Audio files on this blog
From the desk of Alan RM Jones - first published in Quadrant online

Ballooning over Melbourne this morning

What a beautiful way to start the day!   The Czechoslovakian Princess and I were up at 3.30AM (great idea on New Year's Eve!!!!!) and were airborne just as the sun came up over marvellous Melbourne.





The bloke who owns the ballooning company, Kiff, had a pretty bad prang on his motorbike a couple of years ago.  A firm of transport accident lawyers handled his case and as a result had to visit his workplace - the balloon - to assist in his compo claim.   As a result of that, the firm of lawyers decided to sponsor a balloon with one big difference.   In what I believe is an Australian first, the balloon is certified with the aviation authorities in Australia to take disabled people.   You can see in this final photo that one of our fellow passengers today lives with cerebral palsy.

Kiff told me about a lady he took flying recently who has cerebral palsy too.   All her life, her greatest wish was to fly, up in the sky.   After her flight with Kiff, she said, "Today, I have lived my dream.  For the first time ever, I felt like a person who could do anything."

It was very, very moving.    Kiff was a lovely bloke.   I don't have any deal with him but could I heartily recommend that if you are thinking about an extraordinarily fantastic thing to do, give him a call.   Here's his website, click here.


And I am now sitting in a hotel business centre blubbering.


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Glad you enjoyed the ballooning Michael. It looks like you all had a great time. Great too to hear that disabled people are able to have the same opportunities too.

I don't know if it's just me, but your link to comments on "A random act of kindness designed to bring a smile to your dial" appears to be broken. That's the message I'm getting anyway when I try.


And I'm sitting here wondering how you got a helicopter up there to photograph a bunch of people in a balloon ?


Bob Reed

Thank you Michael. You also made my eyes a little moist. Cheers.

An Aussie Plebeian

High Flight - by John Magee, Jr

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Greybeard

What a fitting adventure for a political commentator who does not believe in man-made global warming.

Just imagine if the balloon could have been powered by hot air from a Government Minister, the saving in LPG would have been both in money and carbon footprint. On the negative side how do you stop the Minister expelling hot air, the balloon might never be able to come down.

Happy New Year.

Liz of Vic.

Michael, Just want to wish you a lovely time in Melbourne, nice that you phoned Bob.
Wishing you and Katarina and your family a very happy and safe New year - take care!

Namewendy brown

Well done you guys (how good was that ) toooo scary for me,
I bet the little ones wanted to go with you.
Your lucky you know who didnt get a bow and arrow set
For christmass Michael you took a big risk they are mooving
To melbourn.She would love to prick your balloon before,
They start there next big cash splash with someone elses
Money buying votes. We wont be able to turn on the TV,
Or radios untill election night. The spin and lies will make


Happy New Year , and thanks for all the smiles,


Well it looked wonderful, still scarrrry though. I can remember when we first moved to Canberra, woke up one saturday morning to this dreadful sound, Emma the cat looked wild eyed, we sat up wondering what on earth. When I went out onto the terrace, it was all these balloons going overhead really low, we were living in Deakin and I think they take off somewhere near there, its not far from the lake. It was like a giant dragon. Good imagination. Anyway have a happy new year's eve, and take it easy tomorrow. That's an order.

R we there yet

Wow... very special.You are fortunate and Happy New Year* Mr and Mrs Smith.How romantic.


Lovely story about the lawyers sponsoring the balloon like that. There are indeed some amazing people in this world.


DAMN I missed you any way a belated wave. Would someone do for Swan the simplified explanation of the fiscal cliff and put it into terms of a household budget as I saw on Catallaxy Files this morning. Barnaby is right our eyes glaze over when we see all those noughts on the end. Frightening stuff.



Carole May

Happy New Year Michael to you and yours. What a wonderful experience it must have been for that young disabled man. When my husband and I were on a cruise in November we were speaking to a family who had a disabled daughter in a wheelchair and how disappointed she was that when the ship couldn't dock in port and we had to go ashore by Tender she [and other wheelchair bound passengers] couldn't go ashore. I sent an email to the cruise owners when I got home asking them to make some changes to the Tender system so the disabled can enjoy a shore excusion like the abled bodied can. They did not reply! Good on the lawyers who made the balloon available for disabled people to use. So not all lawyers are corrupt then?!


Its one way of getting away from what the Gillard Government is doing to Australia --It might be a bit scary for some but nowhere as scary as Julias proposals

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