Well blow me odd socks orf with a sea breeze, just realised that it is some considerable time since we last put up the news, and the rest, although we have posted a couple of articles up in the meantime (a fine Greenwich Brewery brew). I’m pleased to report that we are still here and still taking care of the ongoing maintenance repair and general mending of all things balloony. The reasons we have been away have been somewhat involved and taken a fair amount of time but hopefully they are all finally resolved in a most satisfactory way.. So all in all we have had a lot going on and this, along with the drawing out of the evenings which are, as the more astute will realise, now drawing in, means that there is too much day to be indoors! Despite all that in the past weeks and months we have had the pleasure of trotting off to Northern Ireland to enjoy the hospitality, sneak in a crafty check flight and inspect balloons, then a quick trip out to Germany to look at few balloons there and poke about in a cellar full of Me262 bits and then over to jolly Francais in the name of wotsit cordial following Great Britain deciding to revert to a small island off the European mainland and check out the Calvados and Le Chateau. HS2 now have tenants in the farm house who are extremely nice, they do have a rather untidy Boxer called Wesley (rescued from a film set) and a large German Shepherd called Tuesday. Despite appearances both are very friendly but Wesley can get anxious with other dogs it doesn’t know so please beware if you bring your pooch. When visiting please leave the gate as found although it will usually be open during the day. John has had his summer holiday somewhere warm and dry where it mainly rained and Thompsons lost his luggage including his lucky Hawaiian shirt. Ex HABCO Flying Pictures fine fellow John Allen (best remembered as Abo) and his missus Claire turned up for a few days before setting off on a Grand Bike Tour of Lithuania as the weather in Australia had gone pants. They returned in one bit to feasting and celebrations mid-August and went back a couple of weeks ago. We have been flying finally and a fine time we had but unfortunately not able to get to any of the meets we’d fancied. On the horsey front the entire Team Wellwick qualified for the Royal London Show and came away with a bunch of rosettes.
Onto things literary. As we have let things slide somewhat you will find the News at best disjointed, spindly, probably old news and possibly full of the stuff of rumour but congratulations will go to those deserving and hopefully there will be something of interest, stuff not really true and more not related to ballooning. On a very tragic note was the dreadful accident in Texas with enquiries ongoing. Our thoughts and sympathies go to all those caught up in it. On a happier note big ones to Fedor Konyukhov who managed to whizz round the lower bit of the planet and almost landed where he took off from despite his Cameron Roziere, according to Robin Batchelor’s coverage, going Mir with broken equipment having to be ditched, severe freezing and then the weather trying to get the better of him. Two articles were posted in the interval. Steve Roake sent us ‘A Great Day Out’ a rather lovely report of a visit to the Hovercraft Museum at Lee-on-Solent which us in the Rusty Club had no idea existed but is now firmly on our ‘to-do’ list and a piece inspired by another Trevor find on ‘Pregnant Peg’ a Liberator mended with a telegraph pole, quite a common practise as it turned out. There may also be up and running something on Midsummer’s Day focusing on the annual Coombe Hill celebrations which was written late one night as a result of pontificating over several weeks walking my dog up scarps and down lees. Actually the dog walks me in as far as she vanishes in and out of the undergrowth reappearing from unexpected directions which means she is now dubbed ‘the dog that can fly’ after an episode of Northern Exposure. Thinking about it I’ll probably put that up on the Shortest Day. You never know there may even be something posted soon related to balloons but with the new editor of the BBAC’s Aerostat doing a really sterling job we may just leave it up to him for a while.
Over the road in the dark barn things have been moving along. Barry has had one of his Guzzis made-over and is now awaiting a spanking newly painted tank. We have acquired, courtesy of Godders, a ride on mower which had languished in his garden ‘for a while’. We spent a day or so get it going by mainly by-passing the ‘safety features’, cleaning out the fuel and sticking a new plug in it. Eventually, with the obligatory screwdriver across the solenoid it rorted into a noisy clammer suggesting it may be grass-worthy and so we promply set about forcibly evicting the Zulus from the long grass that had become the lawn! Predictably, as we started doing very well, the plot soon disappeared under white smoke and eventually the drive belt to the cutters broke. Now that has been replaced along with a tyre we are back in business but three things are clearly apparent. It isn’t designed to cut grass and weeds over three foot in one go, driving a ride-on is not therapeutic and the Zulus are mad as hell especially as the main field has been cut for hay as well. Next up is the installation of a comfy seat, Ghetto blaster and glass holder, in the meantime we are still raking up the cut grass! It does have collector thing but to be honest it currently fills in about ten yards and most of it goes over, what I believe in modern parlance is called, ‘the operative’. Well that will do for the moment and we promise to try and get back to a four-six week edition in future. We’ve had a general update where necessary in the pages bit but if we’ve missed something please let us know. If you are arranging a balloon meet next year, reckon you know of an Old & Rusty event or are having an impromptu do let us know and we’ll stuff on the events page. Main pic is John ‘Abo’ Allan about to head off to Felixstowe to send his hardworking bike home. Claire is still in bed! Always a treat to get a visit from The Barry who called in for a checkup on his new balloon. “Marvellous!” exclaimed John, “best raise a glass then!” Well, far from rusty but definitely needing inclusion is this wonderous Burrell Traction engine built by Chris Smart showing you that when its wet and windy you don’t have to hibernate! Now he just needs to get it grubby. Anyway down a scarp slope with a dog, thanks for dropping by. All the best from John, Jane, Polly the Collie and Chris.