June 13, 2005

This Queen’s birthday holiday moning, cool and clear, was a perfect time for Zachary and me to fly our hot-air balloon. The flight was short but glorious.

Flying a balloon like this is not completely straightforward. You need to unfurl the balloon carefully, and make sure no bit touches the little burner on the ground (fuelled with cotton wool soaked in Methylated Spirits). Zachary held the balloon carefully like so:

Notice the building in the background. We’re in the middle of a park in Brunswick, and the air is still.

The balloon inflated quite rapidly. I held the base steady, and Zachary held the top, letting go when it was obvious that the air was warm enough to keep the balloon inflated. The air inside warmed very quickly: We let go, and it was away –

It gained altitude remarkably quickly. (It was tricky to get the shots I did with the camera while we figured out which way it was going.) The wind picked up and it drifted westwards as it gained height:

It got further west than we expected, given the still air at ground level. Notice the building it’s near. It made a gentle landing:

on the roof of the factory of “Valve Tech Engineering.”

And so we learned another lesson in the transitory nature of all things. All flesh is grass, and all beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades …

← Teaching in Semester 2 | News Archive | Rearranging →


I’m Greg Restall, and this is my personal website. ¶ I am the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.



To receive updates from this site, you can subscribe to the  RSS feed of all updates to the site in an RSS feed reader, or follow me on Twitter at  @consequently, where I’ll update you if anything is posted.