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  • Beaten by the weather - again

    Today, we were due to go to Sellinge Sports and Social Club and fly kites on their field while children went in hunt of Easter eggs. Unfortunately, storm Katie had other ideas, and strong winds and driving rain kept most of us indoors for the duration. I know the kite weekenders suffered a similar fate. They were due to spend the Easter weekend at Sumners Ponds. But those who arrived early were turned away as the kite field was waterlogged, following heavy overnight rain on Thursday. It had been hoped that a brief dry spell had dried the field out, but the heavy rain saw it churned up once again, and those who did get on to the field had to be rescued by a JCB.

    However, all was not lost from a kite flying perspective. Kent Kite Flyers are now famous, or at least one of our band is. Those eagle eyed amongst you may have been watching Coastal Walks with my Dog a short series on More 4. The seconf epsidoed feature Phil Spencer (he of Kirsty and Phil fame) walking along the white cliffs path from Dover to the South Foreland Lighthouse, where he met up with a couple of brave kite flyers. 

    Of course this was not a chance meeting, all having been carefully arranged by the programmes researchers. However, being a weekday, most of us had to work for a living, but our Treasurer, made an appearance, and even had a speaking part! I trust the EQUITY card has been arranged, otherwise we'll have stirkes on our hands.

  • Here Comes the Sun

    After so many weeks of being wiped out by the weather conditions, we managed to get in a good afternoon's flying this afternoon, though it didn't always look so promising.

    When I arrived at a bout 11:30 am, the field was full of football matches. Fortunately, they all finished around 12:30, though the nets and corner flags were left out, which didn't bode well. And sure enough, at about 1 more teams started appearing and warming up, and matches started again at about 1:30.

    But despite this there was room to fly so we made the most of it. The wind was brisk and rather lumpy, coming off the hills and over the houses. But we managed to get a good selection of kites into the sky. And at about 3:30 the footbal matches finished and the sun came out. And what had started a rather dull, chilly day finished a glriously warm and sunny afternoon. So much so, that noone of us left until about 5:30 when reulactantly we went our separate ways, having given lots of Chrismas presents, auction winnings and winter projects a good airing. 

  • At last some decent weather

    It seems to have been for ever, but at last we've had a Sunday when the weather has been kind enough to get out and fly kites. Unfortunately it was mothering Sunday, so most people had other duties to attend to, so I ended up going out on my own to Tonbridge Park. THis is the first time I've been out flying since New Years day.

    I was expecting the park to be very muddy, but was pleased to find that the ground was quite firm underfoot, and the good covering of grass meant that kites that hit the ground unexpectedly wouldn't get covered in mud. It was fairly quiet in the park, as expected, most people performing their parental duties. My main reason for goiing was to test a new kite I had just finished yesterday.

    the conditions were just about ideal for testing. There was a gentle but consistent breeze and no turbulence, despite the grey skies. First up, I put a pink elephant dell porta into the sky. This is a consistent flyer and would be a good test for the conditions, as the kite I wanted to test was also a della porta.

    After a short test flight, time to assemble and test the new kite. I'm pleased to say it took to the sky with no bridle adjustment at all. But the tails needed untangling!

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    But I decide to fiddle to see if I could get it flying at a slightly lower angle. Then once happy, I let it have some more line and kept it flying in the breeze for a little while. 

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    Finally, I put up my new kite from Robert Brasington, bought for me as a Christmas present. As expected, this flew perfectly, and is only the second time I've flown it - the last being New Years Day.

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    After a short fly, I headed to the little refreshment booth in the childrens playground for a warming cup of coffe, and a nice chat with the chap who has taken over running it.

    It's great to be out flying again!

  • Bird kites in Tel Aviv

    Its a wet and miserable morning here in Kent, so I thought I would try to brighten up your weekend just a little. Some of you may remember that I was flying my train of swallow kites in Dieppe. One morning a lady wandered up to me and insisted she wanted to buy some, and that I should make them commercially as I would have no problem selling them. After much discussion I finally persuaded her that it was not a commercial proposition, but she was very persuasive, so I agreed to make a pair of them for her nieces.

    On return from Dieppe, we exchanged a few emails to agree on colours, etc. and finally the kites were made. I had to modify the design slightly to accomodate shipping. But they were packed posted and I thought no more about it. Then, just before Christmas, a (slightly damaged) package arrived at home. It was the kites, returned by the Israeli post office. After a few more emails, it emerged that the lady had been on holiday when the kites arrived and so she had been unable to collect them from the post office. Israel being a fairly paranoid state - with good reason - returned the parcel to its source. So I checked the details and sent them again, and a couple of weeks later got an email to tell me that the package had arrived.

    So to bring this up-to-date. This morning I received an email from Israel with a photo attached. Here are my kites flying in the clear blue sky above Tel Aviv. It clearly is One Sky One World, bought in France, manfucatured in the UK and flown in Israel.

    Well, next weekend is Easter and on Easter Sunday we are due to be at the easter Egg hunt at the Sellinge Sports and Social club. Why not come along and say hello.

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  • The Ridgewaye, Southborough

    A new site for us perhaps. Certainly not one that I have flown at before, but Sunday 30th March saw a few of us turn out to try to fly kites on this park in Royal Tunbridge Wells. It being mothers day (mothering Sunday to the pedants amongst you) we weren't really expecting a large turnout. The park is located just off the main A26, and is accessed via Yew Tree Road. It is quite a large area with football pitches marked out, but fortunately today only one was in use. There is plenty of free parking on, or adjacent to the access road.

    The park sits on top of a hill effectively, so benefits from good wind almost right down to the ground. There are houses on a couple of sides, but these didn't seem to affect flying conditions too badly. So we happy band set up and flew kites all afternoon. We managed to attract quite a bit of passing interest from the members of the public out alking dogs and children.

    The wind was light so made flying anything that couldn't cope with light conditions tricky. Of course, the conditions were ideal for tangling the bridles on an edo. So much of the afternoon was spent unravelling the knot! I don't understand it, the lines laid out perfectly, but within 5 minutes had become irretrievably tangled. Most furstrating.

    A good adternoon was had by the few that turned up I think, and I can see this becoming a regular west Kent site.

  • March mayhem

    Much to tell. Lots has been happening as the kite season starts to uncurl its petals and shake off the winter blues.

    Firstly, while some of us were basking in glorious sunshine in Rome, watching England play Italy in the six nations, and enjoying all the host nation has to offer (lots of red wine), others attended a kite workshop and fly at Collier Street School. I'm told the day was well received. The children, and their parents, thoroughly enjoyed making kites and flying them afterwards, so a good time was had by all.

    On the Sunday, it was a normal club day, and being the third Sunday of the month, members decided to go to the Kent College playing fields at Canterbury. I'm told a good time was had by all in the sunshine, and I'm also told that Barbara was testing a new kite, but I'm not allowed to say what it is.

    Finally, Sunday 23 saw us invited by the National Trust to fly at South Foreland Lighthouse near Dover. This was for one of their regular kite flying days. One thing we can guarantee at South Foreland is wind by the bucket load, and we weren't disappointed. But we could have managed without the thunder, hail etc. than ou very much.

    It was an excellent turn out by KKF members. Our wind garden seems to have grown. Note to self - next time, remember to take both parts of the noise making bits. The sticks in the ground are most unimpressive on their own! Lots of kites were flown through the afternoon, as attested by these photos from Len. Unfortunately, as can be seen, the lighthouse itself is currently shrouded in scaffolding whilst the old paintwork is stripped and replaced. I am told this work is expected to take until June to complete, subject to good weather, but when finish, there will be an additional viewing platform almost at the height of the weather vane!

    These are Len's little ladybirds bouncing around in the breeze.

  • AGM day

    Today, 9th March 2014m was the KKF AGM at Brogdale. I'll publish a full report once I have the transcript of the meeting from the club secretary. Suffice to say the officers stood for re-election and were elected unchallenged, and Kevin has joined the committee.

    Being a gloriously sunny day, it was too good an opportunity to miss a chance to fly, and some of us arrived early and left late to take full advantage. For my part, I needed to test out my new, well modified, Kite Aerial Photography rig, and everything worked really well.

    Brogdale Farm, Faversham

    Again, after the meeting, several people took to the fields to fly kites bought at the auction, or things they'd brought with them. The first good weather of the year, and it was really nice to get out and fly again. the ground was suprisingly firm given the rain of recent weeks.

  • Easter in Tonbridge

    The cold and damp is obviously starting to get to people. We had planned to meet up in Tonbridge, but various people fell by the wayside during the days leading up to Easter Sunday, and in the event, only three flyers appeared on the park. twas a cold, grey afternoon with occasional very light snow flurries and the usual tricky wind.

    It was certainly a day for experimentation and testing rather than all out flying. Tony Makepeace was tuning a magnificent delta sled, Bill gave a hexagonal roller a try, followed by a pilot, and I tried a box kite bought at the auction. If flies very nicely, but the stresses showed that the leading edge sleeve had failed at the trailing edge. So another little sewing repair required.

    The day wasn't a total loss. As I drove through Hadlow I saw that the Hadlow Folly has been restored to its former glory. I lived in Hadlow for many years, and the folly (Hadlow Castle or Hadlow Tower) was visible for many a mile. Unfortunately it had fallen into disrepair and spent many years with the top reduced in height and capped off, and the rest covered in scaffolding. It is great to see it standing tall again.

  • South Foreland Lighthouse

    "Enjoy some fresh spring air with an afternoon kite flying. Bring your favourite kite and lots of enthusiasm" the poster said. Well there was spring air in abundance and it was decidely fresh. We brought our favourite kites, but I fear that by the end of the afternoon the enthusiasm was flagging. 

    This was the afternoon of the South Foreland Kite Fly organised by the national trust at the pretty South Foreland Lighthouse and to which we had been invited. When I arrived Janet was already flying the floform that she had bought at the AGM auction. Though the wind was proving strong and she was struggling to hodl on, and soon needed assistance to walk the kite down. 

    Next up Peter put up a Greens Kites parafoil, which you can see behind the lighthouse in this picture if you look closely. Again the wind was too powerful to hold the kite, so a ground anchor was arranged. So was to be the day, strong and bitterly cold afternoon made bearable by the supplies of tea and biscuits by the staff. There was very little sign of Joe Public, a few did turn up and fly briefly but soon departed, beaten by the bitter wind. Just to give you an idea, I was taking some photographs and soon lost the feeling in my fingers, not much fun.

    South Foreland Lighthouse Kite Day

    I put up a little corner of wind garden, which made one heck of a racket, yes the bamboo and ribbons really do buzz. 

    I gave the twin flowform to Janet's an airing, and Janet was to put hers back in the air later. We stuck it out for as long as we could but eventually the weather proved too much for us all. Our thanks go to the staff for inviting us and looking after us. A couple of good things came out of the day:

    1. We acquired a prospective new member
    2. John said we could go back and have a club day anytime there isn't an event on, just give him warning.

    So it looks like we may make another appearance at the lighthouse provided we get some decent weather this year.

    The KKF fashion parade was out in force. Kevin dedintely wins all the style marks for a very fetching pair of ear muffs. I think these should become standard club clothing.

    South Foreland Lighthouse Kite Day

    Meanwhile the clubs officers were playing silly b's. What do you think is going on here then. Well Janet has just hot Bill with a snowball. Good shot madam! Glad to see the club treasurer setting such a good example

    South Foreland Lighthouse Kite Day

    Thanks to all who turned up to try our best to decorate the sky.

  • June Teston

    Following much discussionand debate at the club AGM last weekend, it was ultimately decided that the club will not underwrite the June Teston kite festival, and therefore the event has been cancelled. Members felt that the risks to club funds were just too great to underwrite both June and August events. The August event will go ahead as planned and details are currently being thrashed out by the committee.

  • KKF AGM

    What's with all these TLAs (three letter acronyms). So in full. Kent Kite Flyers Annual General Meeting. As a result, today was a non-flying day , but as the weather was pretty horrible - a combination of rain sleet and snow - it was just as well that we were all ensconced in the comfort of Blean Village Hall.

    I'll put the official minutes of the AGM here when they get published, but for now, suffuce to say that the existing committee were re-elected to stand for another year, and we agreed to support Slide Away as our chosen charity for another two years. To more important things, the AGM was followed by a buffet lunch, so many thanks to treasurer Janet for organising the food. And finally after lunch there was an auction of bits and pieces, both kite related and non-kite related. This year we were fortunate to have a donation of bits and pieces from retired member Norman Eyers, and also following the death of Jilly Pelham, some materials and other bits and bobs had been donated by her brother. The result was a bumper auction with lots of new kites to be completed, repaired or just flown. The auction was a spectacular success, raising an amazing amount in excess of £550, so well done and thank you to all who took part. As was agreed with Norman, if the auction raised sufficient amount we would pass £100 on to Kent College in appreaciation of them allowing us the use of their field once a month.

    So next weekend sees the return to normal with a club fly in at Canterbury and the weekend after sees us invited to fly at the pretty South Foreland lighthouse.