Ballooning in Bristol

This is a very delayed post for which I apologise. I returned home to a flurry of washing/drying because Katie was going away again the next day with a friend and her parents. The day Katie left I decided (no idea why) to have a massive clear out in my bedroom and then, of course, there were the numerous phone calls catching up on family and friends.

Added to that I returned home with a burning desire to complete some WIPs. While it is good to have several projects on the go to avoid boredom I have several too many so I’m on a mission.

But back to the lovely Bristol, our second stop, which holds a special place in my heart. I lived there for 16 years and loved every minute. If you’re wondering why I moved down here it was so my children could have the same childhood I had. Days on the beach in the icy sea or on Dartmoor in an icy river. Playing in the woods, building dens, falling off rope swings. That sort of thing. And they did have, but I still love Bristol and go there as often as I can.

We were so lucky that our stay coincided with the amazing Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Hot air balloons are inextricably linked in my mind with Bristol. So many times I heard the familiar roar of the burner and rushed to the window to see a balloon suspended in the evening sky like an aerial sculpture. And how magical it was when one was landing near our house so that it was low enough over our garden to have a conversation with the people in the basket. I ADORE hot air balloons.

After leaving the potteries museum we zoomed down the motorway, checked into our hotel, admired the gorgeous view from our bedroom window….

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and jumped back into the car to go to the Balloon Fiesta.

It did not disappoint. The weather was perfect and the atmosphere was electric. There was a mini ascent while we waited for the main attraction – the night glow and fireworks.

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Kevin refused to turn around much to everyone’s disappointment.

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I managed to catch this one as it went overhead.

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The wind took them right across the top of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and over Bristol city centre. The bridge is just behind the trees on the left of the picture and the pilots were taking the balloons right down to the level of the bridge before rising up again to fly over the city. Lucky, lucky people.

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Katie and I had a lovely potter around the stalls, the craft tent and the food vendors until we settled in our position for the night glow. 30 tethered balloons inflate at the same time around the arena and use their burners to light their balloons in time to music. I took a couple of pictures but didn’t want to miss out on the experience by peering into my phone waiting for the perfect shot.

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I have found a video uploaded to YouTube of the whole night glow from someone who must have been standing very near to us, thank you Gareth Croft. My favourite bit is 6:20 into the video.

Katie said it was the best bit of her holiday and I would have to agree.

The next day after a picnic breakfast of croissant and iced coffee sitting beside the river we headed back into Bristol for some Shaun in the City. Two years ago we did the Gromit trail so I really wanted to see the Shauns. Unfortunately Katie wasn’t very enthusiatic, it was hot and busy and she’s at that funny age (13) where you can never be sure what she’ll enjoy. I managed to coax her round a few but sometimes you have to know when you’re beaten so we went for a pizza instead!

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We drove out of Bristol to coincide with the Balloon Fiesta mass ascent which is the most amazing sight. I didn’t take any pictures but I’ve found a couple on the internet from previous years so you can get an idea of the scale. Balloons as far as the eye can see.

And so ended our lovely road trip. The journey back from Bristol was spent planning next year’s so I hope in another year Katie still wants to do this sort of thing with me.

Since I’ve been home I’ve been working feverishly on the Festival Fun Blanket and it is very nearly finished. Hurrah.

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