May 13
Home from Weymouth

Yes -- I missed a week. Sorry!! It is the first time in over a year! Thank you everyone that wrote or called to see if I was ok. And to those of you who emailed to nag me... thank you too. It is nice to know the Update is important to you.

We're back from our quick trip to England. Jon and Gill (pronounced "Jill") Bloom of the Kite Society invited us over to attend the International Festival in Weymouth. And what a fine festival it was!

Weymouth Beach Scene

This was not one of those huge international gigs with 100,000 spectators, or 100 invited guests, or special circumstances (like flying on a frozen lake). But it was good wind, good people, and a pristine flying field along the English Channel. We spread out along a crescent of white sand on the edge of a handsome British townfront and flew big kites in the sun from dawn until dusk.

On Saturday, I was invited to present a lecture on Rokkaku fighting. There was a certain irony to this since much of what I have leaned on the subject was assessed after being cut down by British fliers over the years. I remember the year a pair from Swindon showed up at AKA. They had forgotten their kite so made one in the hour before the fight with a few "sticks", trash bags, and tape. And of course, they "cleaned our roks" with it too!

But I digress...

Sky Full of Tentacles

Sky Full of Crustaceans

Street Full of Spectators

For anchors on the field, we found huge bags filled with sand. They measured about one cubic yard and weighed roughly a ton each. So needless to say, we didn't move anchors much. But with twenty of them spread around, we didn't need to. I just went out to the beach at 7:30 each morning, stretched a heavy line between two bags at the high-tide line, connected the squid and octopus into the tether, popped them up, and then went back to the B&B for breakfast with Susie.

By ten, the beach was crowded with Germans, French, Swiss, Dutch, and even a few English fliers. Pete Dolphin and Rolf Zimmerman, took turns knocking each other out of the sky while Susie and I chased kids out of our ground-bouncers.

We would bring things down at dusk, drag them off the field, and then head into town for dinner.

Now here is a story for you.... Marla Miller of Washington goes to England so often that she is developing an accent. She was there for a few weeks with plans to attend Weymouth, and her husband, Ron, decided to fly over and surprise her. He arrived a day early and got access to her room in their small hotel. We dropped by to see Ron, but the hotel manager wouldn't let us in. Seems he had never met Marla and when a couple showed up asking for the "Miller Room", he thought Susie was Marla and I was her boyfriend! And no way was he going to let the boyfriend surprise the husband upstairs!!

Of course, the end of the story was a surprise too. We found Ron and went out for a pint with some of the Brits. Midway through our second glass, Ron realizes that he has bumped his cell phone and accidentally re-dialed Marla. She has heard all of us talking and recognizes the voices and knows exactly where he is!!

Don't you just love technology.

The festival ended Monday and we had dinner with the Blooms. The following morning we did an hour's shopping and then headed back to London. An hour was enough time for me to discover a second shop selling the limited edition piece of artwork we had bought the day before. And predictably, the second shop had it for 15 Pounds less. And you know that doesn't happen to me too often...

We scooted off to London, dropped Pete at Heathrow, and then spent the day wandering the city. Then we piled all our bags onto the airport subway and delivered them to United for the flight home.

Now imagine us on a crowded airport subway with five bags weighing 60 pounds each. Is it any wonder my back aches after these trips?? I'm trying to toss them off the car during the two minute stop, and Susie is trying to help. She grabs a handle and backs up, and promptly steps into the opening between the train and the platform. Down she goes! At first I was worried that she might have broken something, because it was a hard fall. But all she did was bruise her thigh and her ego.

When you see her, remind her of the prominent sign that said "Mind the Gap!". Maybe she thought it was another shopping ad...

And for all of you who wonder why the Update never got done -- here are my excuses: the B&B didn't have a phone plug; we were on the field all day and out partying all night; the festival didn't end until mid-week; and I just didn't get it done!! Sorry!! I'll try to do better!!

See you next week in Grand Haven Michigan for the Great Lakes Kite Festival!

Cody Extreme

I know, I know ... you've been checking for the Update every day and it just never appeared! Here -- let me make it up to you...

We just received a shipment of the new Cody Extremes from New Tech. This extended wing kite measures seven feet across and sells for -- get this -- just $120. It only comes in one color selection, but fortunately it is a great choice -- red, black and white.

This kite will not disappoint you for the money. Supplies are limited. But if you missed the Update last week, don't miss this special deal!

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