Reluctantly, and with great difficulty, we tear ourselves away from the Selborne Arms and, after collecting barrels of Vintage Miltonduff, Bladnoch, Lochside, and Glenrothes Special Reserve, for the journey, we head for aunt Humperdink’s aero club, to meet Romain’s friend, Alberto, who, Romain tells us, always has a few spare balloons. However, when we meet up with Alberto, he informs us that he does have a lot of balloons, but he tells us that the only ones he has available at the moment are ladies’ balloons, and they are just about to be used in the ladies’ balloon race. Juan asks Alberto if we can borrow the ladies as well as the balloons. Roly says that when we are flying over enemy territory, men in women’s balloons might seem suspicious and attract unwanted attention. Romain suggests that we disguise ourselves as women and, rummaging through his sketches, he produces some dress designs, which he says would be suitable for us. I’m not keen on the idea as, if we were to crash behind enemy lines, and had to run and hide, wearing a tube dress would be a hindrance. Juan thinks it’s a bad idea as well, saying that if he wanted to dress up as a woman he’d become a priest. Alberto says that, if we wait a short while, he will get a suitable balloon. I ask him to hurry up because we are schamlichishly behind schedule; Alberto goes to get a balloon, Juan breaks open the whisky, to help pass the time, and, after offering toast after toast to all lady balloonists, we inflate our bagpipes, and playing ‘In airy dreams’, Up in the Morning Early’, and ‘Up wi’ the Widow’, we stagger around in circles, as fast as we possibly can.
Professor Humperdink’s Diary