Flight Report: G-CJXD ~ 26th May 2016

Posted on by 5WC in Bumble, Hot Air Ballooning

As mentioned in the report of my previous flight, Woody Woodward used to fly the Variety Club hot air balloon. Sadly, when it reached the end of it’s flying life, Woody wasn’t in a position to purchase another balloon leaving him grounded. UK law dictates that to act as a pilot in command you are required to complete annual currency – currently 5 flights in 13 months for a private pilot – and without a balloon to fly, Woody risks missing this requirement and lapsing his licence. The result is that I have always tried to ensure that he can get into the sky from time to time in my balloon to make sure this doesn’t happen.

This meant that less than three weeks since Bumble had taken off on its maiden voyage, and for the third time in four flights, I was once again airborne with Woody. Unlike our previous flight, however, where I’d taken off and Woody hand landed, this time Woody was responsible for parting us from the ground and I’d be required to safely reattach us later! Read more

Flight Report: G-CJXD ~ 15th May 2016

Posted on by 5WC in Bumble, Hot Air Ballooning

I’m sure I should open this with some witty statement about how flying slots are like buses – joking how you wait for one and 3 come along at once – but really, I think it’s more a case that however fast the clouds may scud across the sky on occasions, the weather is fundamentally a slow-moving thing.

I also don’t know why I constantly try to describe the way you can steer a balloon by using the adage “right with height”. Attempting to explain how the winds apparently veer clockwise with altitude in the northern hemisphere, because that never seems to hold true anymore either! Read more

Flight Report: G-CJXD ~ 14th May 2016

Posted on by 5WC in Bumble, Hot Air Ballooning

With the nightmare, and stupidity, of something as basic as paperwork having kept me from sharing the sky with friends for so long it was obvious, that as Bumble was now good to go, I had been well and truly bitten by the flying bug again. Like an animal let off the leash I just wanted to run and run, excitement over spilling anticipation, the chance to go flying not coming around quickly enough. Watching the weather, however, it became clear that I wouldn’t have to wait long.

Only eight days after it’s maiden flight and I was back on a launch site, rigging the balloon and briefing passengers. Having had to wait so long to get the balloon into the sky I’d built up a long list of promises ‘…of course you can have a flight when the balloons finally flying…’ and now it was time to deliver. Read more

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait: G-CJXD Maiden Flight Report

Posted on by 5WC in Bumble, Hot Air Ballooning

There is always something about the maiden flight of a brand-new balloon that gets the tingle of butterflies prickling inside. However, much the manufacturers have honed the art of construction, however tested, checked and approved it may be, you cannot help but remember that you are about to take to the skies in a brand-new craft for the first time in its life.

I have been privileged to feel those internal flutterings more than I probably should. I flew Tutti Frutti, Lambert Smith Hampton 3 and G-CEGG on their maiden flights and shared the sky as my father christened Rainbow Blue. But G-CJXD looked like it’d never even get to the launch site! Read more

Book Review: When the Shooting Stops The Cutting Begins by Ralph Rosenblum

Posted on by 5WC in Book
When The Shooting Stops The Cutting Begins by Ralph Rosenblum - Header

I think it’s fair to say I like a movie or two, the film category of this blog alone will attest to that, and I firmly believe in misquoting Frank Kappa. “Too many films, not enough time”. But I am just passionate about what goes on behind the camera, in the shadow of the shot as it were. I find the individual pieces that go together to make a movie just as fascinating and engrossing as any on screen action. I have books detailing costume design and storyboard mock-ups, film posters on my walls, and while I don’t do it enough, I adore editing raw footage (mainly of balloons) searching for that tone and emotion that is hidden within each scene.

I also listen to podcasts. I believe that a love of the moving image goes hand in hand with a love of the spoken word. The image is accented by the word and for me, simply listening to people speak can be as enlightening and enjoyable as any film. Obviously, combining the two is even better and so, one of my favourites, is the BBC flagship film show – Wittertainment (or Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review to give it its proper title). Read more

My Top 5 Movies of 2015 – A review of the Year, Part 2

Posted on by 5WC in Film, Opinion
Top 5 Movies Of 2015

So, following on from my worst 5 movies of 2015 and concluding my movie review of 2015, here are my top 5 films.

I always believe that the only real way to pick the top movies you’ve seen in a year is to round them all up and go with your gut feeling, that instant recall when you see their title. I don’t try to over think it, read back over reviews, pondering my thoughts and minutely comparing details. It means that my list may be missing films of better technical quality, narrative, or performance, but that’s not what makes the best films of the year for me. I want those films that by simply mentioning there names have put me back there, feeling that tickle of excitement and passion that I did when I saw them. Read more

My 5 Worst Films Of 2015 – A review of the Year, Part 1

Posted on by 5WC in Film
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While I may not have watched anything like the number of films during 2015 that I did during 2014 (it’s still an impressive 134 so far), the year has produced a lot of memorable moments for both good and bad reasons. As I did last year it seems, as Christmas fades into memory and you start to hear people bemoaning “I can’t believe it’s 2016 already, that year flew by”, only right to look back over the best and worst films the year had to offer.

So, starting with the worst and, in no particular order: Read more

Alice In Wonderland At The Watermill Theatre

Posted on by 5WC in Stage

Hidden away on the edge of Newbury is a wonderful, small, independent theatre called The Watermill. Each year over the festive period they put on a ‘Christmas Production’, last year was Peter Pan, the year before Pinocchio and, as it 150 years since the original publication, this year was Alice in Wonderland.

I have been to quite a few now as it has become a bit of an annual family tradition that we would attend. It almost signified it was Christmas when we’d go out and watch a production. Originally, just my family (my older brother, parents and myself) would go, but over the years aunts and uncles have joined us as well. Sadly, with my brother now living outside the area and no extended relatives visiting this year, it was just me and my parents making the annual trip but, nevertheless, I was looking forward to it as much as always. Read more

Book Review: The Secret Life Of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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You’ve probably guessed from the fact that I write a blog and read books that I like words. There is something magical about finding a synonym you’ve never seen before or how emotions and feelings can be so richly and vividly brought into being through simple expression and context alone. How language, whether used poorly or perfectly, can reveal so much about both reader and writer is something I find truly fascinating.

In the last of the book recommendations taken from a fellow blog, The Secret Life Of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us,  James W. Pennebaker takes a look through how the words we use, whether written or spoken, act almost as powerfully as fingerprints in being a definable marker to individual identity. Specifically how different types of word can reveal our mental health, our personality and even our location. The book is a demonstration that the power of words, and how the amount, order and structure in which we use them can reveal so much more about a person than you could ever realise. Read more

Book Review: What Makes Your Brain Happy by David DiSavlo

Posted on by 5WC in Book

It was bound to happen eventually, that I would find a psychology book that I just didn’t get on with. That my reliance on a stranger’s blog for book recommendations would turn up something that left me as bored as it did disinterested. And sadly, that book was What Makes Your Brain Happy And Why You Should Do The Opposite by David DiSalvo.

The title is quirky and fun, and the idea behind the book seems sound. Our brains’ long to be happy, that they will, where possible, swerve to the route leading, ultimately, to “their” increased pleasure and how, actually, that may not be what is best for “us” as a whole. The problem, though, is with DiSalvo. To quote him, he’s “not a psychologist or psychiatrist [or a] …neuroscientist and would not claim to possess a grasp of neural dynamics”. What DiSalvo is, as he goes to on state, is a “science writer”. And that is the fundamental flaw in the book he’s an interested amateur rather than an academic authority. Read more