The humble hot air balloon. Invented by the French in 1783. The first passengers, a sheep, a duck and a chicken. Because they didn’t want to risk any humans. The bewildered animals survived their eight-minute journey, but did come back a little frazzled. A sheep may seem like an odd choice, but it was chosen because those crazy French thought it was a good analogue for a human. I mean, I’ve never looked at a sheep and thought, ‘Oh, wow! Just like us, they are!’ Then again, I’m not French. And mad. Louis XVI then decided to test it on humans and ordered a criminal to be found to be the guinea pig. Well, he figured that a criminal wasn’t worth much. However, old Louis boy was talked out of his idea. Somebody pointed out to him that, if the flight was a success, a criminal would be on the loose. Still, if he did escape, at least he’d have a sheep, a duck and a chicken for company…
Instead, chosen was a scientist named Jean-François and an aristocrat named François (do French people have any other names, by the way?). They flew for 20 minutes. Sadly, just two years later, Jean-François and a co-pilot were killed trying to cross the English Channel in a hot air balloon when it exploded, making Jean-François the first to fly and the first to die in a hot air balloon. Thankfully, everyone was soon smiling once more when French aristocracy declared outrage over people landing hot air balloons on their land. They claimed their peasants were afraid of them because ‘they looked like dragons’. I love France.
The next attempt to cross the Channel was a success, with Jean-Pierre and Doctor John landing in their underwear. Why? They were losing height and had to lose some weight. So off came the clothes. Also, neither of them could swim. At least this is what they told us…
The French craziness continued. In 1808, two Frenchmen were after the affections of a lady. Being French, they took to the skies in two hot air balloons and decided to have a duel. It worked like a normal duel. Two guns, two idiots, two shots, one balloon hit, one balloon crashed and burned, one man took victory and the hand of the young lady. It wasn’t the last time a hot air balloon featured in war, though. The American Civil War had a Balloon Corps. I could give you some details, but it’s funnier if I don’t.
But would I own one? I don’t know where I’d put it for a start. And I doubt I could afford one. The cheapest hot air balloon made by Cameron Balloons, the world’s largest manufacturer of hot air balloons, comes in at £7,760, but the most expensive comes in at £21,400. Well, gee, that aint good…
Some would say the beauty of owning one is the beautiful vistas you’ll witness. Floating among the clouds. Flying among the birds. Although if you bump into an albatross, it will try to kill you. One guy I found said that a big pro is that you can throw things at people you don’t like. Sure, WordPress will probably want me to discourage such things, but I say that if you see that evil boss below, throw a shoe at him. It won’t kill him. Much.
I’ve never been in a hot air balloon but I’d sure like to try it, regardless of my fear of flying and the danger that even a gentle breeze would send me flying out. As for owning one, I don’t know why I would. Unless I discover that it’s a big turn on for a girl, then sod the cost, give me a hot air balloon. Pronto.
So no, I would not own a hot air balloon. But would you, readers?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the ‘Archives’ page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other blog:
The Indelible Life of Me
New Post Every Saturday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post