Yesterday, Londonist went down to Trafalgar Sq. to see comedian Tim Fitzhigham attempting to inflate the world's largest ever man-inflated balloon.
By the time we arrived he had been inflating for two hours and had already fainted. Twice. The man is a loon. However, he is a seasoned professional, by no means was this his first record attempt, he has made something of a career out of them.
Not only did he break a 383 year-old world record by paddling a paper boat 160 miles down the River Thames to raise money for Comic Relief, he also became the first person to successfully row the English Channel in a bath. Having made it across the channel, he then rowed a further 200 miles around Kent and finished at Tower Bridge.
For his endeavours he was made a Freeman of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames, inaugurated as The Commodore of Sudbury Quay in the County of Suffolk and appointed The Pittancer of Selby Town in the West Riding, North Yorkshire. Also, for his bath stunt, Thomas Crapper and Co. released a lavatory named after Tim to celebrate the bath journey. This is only the second commemorative lavatory in history - the other commemorated Queen Victoria's Jubilee.
This summer, in an attempt to emulate the 17th Century Spanish literary hero Don Quixote, he set himself the task of becoming a Knight which lead to him living as a recluse in a cave in a Spanish desert.
Unfortunately we don't know whether he succeeded or not. He seemed confident at the time (despite the fainting) and he doesn't seem like the kind of chap who gives up easily (on his rowing-a-bath-across-the-channel journey, he rowed the last 120 miles with a broken shoulder.)
The event was to raise awareness about the aviation industry's carbon emissions, the balloon holds 19,000 pints which is the amount of carbon produced per person per ten minutes on a flight. (Did you know that a return flight to Sydney creates the same amount of carbon as leaving all the lights on in your house day and night for two years and six months?)
At the accompanying press conference there was a talk by the head of lastminute.com who have some new eco-scheme and then there were a couple of GLC politicians smiling greasily and riding on the coat tails of those who are actually doing something for the environment. We weren't really listening. That is until one of the Trafalgar Square pigeon-eating hawks swooped down and narrowly missed the speaking politician's head. It was beautiful, simply beautiful. Perhaps hawks should be spread more widely across London to ward off politicians?