Dot and Jim at Albuquerque balloon fiesta


Back when Dot and Jim were touring in America they joined a group of RVers who were crewing for several balloons at the famous Balloon Fiesta held every year in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dot and Jim crew members
Jim inflates the envelope








Their small UK bus was dwarfed by all the larger American RVs and when Dot had her first ever flight in a basket she was able to take some great photos as she flew overhead but also had to drink champagne without using her hands when she landed. This is a tradition but Dot was not used to drinking at 10am!

Dot takes off for first flight


Drinking champagne in the morning
RV campsite from above







Up amongst the balloons







The days were long, starting at 5am to prepare the envelopes for the dawn flight and then again for the night time glows which were spectacular. It was an experience not to be missed as many of the balloons had been manufactured in Oswestry close to where they lived.

The night glows were spectacular.

Display at Talke Pits Outlet Mall

On Saturday January 19th we were invited to the Outlet Shopping Mall at Talke Pits near Stoke on Trent where we had a display about our fundraising. We met many friendly people who made some generous donations and the bucket got quite heavy. The Prize Draw to guess how far we will fly on our journey proved popular as most people were shopping and the chance to win some vouchers was not to be missed.  You can also enter the draw on line so have a go yourself.










We had some help from Dave, Jill and Chris from the Community Radio station The Cat 107.9 in Crewe who came along to introduce the pigeon… but more about that later.. watch this space.


Waitrose donation

Thank you to the customers and staff at Waitrose in Sandbach who have made a wonderful donation of £366 to the Alzheimer’s Society as part of our fund raising. The photo shows Jim receiving the cheque from Natasha a member of the staff.

Radio interview update

It is said that everyone should aim to have a new experience everyday, we certainly did that last Thursday. In fact we had two amazing experiences, the first was to have a charity stall at our local market in Sandbach. It was a very windy day so the outside stalls had to be cancelled which meant the market was not as busy as usual but we enjoyed chatting to the shoppers and other stall holders.

Then in the evening we visited the local THE CAT radio station which broadcasts from the South Cheshire College in Crewe. An amazing well equipped building where a wide range of courses are available and we found the studio very interesting. All digital equipment.. a bit different from when Jim did his National Service in the Royal Signals and used transmitters and receivers the size of large suitcases.

Tim Fletcher made us very welcome and asked Jim to record a Christmas greeting jingle!

CAT radio jingles for Christmas








Then it was time to go live and play some music that had connections to our other journeys around the world. It was difficult to know what to say and we hope listeners found the content interesting even if the music was a bit out of date!










Thanks to everyone at THE CAT radio for the opportunity to spread the word about our fundraising flight.

A follow on from the interview is exciting news about a pigeon which may fly with us.. so watch this space.

Logo of the local radio station

This is Cats radio interview

Jim and Dot will be doing an interview on the local radio station Cats from Crewe 107.9FM at 6pm on Thursday 29th November about their adventure. They will be choosing some of the music that reminds them of their travels and deciding which tracks to play while flying.

It is  a great opportunity to inform listeners about the fund raising and how to make a donation.


Another airfield visit

On a lovely sunny autumn morning we drove to Sleap Airfield just outside Wem in Shropshire.

Jim checked in at the Shropshire Aero Club reception to make enquires about what aeroplanes are available. We enjoyed a coffee in the clubroom and studied the many pictures of pilots and WW11 aeroplanes.


Looking out across the airfield to the welsh hills and the Wrekin Jim immediately decided that this will be a great location to get in some more flying hours.

Sir Jackie Stewart and faster research

Sunday morning we watched Sir Jackie Stewart interviewed by Andrew Marr. He wants to get the engineers and technicians who are leading the way in developing  Formula1 to work with the youngsters in the field of medical research in an attempt to speed up the research into Dementia prevention and medication.  It has been a neglected field as most people think it is just about old people and do not realise the impact it can have on families and carers. Lets hope his involvement will raise awareness in the minds of the general public.

Memory Group donation.

The Fareham Memory Group have kindly made a donation to have their name on the plane. This group meet regularly to allow both carers and those people struggling with the affects of dementia to get together and enjoy a chat or an outing. These type of groups and cafes are springing up in all areas and are providing some much needed support and respite.

Dot and I want to thank the members of the Fareham Group for supporting our fund raising for the Alzheimer’s Society.