by Ian H.
It is with some sadness that I look back to the days of my childhood and realise that many of the passtimes which I enjoyed are no longer in evidence.
Gone are the sights of pond yachts in the recreational paddling pool or dodging the rowing boats on the boating lake.
Gone are the sights of majestic tow-line model gliders and the beautiful tissue paper covered rubber powered aircraft above the local common and “flying field”.
Gone are many of the slot car racing clubs and today the model railway scene , while flourishing, is often the hobby of older people rather than young enthusiasts.
Many clubs are struggling to survive as membership dwindles.
One activity remains and stands out for many reasons and that is kite flying. It is, indeed, easier to enter this wonderful passtime today than it was when the above hobbies flourished. There were then no internet to learn about kite making and kite flying, and very few commercially available products although Brookites had been available for many years and some enthusiasts had managed to acquire boxkites from an Army Surplus Store.
Today Kite Festivals are well attended in the UK and provide spectacle and inspiration in equal measure.
Part of the flying field is reserved for the invited experts with “high tech” stunt kites, huge character kites and even reproductions of early kites with hardwood spars and sails of cotton rather than ripstop nylon. A commentator describes the scene and gives insight into the hobby. The fun does not stop with the experts. Part of the venue is arranged for families and individuals who fly their homemade creations and those purchased at most reasonable cost perhaps on the day from a “trade stand”.
Kite flying brings people together and, in the same way that I sailed my pond yacht with the experts, today young people and beginners can be “part of the scene”. Kite flying can be a family activity enjoyed by all.
What is more, commercial kites can readily be purchased year round from many gift shops and it is a joy to see people actively pursuing kite flying on beaches, on links an in parks within the British Isles without it being during an organised Festival.
Long may this continue and long may websites, such as this one, give inspiration, instruction and encouragement to current and future generations of enthusiasts for this most enjoyable passtime.
Thank you, Tim.