Its nearly September and nearly back to school! Not sure what happened to my good intentions to get another Welcome and News out by mid-August but it didn’t happen. Just too much other stuff to do outdoors you see. I don’t really do indoors. Apologies but having now received a few emails starting “Are you still there?’ best I get on with it. Just to remind you and welcome newcomers to the site, despite first appearances and article content we are in fact a Continuing Airworthiness Organisation looking after all things hot air balloons including mending them and sorting out the paperwork for them. That covers that then. We have managed a few joined up bits of flying this past month including a rather surprising flight that took us down the Chilterns Ridge at a respectable pace having decided we would have a slow wobble across the village. That’ll be the MET for you then. The harvest was (and still is) a bit all over the place but at least our Jay and Mary’s wheat will be making biscuits but the price per ton is not good and combined (no pun intended) with a repair to the computer that controls the tractor the profit will not be good. Computers on tractors? Yup, the world has gone completely mad. I have come to the conclusion that all cars and tractors with computer control safety and management systems should have a large red override button you can press to de-HAL it. If you don’t know what HAL is I suggest you read/watch ‘2001, A Space Odyssey’. As I write this those gallant gas balloonists taking part in The Gordon Bennett are fighting thunderstorms and tracking across Northern Europe heading for Poland. As always Robin Batchelor is covering the event in consummate style via his Faceache page. Sorry no idea how to get at that!
We’ve had a couple of interesting balloons in for repair. The latest generation of light-weight Ultramagic envelopes which are a work of art and required about eleventeen thread and needle changes and although on the face of it very much like the bottom end of a Cameron N-type (not good) the load tapes had our John momentarily confused as they crossed over. Now we’ve worked out how they build it the idea is actually rather neat and prevents all the twisting you get on the loops on the Cameron. Forgot to take a picture but will next time one comes in. The other was a Firefly. An American diagonal cut balloon with a rather unrefined method of joining panels together that does it no favours weight-wise and using a lock-stitch they aren’t our favourite but to be fair I doubt if it will ever wear out. The news (which is now all out of date and may not all be very interesting but there is a lot of it) is mainly made up of CAA stuff and quickies on Metz and Bristol, both very different affairs this year. Northampton went well as well. Thanks to Tim Wilkinson who signed off the last of his fleet with a flurry of words and to Niel Iveson who put pen to paper concerning the meet in Joures. Then there is a thing on the Progressive Music Society and I reversed a UniMog into my blue Corsa which made it poorly and the dog grumpy and Team Wellwick have continued to clear up at shows and now have rosettes completely obscuring Sue the Lorry’s forward vision. Nearly forgot, we did manage a few hours meteor watching in the middle of a field and saw a few spectacular ones fall on Coombe Hill before the clouds moved in and we took Jane’s dad Edward now well nearer 100 than 90 to the Henley Classic Boat Show where he was the Little Ships Association guest of honour. Getting him across the torpedo boat to the Riis was entertaining for all involved. More then than I thought.
The dark barn now has the remains of the Corsa in it but hopefully by the end of the working day it will have had a newish door fitted so will live to fight another day (Update-job done). My dog will probably reluctant to get in it again though. The Trap that went through the hedge is also about to be reassembled and probably sold! The Thunderbird decided to spring a leak in the bottom seam of the petrol tank so that went off to Master welder Paul Sawney for a bit of t&c. Only a dab of red lead needed. Had I brazed it then a repaint would have been necessary! I’ll take the opportunity of sorting out the clutch cable whilst its off. With the legendary Triumph vibration I don’t need a resonating clutch cable playing second fiddle! We have another little project to do at some stage with the moped badge hanging off it. More on that later. Re-assembly of the Velocette has had a bit of a set-back when we discovered that the gearbox is actually louder than the engine so that is in bits on Dick’s workbench and a set of bearings on order. The pickup is now MoT’d and will be back on the road 1st September so at least we can now get on with some tidying up. Forgot to mention that Trevor has sold his pretty Vivi moped and is turning his (Dick’s) attention to mending his Saab rag top that has been resting for a while now! Well that’s about that for the moment. Front page is Paul Dopson’s beautiful lightweight Ultramagic M77, G-TBET, built for the Dalai Lama, well Tibet actually. The star in the rusty car is Nick Godfrey who popped in for a grommet fitting and the picture in the middle is Edward being rather taken aback by PT102 behaving badly down the Henley Regatta course. More on that rather nice bit of kit in a winter edition. Thanks very much for dropping by. We trust the site gives you a giggle here and a ponder there and if you are passing please call in for a cuppa but best check that we aren’t out misbehaving or enjoying ourselves first. Actually come to think of it there has been and there is a lot going on really. Best regards from John, Jane, Dotty, Alice and Chris.