Wednesday 16th. July, 2014 – Well, yes, it was a bit disappointing! 

I promised you balloon pictures – and here is Rachel on landing after her balloon adventure. Unfortunately it wasn’t today! When we ‘phoned Virgin just before going to sleep last night (as one has to do) we were astounded to be told that the flight was cancelled because of bad weather. We counted up and in fact this is at least the eighth flight which we have arranged (going all the way back since we bought the tickets in June 2008) that has been cancelled. We tried several times to fly from Falkland Palace in Fife, once from Glamis, a couple of times from England from near where the canal boat is moored, and twice from the Borders. It was a bit of a letdown after packing our jackets with camera, video camera, binoculars and so on ... but the upside was that this morning we got a long lie

Eventually I got up and walked Mix and then thought to myself how I was to spend this extra day. I thought I would try to find out a bit more about Twitter. It was quite a good thing to do because the weather was, in reality, not as good as yesterday. It had been raining overnight, there was a shower this morning and the clouds were quite low. All in all an ideal day to be inside in the summer house, something with which Mix thoroughly concurred.

I looked at Twitter and realised that so many of my preconceptions were actually misconceptions. I thought that it was just an endless list of very short messages but then I realised that many of these messages were really just links to elsewhere. I found a little message to a link to a bit of video film of a pilot landing a seaplane on a stretch of water just as a whale was surfacing (and so I re-tweeted it – my very first re-tweet).

I discovered that the cricket commentator at Durham published a sound report of the cricket using a link from Twitter, so I spent some time finding out how to do that, and in the process made a short spoken diary entry which I then tweeted. I’m not at all bothered that there aren’t people to hear or listen to my tweets at present, I want to find out how to do it and, as anyone who has ever tried to play a musical instrument knows, it is better to do your practising away from company. However, if you do find yourself on Twitter and decide to follow @PleasantDane you will be able to hear my first efforts at an audio blog.

Today Mum and her two friends went out to explore Paxton House, something they enjoyed. They came home towards the end of the afternoon and we all shared in afternoon tea (Olive had made scones – and rather well too) before Irene and Rosemary drove off for home.

I returned to the summer house – there is still a bit of finding out to do about Twitter, perhaps another day will see me having worked through all of the facilities I am learning about, and then I can turn my attention to FaceBook. Look out world!

We dined in the farmhouse, back to being just the family and afterwards we settled down to watch House of Cards, quite topical given the current government reshuffle, I suppose. We watched the first two episodes and we will enjoy watching the rest of the series over the next few days.

But back to where I started. Here are the balloon pictures I promised. Unfortunately not of Kelso but of our earlier trip in Egypt. And first my diary entry for 25th. January, 2009:

“Sunday January 25th. 2009 Again I was up a little after 4 a.m. and before six was being motored across the Nile, loaded into a mini bus and transported the few miles to the balloon landing field. What a sight was awaiting us – nineteen balloons all inflated and ready to go. We were briefed and loaded: twenty people to each balloon, and quickly we were in the air for an absolutely magical hour during which we saw Temples and burial sites, town and countryside, people and animals and, of course, the sunrise. It was a stupendous experience. Landing in a field, we climbed out and were rushed off in our minibus to the boat and from there to the ship arriving more or less exactly at 8 – just in time to set off on the day’s programme which took us to Karnack Temple and then to the Temple of Luxor.”

The sight when we arrived. It was before dawn and nineteen balloons were waiting for us, all ready to take to the skies

Each balloon has a massive burner to provide the lift to get it and its passengers off the ground

Our balloon has just lifted from the ground, our neighbour is firing its burner and will soon follow us

There are wonderful Temples to be seen on the ground

and the balloons look wonderful, even in this half-light before sunrise

Sunrise is spectacular

as is this view of so many balloons

From a distance the little basket looks so precarious -- there are twenty passengers hanging there

and sometimes we are quite close to the ground to enable us to see the contrasts -- the desert and the fertile strip, the ancient houses and the modern highway

We pass close to dwelling houses

and see our shadow on the ground as the newly-risen sun quickly exerts control

So much is so picturesque

and much is breath-taking

and all too soon we have come down to land -- the balloon is quickly rolled up and made ready for tomorrow morning's passengers

Memories – the value of a diary is to rekindle memories and today I have found myself once more in Egypt. It was a wonderful holiday and I have so many pictures. Perhaps once I have got to grips with the appropriate social medium I will broadcast that holiday to the world. So much has changed in Egypt since we were there but it is a really lovely country with a glorious story to tell.

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