Monday, 14 March 2016

Hot air around Parliament House

This is nothing to do with goings on inside the House, but the balloons that gathered outside it.  We were planning to do something special on the 14th of March as it is our daughter's birthday and she suggested meeting for the usual Monday walk, but doing so a bit earlier to see the balloons launch.  (As that day is also Canberra Day, it should be the peak of the Balloon Festival.)

Did anyone say it was a bit early?
It was still dark as we descended into Queanbeyan at 0615 ...
 ... and only a little lighter in Canberra at 0635.
 As we walked across Commonwealth Avenue bridge the first inflatees were jostling for take off.
 The first ones rose pretty much dead on time at 7am.
 I was astonished at the number of paddle-boarders and canoeists gathered in central basin.
Apparently they were disorderly and needed controlling.
 Or else Mr Plod had found there was still a few bucks left in the overtime bucket, and with it being a pleasant morning had taken the boat for a spin.

Meanwhile  balloons were still being inflated.
With Senator Abetz and Bronnie B being out of town this pilot had to burn some gas to fill his bag.
 Based on my sample of 2, all the balloons seemed to be restrained by a 4x4.
Although barely visible in this image, a stout rope is attached to the top of the balloon while it is receiving the hot stuff.  The rope is indicated by the green arrows.  As the gasbag  - not you Mr Shorten - stood up, the rope holder had to trot forward quite briskly.
Did I say there were a lot of watercraft around?  Apart from answering that rhetorical question, the next few images are just "Ain't that pwetty!".

Some/most of the balloons dropped in to West Basin for a splash.  I thought this one was a bit bold - and the paddler almost psychotic in his disregard for safety.
I am not sure whether this one dropped into Central Basin or not, but there was some discussion amongst photographers on the bridge whether he was going to make it over.  (Note the orange glow of gas flame at the bottom of the bag: he did make it over.)
 Possibly son of Skywhale?  (If so, what part of the cetacean is represented by the basket?)
The (sub) aquatic balloon had now attracted quite a horde.  At this stage I had wondered if it had absorbed so much water it couldn't take off again and was waiting for the breeze to blow it ashore.  Or was the pilot waving $20 notes at the paddlers to give him a tow?
Another "ain't that purty" shot, in this case featuring Black Mountain.
 There was quite a good crowd around to watch.  In this image they go right round the bend and there were a fair few on the North shore of Central Basin also.  We were quite impressed with the number of cyclists (mainly male, although we did see a coven of 6) and runners (mainly female).
I particularly like the way Commonwealth Avenue bridge and the National Museum behind it are glowing in the rising sun.
We noticed a blow-up ring floating in the water as we walked out.  Then on the way back we noticed a pile of house bricks being tended by this young lady and a colleague.  On the question being asked, it emerged that some 200 inflatable rings are to be positioned in the Lake, anchored by the half house bricks.  This is an art installation by some unit of the University of Canberra.
Oh dear.  The aqua-balloon did just make it to shore.

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