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  • New Year's day fly-in

    As the song says "The weather outside is frightful" but we had a brief interlude in the rain and gale force winds on new year's day, long enough for a few to get out and fly kites for a while.

    The venue was Woodchurch village green, near Ashford and the day started cold, cloudy and fairly windless. But as the day drew on the wind picked up, and by mid-day there was a pretty good turnout of people keen to get some fresh air in their lungs and some wind in their (kite) sails. But boy was it muddy underfoot. I suppose we should be grateful that we are not in the north west of the country, where it has ceased being muddy underfoot and is now just a river underfoot. So we made the best of the conditions that we could with little or no wind at ground level and quite a strong breeze above tree level. Of course this makes flying and launching conditions tricky. But several christmas presents saw their first flight, at least with these owners.

    Then we spent a considerable amounto f time chatting and catching up with people we haven't seen for months before heading off home once we got too cold, and just before the rain set in.

  • At last

    Well so far this year, the weekends have been pretty rubbish from the kite flying point of view. Winds varying from gales to nothiing at all, rain, generally unfriendly for the cerf-voliste. But I'm pleased to say that we managed to get some success and a pretty good turn out on Sunday.

    Off we popped to Sellinge Sports and Social club to try again. The morning didn't look too promising as there was a distinct lack of wind, but by lunchtime, there was just about enough blow to keep some kites aloft. So a pretty good variety of kites got flown in the early afternoon as the wind drifted through and then drifted off, and then wandered back again. some Brasington deltas, a tahara, some asian fighters of various origin, som rokkakus, and to round off the afternoon, some illuminated deltas, from those of us who remembered to charge up our batteries! So all in all I think that probably counts as our first successful fly-in of 2015. Here's to the next one!

    Oh, I'm told the roast beef with all the trimmings was pretty good too. 

  • Kites for sale by auction

    In my last blog, I mentioned that Stuart Richards had been taken into care. His collection of kites are now availabel for sale by auction on the Kent Kite Flyers discussion forum. This is the link to the catalogue thread, and you will find auction thread(s) we hope in the same area. The auction rules are also contained in the discussion thread.

    Please feel free to come and bid one and all

  • New Year? Damp Squib

    And so we welcome in 2015, and it wasn't a great start. We had two fly-ins planned, neither of which came to anything.

    The first was planned for Radnor Park, Folkestone on new year's day. The day was dull and very windy. A few of us turned up and flew flotails and other kites, but th ewind got stronger and stronger, and the turbulence made it difficult to control anything, so after a short stop, most of us headed for home.

    The second outing was planned for Sunday 4th. We'd got permission to use the sports fields at Sellindge Sports and Social Club, so a big thank you to them for offering their facilities. We could only start at 12:30 as there was a football match on in the morning. So half a dozen of us braved the conditions. Those travelling from south described beautiful weather until they got to Junction 11 of the M20, when they were met by a wall of fog. Those of us travelling from north ddescribed the conditions as foggy! So we arrived, we sat in the clubhouse drinking coffee, chatting about all things kite, and not kite, and eating the roast potatoes provided by the chef.

    So far, there is no news of plans for a fly-in this coming Sunday, but the forecast looks pretty horrible with strong winds coming in from the west driving weather fronts across the country. May be a day for working on that winter project.

  • 2014 - a year in review

    Lets start with the sad news. 2014 saw the loss of some good kiting friends, including Ron Dell of Kiteability who finally lost a long battle with cancer, and Martin Corrie of suffolk Kite Flyers who lost his battle with Motor Neurone Disease.They will always be in our hearts and minds and we will remember them and their loved ones when we fly kites.

    We also hear that Marie Dane of Go-Kites suffered a bleed to the brain in December, but has, so far, made a great recovery. We wish her a full and speedy recovery in 2015.

    Closer to home, we understand that ex-SEKS member Stuart Richards' health has deteriorated and he has been admitted to residential care. I'm sure eveyone will join those of us who remember Stuart in wishing him a good new year.

    So what did we get up to during the year? Well as usual we try to fly soomewhere every weekend. In winter months this can be very weather dependant. Obviously members aren't too keen to travel for miles to get somewhere where there is no wind or it is raining, especially with fuel prices as high as they have been. Fortunately the price of fuel has fallen considerably, which eases some of the burden. But January and February saw us holding fly-ins whenever we could. The year really gets going in March when we hold our AGM and auction which raises a significant amount of cash for club funds.

    April sees the kite flying season get into full swing. Starting with Streatham Kite Day, an event that is always well attended by public and kite clubs.Those of us of a slightly more ambitious nature make the trip across the channel to Berck International Kite Festival, a week long kiting extravaganza on the sandy beaches of the Cote 'D'Opale.As usual we are well looked after by Jurgen Weiss and his team at the hotel Le Littoral.We were able to watch the UK team Scratch Bunnies retire at the top having one the world sportks kite championship three times in a row.

    May saw the kite activity take off, in some cases quite literally! One member made the long journey north to take part in the Blyth Kite Festival in early May whilst others headed off to Weymouth beach for the festival there. Mid-May saw a couple of us head to Belgium for the Oostende Kite Festival. Unfortunately the conditions were appalling and the event was abandoned on Sunday. Who can forget the flying camp chair? Hopefully we can go back in 2015 to better conditons. May closed with a couple of us heading to Margam Park for the kite festival. It rained! Nuff sed! but I hope to go back next year.

    June starts with Basingstoke Kite Festival. Several of our members made the trip. It was closely followed by a fly-in at Teston. This was the weekend of what had been the little kite event. However funding changes at KCC meant we now had to pay for the use of the site, and could not afford to run teh festival, so the club decided to hold a fly-in instead. The month ended with the inaugural Herne Bay Kite Event. A pleasant day, until the heavens opened as we were packing up. Unfortunately, like so many events, the Peterborough Kite Festival didn't happen this year. Let's hope it comes back as it is such an enjoyable event.

    July started with the Appeal for Alfie charity day in Ramsgate. We support this event by parachuting unsuspecting teddy bears. The middle of the month saw the Brogdale cherry festival. Part of the deal with using the site at Brogdale for fly-ins and meetings is that we will support their events. We try to parachute teddy bears and also run a kite workshop for them. The month closed with many of our members heading up to the glorious Dunstable Downs for Dunstable Kite Festival. A fabulous location and glorious weather made for a great weekend. Another on the must do list for 2015, we were made so welcome by the organisers.

    August comes in with the Ron Dell Kite Festival at Teston. The Teston events were organised by Ron and Pat Dell for many years, and we took over the organisation a year or so ago. This year, and henceforward, we decide to rename the festival in honour of Ron. A good turnout, and a good time was had by all. Portsmouth Kite Festival clashed with the Brogdale Cider Festival this year. So while some of us bunged bears and made kites at Brogdale, others headed off to Portsmouth for a slightly larger event.

    So into September, and the kiting year is coming to a close. No Bristol this year, though we understand it will probably come back in 2015. But it being an even year, there is Dieppe International Kite Festival. A large number of KKF members made the trip, and this year we had with us the display of flotails on loan from Kiteworld to fly in memory of Martin Corrie. They certainly made an impact in the sky and received a lot of positive comment (from as far afield as Canada!). The weather was glorious throughout our stay and I think we all enjoyed soaking up the local atmosphere, and wine.

    5th October was the date for the Martin Corrie Memorial Fly, organised by the East Anglian Kite Flyers on the Greensward at Frinton-on-Sea. A good number of KKF members made the trip, and while we basked in glorious sunshine, the wind failed to put in an appearance. But all agreed it should become an annual event, so we will try again next year. Mid-month we were again at Brogdale for the apple festival.

    November saw several of our members head off to warmer climes to join the international contingent of kite flyers at the Fuerte Kite Festival.

    And that just about wraps up 2014, except for the social event of the calendar, the club's Christmas Dinner, held at Brogdale. A good time was had by all who attended, but unfortunately I couldn't make it due to ill health.

    So what does 2015 hold? Well that is very much down to the weather. i know one of our members will be heading off to Goa and Belgaum in January for the international kite festival there. It's bound to be a bit warmer than Kent. March has our AGM. No doubt there will be Streatham Common Kite Day to start the year, though this often clashes with Berck. Several of our members will be heading to Berck in April, the hotel is already booked. We're hoping to send a delegation to Oostende again this year, and also Margam, Basingstoke, Dunstable, Weymouth, Portsmouth and Bristol. You can follow what we are doing on our discussion forum and on our calendar. As a taster, this Sunday, 4th January, We hope to be flying at Sellindge Sports Club if we can get permission.

    It just remains for me to wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

     

  • Will the rain never end

    It has been a bit quiet in here lately, but then there has been very little kiting activity due to the weather. Last Sunday (19th January) saw our first outing of the season at Brogdale. A few brave souls managed to get out on a bright sunny day to put some colour into the sky. I understand a good time was had by all, apart from one person who planted a kite in a tree. Apparently there are photographs of the rescue attempts which will be published in the club magazine, "the windjammer", so if you want to find out more, you will need to join the club.

    While some were playing with kites in the sun, a few of us headed off to the model engineer exhibition at Alexadra Palace. A good day out was had by all, and I don't think anyone parted wish serious money. I did manage to find a power regulator which I need for my modified KAP rig. "So what have you done" I hear you ask. Well details will be published in the next issue of the windjammer, so again, if you are not already a member, you will need to sign up to find out more.

    Other than that, it has defintely been a time for winter projects. I've just finished one, a large Japanese suruga kite, and am just starting work on a hexagon. With all the wet weather, it has been an ideal time for kite building, so I hope to see a lot of new kites in the sky come the spring. Speaking of which. Martin Blais has just created a new turtle windsock. He is using it as part of his Worldwide Kite Workshop project. The kit costs US$88, and comes complete with instruction video. If you want to participate you need to rush over to the Worldwide Kite Workshop on facebook and sign up, as there is a limit of 100 participants and, when I looked, spaces were going fast.

    Well, that's it for now. You'll be pleased to know its raining again, so time to settle down with a bit more work.

  • Happy New Year

    A happy new year to all you interpid kite flyers out there. We hope you all got something to keep you occupied during the coming year. I know I did. Some of you may be old enough to remember the Flight School video, by Dodd Gross, which later became a DVD. Dodd of course was long time designer for HQ, before leaving them to go his own way, and is now the creative force behind Skydog kites. Well Dodd is very active on facebook, and if you join his Dodd's Flight School (Sportskites) group on facebook, you will find he is loading segments form the DVD. Very useful if you want to brush up on your technique. I wonder if we could persuade Mark Read (of Prism Designs) to do the same with his Trick Party video.

  • Jilly Pelham

    Renowned kite builder Jilly Pelham passed away on 15th November 2012. Jilly had lived in Hythe in Kent for many years and ran her business "Vertical Visuals" from the town until she ceased trading about 10 years ago.

    Jilly PelhamMany will have owned one of her creations and many more will have wanted to own one. Anyone who saw "the future is bright, the future is orange" advertising campaign in the late 1990s will have seen here kites in action. Jilly was married to David Pelham, author of the Penguin book of Kites and the ideas for many of her designs came from his book. Some of her best known designs were rollers, flares, sleds and cellular kites.

    Jilly trained and worked in London as a fashion designer, but her interest in kites eventually transformed her hobby into her business. She produced a range of kites for specialist kite shops in the UK, Europe and USA, and she earned a worldwide rputation for the quality of her design and construction. She also created many kites as promotional material creating striking displays and sculptures. Her list of credits include work for British Aerospace, Coca Cola, Orange Telecom and the Savoy Hotel.

    In 1985 Jane Parker Ambrose stopped off in London on her return from Russia and met Jilly to discuss her idea for using kites as a symbol of world peace. Jilly was enthusiastic about the idea. It was Jilly's idea to have an annual date for the event and as a result the One Sky One World event was born.

    Jilly was a member of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and was active in challenging plans to develop a major highway across the Romney Marsh.

    A kite designer and builder of some rare talent, she will be sadly missed by the kiting community.

  • Ahmedabad Kite Festival - Almost home

    News reaches us from a far distant frontier about the travels of our intrepid kite explorers. It seems that the main reason for the absence of any news is the complete absence of any Internet connection, and not the fact they have "gone native".

    But having finally arrived at their final destination of Belgaum, they now have access to the internet, but are possibly too tired to use it. So before preparing for the two day kite festival Collin found time to send off a brief update.

    It transpires that they have been dogged by a lack of wind and warm sun with temperatures as high as 30 C. Oh how they suffer! Apparently the food, accommodation, travel schedule, etc. have all been a little iffy at times (well a lot iffy perhaps). The food has been mostly vegetarian, so a full english or Macy D's appears to be high on the agenda when they return on Wednesday. They have travelled thousands of miles keeping to an exhausting schedule, but it is an experience not to be forgotten. Though Collin does admit to finding it draining, and is not sure whether he would do it again. Oh yeah, come on Collin. You know if you get the invitation your bags will be packed and you'll be heading off to the airport pronto.

    So they are about to jump into a people carrier for the 11 hour drive to Mumbai for a flight at 5am. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Safe journey back guys. 

  • Notice of Annual General Meeting

    The Annual General Meeting of the Kent Kite Flyers will be held on Sunday 10th March
    2013.

    The venue will be Blean Village Hall, corner of School Lane and Tyler Hill Road, Blean nr
    Canterbury. It will be commence at 12noon. KKF have the hall until 4pm

    Please bring along family and friends, as it is our intention to socialise after the AGM, and
    it would be good to meet with your partners and friends, especially those who do not come
    along to festivals and events during the season

    Items for the Agenda should be sent to the above address or e-mailed. If any member wishes
    to stand or be nominated for any of the officer posts or wish to be a co-opted member, please
    contact me. Additional committee members would be welcome as it would ease the load on
    the officers and event co-ordinator who form the committee at the moment.

    Only members who are fully paid up by the commencement of the AGM will be allowed to
    vote.

    The agenda provisionally has the following items:

    1. Opening address by chair
    2. Secretary’s report
    3. Treasurers report
    4. Confirmation of auditor
    5. Report from Syd Bennett events co-ordinator
    6. Nominated charity
    7. New special membership- Honorary member
    8. Donation to Kent College for use of sports field Rough Common
    9. Serving Officers stand down, Gareth as President takes chair
    10. Election of officers:
      Chair : Present post holder Bill Andrews
      Secretary : Present Post Holder Malcolm Ford
      Treasurer : Present Post holder Janet Arfman
    11. AOB

    Please remember this your club, your views are important to the committee.

    If you have any items for the agenda, please let me know.

    It is our intention to hold an auction after the AGM and would request donation of items,
    whether small or large, kiting related or not. Monies raised will go into club funds. Please
    inform me if you and any guests will be attending for catering purposes, seating, notifying of
    any specific catering requirements

    Notification of attendance may be done by e-mail, text, telephone or post, to the secretary.

    Please note: Non-members are welcome to attend but do not have any voting rights.

  • Woodchurch

    Today dear reader, we were in the picturesque Kent village of Woodchurch, which is between Ashford and Tenterden. The weather forecast from earlier in the week was for snow, but this had changed as the week drew on and snow was no longer predicted. That being said, we did see a couple of flurries during the afternoon.

    Chocolate BoxThe green in Woodchurch is surrounded by chocolate box type houses, which no doubt attract a very high price. It is probably one of the prettiest places we fly. But a problem we do seem to get there is decent wind conditions. With houses and trees on two sides it seems no matter what the direction there never seems to be any decent wind at ground level, and there is quite a bit of turbulence further up.

    Anyway, a few brave souls withstood the elements to fly on the green. At the start of the day there was a reasonable breeze and a number of flowtails were in the air, together with a ghost, rokkaku and delta. These all stayed aloft for a while, but then the wind started to drop and so did the kites. Barry ended up using his line to tie down a small tree in case it tried to escape, whilst Janet's flowtail headed towards a couple of much larger trees. Steve's Chinese delta seemed to be immune to the problems of the rest of us and stubbournly stayed aloft. Barry's line was eventually recovered undamaged.

    Crowded SkyIn the tricky conditions, much time was spent nattering and trying to keep warm. Meanwhile Ernie turned up with his new toy, a Chinese Rev style kite called an Albatross. Much to the delight of all concerned, the multi-line enthusiasts took over and quickly determined that the lines that had been delivered with the kite were all of different lengths. This gave the rest of the opportunity to take the mickey out of them whilst they spent an age setting up the kite. By the time they had finished, the wind had almost completely disappeared, though this didn't stop them attempting to fly it, with only limited success.

    In the meantime, I was flying a trident light from Mark Clements. This is kite number two, kite number one having been snaffled by one Bryan Beazley. I spent most of my time walking backwards, at one point nearly disappearing into the away team changing rooms. I did manage to get a three rung jacob's ladder before planting the nose in the mud though.

    On the whole a pleasant if challenging afternoon. Next week is the regular monthly fly at Rough Common if you want to come and join us.

  • Ahmedabad - report from the front line

    Our international travellers have arrived in Ahmedabad after a journey not without its issues. You'll recall from our previous report that the foursome were bumped to business class for the international part of their outward journey, but Collin reports that things went downhill after their arrival in India.

    After three locations in three days they arrived in Ahmedabad to find that the organisers had forgotten to book rooms for the UK contingent. It took two hours to resolve which is two hours too many after the punishing schedule. They arrived in a freezing Delhi (4 degrees C) followed by an internal flight to Bhoroda, and paying for 20Kg overweight between two of them, to fly kites. Then a coach trip to Ahmedabad, which included a stop on the motorway to replace a blown front tyre (which one of our foursome helped replace). But by the looks of the photos Collin has posted on Facebook in between these issues they seem to be enjoying themselves, and suffering from some luxury hotel accommodation.

    I realise some may not be able to see the facebook photo album. That being so, I've put a couple of the pictures here. Once again many thanks for the report from Collin and permission to use his photographs.

    ArrivalOn ParadeLuxuryKites

  • Sunday 6th January

    At last week's new year's day fly-in we had agreed to meet on the 6th near the Sunken Gardens by Royal Esplanade in Westgate, commonly known as St. Mildred's Bay.

    This is what all the fuss is about for those who've never been there, and if you click on the image, you should get to an interactive panorama.

    Sunken Garden - small

     

    Anyway, back to more important things and the reason we are here - flying kites. Well to start with, the weather forecasters let us down again. The forecast had been for a reasonable day with good breezes, but Kent seemed to be shrouded in mist/fog and little or no breeze. So the result was that numbers were well down on the previous week. That being said, we did manage to fly some kites.

    DC and Rok - smallWhen I got there Peter had two kites in the sky apparently. I say apparently because he was holding a reel and playing with a Christian Baden Powell designed rokkaku, with his own appliqued wolf celtic design on it. This was an experiment ready for a workshop being run by Kites-Up later in the year. Well it looks great. There was another line attached to a ground stake and disappearing into the low cloud/mist. Assuming that Peter wasn't a faqir who had suddenly developed his own twist on the Indian rope trick, I guessed there was a kite on the end somewhere. Sure enough, every so often, an angel appeared. Not to be outdone, I put up a delta conyne, which just about managed to stay aloft in the very light conditions.


    Doing what they do best - smallUnfortunately, Peter had to leave and decided to take what little breeze there was with him. But a few others had arrived, so we did what KKF members do best, which is stand around chatting. You'll notice the lack of deckchairs though, so this obviously wasn't an official KKF discussion.

    After lunch a little bit of breeze returned, sufficient to see some light wind kites take to the air, including a L'Atelier papillon, and a rather fetching bodice. No doubt someone's Christmas present, but was it for him or for her we are tempted to ask. the breeze also blew the mist away briefly, and we could now see Margate town centre in the distance. the breeze picked up sufficiently for rollers to fly, and before too long, the KKF roller ballet display team put in an appearance, putting the Red Arrows to shame I thought.

    KKF Roller Dislay team - smallEnough already, its getting cold. Time to head for home and some warmth. Thanks to all who came along to put some colour in the sky. We managed to stop a few passers by who watched the rollers dancing in the sky. Rumour has it that next week we might be descending on Woodchurch green.

  • Ahmedabad Kite Festival - The journey begins

    International kiting superstar (and KKF member) Collin Marshall set off today for the Ahmedabad Kite Festival.

    Business ClassHe met up with his fellow travellers at Heathrow terminal 4 ready for their 11:45 flight, only to discover it's departure was delayed until 1pm due to fog at Delhi. Is that fog or smog one is tempted to ask. This gave Collin time to blag his way into business class for himself and his three travelling companions. What a result!

    One problem they have discovered is complying with the baggage weight limits. Apparently they are allowed 46Kg each on the international flights with Air India, but then have some internal flights where the weight limit for each person is a meagre 20 kilos. To add insult to injury, there is a INR2,500 penalty (about GBP30) for each 10 kilos over the limit. Various suggestions have been made to the organisers about keeping within the limits by not taking any spare clothing. The mind boggles! Anyway, Collin arrived at Heathrow with 37Kg of baggage. Well known for talking his way out of any difficult situation, I can't wait to see how he blags his way out of this one.

    Thanks to Collin for allowing me to share his tale, and for the use of the photo.

     

  • New Years Day Fly-in

    What a great turn out!

    After weeks of what seemed like unending rain, new years day dawned with clear skies but no wind.

    As the day drew on, the breeze picked up to a flyable level. So several of us descended on Mote Park to strutt our stuff in the mud. The first problem was to be parking. The car park was full to overflowing, and there were cars parked on the exit roadway. So a few of us ended up in the leisure centre car park just up the road, whcih was empty. 

    As expected the ground was a bit soft in places, but given the heavy rain in recent days, not nearly as bad as it could have been. The park was packed. Lots of people out walking, and lots out playing with their latest Christmas presents. We put on quite a good display and managed to attract a number of people to come and talk to us. It was also good to see a good number of folks flying kites!

    It was great to see so many of our members turning out on a pretty cold day, having fun, and trying lots of different kites, some of which were obviously new purchases, and several getting their maiden flights. As the day drew on, so spirits were kept up by the offer of christmas cake. Thanks Barbara, it certainly hit the spot. 

    OK so here is the scenario for today's test. You run a small catering business having a concession for selling food and drink in a popular park in the centre of a county town. New years day is a bright sunny day so the park is going to be crowded. shoulld you open your business, or leave the premises firmly locked? Answers on a postcard to Maidstone Borough Council please.