Bank Holiday weekend 5th & 6th May
We are back flying, woohoo, yippee, weyhay and other sorts of excitable sort of noises that emanate from kite flyers when the weather is good.
After an enforced winter break due to the weather we are back in the groove, the bitterly cold wind and rubbish weather is hopefully a thing of the past, fingers crossed, you know it has been cold over here on the East Coast when folk like David Ursell of Push Kiting, a guy that has Kite Surfed across the English Channel with Sir Richard Branson, say's he has not been out flying because it has been too cold.
In truth we have been out flying for few weeks now, having had such a long break we thought it would be wise to ease ourselves back in gently while we worked out what end of a kite was what and to remind ourselves how they work, while not flying we have been busy though making plans and buying thing's, between us we have some new kites, new kite making equipment, Daz even has a light table, new bag's, MP3 players, prescription wrap around sunglasses and even UV proof shirts etc etc, more about them over the coming week's.
This Bank Holiday weekend is usually the Layer Marney kite festival and to be honest the weather is usually not good, very wet and way too much wind, the event last year was a damp squib with a water logged flying field so they have moved it back to Sept for 2013, and guess what ? the weather has been glorious, very sunny and pretty warm even with the wind coming off a cold North Sea.
The Haven is still a great place to fly kites, lush green short grass, the council have cut back some of the scrub grass by the railing's next to the cliff path so we have a good ground wind even when the wind is from that direction providing it is not blowing too strong, we even have what we think is a CCTV camera attached to a pole, so we no longer seem to have boy racers ( Numpty's ) driving around the car park spoiling the peace and quiet.
The 5 new wind turbines in and are now working and they are also the largest land based one's in the country, Margaret noticed a couple of new ones had been added to the wind farm just off the coast, and in the distance out at sea are a few more, by a few I mean about a hundred or so, part of the Thames array.
It has has been great these last two day's, two day's when those that have been able have been flying from 9 to 5, a steady breeze on Sunday meant we were able to fly our mid vent quads, I also put up my string of little butterfly kites, they flew steady all day, Daz put up his collection of Rok kites, including his new very impressive custom made one with a gothic design, several people were heard to say how good they looked.
We did a bit of team flying with when we were not just doing our own thing, Amanda was able too join in for a brief while today when she popped up for a quick fly during a break in her shift at work, it was great to be outside and to see the kites in the air again, also in the air we could see was a very impressive kite display at Frinton on sea being put on by our friends Rob ( thekiteden ) & Pete ( Skyart ).
On her return from a walk along the coastal path to say hi to the guy's, Margaret said they were getting a lot of attention from the public, a public that seemed unable to work out when high tide was as a lot were sitting on the grass with all their beach paraphernalia wondering where the sand was. As a fairly new quad flyer it was great to see how Amanda was soon on top of thing's again as she led us through some nicely flown follow's, it had been a great day and some of us got to do it all again on Monday.
Monday was even warmer mainly due to the wind being lighter, our ever reliable shelter was soon up, being used today mainly to keep our grub cool, did I really say that, blimey how thing's change, as Daz could not be with us today I brought along my banner pole to add a bit more colour to the day, I also had a new England flag to put on it, considering it only cost 99 pence I was well pleased, and with Amanda's banner pole they made a cheery sight.
The light wind's today meant it was full sail's today, that is myself Roger and Amanda, being mere mortal's were flying full sail's, Bruce on the other hand was quite happily flying a mid vent !! the light wind stayed with us nearly all day only occasionally picking up a bit, so the kite flying was very floaty and smooth consisting of following each other around the sky and then breaking off into some mirror image flying that at times was quite seamless.
David Ursel was there today giving some power kite lesson's, and using us to explain to his pupils about the wind window, our good deed for the day, by mid afternoon there were a lot of car's in the car park and folk sitting around having picnic's, playing ball games and flying kites, even so there was still plenty of room for everyone.
At times we just sat in the sun drinking tea and chatting, had to pinch myself, was I dreaming or had we just had a near perfect couple of day's.
Flying at the Haven again today and it turned out to be quite a memorable one.
The wind today was not great in fact it was a pain in the butt, blowing at 15mph plus for most of the day but gusting to nearly twice that and also dropping to nearly nothing as it changed direction which it did frequently, on the plus side we did have more sunshine in the morning than had been forecast.
With the wind blowing as it was Roger and me opted for the mega vent's and after having a quick fly with mine Bruce also set up a mega, later in the afternoon Roger changed to a full vent, I am still amazed that a mega vent can still fly when the wind goes very light, we spent an enjoyable hour just flying and chatting before we stopped for tea.
Just after 10am Amanda arrived and she had young Aleyshia with her, it's always great when Amanda can come flying as she is full of enthusiasm for all thing's kite related, Aleyshia now has her own kite bag and a ground stake that she has decorated herself with kites and her name.
Aleyshia first came flying with us last year and soon picked up the basic's of flying a quad, she has her own quad kite, a very pretty pink and black one that is smaller than a normal 1.5, with Amanda's help it was soon put together and fitted to a set of lines borrowed from Roger, it's a great little kite to fly in stronger wind's but being smaller it fly's and turn's very quickly, it's ok in more experienced hand's but is a little too quick for a beginner, as Aleyshia has only been flying for a little while she find's it a bit tricky to fly at the moment but she still enjoyed whizzing it about the sky.
Amanda thought Aleyshia might be better off using her 1.5 full vent with a 1/2 leading edge to slow it down a bit, so during another tea break they were swapped over.
When we were flying on the beach earlier in the year at the Martello Tower at Clacton-
Flying in close proximity can be a bit daunting at first, Bruce has always told folk to just concentrate on flying their own kite, so as I flew my kite nearer to her's I passed on that great bit of advice, she was a bit nervous at first but carried on flying a nice shape that was pretty easy to follow, so much so that Roger joined in on the end, with word's of encouragement from Amanda Aleyshia led us both around the sky really, so well in fact that Bruce tagged onto the end !! It was hard to believe that Aleyshia was leading three other kites round in an infinity after so little time flying a quad, especially as the wind was rubbish, but leading she was, lost count but we must have gone round nearly twenty times before we landed, huge grin's all round.
The four of us did a bit more " team " flying in the afternoon with Aleyshia leading from the front, we had the odd tangle but that was always going to happen in that wind, as always Margaret was on hand with some expert ground crewing so any tangles were soon sorted out, when Aleyshia was having a well earned rest Amanda joined in the fun, we did some really close flying so close in fact that Bruce thought there was a pick pocket amongst us, it was a shame that Amanda and Aleyshia had to leave early but judging by the grin's I think they had had a great day.
We flew for a bit longer but the forecasted weather front was fast approaching and the first spot's of rain were in the air so we packed up for the day, as I said at the start it had been a memorable day, it had been Aleyshia's day, what a star.
We had a lazy Summers day at the Haven today.
The wind unusually for this time of year was blowing in from the NE, still has a bit of an edge to it so you needed a coat or body warmer to keep it out, but we also needed sun cream, after the shelter was up I put up my banner pole as I had changed the flag's around and have added another England flag so I was keen to see what it looked like, Amanda once again joined us for a fly so she put up her banner as well.
Started off with mid vent's today but the wind became quite light, and as we had been talking about how kite colours fade overtime I changed over to a full sail kite, one of a set that Bruce had very kindly modified for us a couple of years back, so that we would have a set of four team kite's in the same colour combination, one full sail and one mid vented, Roger and Bruce did the same, it was obvious which kites get flown the most as the change in the colours was amazing, reckon I have only flown the full sail a couple of times where the mid vent has been out nearly every weekend for a few years now and in all sorts of weather and condition's including a fair bit of flying on the beach.
We did a bit of following with Amanda as tail end charlie, something new as she is usually in the front and she did well to stay in formation, we did some 360 degree circles that looked really good from where I was standing, and then we made some stack's of the kites in the air and sometimes on the ground, Roger gave Amanda a few tip's on how to fly on to the top of a stack.
After a while the wind picked up, so we changed back to the mid vent's while Amanda flew her red/black full vent Rev, several guesses were made as to how strong the wind was so I got out my trusty wind speed meter, 9.8mph average and as it was still mainly a north easterly we had a good ground wind as well.
Came to realise how hard it must be to be a wildlife photographer as I tried in vain to take a picture of a Kestrel that was hovering while hunting along the promenade, every time I pointed the camera in it's direction it dived down out of sight, maybe it was camera shy ?
I had more luck with a couple of plane's, we heard the growl of some engines in the
distance and all to quickly they came in to view, a mad dash for the camera's ensued
and I just managed to get a half decent shot of them, a P51 Mustang and a T-
As the day wore on the sun moved round so that we could do some shadow flying, that is not flying by looking at the kite but by looking at the shadow on the ground, something Roger put us onto last year, can be a bit tricky when there is more than one of you doing it !! but it is strangely satisfying when the kite shadow goes behind and around you, do not get to shadow fly much as the wind is usually in the other direction so made the most of the opportunity.
All too soon it was time to think about going home, three weekend's flying in a row, long time since we have been able to do that, maybe just maybe thing's are improving.