Mirande 25th July 2009
I also had a pair of swallows make a
nest in my garage.
Pica (my daughter's cat that lives here) wandered around watching
them, making some very strange
noises, presumably in frustration. She's incredibly agile, but there
was no way she was even going to get near to the nest, or their
favourite perch. After a few weeks she seemed to accept things, and
just watched them quietly.
I went to see some truck racing at a nearby race track. There was also
a truck display, with a 100 or more trucks on show. Here's a couple of
examples showing off some rather fine paintwork.
I've made 8 balloon flights in total this year, 5 with Bert, a balloon
I bought in 1977, and 3 with Carousel 2, which is even older, being
constructed in 1976. This is Carousel 2, the photo taken just a few
So now we are back to the swallows. I found some egg shells on my
bench so presumed that they had their babies and chucked out the egg
shells. I was able to see the babies themselves a
Mirande has a country music festival. I don't much like their brand of
country music and I can't understand why so many people like line
dancing, but they do get close to 200,000 visitors in total, not bad
for a town
of only 3,500 population! More importantly for me, they have a small
meet. Some people come a long way - the man in front below, with his
us, brought his balloon from Lille for example, in the very north of
2,000 km round trip. Here is a photo of one of the lunches.
Here are some of the balloons. I didn't take mine, the plan is to fly
every morning and evening for the 5 days, briefing at 7 am and often
not finishing dinner after the evening flight until after 11 pm. Too
hard for me, I can fly gently here whenever I want! They finished up
flying 9 times out of 10 possibilities. Someone worked out I was the
oldest active pilot in France, but that's not true. Olivier Roux
Devillas got his licence about a couple of months before me!
Another lunch. Luckily one of the pilots is a champagne producer, from
Rheims, and bought lots of examples of his very fine product with him.
Look out for Salmon champagne, it has a picture of the original
Montgolfière balloon on the label, blue and gold.
A couple more balloons.
I did see one set of fittings on a tank that frightened me. The owner
said he had bought the balloon in the US a year ago, from FireFly, and
that was how they normally supplied the tanks and fittings, and that he
had had no problems with them, and was happy with them. Note the
length of those fittings and
imagine the strain that would be put on the lower connection if someone
bumped heavily against the cross piece. It's not even protected by the
shroud, since that has been cut away. It is in the basket just like
that, totally open. And, as many on this circulation list know, it's
liquid propane in those tanks..........Since it's US made and
certified, then French registered and presumably certified, there's
nothing I can do about it. All I can say is, if it came to me like
that for annual it wouldn't get one.......I don't think I'd want to fly
Here's the stage, as seen from the VIP restaurant.
It was the 14th of July, France's most important bank holiday, so there
Communal lunches are superb. Last Saturday we held another, for our
hamlet which has 12 houses. As you can see, most of us were there.
All my neighbours. We went back in the evening to finish what was left
after lunch. Fortunately one of my neighbours has a restaurant in
Toulouse, he produced the food, and it was delicious.
And the swallows? The babies have flown. Here are two of them. The
first of the three seems somewhat braver, he
was the first to leave the nest, and rarely goes back into the garage.
These two have been returning for several days though and always sit
If you wind back to the very first photo in this update, you will note
that the adult swallows have reddish throats, the young ones don't yet
seem to have developed their red throats.
Continue on....... Get me outa here!