I spent Friday evening blowing up balloons. Many, many balloons.
The pictured Nod and I were helping arrange a surprise birthday party for our friend Ben, and decided balloons were the way to go. We started off with twenty, but it quickly became clear this was waaaay too few and one late-night trip to Sainsbury’s later we had packets containing another eighty. Surprisingly few explosions ensued, and at around 0030 we finished and came up with the notion of moving them all upstairs, with the intention of pushing them down on top of Ben the next day. Moving 103 balloons upstairs is not, it turns out, as easy as you’d think. After a couple of ad hoc schemes failed we finally moved them two at a time, and they were loaded into the spare room.
Seven hours later I left the flat for the main party event: go-karting. Ben had been told to be up and ready to be picked up from Oxford at some ridiculous time of the morning, and was then taken to the go-karting centre where we all met. I think it came as a complete surprise.
I’d never been go-karting before, and had a great time. We changed into jumpsuits, which to be honest made me feel more like a teletubby than Damon Hill, and were assigned a car before a ten-lap practice session. We were ranked according to fastest individual laps, then went straight into a thirty-five lap race. During this time Ben, in his desperation to get past the clearly superior driver, twice sent me spinning into the barriers resulting in large red lights flashing and the ‘marshals’ having to push me back into position. In the end I let Ben win by more than one lap, it being his birthday and all 🙂
When you’re only twenty centimetres away from racetrack the acceleration is quite something, and it took us a while to work out the best methods of controlling the car. We were helped by young-Londoner-Simon, who figured it out very quickly and rocketed past everybody within a couple of laps; it was quite the spur.
After a short break we had another 35-lap race, in which I came 4th after taking various corners with a little too much gusto. Ben won again. In the overall rankings he was first, young-Londoner-Simon second and me third, and there was a short podium session to celebrate this. Everybody had aches and pains afterwards, whether it was through banging an elbow on the petrol tank or just the strain of the heavy steering wheels, but I think we all agreed it was worth it.
Then it was back to Nod’s, where we unleashed the balloons upon Ben:
and spent two hours attacking him with them:
It seemed like the thing to do.
Various of us had to head off early to get ready for the Christmas Ball (I slept well that night), which was an unfortunate quirk of timing, but I’m pretty sure Ben had a good time. It was certainly one of the more action-packed mornings this year. Of course Nod now has a house full of balloons, which must present a challenge if he doesn’t want to annoy the neighbours by bursting them…