty up the pub as she has been told she is getting to be a porker but, having destroyed the insides of neighbour Lizzie’s greenhouse by tunnelling to annihilate a large rat, she seems fit enough to me so she’ll be down to a half of ESB (currently Bengal Lancer) in future. Many a road up a fine wintery sunset we wish you all a really happy and wondrous Christmas and a great New Year and once again thankyou all for your custom, kindness and cakes. The top piccie is John in his Easy-Stow Executive Hammock, just in case you ever wondered what the Karabiners hanging in the roof were for and the bottom one is of an unknown train found during the hunt for trainset photos. We think it may be the Isle of Wight railway. All our very best Chris, John, Jane, Alice and Dotty.