10 July 2010 (Saturday) - Brighton Kite Festival

Despite having polished off over a gallon of ale and a decent portion of port, I was up and in the shower block at 5am. I had this plan to get washed before all the hot water went. I think I wasn’t the only one with this plan, as the hot water had all gone. Oh – it was icy. I trudged back to the tent through the fog (it was foggy at 5am), and went back to bed where I shivered for a couple of hours.

I got up at seven am and watched the kiddies playing in the kite buggy. Our kite buggy only ever comes out of the lock-up once a year, and that is for the kiddies to play with at Brighton Kite Festival.

We had a rather leisurely breakfast, starting with coffee, followed by melon, and then a fry-up. And time was getting on, so leaving others with the washing up, I set off with the shopping crew. We missed Asda, but found Matalan, and so stocked up on some decent shirts before braving Asda (once we found it). Asda was heaving with normal people, but we got most of the things on our list. And I maintain that not only were marshmallows not on the list, no one had said anything about buying marshmallows anyway (!)

Back to camp, and just time for a bit of bread and cheese before I was on duty. I’d volunteered to help with the kiddies workshop. Children of all ages had the opportunity to make a kite of their own, under the expert guidance and tutelage of experienced kite flyers. I told some of the children that came through the workshop that I knew nothing about kites, and that I’d just found the kite club T-shirt lying on the floor. I explained that if anyone caught me I would be in trouble, and I asked these kiddies if they would keep my secret. Some of them smiled and agreed. Most of them stared blankly, and one or two cried. I told other children that in the wild, kites live up trees, and it would be a kindness to let the kites go back home into the trees. I told these children that their mothers were all expert tree climbers, and could rescue the kites if and when they got stuck. And again for every child that responded to me, there were a dozen that (quite frankly) were pushing their intellectual limits by staring into space with a digit up the nostril.

The kiddies workshop ran for two hours, and we never stopped the entire time and, as always, we had to turn away kiddies at the end. Perhaps a tad harsh, but those of us running the workshop want to see the festival too. Having had a quick look round the various stalls earlier, I went back to one to pay for some line ‘er indoors TM wanted, and to buy myself a new kite to which I’d taken a fancy. I took my new kite back to base where I set the thing up, and flew it straight into a tree, to the amusement of the assembled spectators. And needless to say I was soon blabbed upon. It is a kite club tradition that any so-called “experienced kite flier” who gets a kite stuck in a tree has to pay a fine of a quid (which goes to charity). And so I was duly reported and fined. In retrospect I could have taken issue – compared with many of the “experienced kite fliers” who were at the festival, I am a rank amateur. But it’s all good fun.

I looked plaintively at my kite in the tree. I shook the branch, I gently teased the line. The kite remained stuck fast. So in desperation I gave the line a strong yank, and the kite came fell out of the tree, utterly unscathed by its adventure. I tried to fly it some more, but the wind was blocked by the trees near our camp. I could have walked further down the field, but it was a hot day, so I packed up, and sat and watched everyone else flying. And then an amazing co-incidence; some friends who were camping with us had a visitor. The girlfriend of the mother of some ex-cubs has a new girlfriend who lives in Brighton, and she and her partner had come up to visit. A small world (!) We chatted and reminisced for a while, whilst watching the kiddies hurtling down the hill in the buggies.

Batty arrived shortly after 5pm – it was odd with his not being there. This was the twenty fifth kite festival we’d been to as a group, and the first at which he wasn’t there for the entire event. But with him present we had a few beers. As Terry and Irene went off to the festival barby, we decided that it must be tea time. We’ve done the barby before – it’s very good, but the weekends away can get a tad expensive. So we stayed at camp and Lisa did some wonderful tortilla wraps.

We washed up (in the shower block again), visited friends who were at the barby and then the girls went collecting firewood. We thought we’d put the metal fire pit to good use. It was at this point that we discovered we had no marshmallows. I deny all responsibility; no one said anything to me about marshmallows. However to be helpful I offered my bag of haribos. Unfortunately during the heat of the day, they had melted into a huge congealed lump. “Daddies Little Angel TM scoffed it quite happily, and as the light faded, our fire grew. Many friends came up the hill to our fire pit, and beer and wine flowed freely. With floating lanterns being launched, and illuminated remote controlled planes flying around, at one point there were over twenty people chatting round our camp.

Again I didn’t get to bed till gone 1am.

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