FARMING MATTERS: Up, up and away in a beautiful hot air balloon

Flying in a hot air balloon
Flying in a hot air balloon

Over the years we’ve had several hot air balloons landing on our farm. The pilots are always very responsible, they look for a grass field without livestock in it and avoid landing on growing crops of corn.

We’ve always loved it whenever a balloon has landed, and when the children were small we used to race down to the field to watch as the voluminous balloon was gradually deflated and folded up.

This past week however, my husband and our daughter were on the other side of the coin. Our daughter requested a hot air balloon flight for her birthday present, and I insisted myhusband go with her, to make sure she didn’t fall out of the basket. He was only too willing, as he had been on a flight many years ago and loved it.

And so a date was set, then reset and reset again. The thing is, hot air balloon flights are obviously weather dependent, and generally take place only between May and October, and we had five dates cancelled at the last minute until finally it was all systems go!

The trip started over Oxford, the basket was massive, holding 16 guests plus the pilot. Everyone was involved in getting the balloon inflated and once in flight the pilot used a very modern GPS map and radio contact with Brize Norton air traffic control to plot the journey.

My daughter said it was like being a Borrower as everything below her looked so tiny. At the end of the flight everyone received a glass of champagne and a certificate, plus a memorable team photograph, taken in flight with the aid of a contraption very similar to a very long selfie stick!