About Me

My photo
Book out now on amazon! Buy, read, enjoy, tell your friends, buy a spare copy.

Monday, 19 October 2015


Hot air ballooning actually happened. 
Sometime ago now but I had to cancel writing this blog post four times before actually writing it. Little hot air ballooning joke for you there. Us balloonists laugh at these things. 
There are few things worth getting out of bed at 4-30am for. Perhaps a house fire but otherwise it's almost always better to stay put. But if you ever get the chance to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon then leap out of bed. Or wait, go at sunset and imagine it in reverse. 

This spot of hot air ballooning came courtesy of my friend Emma who had been given it as a Christmas present from her mother a couple of years ago. The idea is that you ring the ballooning people about 8 hours before the flight and they tell you whether it will go ahead or not. Our trip was rearranged 4 times and was put on hold when I left the country for 6 months, so neither of us has really factored in that it would ever actually happen. Therefore the fact that Emma wasn't well didn't really worry us as we were convinced the flight wouldn't happen. 
And then it did. 
And Emma couldn't come and it was too late to cancel. So myself and another friend used the flight - Happy Christmas Emma! 
Oh but it's magnificent. Although I am terrified of flying I felt no fear being a few thousand feet up in a wicker basket with a flame thrower. The only slight moment was when we crossed Luton Airports flight path and the balloon pilot kept pointing out the planes above us and telling us that we didn't show up on radar. Not really something I needed to know, but what was I going to do? Get out? 
What was strange was how quiet it was. You couldn't hear motorway or traffic noise, you could occasionally hear pigs as we flew over farmyards (loud bastards) but mainly it was just quiet. It was also gave me a good chance to see how many giant trampolines there are - answer: tons. It would seem that if you have a back garden you are obliged to have an enormous trampoline taking up most of it. 
We floated around for about an hour. We were steered mainly by the wind and then depending on where we ended up we had to look for somewhere to land. We found a field and then hunkered down for landing. It was all remarkably smooth and we then wandered around in a field until a minibus appeared to pick us up. We then toasted ourselves with champagne and were given certificates. We thoughtfully got one for Emma but changed it to reflect her non participation. 
If you get the chance to do it then go for it. There really is nothing like it. 

So What Have You Been Up To?

There are few phrases that inevitably strike fear in to someone's heart. 
"Did you manage to get all that done for the meeting this morning?" (Meeting? What meeting? What was I doing for it?) 
"Let's go round the circle and get to know each other. Tell us something interesting about yourself" (I am not interesting and I doubt you are either, let's just keep quiet). 
"Come to my interpretive dance show! It's very emotional". (No.)

But the one that is said more often than any other is one that I also fling at other people. "So what have you been up to?" 
To be fair it's a fairly reasonable conversation opener. It implies (faked or otherwise) interest in the person's life and it allows them to go in to as much or as little detail as they like. I chuck it around like it's going out of business, but when it's turned on me I have absolutely no idea what to say. I think my reticence comes from giving up a full time job to freelance and write. I feel like I should in some way defend this decision. I also feel that I should some how explain how I spend my days (I sometimes go to work, I sometimes sit in my pyjamas and write, I spend too much time on buzzfeed). Ultimately I feel that I haven't really done anything. Much like everyone else. 
So what is up with me?
 I have got very in to crumpets. 
I keep accidentally going on holiday. 
It would seem that I celebrated the arrival of spring by burying all my jumpers somewhere. Winter is coming and I am cold. 
I witnessed a car accident which is now going to court. I had to draw an account of what happened. The picture is so bad the crash investigators are going to have their work cut out trying to establish what happened. 
I have yet to unpack from holiday. 
I have successfully avoided going to any interpretive dance shows. 
How about you? What have you been up to?