Welcome indeed and we trust you and yours are keeping well, staying safe and the garden looks grand. All sorts are going on at the moment so apologies for the delay in the appearance of the June edition.
Easy Balloons and Covid 19 update
Currently we remain closed and are not planning to carry out any inspections or repairs until July 1st, at the earliest, when we will revue the situation. We realise that a return to balloon flying is now in progress and that solo flying and same-household flights are now permitted. If you choose to take advantage of this and require an inspection please use another inspector plan, your flight thoroughly and take great care. We have now issued a COVID-19 guide for inspecting for both our customers and inspectors which is reproduced as an article elsewhere and is free to copy and use as required. It has been tried and seems to be working well. Some of our inspectors are now inspecting but not all. We are now processing the paperwork as required. We probably won’t be flying this year or at least until the rules concerning social distancing change dramatically. For us things have been complicated as a result of HS2 preventing access to the field behind the workshop and the Black Horse being closed. We have been trying to find a new inspection field but this is proving very difficult in the current circumstances. With the latest Government relaxation of lock-down restrictions we have seen things in our area go haywire with a huge increase in visitor numbers, which is rather worrying. Over the past weekend there have been two fires caused locally by barbeques, one on a local farmers’ land and one on Coombe Hill, the local beauty spot. On top of this the level of rubbish and litter from picnicing has increased dramatically. As a result the feelings of the local community, including the farmers, is not good. Personally, having discussed it at some length, we have taken the decision to wait and see whether or not there will be a spike, localised or not, in the coming weeks and, as we have said, revue the situation on July 1st. Please remember that there is no problem with the CofA or ARC expiring and once measures allow you to feel comfortable about going flying again, if we are in a position to do so, we will do all we can to help.
Stuff in this edition
In the News this time round is same old same old. The CAA have published a statement saying that they can’t offer any financial support to the industry by reducing or cutting costs and charges but can now offer payment plans which is great seeing’s most fees for annual services have been paid already. Never mind, nice thought. The British Balloon & Airship Club have produced a raft of stuff on the return to flying which can be found on their website some of which we’ll post in the News. The guide to harvesting allotment goodies is coming along but some of the produce is getting eaten early by mice, pheasants and me before it is really getting anywhere! In the Articles bit we continue with Jane’s dad’s celebrations which have come thick and fast. Firstly we had a truly great VE Day road celebration with plenty of social distancing and fizz followed by the celebration of his getting off the beach at Dunkirk which went equally wobbly. Thankfully he wasn’t at the D-Day landings, preferring the heat of north Africa, so we can at least have a week off. We have published in full the stuff we sent to our inspectors regarding inspecting balloons under COVID-19 restrictions. This is in two parts, a Guide for the Inspectors and a Guide for the owner/operator. If you want to use any of it or pass it on feel free. Lastly on a very sad note Steve Burden’s partner Geli passed away on 29th May and long time balloonist Peter Langford, at the stately age of 91, on 25th May. Sad times indeed.
In the Dark Barn
Now the workshop lottie is going well attention has turned to sorting the Dark Barn, or rather some of its contents, out. First off was the removal and rebuild of the rather splendid wood lathe acquired a couple of years ago. It is now awaiting a couple of bearings and new belt and sits all nearly assembled on the workshop floor. It is very heavy! Also dug out were two lathes. My first (from a long time ago) most of which took a fair bit of finding. I did eventually find the stand in the loft above the tank testing area and the main bits (in a very poor way) buried in the shed at home! The other is a small engineering one that was Edward’s until a larger model came along which does all appear to be there and not quite as rusty. Both are going to take a fair amount of work to get going again but as we reckon my original is about 1920, and made of proper metal, early poking about suggests that all will be well. There is also a large scale sort out in progress, nowhere near the magnitude of the Zebedee extravaganza which seems to have resulted in everything on the June List being sold by Pete Bish but quite exciting nonetheless. Amazingly it is throwing up stuff that seemed to escape the HS2 clear out a few years ago. I even found two brand new fanbelts for the rare Bedford TK 300 petrol engine! They’ll go on ebay. Also three inflation fans I didn’t know were there. As a result of creating the workshop lottie the front of the Dark Barn has become a bit of a pallet recycling centre. Time is flying by I have to say with the ‘needs to be done list’ growing ever longer. Anyway, digging with an old fork, apologies for the covertedus content (need a day off from it) but check out the news as there is a fair bit of useful stuff in it and the articles which will be up in the next couple of days. Next month we will probably be a week late (again!) on account of reviewing our situation. So best regards and stay safe and well from John, Jane Polly and Crhis. Top piccie is a recent piccie of the lottie. Middle is lovely Geli and her horse and finally my rather dilapidated lathe about to be attacked by wire wheels, Emery paper and Percy Verance.