When I turned 21 I was given an amazing present - a balloon flight. There was space in the basket for 4 so I had the pleasure (pressure, I mean pressure) of choosing 3 lovely people to fly with - if you've ever been in the enviable position of having to choose which of your nearest and dearest gets a special (paid for) treat you'll understand.
In the end I chose 3 people who lived close and had never had the opportunity to hop in a balloon before. But between work commitments, availability of the balloon, a small geographical divide (my fault for upping sticks to West Yorkshire) and the good old British weather, plans were made...and undone, made again and, you guessed it - fell through.
The 1 year window to fly came and went before we knew it. I worried that we'd missed the balloon-boat (sorry!). But my mum and dad had other ideas. The present was from my parents and my dad made it his business to keep trying. He never gave up, passing plans to and fro to make sure we all knew when an opportunity opened up. Try as he might, nothing came off. We almost made it into the basket several times but the opportunities in Lancashire were scarce - just a few months of reliably (-ish) good weather each year.
Drum roll please...
4 years later - yes, 4 - we finally bumped across a farmer's field near Eccleston, following the hot air balloon crew.
My heart was pounding. Did I mention I'm terrified of heights?!
A week after my 25th birthday we climbed into our long-awaited wicker basket topped with flame - it's madness, or utter genius?
The flight was incredible - one of the best things I've ever done, even after getting very well acquainted with an oak tree whilst coming in to land!
With all the set backs and disappointments of cancelled plans the experience was so much sweeter.
I think the saying should be 'good things come to those who try' and when that fails, try again...and again.
Thanks dad :)