Saturday, 5 April 2014

Will it be tonight?

The morning dawned coolish, over-cast, but the air was calm. Would the long awaited evening appointment actually happen? At least 7 or even 8 dates having already failed to materialise, cross fingers, close eyes and make a wish. Checked the weather forecast, our corner of the world seems to be sitting between two fronts - is that good? 
Take a stroll around the garden with a view to seeing what flowers are showing their faces - but can't help noticing what is happening overhead. May be, just may be, tonight will be the night.

Frittillaria meleagris - snake's head fritillary
Just a handful of these little charmers were planted several years ago, now they have multiplied beyond all recognition.
Having negative thoughts as we leave home and drive off down our steep hill
It's only a five minute journey, but will we just turn around and drive straight home following yet another abortive attempt?
Suddenly, it's begining to look very promising
Have the two fronts met? 
The kit arrives; strangely I'm not nervous 
It's all hands on deck and suddenly.....
......we have lift off!
"Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?
We could float among the stars together, you and I 
For we can fly we can fly."
Our 'five valleys' lie below - but it appears that everyone else has travelled a great distance to be present
That's Laurie Lee's Slad Valley - from up here it looks curiously flat. An arrow points to the Woolpack Inn where he would hold court recounting stories from his past, and one pointing to the church where he now lies.
The city of Gloucester in the distance and the Malvern Hills guarding the approach to Wales
Me and my shadow!
skimming over trees
 rooftops
and fields
As the evening sunlight sinks behind the hills
A gentle landing, a glass of champagne and home - mission accomplished!

74 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:

    You are so BRAVE. And what a wonderful experience in reward for such bravery. This is a real adventure and we are so pleased that, finally, all the right conditions came together for you. Was it, we wonder, to mark a special occasion?

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - I can honestly say that no bravery is required at all. A bit of apprehension before hand, but after you have managed to clamber into the basket, lift off seems to happen straightaway. Before you know it you are up in the sky floating away. It is so peaceful, calm and relaxing, I would definitely recommend it.
      Yes, it was to celebrate my birthday. However, since it was booked I have had a subsequent birthday, and this year's too is already looming.

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  2. Hello Rosemary, Making this aerial tour was quite an adventure. The photos of your valleys are beautiful and dramatic, but please tell us what it felt like riding in a balloon. --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - it was very quiet, peaceful and calm apart from the odd blast from the LPG (liquid petroleum gas) cylinders of which he used 200 litres. There was no sensation of moving, and we seemed to travel quite swiftly. It was great, and I would throughly recommend it if you have an opportunity.

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  3. A fabulous post, and wonderful photos...but I am afraid I am not the slightest bit envious...this would be my idea of hell. I even felt a little ill looking at the photos taken from inside that basket. Mark took a balloon ride over the Valley of Kings on the Nile a few years ago.....and I could not watch. I admire you pluck, and of course your photographic skills though. I am sure you had a wonderful time. Jx

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    1. I am sure that you would find it much easier than you imagine - I am not particularly a brave soul. When we were in Cappadocia last November, there were balloon ride opportunities but we knew we had this unfilled one in hand. One lady was terrified but we all encouraged her, and she went. On her return she couldn't stop talking about it or smiling.

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  4. How exciting for you all Rosemary! Though I don't think I would have the nerve to do it! Did you make it all up yourselves from a kit?
    Spectacular views!

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    1. We were in the hands of an expert licensed Balloonist, but we all gave a helping hand in unfolding the huge balloon, and getting it off the carrying vehicle.

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  5. Fantastic. Especially over your home turf where you can view places that you recognise from a new angle. Some wonderful shots, glad the landing was smooth too!

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    1. We had hoped to fly over our own house and garden, but the prevailing wind was in the wrong direction, may be next time!!! We would love to have seen our topiary from the air.

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  6. awesome!!!!! we a-l-m-o-s-t got the chance to ride while in Kenya over the masa marai....BUT, the winds blew wrong and our ride was cancelled and we left the next morning. I really need to do this sometime----your photos are amazing.

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    1. That is typical isn't it - we are prisoners to the weather when taking a balloon flight. Yes, do give it another try, it is a wonderful sensation.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment.

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  8. What a beautiful journey and how great to get to see the places that you know so well for such a different perspective, thank you for sharing with us!! xx

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    1. It was very exciting to finally have lift off Amy - glad you enjoyed seeing the aerial shots.

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  9. Great post, Rosemary. I especially love your aerial shots. I'd love to do that one day, but I don't know if I'll get the chance. I might not be brave enough. ;) Anyway, I hope you have (or had) a lovely birthday.

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    1. 18 months late for the original birthday Marie, but pleased to finally have the trip. If you get the chance you must give it a try - no bravery needed.

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  10. What a wonderful experience..and such a lovely landscape to fly over. BTW Those snakes head flowers are so trippy!

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    1. Revealing how much I am out of touch, I had to look up trippy - and yes, I agree, they are cool!
      It was a great and memorable trip.

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  11. Oh Rosemary, you made fly and it was so exciting!!!!! Gorgeous photos from above.A little scary for me but certainly a unique and unforgettable experience!

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    1. Dear Olympia - you imagine that it will be scary, and require bravery, but it doesn't. You glide gently up from the ground and are in the tree tops before you realise it. I would recommend you give it a try if you have an opportunity.

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  12. What a wonderful way to see the area surrounding where you live - I'm not very good with heights so will take your word for it being a great experience.. Love the photos everything looks so different from up on high doesn't it.

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    1. Yes, I was particularly surprised to see how the Slad Valley looked flat - all its hills and undulations didn't show any depth.

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  13. Beautiful photos from above. What an experience, well done.
    Pretty flowers too.

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    1. Thanks, we have been waiting a long while, but worth it.

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  14. I should imagine this is as close as a human can get to the feeling of flight. I am glad you were given such a wonderful gift.

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    1. It is a strange sensation - as you take off you have to hold on to rope handles and bend your knees with your back to padding in the basket. Within seconds you are told to relax and there you are up in the sky.

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  15. Wonderful, Rosemary, I just floated through it twice - and loved it! We have visited your valley via your excellent photos, all so lovely. Little girls face is filled with the wonder of it all - priceless! I doubt I will ever do ballooning, as I hate heights and get dizzy, but thank you for sharing, and I'm glad the weather finally got it right and you succeeded in your flying machine.

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    1. It is a strange thing but you don't get that feeling of heights and vulnerability that you do on top of a building. You are just up there sailing gently through the world and it actually feels really good and not at all scary.

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  16. A wonderful post! This does look so exciting and how fascinating to see your five valleys from above. I wonder if you learnt something new about your local area from the trip. Your photos are super, such beautiful views.

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    1. Thank you Wendy - we learnt that there are even more secret little valleys here than we ever realised, and in fact how much less we understand the area than we thought we did.

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  17. You brave, brave souls!!! What an adventure. I am super terrified of heights so this is an exhilarating treat! Breathtaking views, Rosemary!

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    1. Dear Loi - I am not brave, really it took no bravery at all - it is just the thought of it which is scary, and it is not at all. We met a lady in Turkey who was like you, we all persuaded her to take a balloon ride in Cappadocia - she returned from it all smiles and unable to talk about anything else for the rest of the holiday.

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  18. WOW!
    What an awesome experience.....beautiful pictures!
    Good for you Rosemary....
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Good word for it Linda - awesome.

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  19. You had a glorious evening for your flight over a very beautiful area of the country and it must have been interesting to see it from that high perspective as you looked down and across. I liked seeing the view of the distant Malvern Hills and the evening light on the woods.

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    1. It was lovely on Friday evening - perfect weather for it - I want to do it again.

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  20. What a wonderful experience, an adventure that is certainly on my list of maybe one day. :)

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    1. Take it off the maybe list, and put it on the definite list Linda.

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    2. Dear Rosemary,what a great post,and what a wonderful experience!!!Gorgeous pictures!!
      Beautiful landscapes and so preety flowers from your garden!!I really enjoyed your post!!
      Wish you a lovely week!!
      Dimi...

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    3. Thanks Dimi - it was a very memorable experience and lovely to see our little corner of the world from the air.

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  21. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! I think it was last year that you mentioned that you had something planned that hadn't materialised and even before that I had a premonition that WFVM would be taking us up in a hot air balloon. The views are spectacular. Wonderful Rosemary, a cracking post!

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    1. You are very perceptive Mr. Paul - this trip was for my birthday in 2012 so at long last the gift has been relinquished.
      Glad you enjoyed seeing the views. I didn't think that my little camera would come up with the goods in quite the way it has - they were better than I imagined.

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  22. Dear Rosemary,

    I can actually imagine what you experienced because I took a balloon ride about 25 years ago, though my expeience was in a much smalled basket. And for me it was bravery, because I have acrophobia! But I was glad to have had the experience, and gliding over trees and feeling the rush of cool air from them made me appreciate so much more how we need to be their good stewards.

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    1. I found it a very pleasing experience and would happily do it again. We would like to have flown over our garden but that was not to be - they do fly over us quite regularly, but the wind was in the wrong direction.
      We actually hit the tops of one or two trees, which added a bit of excitement, but I assumed that they knew what they were doing!!!

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  23. NOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo!
    I can't look!
    Honestly, I would have been curled in a ball at the bottom of the basket - I can only cope with small thrills!

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    1. You could surprise yourself - it's a gently thrill.

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  24. Woooow, what a great surprise, I was wondering at the beginning of the post what you were waiting for , but never would have guessed this ! You are a woman of courage, I would probably not have gone on board :-))) But the view and the shots are stunning.

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    1. Dear Jane - no courage involved - just the climbing in and out of the basket was the hardest task. It is a very quiet, calm and relaxed experience.

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  25. Oh - you lucky, lucky woman! You must have floated over my old house, on the Slad Road leading down to Stroud. I recognise some of those views - although have never seen them from that angle!

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    1. I was really surprised how the Slad Valley seemed so much more shallow than it is in reality.

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  26. Oh, wow!! I love hot air balloons and once wanted to go up but never did. I'm afraid that now I might be afraid to do so. Oh what beautiful sights you had from above and your pictures are fantastic. How long were you in the air?

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    1. We were in the air for about 1½ hours, and you would not be afraid because there is nothing to be afraid of. If the opportunity arises for you to try it out, please do.

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  27. Oh wow Rosemary. I thought the photo's from your garden looked lovely, but the ones taken from the balloon look even better!! It must have been so exciting to see the world from above. How pretty the English countryside looks. Would love to follow your example one day!

    Happy week!

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief - If you have the opportunity to take a balloon flight then please do - you will not regret it. It is peaceful, quiet, very relaxing and an unforgetable experience. I would love to do it again.

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  28. What an adventure. You are very brave.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. People think that it is brave, but it is not - it is a very tranquil, peaceful experience flying through the sky and also beautiful.

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  29. What a perfect time of day and weather for such a magical ride, Rosemary. Certainly an experience well worth waiting for. I know from what my sister told me how very long one can wait after booking for one's turn to come and the conditions to be just right. It's something i'd love to do myself one day, especially if I could land having taken such beautiful photos as you've shown us here.

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    1. We bought the vouchers over 18 months ago for my birthday, and I am now nearly 2 years older!!! We tended to try and book a flight near to a special occasion or when we thought that the countryside would be looking good. This year we finally learnt our lesson, and decided that we would keep booking a new date every week until one finally materialised. It only took us three bookings to get the trip. We now know the ropes if an opportunity ever arises again.
      Glad that you enjoyed the photos, they turned out better than I imagined.

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  30. Wow it must have been amazing experience to see your area from a completely different viewpoint and especially after waiting so long to do it! It is one of the things I would love to do! It was lovely also to see parts of your landscape on Countryfile at the weekend too. Sarah x

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    1. The item on Laurie Lee was almost the same as my post - cant say that I am all that well acquainted with HRH but she does live just a few fields away.
      You must take a balloon ride Sarah - I think that you are the first person to say they would like to do it without any hesitation. You would love it.

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  31. Oh my heavens, Rosemary. What a marvelous adventure. I wonder if I would have the gumption? An unforgettable experience for sure. Oh how I envy you - I think. :) (Yeah, yeah, I'm afraid of heights.)

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    1. Dear Yvette - if you have the opportunity, then do it. It takes no gumption, and you do not get the sensation of height that you get when you are on top of a hight building . You just feel at one with nature - free as a bird.

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  32. Your first pictures reminded me of how my fascination of hot air balloons started when I learnt all about the first flight at school! The evening light is wonderful in your pictures. The size of the balloon looks huge! I hope you have another opportunity to have another ride! Sarah x

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    1. You must try it out Sarah - you are one of the few people who have not said that it look scary or needed bravery. I am sure you would love flying over your coastline.

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  33. More gorgeous pictures of an amazing experience Rosemary!

    The Fritillaria are doing so well in your garden. Mine haven't multiplied that much yet, but then again, that's our garden, it's a difficult garden for any plant to survive, so I'm already glad if a plant just doesn't disappear. Fritillaria have been coming back year after year so far.
    Don't you have Lily beetles attacking the Fritillaria? There are numerous of these little warriors in our garden this year, eating leaves and flowers alike.

    Marian

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    1. I have been looking for Lily beetles but haven't seen any yet - no doubt they will be appearing soon. I have never noticed them on my Fritillaria they usually tend to go for my turks cap lilies.

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  34. What an adventure. I'm surprised by how large the basket seems to be, is that the standard size?

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    1. I think perhaps the basket is a large one - it held 14 people including 2 pilots. you can also get much smaller ones that hold only two.

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  35. Hi Rosemary! Did I put my comment in the wrong post? I can't see it, so I'm going to look for it in the previous post!

    CIAO!

    ANNA

    xxx

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    1. You commented on the latest post Anna and I have replied♡

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  36. Oh this is my dream! Beautiful adventure and photos.

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    1. Thank you for your visit Agnieszka - it is certainly something that I can recommend to you if you have the opportunity. It creates magical moments as you sail through the sky.

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