Colchester Zoo Saturday 1st June
We were back at Colchester Zoo for the second weekend of their 50th Anniversary celebrations.
It did not feel much like the 1st of June, overcast skies and a fairly stiff wind coming from the North, so it was back on with the coats and body warmer's, Rob had said he was going to get there at 8.30 but while I was still a mile away from the Zoo at 8.35 I could already see a penguin in the sky, it was obvious Rob had been there for a little while for as I drove onto the field he already had a good selection of ground items up, Ladybirds, pig's and a monkey flying a kite, yes a monkey flying a kite, he had a pole stuck in his err, well bottom basically, made your eyes water, but he was enjoying himself flying a pirate kite, during the day he was the star of the show with the kid's and their mums and dads.
Roger and Margaret arrived not long after me, so the three of us set up more ground display item's including the " Colchester Zoo kite festival " banner, the igloo and a selection of banner poles with spinners on them, I had my flag pole and our Haven flyers banner so these were added to the display, thing's were looking quite colourful even though it was dull.
As we were coming to the end of our first cuppa of the day Daz came to join the fun, Rob likes to set his kite displays up in themes, there were going to be two themes today " Ice Age " and " Sea Life " so with Daz's help we soon had up another lifter that had the Polar Bear's and Seal's on, these joined another couple of Penguin's, the one Rob got from China that wears a scarf flew probably the best of all the kites today, all these items were anchored near to the Igloo that at this early hour had already had a few nippers in for a look round, a couple of them were pretending to be Polar Bear's, Grrr.
The Sea life theme was going to be set up on the higher field to act as a backdrop, Daz soon had the sled anchored and Rob came along with a bag in his hand, out of which he pulled the very BIG Lobster, oh no, I along with others have have spent many an hour untangling the mess that it seems to get into, but not today, onto the line it went and into the sky it flew first time, no tangles, miracles do happen, our luck did not hold, crab's were the next thing's out of the bag, try as hard as we could the crab's just would not fly right so we gave up with them and put on some clown fish instead.
Other thing's were added to the Sea life theme including Jelly Fish, Manta Ray's, and more Fish, by now it was time for another cuppa and a bite to eat, as we were admiring our handiwork Jez the Zoo's entertainment's manager came over for a chat and a biscuit or two and to bring back Rob's Bee suit from last weekend, he said how pleased the owners of the Zoo were with the kite displays and that they had given them some ideas for the future, and that we would be welcome back anytime.
Rog and me got out a couple of mid vent's and flew them in and around the lifters stopping occasionally to answer questions about the kites and to help the occasional Granddad out of the Igloo, he had gone in to try and persuade his Grandson who was dressed as Spiderman to go in as well, Spidey was having none of it, Gramps had a good time though and he was soon inside the Caterpillar as well with a few other folk, at one point I think there were six people in it at once, will have to think about putting it on a diet, too much red meat and not enough green's.
Some kites were taken down and new ones put up so that the scene in the sky was not always the same, so that folk had different thing's to look at after they had been to see the animals in the zoo, by late afternoon it was getting a bit chilly and Rob said he was getting cold so we started to wind thing's up, the weather for Sunday was looking better.
Sunday 2nd June
After a very busy, enjoyable but tiring day of kite flying the previous day Rob said he wanted today to be a chill out day and that suited me just fine, the display was going to be mainly kites flying on poles and some quad flying.
The weather on Sunday was a complete contrast to the previous day, sunny, warm and probably the best wind we have had during our time at the Zoo, myself, Rob, Roger and Margaret all arrived early so as not to get stuck in the traffic, the Zoo were once again expecting a lot of visitors and there certainly was. We were again doing the display in the overflow car park and as we had to move a lot of the kites last weekend Rob's idea of just flying kites on poles was a good one, today the car overflow car park remained car free as the Zoo had opened up another one so we ended up having all the room we wanted.
The poles with a good selection of animal kites were spread out along the top of the little hill along with some banners, we ran out of stakes at one point but luckily the Zoo has a handy supply of bamboo sticks that made a good alternative, once that display was done Rob put on his Bee suit and went to meet and greet people at the entrance, Roger and me put together some quads and did some formation flying to entertain the folk coming in, while we were doing that Margaret kept herself busy untangling Rob's set of quad lines that were in a right old mess, took her the best part of two hours to untangle the birds nest, Rob aka Honey Bee gave her a big hug for her efforts.
Pete and Lyn came along mid morning, Pete the Octoman flew a couple of Octopuses, Amanda and Aleyshia along with family and friends arrived late morning, we ended up having an outdoor party as it was Ava's fourth birthday, Aleyshia her sister April and a friend took it in turns wearing the Bee suit as they walked around the car park waving to the folk driving in, several mum's and dad's got some nice photo's of their kids with a big bee, the kite flying Monkey had a friend with him today a kite flying Lion that had also had a stick inserted in him somewhere painfully.
Gareth was once again flying a nice variety of very colourful kites that looked really nice in the sunshine, Aleyshia had her new quad kite with her, a 1.5 full sail in a lovely red/black/white design, it was soon attached to a set of lines and Aleyshia was grinning from ear to ear as she gave it it's first fly, the wind was at times a bit too strong for her but she was once again flying really well, at one point she was making the kite walk across the grass ! bit of a surprise as no one had shown her how to do that trick, in the afternoon some of the nippers with Amanda went and sat down wind of us so that we could land the kites on their hands and chase them about a bit.
Jez had once again given everyone a pass to go into the Zoo, so by mid afternoon all the kites were packed away so that we could all go in as a group, the girls led the way at a break neck pace, we saw a bird of prey display ( us olden's were glad of a sit down ) the display had Vultures swooping low over our heads.
We saw the lions being fed and lot's of other cool and interesting stuff, everyone was having such a good time the afternoon just flew bye, over the weekend Rob had kept saying he wanted to see the big egg, had not got a clue what he was on about until I saw it near the " Plains of Africa " a huge egg that you could climb into an pretend you were breaking out of it, Rob could not resist, Gareth had to pull him out though !
Rob also climbed into the giant Tortoise shell as well, will he ever grow up ? probably not, before we left we helped Rob take down some of his display kites in the Zoo, back at the cars we had a last cup of tea before we headed home, today had turned out just as we wanted, a very relaxing day flying kites with friend's
Our time kite flying at the Zoo has been very enjoyable and as the management have said we can go flying there pretty much when we want we may well be back there again.
More pictures from both weekends here…
First day flying at Holland Haven for about a month, two weekend's at Colchester Zoo followed by two weeks kite flying on large, sandy, nearly deserted beaches with the smoothest wind's you can imagine, swallowed those four week's up, no I'm not saying where the beaches are, that is going to remain our secret.
It was hot today, possibly the hottest day of the year so the coast was the place to be, even there with the wind coming off the sea in the afternoon it was warm, the wind was forecasted to be a steady 12 mph but it changed strength and direction more than once during the day, I flew full sails, mid vent's and full vent's and almost at one point a mega vent, but no one was complaining as it was just good to be outside in the sun.
Myself, Bruce, Roger and Margaret were joined about mid morning by Daz who had come to do some quad flying, we spent a good deal of the day catching up with folk's news, Daz showed us a picture of the new Rok he is making and very nice it looks to, while we were having a cuppa a very polite fellow came up and asked if he could fly his Blade !! he soon had it set up in front of where we were flying and was having his arms stretched quite nicely but he obviously new what he was doing, in the afternoon another group of lads came up with a 12 metre wind surfing sail and a board, unfortunately they had all the gear but no idea, even from where we were sitting Bruce's expert eye could see that the bridles were set up no where near correct meaning that they could not power it up, but we were far to comfortable in our chairs by then, if they wanted any help they would have to come to us, which they didn't.
Another couple of visitor's today were Rich and John, long time since we have seen either of them. today was a non flying visit before a ride out on their bikes, however it was great to see them both and before they left they promised to come up flying again very soon.
While we were flying just doing our own thing with a bit of following thrown in a little lad who was with a family group came over and tried to catch the kites, so we chased him about a bit, then he had a sit in all of our chair's and even a lay down in our shelter, didn't think we tired him out that much, he was carted off by his Dad a few times but he kept coming back for more, he was a very talkative little chap but as he was foreign we did not have a clue what he was on about, we just assumed he was saying how amazing our flying was.
During the day we saw a Kestrel hunting along the hedgerow's, the Air Sea Rescue helicopter, six Thames sailing barges and a Spitfire flew bye in the distance so even when we are not flying we get to look at all sorts of interesting stuff.
Just before we packed up at about 5 pm Rob came along for a chat, he and Peter had been flying single line kites at Walton on the Naze, he told us about event's he was planning on doing in the coming month's and I told him about what had happened on Saturday at the Great Bentley carnival where the Essex Kite Group had been asked to put on a kite display.
The flying at Great Bentley is never very good, lots of trees and houses in the way of the wind if it is blowing in the wrong direction which it usually is, but the EKG did manage to win a 2nd place in the carnival parade as they walked along with kites on poles,
Ernie very proudly wore the Rosette on his chest for the rest of the day.
info about the Essex Kite Group can be found here http://essexkitegroup.yolasite.com/
It had been a great weekend, kite flying and getting to meet up with lot's of kite flying chum's.