Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Tuesday 25 February 2014

The One About the Yellow Balloon

We were at the naval base in Portsmouth on Friday for a homecoming, and very splendid it was too. I might even blog about it some time.

Today, however, I promised you the story of the yellow balloon, so that is what you shall have.

We returned home on Friday teatime, and, because it was Friday teatime, we decided to take an alternative route to avoid the M3/M25. To cut a long story short, the less than two hour journey to Portsmouth had actually turned into four hours because of the motorways, and we didn’t fancy facing that again, so we decided on the coast/country option back.

Trust me, it was a much nicer drive.

The one thing you don’t get on the A roads is, of course, the convenience of motorway service areas, so when it came time to stop for a loo break and a couple of bottles of water, we ended up at a drive-through McDonalds (and, yes, I know they’re commonly known as drive-thrus, but I just can’t bring myself to do it).

The husband stretched his legs in the car park while the three of us tended to our ablutions and picked up refreshments. When I got back to the car first (no one expects me to queue any more - wonderful kids) I saw the husband standing on the verge holding a yellow balloon. It was a surreal sight, and rather sweet, too.

So hard to resist!
He explained that a little girl had fumbled the balloon getting out of her parent’s car, and it had been whipped away into a tree by a gust of wind. She’d been rather upset, but the accident was inevitable as the balloon was of the type that comes in a bag of assorted balloons from... well I don’t know where from since Woolworths no longer exists, but you get my drift. Anyway, as a consequence the balloon had no string, only the nubbin where the knot had been tied.

The family had disappeared into McDonalds, and only then had the balloon drifted back down onto the grass verge from where the husband had retrieved it. Then of course, he had the dilemma of what to do with it. He said that he was considering wedging the knot under the windscreen wiper of the car, but he didn’t want to set off the car alarm.

I don’t hear terribly well. It’s a stupid thing, but it can be a bit of a nuisance, so I have coping strategies for it. One of those coping strategies involves hanging my mobile phone around my neck on a long ribbon. I took the phone from around my neck and detached the ribbon from my phone case. I tied one end to the balloon and very gently tied the other end to the little girl’s family’s car door handle.

At that point the dort and her boyf came back and we were off on our travels once more.

Life is full of little disappointments and we all have to get used to them, and we all have to learn to deal with them and to live with them.

It’s not every day that any of us gets the opportunity to bring a little bit of magic back into someone’s life, and it’s not every day that a little girl’s life has a little magic put back into it.

My only fear is that her parents just might be utterly creeped out by the idea of a balloon fairy.

I do hope not.

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