Friday Fiction – Blimps and Balloons

It’s Friday! And that means another picture from Madison Woods and another story from me.

Blimps and Balloons

Lying on the grass at the airfield, Billy looked up at the barrage balloon above his head. Of course, it wasn’t a barrage balloon any more. This one was advertising – he squinted through thick glasses – tyres, and carried none of the threat of a barrage balloon. Although raised to keep the city safe, they’d always served as a reminder for him of the dangers inherent in staying in London. But Dad hadn’t let him go to the country with his sisters, so he’d stayed behind and watched the explosive flying beasts above guarding him from explosive falling bombs from France.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

42 responses to “Friday Fiction – Blimps and Balloons

  1. Chelsea

    Interesting piece. The use of “served” made me grin because it makes that sentence passive and wordier than necessary, but is such a clever war reference. Cleverness won me over. 🙂 I’m tempted to check out the image next week to ‘play’ too!

  2. I wondered if anyone would connect this photo to those balloons. Yours was a concise snippet of a scary time. Nicely done.

    Mine is here:

  3. A very nice glimpse into the British past that many Americans are not aware of. Thanks.
    Oh, mine:

  4. Thank you for the trip down memory lane; this is the 3rd history lesson I’ve learn today on various variations of the prompt. Mine is here:

  5. Very well done and captured the fear and terror of all that stayed behind in London at that time.

  6. A good reminder of the past. Good job!

  7. Great story, Jen. Love the explosive options… flying or falling. Neither seems a fun choice. 🙂

    • They were filled with hydrogen in those days – so the barrage balloons were explosive too. Less likely to do any harm to the city though. Must have been scary times.

  8. rgayer55

    I love history too. You and Doug MacIlroy should get together. I’ll think about the barrage balloon next time the Walmart Shareholders come to town.

    mine’s here

    • Ha Ha! Doug’s historical knowledge seems a lot wider than mine – and in this case more personal too. I just spent a lot of time studying WWII as a child.

  9. and then he walked into a room and saw a wardrobe while playing hide and seek. and he hid inside it. and…. good job.

    • Maybe, Rich, maybe. I had Billy in my head as an old guy at an airshow closer to the present time, but I realise I haven’t said that in the story, so who knows?!

  10. Thanks for taking us down memory lane.

    Mine’s here:

  11. I was thinking the same thing — you and Doug both had great historical takes on the prompt this week. Of course, this period of history in particular is rife will all sorts of story ideas. Nice depiction of the time (I really liked the hints of family dynamics beneath the surface)

    Brian (Thanks for your comments. For your readers:

  12. I enjoyed this. “Lest We Forget”. History is such an important teaching tool, and so many people neglect to use it.

  13. Lora Mitchell

    Hi… I love history…and love how you tied his thoughts from today’s peaceful, advertising blimp to his childhood memory of London’s barrage balloon during the WWII blitz. Wonder how many people remember the HIndenburg crash in New Jersey? Historians still claim it was sabotage.

  14. Lora Mitchell

    Oops…forgot to leave mine:

  15. We’ve had some interesting history snippets with this prompt–I’ve enjoyed them all. Nicely done–I love how you used his musings to tell the story.


  16. The voice in this was really convincing – there was something ‘old world’ about the language and phrasing. Enjoyed it.

    • Thanks Sandra. I wanted to make it clear that he’s an old guy looking back, but 100 words is a tight squeeze for so much, so I’m glad the language and phrasing helped!

  17. I wonder how many people looked up at the floating advertising and contrasted them with the barrage balloon protection in the years after the war. Nice reminder 🙂

  18. This reminds me of a docudrama I saw several years back about the Battle of Britain. It must’ve seemed like Armageddon, and I can imagine the terror people like my own grandparents must’ve felt. It makes me appreciate the quiet stoicism with which they faced the rest of their lives all the more.

    Here’s my entry:

  19. You’ve been nominated 🙂 Thanks for all the input on my 100 words entries 🙂

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