Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Balloon Spectacular 2017

For a lot of the year, early risers in my city can often see a balloon or two drifting across the sky.  I welcome them each time I see them.
However, in March for about ten days the city goes a bit balloon mad.  Each year we have a Balloon Spectacular (which starts as Enlighten finishes) and up to fifty balloons are launched each day.  Bliss.  There is always at least one 'feature' balloon.  This year?  There were two.  A Hummingbird from California which was HUGE and lovely and a Smurf from Belgium which was less to my taste.  However it was a balloon.  And I love them.

Weather permitting they take off from the lawns of Old Parliament House, and as well as the fortunate riders, it has become a tradition for people to come along and watch them inflate and take off (another free treat).  This year the weather wasn't kind.  The balloons only took off twice in the entire festival.  However the skinny one, his sister and I were lucky enough to be there on one of those days.

My youngest brother is, like me, a balloon tragic.   Despite having already seen the balloons launch I went with him on the last day hoping for more joy.  Sadly this year he missed out.  Next year.
I understand using tragic as a noun in this way is peculiar to Australians.  Essentially it means an interest in something which some might consider has been taken to obsessional levels.  I love balloons.  I have flown in them (and mourn that I doubt I can clamber into the basket any longer) and seeing them always brightens my day.

On our successful venture we headed off, arriving at the launch venue just before dawn.  As is usual lots (and lots) of photos follow and will embiggen if clicked upon.

There was a full moon, some light cloud and no wind to speak of (and it was wind gusts which kept the balloons grounded most days) when we headed off.

We were unbelievably lucky.

The soccer ball probably counts as a feature balloon as well.

That giant expanse of material?  The Hummingbird.

And now to the Smurf, which I didn't see inflating.

And some random shots of the wonder.  Yes Andrew, I did sneak a sunrise photo into the mix.  Of course.

It was a delightful start to the day and even the smaller portion who is emphatically not a morning person was smiling from ear to ear.


Sunday 26 March 2017

Sunday Selections #320

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.
Like River I usually run with a theme.  This week?  More from the Tommy Tourist Trail, specifically from Telstra Tower and the nearby National Botanic Gardens.

There is (or was) a revolving restaurant in that tower.  I have never been, but I understand the views at night are spectacular (matched by the prices in the restaurant).  

The centre of our city (such as it is).  Despite being the Nation's capital, we are also a large country town.  Which I like and some people loathe.

We have had a long hot summer, and the countryside shows it.  Fortunately over the last week or so there has been rain, and I expect those brown fields have at least a tinge of green again.

And then to the Botanic Gardens.  Telstra Tower stands on top of Black Mountain and the gardens are on its slopes.  It is an easy walk from the gardens to both the Australian National University and to the city.


We got a kangaroo fix in the Botanic Gardens as well.  Indeed I think we saw kangaroos every day while himself's sister was with us.

  This final flower is Sturt's Desert Pea, South Australia's flora emblem.  It was blooming happily on the other side of the country - and has me considering tracking one down.

I do love the gardens.  A beautiful place, filled with bird song.  A haven for people, for birds, for insects, for animals and for reptiles.  Who seem to co-exist well.