The Lost Weekend and other celebrations


It was all supposed to be happening this weekend. A long planned balloon flight, a week end family BBQ in Shropshire and meeting the daughter’s in-laws family once more.

But as usual the best laid plans turn to dust. Having booked our three times cancelled hot air balloon flight for 6.30pm and it was just over 90 miles away, you’d have thought 3 1/2 hours would be enough to cover the journey.  But I hadn’t counted on stonking sunshine and a car fire on the M3. We were stuck on that for ages, then crawled through Bracknell, all the time the time was eating away. The next part of the route was the M4, then the M40. However, the M4 was at a crawl, reason not known, then the approaches to the M40 at High Wycombe was also stuffed. So because it was now 5.40 and according to the sat-nav we were still an hour and a bit away, we decided we weren’t going to make it and decided to turn back. The balloon man wouldn’t wait for us so that was a good decision, in fact he phoned me just as we got in. However in the event it was more  appropriate than could be thought, because the exhaust decided soon after to come adrift from the car. Stopping and looking underneath, it looked like the exhaust was hanging by the connection to the engine alone. It seems some of the rubber bungees securing the exhaust to the car had decided to part company, perhaps in short space of time. I gingerly drove home, figuring because of the heavy traffic, we would wait some considerable time for a breakdown truck. The exhaust was banging about a bit but we made it home.

The next day we hunted around a few exhaust shops until we found one that had the right bungees, got them fitted and the exhaust checked, and we were all set. Trouble is by this time it was midday and a 3 1/2 journey was not an enticing prospect so we reluctantly phoned and cancelled the family BBQ visit. I gather they had a nice time and renewed family ties again. Meanwhile we had a weekend in the sun in the back garden including watching Andy Murray win the men’s singles. He did it in style and watching was full of tension, but ultimately I still find tennis a but of a nodding dog sort of spectacle to watch. I thought the other chap would win, but what do I know? As to Murray ‘deserving’ to be knighted, opinion in the media is sharply divided. Mine is that no, he’d got plenty of time, he’s only 26, and most of the current ‘celebrity’ knights/dames, i.e. sporting stars like Bradley Wiggins and Ben Ainslie, are a lot older and have garnered more titles and awards before being honoured. Similarly, pop stars and the like have usually been around for many years, so Murray should wait. Unfortunately the media groundswell and the statement by David Cameron that ‘he deserves’ to be so honoured, means that in all probability he will get the letter in the new year. If that happens, the worlds gone mad, and it’s ruled by lovers of celebrity who see the glad handing of things like honours as a fillip to their election hopes. Let’s hope the powers that be come to their senses.

Meanwhile on the traffic front, why does the whole world want to ruin Friday afternoons by breaking down or catching fire. This is not a flippant remark; modern cars have so much electrical equipment, indeed some cars are nothing but, and the miles of wiring and additional, and possibly incompetently installed, ‘extra’ equipment, could be why we are experiencing more and more vehicle fires, especially on motorways. Then to compound the hold up caused by the ‘incident’, those plastic motorway police block as many carriageways as they can and take forever to clear the road. I realise they’ve got to measure everything and observe every health and safety regulation, but is it entirely necessary to close the road for so long? Its as if they couldn’t care less how long people have to wait for the road to clear. Another rant I’m afraid. Todays world is getting more rantable every day.

On a lighter note, on 20th July it will have been one year since I wrote my first blog, so that’s a celebration of sorts, I suppose.  Can’t believe its been a year since I started on my Olympics odyssey as well. That year has gone remarkably quickly, and it will always provide happy memories for me. ‘Til later.

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About cliverh

Retired aerospace engineer, first with the Royal Air Force and then BAE Systems. Now enjoying a variety of activities and not getting bored. I was a Games Maker Volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics and a volunteer at the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. I intend to blog about what interests me.
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