23 August 2013

From a Great Height

When I was a raw 15 year old I came home from school one day to find my my mother preparing dinner for the family.  She asked if I'd take my young brother (4) for a walk over to the Hornby railway station so she could get on with the cooking.  Like the good son that I was I obliged and hoisted him up onto my shoulders and headed for the station.

Something to Tighten the Adductors

When I got there, with him still on my shoulders, I climbed the steps up onto the  pedestrian overbridge to view the trains shunting about the place. 'Wooo - e - wooo' we cried as a steam engine came nearer. I saw the train driver smile as he came closer - 'bastard' - I thought as he released a cloud of steam and smoke - and blew his very loud whistle right underneath us. I felt my brother's adductor muscles tighten about my neck.  Would I live to draw another breath? The answer was yes - but unfortunately  my survival was accompanied by a warm and wet trickle down the back of my neck. To my great credit I never tossed him off my shoulders and down onto the track below, but it was the last time my mother asked me to take my young brother to the station. He's one of my best friends but I can't refrain from occasionally reminding him of his day on the overbridge.

Some fifteen or more years later, about 40 years ago, on a Saturday morning I took my kids to the Hamilton library.  On the way to the library there were a number of people in Claudelands Show Ground gathered about a hot air balloon. "On the way back," I said - "books first."

We called in on the way back but the balloon demo was nearly over. They had been taking members of the public up in the balloon which was tethered to a car towbar. I hoped they had done their physics well.  "Last time," the man said and a few people climbed into the basket. I held my youngest up and said to the man - "Can you take a small child."  He said yes so I popped him into the basket.  With a very loud roar from the gas burner the balloon began its ascent. It was only about 30m up when the lady beside me said "It's raining." It was a clear blue sky - and then I twigged - and moved quietly away.  When the balloon descended I picked a rather frightened child from the basket.  The evidence was all there so we scuttled home for a change of pants and a book reading. Luckily it never made the local newspapers and the Hamilton crowd at Claudelands that day never realized that they had been pee'd on from a great height. All the kids had all wanted to go in the balloon but hastily dumping a young child into the basket of a roaring hot air ballon was not my smartest move.

"It's Raining"

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