Balloon Repair Station

Welcome 14.08.2023 – a return

Well what can we say? Time is trundling on and we need to get the Easy Balloons website back up to full strength so here we go, a mid-month edition with some bits and pieces that have gone unfinished for quite a while! First off, many will note that we have changed our opening days again. We are now open doors on Wednesdays on account of John’s good lady being poorly and him being a carer, plus lots of stuff non-ballooning that needs doing this end. That does not mean that we are not working other days if stuff is left with us, or if it is of an urgent nature. We are pleased to say that John’s missus is now making a slow but steady recovery. Good on her and a huge relief as there has been a fair bit of sadness so far this year already. I am pleased to say though that our Pete’s funeral was every bit as good as it could have been under the circumstances. More in the news bit. On top of everything else we were pretty shocked to hear about the tragic accident which resulted in the death of Peter Gregory. Truly dreadful and our deepest sympathies go out to all is friends and family.

Part of the reason we have cut our hours is that, to be perfectly blunt, the work isn’t there as it was. We have assisted in quite a few export Certificates of Airworthiness recently, which is not a good thing. Older balloons that fail the grab test are not being replaced as they used to be so every one we fail is one less we look after. The amount of ballooning and rate of which people are hanging up their gloves really is quite alarming and having listened to our customers, it is, mainly down to the debacle over the licensing. That is the main reason. Its a crying shame that the CAA chose not to consult with the BBAC but appoint two supposed ‘experts’ who, although in the BBAC, have not reflected the opinion or concerns of the majority of the BBAC members and the other UK balloonists. Sadly I think the rafts of additional paperwork and complexity will also make it a lot more difficult for future balloon pilots to get a licence. What truly does make me laugh is that they, having pushed for the new EASA style UK licence, are now trying to tweak it so that it is more like the old licence. If they achieve that then no doubt they will want a pat on the back for getting it like what the licence were in olden days. Yup, English out the window. As for the requirement for countless instructor only training flights it now seems the demon duo suggest that, after, possibly, as much as half a days online training, to appoint junior instructors who will then under the spirit of the requirement be able to instruct for the initial issue of the BPL. Bet they’ll be a certificate that you have to get signed. Oh, silly me, nearly forgot. Of course there will as it will have to be re-validated every year. Where does that leave the Instructor instructors? Well they will do the specific things that they will be required to do. Blinding. See, here’s the rub. The experts are independent of the BBAC and thus representing all the balloon pilots welfare, however the information is only currently available on the BBAC website in the members area. We’ll see what can be done about that. Checking back on the last proper Welcome note, unbelievably dated 22.11.2020, mainly to remind myself what we write about, I noted it seems we are starting a-fresh with the same rant then! Sorry. Check the News bit for more if you have the time or inclination or I can be arsed. Why the picture of the continuously moving HS2 earthworks in the back field? Well this is the embankment for HS2 being moved after it took four weeks to build. Pleased to say it was back again a couple of weeks later. The reason was very akin the licence revamp, pointless. Perhaps the experts are also doing a bit for HS2? Just a thought (o:

On a happier note our family has grown again. Mary had Willow on 27th September 2021, not quite in time to meet her great granddad Edward but did attend his funeral brightening the day up. Being largely feral she was walking at ten months and by the beginning of the year was riding and bringing her pony in. In this edition I really am hoping to get Edward’s Dunkirk story told. Sadly he passed away on 5th September 2021 (101) and was laid to rest in Wendover Churchyard accompanied by a bugler. No we didn’t bury the bugler with him, he came from Huddersfield and played the The Last Post. The prompt to get it out is that the last known Dunkirk veteran, Lawrence Churcher (102), passed away last week. For the first time in a long time Riis1, our adopted Little Ship will not be on the Veteran’s Cruise down the Thames this year but we may go and spectate for a change. Also should be a guide to saving money when you put a saintly hole or two in your envelope. I’m pretty certain there is also a piece penned by Mr Roake that has been in the out box for a while and there may be even the first edition of  ‘Stupid Things we’ve Done’. Who knows, but we will endeavour to get some stuff well and truly up even if there needs to be a Part 2 later.

Following on we are also clearing out equipment with a view to eventually retiring (some hope). First to go will be my nice Cameron 105 basket and lovely double Shadow burner. After that we’ll move onto the fans. Check the ‘For Sale’ pages for updates. Outside, one of the Corsas has been weighed in at a healthy, just shy of, two tons. When we Fore-loaded it onto the trailer for its last journey the springs fell off. It was rather jammed with mixed steel including a few thousand Cylinder Gauge screws! After all our Cold War lockdown (pseudonym for COVID) assault on the Dark Barn and getting into some sort of order I’m rather shocked to note it seems to have filled up again mainly with plumbing, boilers and stuff from Jane’s dad’s old house which we are gutting out prior to a substantial rebuild. Lime mortar and plaster turns ones’ hair into a matted mess, and as for white warpaint I look decidedly pasty. Having said that, ARO, the old Standard has come to the fore and is seriously close to being got running again. Next to go will be another Corsa but much emptier. Might even get it running and stick it on eBay for a laugh. Well that’ll do for now. Thanks for looking and best regards from Polly, John, Jane and Chris.

Main piccie is Willow, the latest grandchild on Toffee a couple of months ago followed by this one with her fetching in some random pony. Like her mother was, pretty fearless.