Showing posts from December, 2016

Best Friends Forever

Friends Forever L-R: Liam Dunne, Barry Colgan, Murf, Fergus Lawless.  John Ferguson, Alison Murphy, Declan McKenna.  Photo © Aidan Murphy
friend frɛnd/ noun A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of family relation.             —————————————————————
Look up the word 'Friend' in the dictionary and that's what you will find. I know two of these individuals since I was 4 years of age (take a bow Barry and Fergus). The rest of the group I know mostly over the past 18 years. We don't do this meeting up bit as often as we should, but thanks to Barry pulling it all together, last night was the chosen date for the diary, with a central location of  Maynooth in the neighbouring county of Kildare, the agreed HQ.  
I pushed yesterday's afternoon nap out till 5pm, the intention being I would be in form for the 9:30pm meet up. Let me go back to 8:30pm yesterday evening, Aoife is gone on a sleepover to Aunty Margaret. Myself and Alison are just chat…

Shining Silently

'Shining Silently' (Reproduced by kind permission of Cathal Noonan) (

It's not every day I see a photograph which causes something in my mind to go 'click'. Apologies by the way for that dreadful pun. This image (above) was captured by Cathal Noonan. Cathal is an award winning press photographer to whom I got acquainted with last March when I was invited to witness San Diego based Jet Pack Pilot Nick Macomber fly his hydrogen peroxide powered flying machine down the River Liffey and across the Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin City Centre. Cathal captured a stunning image of that stunt which I duly purchased from his photographic agency, see below.

'Framed in Flight' Nick Macomber and his jetpack  airborne over the Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin City.  Photo © Cathal Noonan 2016

But back to the shot at the top of this blog. I'm not sure if Cathal put a title on this capture but the second I saw it, the …

The Italian Job with the Irish connection.

"Long distance cycling photographer  and daydreamer. Half man, half bicycle" (That's Fulvio's own words, not mine). 

Some years ago, when my hot air balloon 'St.Pio' accomplished its maiden flight in Mondovi, a stunning surreal setting nestled away in the shadow of the Italian-French Alps, I returned back to Ireland on a high, literally. I was (and still am) totally awestruck of this Italian alpine aerial oasis that St. Pio (G-PPIO) now calls home. Back in Dunshaughlin and I'm on Facebook the following day. Here I see this absolutely cracking photo of St. Pio airborne within a stunning alpine setting and the shot is jumping off the screen at me. I notice a watermark adorning the photographers name. In total admiration of what I saw, I contacted the photographer via email to enquire about purchasing a print of this artful aerostatic scene. He briefly told me how much he loves Ireland and how some years earlier he cycled around the entire coast of our island, …

St. Pio, My Mam and Me.

L-R: Ann Murphy (RIP) and the newly minted St. Pio Lapel Pin Christmas Eve 2016. 

Those that know me are aware I'm not a big mass goer. I always say I'm probably a lousy Catholic but hopefully a decent Christian. Having said that, and it is already known by you, if you are following my blogs, that I do have a relationship with Padre Pio, or to be chronologically corrrect, St. Pio. My late mother Ann Murphy had a big devotion to this man. Since her passing away 16 years ago, myself and St. Pio have been getting along quiet well. We have one thing in common in that we both walked on the same Earth and breathed the same air for 8 months. I was born in January, Padre Pio passed away the following September. 

St. Pio in-flight over Mondovì, Italy.  Photo: © Giovanni Aimo

When my late mother passed away, I had not yet commenced my balloon flight training. I was still two years away from taking the plunge, but when I did, it was an offshore (CAA approved) flight training school that caugh…

Evicting me or my tumour ?

I've had a delicate last 24 hours, all contained within my busy emotional world. Last night as I went to bed there were buttons pushed in my head. I got quiet upset. I can assure you I'm not feeling sorry for myself, but I cried out to my dear late Mam "Help me, I'm in a spot of trouble here". It immediately brought me back to when I was a kid and after falling outside and running in to my house with a bloody knee, crying and looking for the Mammy.  I'm 48 years old and I just did the same last night and I meant it. In most kids lives, the Mother has a special place. I am the eldest of 3 (brothers) so I was the first born. I'm not sure if that has a bearing on it, but my own relationship with my own Mum never faltered or wavered in the 30 years we shared together. Last nights 'reach out' if you like was the current day 'bloody knee' cry for help. I just have to look to the heavens though. Between herself and St. Pio I'm not afraid to cr…

My head and Santa's helicopter.

" There he is !! " Just one word: 'MAGIC' © Seamus Farrelly/Meath Chronicle. 
There was a private joke involving me, doing the rounds over the past few weeks, which I don't mind sharing with you now: 
Q:What has Aidan Murphy's Mind and Santa's Helicopter got in common? A: They both end up beating the air around them into submission.
Ha ha. Very Funny !! 
I suppose it's really only after this event that I can look back at that wise crack and give a smile. There was just too much happening in my head to credit the smart-ass any earlier. The whole aviation aspect of this takes and  needs the planning to start about 6-8 weeks in advance. It begins with the sourcing of aircraft and pilot, then moves into operational availability. For example, the aircraft used yesterday was taken on a test flight the weekend previous to ensure all boxs were and are ticked. Helicopters are pretty complex flying machines, things can go wrong and flights do have to be aborted. To m…

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The past two weeks in particular for me, has seen it's ups and downs. My mind at more times than not would be trying to hunt down the why, the what and the where. Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert in this area. The exception being of course that what I'm writing about is actually happening directly to me and in the now. I am the piggy in the middle if you like. So I guess that gives me my own mandate to go mooching within my own mindset here.I don't want to be the expert, I don't want to be the know it all, I don't even want to be the go-to person.  All I am trying to do is make sense of it all. So my plan is to fly my balloon high, in that if I can climb higher I will, because YES I know how to, and because YES I can and YES I will. I am not a second best person and never was. 
I have found that with this whole onset of the now instilled Christmas atmosphere, my wife Alison and our 9 year old daughter Aoife getting to visit Santa in Lapland and myself havin…

Paying it forward after being framed. Everybody wins today.

My framed order, the cost of which I was asked to pay-forward  to my own choice of good cause. 

I'm not sure about you, but for me personally, I tend to recognise nice people when I see them.  (The inverse works too by the way, just to be mindful of that). What I'm really saying, I do make that extra effort with people when I get that gut feeling that's telling me there's something nice going on here. With that in mind, I have been dealing with Navan based picture framing company  'Callan & Harte' for a number of years now.  It didn't take long, over a foray of ballooning seasons, before we were all on first name terms. On occasions, walking in to their showroom, I would hear Jennifer, Karen or Finian enthusiastically ask me "Well Aidan, what nice piece of ballooning photography have you brought in to us to frame today". I would invariably answer with:"Can you supply a new wall too please...".  Over the course of this summer, saw me pop in …

Michael and The Murf

"A shoulder of strength at a time of need" Michael Glen, Worlds First Paraplegic Hot Air BalloonPilot. 

​If you look in the dictionary it will tell you that the definition of friendship is a state of being friends; friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will; friendliness; amity; That all sounds nice, but it doesn’t cover the fact that a true friendship is a relationship that can survive the test of time and remain unconditional regardless where in the world each side is. 
With all I have gone through up to now, with my illness, having a very strong friendship bond has been vital to me. I have some amazing and genuine friends out there, this has been unquestionably assured in multiples over the past number of weeks, no surer thing. However, in this particular blog, this story involves what I consider to be a beautiful essay, with one Michael Glen and one Murf and one which I would like to share with you n…

Chemo settles, Lapland checks in and I tick a Random Act of Kindness

Having had my last blast of Chemotherapy last Tuesday morning, today was as predicted, the best day.  My emotions were, shall we say highly delicate up to last night. Today, plenty of pins and needles in my fingers, toes, ears and nose (bodily extremities), all known Chemo side affects but only when out in the cool air. 
With my two ladies having left for Santa in Lapland this morning, I was just so happy to see the early morning excitement reach its climax.  Alison my wife needs this break so much, the last thing that would have been sought was a liability like me tagging along. As for Aoife, imagine you or me being 9 again ? That's all that's needed to be said here. This festive polar getaway is about these 2 legends in my life getting this break and enjoying it. I'll check in tomorrow with them, but I suspect they are having a ball. 

STOP PRESS: The first photo of Alison & Aoife comes while this blog is written.  Photo: Laura Sherlock-Woodruffe