Today was the start of Autumn and it felt like it, chilly enough to need an extra layer and a lightweight coat or body warmer, even though the wind was coming from the southwest it didn't feel very warm mainly due to the sun being hidden by some persist ant light cloud, strangely the wind farm just off the coast was not visible but the Thames array that is much farther away was !!
We put together three midvents after flying full sails for only a little while, we had to be on our best behaviour and not get into any tangles as Margaret was on a long walk to Walton pier and back, we reckoned it was about a seven mile round trip.
One chap who was in a wheelchair was very grateful Margaret had decided to go to Walton today, as when she got to the pier she found he had managed to fall out of his chair, with the help of a chap from the RNLI she managed to get him sorted out and safely seated.
Myself, Bruce and Roger flew the kites in what was a pretty big wind window, we made some kite stacks on the ground when we weren't following each other, a few passing folk were heard to say " wow look at those kites " and it was a few folk as for a good deal of the day the Haven was nearly deserted, a few groups did come out with their nippers to fly a variety of single line kites but they were few and far between, we reckon most of these kites come from shop's like Aldi etc, so they are to be congratulated on getting folk out into the fresh air and maybe interested in kite flying.
Just after midday midday we were starting to feel a bit hungry, being perfect gentlemen we were delaying lunch until Margaret arrived back, just as our resolve was starting to wain we spotted Margaret striding towards us, she was barely out of breath when she reached our little camp.
During the afternoon we just flew and relaxed while we chatted about kite flying in general, I told them about what had happened at the Gt Bentley flower show where Rob and Peter were attempting to put on a kite display, as is usually the way at Bentley the wind was rubbish and lifters were constantly falling out of the sky, Daz managed to pop bye for a quick visit so we got to hear about the Portsmouth Kite Festival.
As it was a bit nippy we packed up flying around 5pm and headed for home, a quiet but enjoyable day and we hadn't had to fly with our legs crossed as the toilets have been repaired in double quick time, and they have used plastic pipe this time, hope that any crooks that break in to steal the copper pipes in the future don't smash the place up when they find their isn't any.
Colchester Zoo Sunday Sept 8th
This was going to be a two day event but the Saturday had to be cancelled which was a shame as by all accounts the wind on the Saturday was a lot better than today's, something Rob was told more than once( some folk mainly Haven flyers not knowing it had been cancelled on the Saturday turned up )
The wind today was to say the least challenging, to be frank it was terrible, once again we were reminded how lucky we are that we can go flying on the coast, the wind today was never settled, up and down in strength and changing direction constantly.
The day started well as I arrived at the car park that we are allowed to use as a flying field, Roger and Margaret were already there and Rob arrived not long after as did a welcome friend, Keith from the EKG, at this time we had sunshine and a lovely smooth breeze, we decided to park up a little further along the field so that we could put the display up on top of the little hill where the ground display bits would be seen by folk coming into the Zoo.
As Rob set about putting up his Parrot ground kites I set up by banner pole, first time I have flown it with the East Anglian flag kindly given to be by Bruce, making sure that the flags were flown in the correct order, have to get that sort of thing correct you know, was pleased how it looked, with the flags fluttering nicely I was sure today was going to be a good day !!! Keith put up the very impressive EKG banner pole near to mine.
Next up were some lifters, a flow form and a pair of sleds, Rob attached his impressive Lobster to one line, no major tangles, followed by a couple of Crab's that we had no end of problems trying to get to fly right the last time we were at the Zoo, Rob had made a couple of tweaks to them and they flew pretty much straight out of the bag, yep this was going to be a good day, Keith put some very effective streamers on his line, they looked just like sea snakes swimming through water, he had also launched a very colourful delta that was flying high, Keith does like to get thing's in the air.
I decided to put up my Wala kite, soon after I had the first inkling that thing's might not be quite so good today, as it pulled the stake holding it out of the ground, it flew off down the field only to get caught in a tree, gave the Horses in the next field a bit of a start, they had been watching with some interest what the the Humans were up to, curiosity a couple of minutes later got the better of them as they came back to the fence to watch me pulling my kite out of the tree, once retrieved it was soon back in it's bag.
It was now that the problems started, and we were glad that John from the EKG and Daz had come along for a days kite flying, the wind went then came back before it went again, everyone was kept busy trying to keep the display going by launching kites that had come down, then the wind started to veer wildly from left to right causing kites to get wrapped around other kites or flying over the cars in the car park, even moving the ground stakes did not improve thing's.
Even our usually leisurely lunch breaks were interrupted as folk went to sort out
the kites, Rob was heard to say " I wanted a nice leisurely fly today " to be told
once again that the wind on Saturday was a lot better, became a running joke during
the day, early afternoon I did get chance to re-
Rob decided that the large Caterpillar may be a better kite for the conditions and it had only been up a few minutes before it had some kids wandering in it for a look round, but not long after the wind became quite strong and the Caterpillar was getting seriously airborne so it too was put away, myself Daz and Roger put together three mid vent's but even they were a challenge to fly as the wind died away yet again, we were all flying in different directions and all seemed to have the centre of the window !!
Daz looked behind us and saw some angry clouds starting to come our way, as there were still quite a few kites either flying or on the ground we packed away the quads and mucked in to help get things packed away, pretty much getting the job done before the rain started, we sat out the first rain shower in the car's.
After that passed we stood and chatted for a bit while we waited to see what the weather was going to do, using one of Rob's kite flying Lions Roger showed us what one of Lions had been spotted doing at Frinton, folk get arrested for doing that sort of thing in public, doing it in Frinton would probably lead to being hung drawn and quartered, gave us all a good laugh though, and we needed a laugh as another heavy shower blew through.
We stood and chatted for a bit longer, coming to the decision to call it off for the day just as another heavy shower blew in, brief cheerios were said as folk once again dashed for their car's before heading for home.
Even though today had been trying laughter was constantly heard floating across the field while we enjoyed each other's company, weather permitting we will be back on the coast next Sunday, the wind may not always be perfect there but it is never as bad as today's was, all that said I think everyone had an enjoyable time flying at the Zoo today.
Sunday 15 Sept
We thought our flying may be cut short today as a weather front was approaching from the West at a fair rate of knot's, rain and gales were forecast for 4pm, it arrived about when we thought it would 1pm, at least we had a dry morning.
First thing the Haven was bathed in sunshine, it was a bit cold as the wind was approx 15mph and gusty, as we knew the day was going to be cut short, myself Roger, Margaret and Bruce arrived not long after 9am, the shelter was soon up and the next question was what kite to fly ?
We would probably have gone straight onto the mega vents in that gusty wind, I however had a new Full vent to fly so I quickly set about putting it together and Bruce and Roger did likewise, Bruce very kindly said it was another good job, think I may be getting the hang of this sewing lark.
Pleased to say the kite flew very well, if I make any more I will soon be needing another kite bag !! always like the way the Chinese full vents look when they are in the sky, however we dock them together the graphics always blend into each other, we did a bit of following and then a bit of team flying to entertain some folk that were watching.
Margaret had taken herself off for a walk by the Nature Reserve, would be ok going but coming back meant facing the strengthening wind head on, we knew a change of kite would soon be called for so not being quite so gallant as we were a couple of week's ago we stopped for an early cuppa before Margaret arrived back.
Refreshed by a warming hot drink we changed the kites to mega vents, by now the sun had gone and the wind was making the shelter " rattle " the mega's made a great sound as they roared about the sky, certainly put a smile on Bruce's face as he particularly likes flying in a bit of wind.
Upon Margaret's return we stopped or an earlyish lunch so as to get in as much flying as we could, by now it was getting a bit gloomy, the offshore wind farm that now includes the two biggest wind turbines in the world was becoming a bit blurry, as was Bruce's all black mega vent when it dropped below the distant tree line, an anxious look behind us showed a weather front fast approaching, Bruce's expert eye calculated that we had about an hour before the rain arrived.
Fifty minutes later the first spots of rain were being blown in on the wind, our very efficient packing up routine was set into motion, kites, bags and chairs etc were all away in no time at all meaning only the shelter got a bit damp, as we reached the cars the rain was getting heavier, we all agreed it had been well worth getting out for the morning as it had been a lovely morning to go kite flying.
Sunday 22nd Sept
Very foggy this morning, on the drive to Holland Haven even the land based wind turbines only had their bottom twenty feet visible from a few hundred yards away, and they are five of the biggest ones in the country !! the wind was a light SW of about 7 mph, the weather folk said the sun would come out later and burn the fog away but I had my doubts as there is not much strength in the Sun this time of year and the wind would not blow it away either, the lack of wind did mean that it was not cold just a bit of dampness in the air.
As I drove into the Haven car park Roger and Margaret were in the car in front, nice bit of timing, it was damp underfoot as we put the shelter up, would take a bit of time to get it dry from last week, full sails were the order of the day, complete change from last weekend when it was Mega vent's.
We had not been flying for long before we heard Bruce's car pulling up, the wind picked up slightly as Bruce pondered what kite to fly, he opted for a mid vent only for the wind to drop back as soon as he had it on the end of a set of line's, he decided to fly it anyway, testament to his skill as a flyer and of his venting design that the kite was flying well enough to keep up with our two full sail's.
Margaret's arrival back from a walk along the sea front meant it was time for morning tea, our little Kestrel also came along for a mid morning snack, as we started flying again Margaret went for a forage in the hedgerows and soon had a bag full of lovely Blackberry's, mmm homemade Blackberry crumble.
A lady with a walking frame had stopped and watched the kites for quite a while so we did a bit of team flying to show off and she gave us an enthusiastic round of applause when we did some ball burst's, must look quite impressive to non kite flying folk.
As time went bye the fog and mist slowly started to lift, did think that may signal the arrival of a few more folk but apart from the usual dog walkers the Haven was deserted nearly all day, bit of a shame as it was a nice September day, even without the sun.
Late afternoon we heard the engines of a couple of Paragliders, one landed in a field not far away, we were not sure if he meant to or if he had run out of juice, his mate flew around a bit before buggering off, as we flew on we kept glancing in his direction, just in case, about an hour later his sail inflated again and he took off, mechanical error or had he been picking Blackberries as well ? we shall never know.
As flocks of Geese started to wheel about the sky we noticed that a large flow tail had been launched in one of the fields close to where the Paraglider had landed, was that what he had been doing ? tried to get a picture of it but by know if was getting gloomy again and that signalled a drop in the temperature so we packed thing's away and headed for home.
Today was a bonus day, well into Autumn now and that usually means unsettled weather, rain and wind, today we had wind blowing along the Haven at a good 17 mph plus and it was sunny and dry and no rain forecast so that was the bonus.
Had thought about getting to the Haven a tad early and having a walk on the beach as it was a nice September day but time got away from me so didn't arrive till 9.15 closely followed by Roger and Margaret, the windsock at the Airfield had already shown me we had plenty of wind so it was good to have three pairs of hands to put up the shelter.
When Roger packed up last week he tried a new kite line winding technique using the
foam tubes on the kite handles, the un-
Mega vents were the only choice of kite to fly today as it was a bit gusty, I put up my blue one with the sun symbol and Roger had the pink one with the crown symbol, we both count ourselves very fortunate to have them in our kite bag's, we had only been flying for a little while before Bruce joined us and he put up his all black mega vent.
We had not seen Daz for a while but it was great that he was able to join us today, luckily Bruce had another mega vent of the same design in his bag, a yellow one, he leant it to Daz so the kites would all be the same, thought Daz may have been a bit rusty as he has not flown a quad for a while, but not a bit of it.
After a bit of free flying Bruce said " call some moves Col " so we shuffled ourselves around to get into what were our team position's.
We started gently with a basic follow then a ball burst to get accustomed to calling things again as it has been a while since we had four kites, soon we had dozy do's, benefits, fly through's, big squares and blenders etc all flowing into each other one after the other, bit surprised everyone remembered the blender including me, the first one was a bit untidy but the second one was really sharp, we did a bit more before we did a roll over landing, I was thinking the team flying looked ok and that was backed up by Margaret who said " that actually looked really good " quit while you are ahead I reckoned, time for a cuppa.
Quite a few people out today enjoying the sunshine, only one chap flying a kite, he had a couple of power kites and a buggy, looked like he knew what he was doing, but after a good 40 minutes he was still sorting out his lines, he did then get to do some buggying at last.
The day slowly became overcast and that meant the temperature dropped so a few of us decided to put on the winter coat's to keep the chill wind out, meant we were able to fly on till 5 pm and by now the sun had come out again making it a pleasant evening but with the sun low in the sky it did mean we were looking straight into it so it was a good time to call it a day.