Sunday, August 29, 2004

An awfully good adventure…

I’ve just returned from an overnight trip to Southsea Kite Festival. I packed up my tent on Friday afternoon and headed off to the wilds of Hampshire, with a bottle of wine, sandwiches, and a good book for company.
Apart from a torrential downpour on the M27, the journey was uneventful, and I made it to the campsite in one piece.
After setting up the tent and finding the ‘latrines’ I went walkies up to the top of the hill to have a look at Fort Nelson and watch the sunset.
The next morning I set off to Southsea, found a place to leave the car, and went exploring the site. Nothing much was happening apart from what looked at first sight to be a group of men trying to inflate what looked like a giant slug. I watched for a while and as the ‘slug’ filled with air, it turned out to be an absolutely f**king huge flag, almost the size of the craft tent nearby.
As the fest wasn’t due to start for another hour or so, I set off clutching my Portsmouth A-Z to discover Southsea Castle. Sadly the tunnels were closed due to flooding, but it was still worth the walk for the views. (had argument with camera, no decent pics, sorry... )
On the way back, I could see the kite fest was starting to get going and the sky was beginning to fill with kites of all descriptions. The huge flag was the first one I noticed (couldn’t bloody miss it really…) and lots of kite enthusiasts were making the most of what little wind there was.
As the day went on, the wind picked up and more giant inflatable kites were ‘launched’.
As with most festivals where enthusiasts gather ‘en masse’, there were plenty of stalls selling kites of every shape and size. Being of limited funds, I decided to get one of ‘the smallest kites you can get that really do fly!’(£1, as small as the palm of my hand, and a raffle ticket for the chance to win a kite. (Raffle in aid of the Lord Mayor’s kidney apparently… or maybe I misheard..)
So I sat and flew my tiny little kite for a while and watched the much bigger inflatables and other kites fill the sky above.
Photo time. Cow, Gecko (from beneath).
Hunger beckoned me over to the burger shack, and as I tucked into my chips, I noticed the huge flag had gotten closer to the site. After a while I realized it was getting closer still. A guy rope had come loose and it was at the mercy of the wind. One of the things I learnt is that kites do not make a lot of noise, even ones the size of large marquees, and its unlikely that anyone will notice a 100ft flag sneaking up on them if they’re facing the wrong way. For me it was the best entertainment of the day, especially when it threatened to engulf an innocent ice cream van and burger stall. It was rather like watching a re-make of Jaws what with all the running, screaming and the ‘hunters’ trying to peg it down again. I’d spent most of the day wishing I could have had a kite so I could join in with the flying, and for once a wish came true. I am now the proud owner of a ladybug kite, and spent the last hour or so, sitting on a slope flying it.
And it only crashed once…