The Pig Yard

August 2002 @ the Pigyard...

Sometimes a month goes by and although it has been busy we haven't been too conscientious about recording events on camera. August was just such a month. Steve took a week off work and had great plans as to what he was going to complete but his ambitions were beyond what he could realistically achieve.

The week spent in the garden was not a complete waste of time and Steve managed to clear the ground for the timber decking, buy the timber and take the preliminary steps to plan how it would be constructed. Over the following weekends we managed to get to grips with a level framework which would be strong enough to withstand the weight of some of our heavier friends.
On the 15 August our friends Martin and Kate opened their latest venture in the shape of the Small Plaice Art Gallery. Martin's work is either surreal or abstract and he was happy to show some of Jane's work so she has taken to painting again with enthusiasm. She has several works available with
The Northampton Festival was a combination of the Northampton show and the Balloon Festival. Instead of the usual 90 balloons numbers had been limited to 70. The Ballooning Business had 4 balloons flying - Central Autos, NAPS, Wrangler and Red Letter. Jane captured 3 out of the 4 in this picture. Steve was flying the Red Letter day balloon, a Cameron A250 attached to the 180 basket so there was plenty of spare lift in the very hot and sticky conditions.

At least once over the weekend we ended up at the Super Sausage on St Leonard's Road for breakfast. The sausage and mushroom baps, laced with HP sauce are to die for, especially when they are washed down with large mugs of tea. As you can see from the smiling faces the flying was good and the breakfast had lived up to expectations.

Jane stowed away on the Friday evening flight in the pilot's compartment and took some excellent pictures of the other balloons and the Northampton townscape. We didn't fly far, finally landing on Harlestone Golf club with permission from the green keeper before we finally landed on the fairway. Neither of us are golfers so it was difficult to tell where it was safe to land without upsetting anyone so we were pleased to get a positive response from the man on the ground.
The event would not be the same without the special shapes but this year had fewer than normal and several people have commented how disappointed they were with the lack of special shapes. Bertie Bassett has taken up the role of crowd-puller where Rupert the Bear left off. Special shapes need very stable conditions to fly and this can be a problem in British weather conditions. Perhaps the advertising value of special shapes has run its course and in a time of economic downturn companies are not prepared to invest up to £100,000 in such a high risk venture.

During the festival weekend Graham, alias Cecil B, had his new video grafted onto his right eye. Not only was it an opportunity for him to capture the whole event it also meant he didn't have to do some the of the heavy lifting associated with balloon crewing. We watched the video on the following wet and windy Saturday evening. It's always enlightening to watch yourself on video and this was no exception.
Twice in the latter part of the month Steve's brother and his friend Martha visited us while they were on a whistle stop tour of the country. In a few weeks they travelled from Heathrow to Cornwall to Northampton to Newcastle to Edinburgh Fringe back to Northampton, on to Esher and then to London before flying back to San Francisco. He has almost learned to travel the American way - today London, tomorrow St Petersburg. We spent a good day going for a cycle ride and generally putting the world to rights. Martha was so impressed with Jane's new bike that she went and bought one for herself. Getting it back to the USA was another story but apparently American Airlines do not charge for transporting bicycles.
During this month we decided that we do not use the Terrano sufficiently on balloon retrieves to warrant the poor fuel economy throughout the year so we are going to review the market during the Autumn and replace it with something which can still pull the balloon trailer off road and give higher mpg. If anyone has any experiences, even second hand, of Landrover Freelanders then please let us know what you think.

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