Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Trust me - that little blob hovering top-left of the picture is a hot air balloon.  In the interests of a better composition I have cut off the landscape below so you can't tell that it is passing over an unprepossessing industrial estate on the outskirts of Welshpool and heading at the whim of the wind who knows where.

Saturday morning  in the small mountain kingdom was gorgeous. Blue sky as above; warm and balmy, an archetypal autumn day. Good to be alive etc.

The Glam Ass and I head off to Welshpool which lies perhaps 4 miles to the west. We see as we begin to drop down off the Long Mountain that the Severn Valley is full of mist. This isn't unusual - we often are bathed in sunshine while the valleys below us on either side are fog-bound. It's actually quite pretty today; ribbons of fine pale cloud hang above the meandering river - a gauzy drifting film.

What's that? Over there....'Oh look! It's a balloon!' But not one, or two or three or four. I count 13, some of them so low I think they must be almost touching roofs and trees. But no, they float over the town and northwards rising to go over the hill called the Rhallt. A small plane coming into Welshpool 'airport' (yes, folks we have one of those but easyJet haven't found it yet) is mightily confused and fortunately is able to do circuit after circuit until its path is clear to land.

What a wonderful day to travel by balloon - I am most envious.....until I spot that the pilot above is not in a basket - he or she seems to be suspended in some sort of harness. Oooo er! I'm not that brave.

The sky stays blue - it's a day to spend in the garden. Over in Badnage Wood there's a lot of bird activity. A Jay squawks occasionally, a couple or three Buzzards soar over the trees mewing to each other. Then Ravens, big and black as night fly up out of the conifers, their cries metallic barking 'gronks'. They roll and tumble acrobatically in the sky; dropping, twisting and rising in unison. Such a joyous display - such dancing partners.
I am reminded of the birds on Willow Pattern ware:

Imagine if you can black birds against a blue sky instead of 'blue' birds on a white jug...

The jug is the ancestral milk jug which graced the breakfast tables of my childhood and was filled with fresh milk brought in a can from the dairy down the road. Milk bottles on the table were 'common' and came later anyway. But that is another story.


Jayne said...

Would love a trip in a balloon but would want the pilot firmly placed in the basket with me! what a delight to see so many together.
Hoping for some more bright autumnal weather as I need to catch up in the garden on my adjacent low mountain.
Willow pattern always looks nice and never dates a lovely jug.

Frances said...

Mountaineer, I so enjoyed reading this post, and thinking about how beautiful blue can be, and what it might be like to float against a blue sky with the help of a big balloon, or even the help of a pair or wings.

Thank you!

Cro Magnon said...

We have a balloon trip booked for next summer; yes we really do have to book that far in advance as we need 3 to accommodate all our neighbours who wish to go with us!

her at home said...

gosh yes NEVER EVER a milk bottle on a table in our house either. When we lived in England there was an international hot air balloon festival every year and we would stand and in the garden and watch them all arrive to land on the park.

Twiglet said...

We often see the odd balloon drifting over Corndon towards us - usually on the calmest most beautiful days. I imagine it to wonderful, floating over those hills and looking down on us from above.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

It sounds a perfect day ....
I find I've gone back to milk jugs . Tetra brics of milk tend to "glug" milk in unexpected directions .