April 24th, 2006 at 01:07pm
As you would probably be aware, Nattie & I went down to the lawns in front of Old Parliament House on Sunday morning for the final morning of the 2006 Canberra Balloon Fiesta. This was something Nattie & I had been planning on doing ever since the “Circus of the air” hot air balloon festival around Canberra Day. Normally the Balloon Fiesta is held in the week leading up to Canberra Day, but this year it was moved to the autumn school holidays as an experiment.
Anyway, at 5am I got out of bed, after having no sleep but instead listening to John Kerr on 2CC whilst keeping warm with a hot water bottle. At about 5:15 I gave John a call and had a chat with his lovely producer Leonie, before having a chat with John.
At 5am it was about -2°C, and it warmed up slightly to hover around the -1°C – 0°C mark for the next couple of hours.
At 5:35 Nattie and I left for our walkies, and by 6am we were walking along Commonwealth Avenue, which is a little bit ahead of where we were last time we walked to the hot air balloons. Unfortunately John’s show ran into the news and there wasn’t any time for him to play “Good Morning Good Morning”, so I sang it anyway.
As we crossed Lake Burley Griffin on the Commonwealth Avenue bridge, we stopped to look out over the lake. It was still quite dark, with just a little bit of light in the sky, but the camera did a good job of “over exposing” the image to produce a brighter picture.
As we got closer to the Balloon Fiesta, Nattie could smell the breakfast being cooked, and started to pull harder on the lead in an effort to get there quicker. We arrived at the event and heard Mike Frame acting as the master of ceremonies, and walked over to the stage to say hello to him. After that we went to the food tent and got some breakfast. We chose the bacon, egg and toast breakfast, with a cup of coffee.
I ate the egg, but Nattie insisted on having some toast. She also insisted on licking the plate when we were finished.
This photo is rather interesting in that we have two inflated hot air balloons, some inflating hot air balloons, plenty of bystanders (including Mike Frame bottom left, and new MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) Andrew Barr bottom centre), Mount Ainslie in the background, and the dome of the war memorial directly below the peak of Mount Ainslie and just poking up above the roof of the car.
As the balloons continued to inflate, Mike Frame and Susan (I’m not sure of the exact relationship, although I’m sure I’ve heard Mike mention her name on 2CC) posed for a photo. Mike is holding a Canberra Balloon Fiesta mug.
It floated around for a while, and seemed to be heading in the general direction of the pond in front of Old Parliament House, thankfully there were plenty of balloon staff on hand to guide it away from the pond.
It was about 7:15am, and Mike Frame gave David Young a call on 2CC’s “David Young’s Garden” programme. David lives in Yarralumla, and Mike said he could see David’s house, he also tested out his “Frame in the Plane” traffic reporting ability by correctly indentifying Parliament House. Incidentally, Mike was in the Doma Hotels balloon. People in Canberra may recall that Doma Hotels did some skywriting a couple years ago. Between 7am and 8am the temperature rose to 1°C.
Nattie and I then started to walk home, whilst listening to David Young’s Garden on the radio. As we reached the Commonwealth Avenue bridge we saw some of the hot air balloons. Unfortunately the lens had some moisture on it, and part of the camera strap in front of it, but if you look to the left of the middle lamp post you will see a red and white hot air balloon, with another balloon above it, which looks a bit like a “patchwork art” balloon.
A short time later the Doma Hotels Balloon came down in Yarralumla, maybe they really did land in David Young’s Garden! Of course it is also possible that they merely floated at low altitude before taking off again, but it appeared to be down from where Nattie & I were on Commonwealth Avenue.
Nattie and I got home around 8am. Nattie went back to bed, and I had a cup of coffee.