4 September 2011 (Sunday) - Kites over Leeds Castle

Over a spot of brekkie I checked my lottery ticket. If ever I wanted to win the national Lottery, it was now. But no joy. I didn’t have a single winning number.

Following on from yesterday’s blog, it would seem that bean plants are supposed to go black and manky before they are harvested. One lives and learns.
Yesterday I mentioned that my original plans for the day didn’t come to fruition. The same was true of today. I’d hoped to go to the astro-festival at Hestmonceaux. But despite my best efforts, no one else was up for going to this. And I wasn’t going to go on my own, so instead we went to Leeds Castle with the kite fliers.

We arrived, and found ourselves directed to park at the far extreme part of a field: following a turnout of over seven thousand people yesterday, the staff were expecting a mammoth attendance from the public. And once parked we made our way to the entrance where our tickets were waiting for us. And before long we were with the Brighton Kite Fliers contingent, putting on a show for the public as part of the “Balloons and Bentleys” weekend.

We got on with the business of kite flying – with inflated monkeys, spinning doughnuts, lifters and the like. After an hour or so we got the kites in: the idea was that the balloon people wanted some space, and the weather was looking iffy anyway. We chatted with the balloonists who were very dubious about doing their thing because of the weather, but we decided to leave the kites down for a couple of hours to give the balloonists the chance to do ballooning if the weather did perk up. In the meantime we wandered around looking at the attractions.
First of all we had a look at the Bentleys. I suppose they were interesting if you like old cars. We then mooched up to the toilets (always a good place to stop), and as the rain got worse we wandered on to the aviaries to look at the birds. Birds are marginally more interesting that Bentleys in that they actually do things. We had seen a “Bird of Prey Display” advertised, but when we arrived we didn’t see what we had been expecting. Hawks and eagles are fussy things that don’t like the rain. So rather than showing off birds of prey, they wheeled out various parrots and storks. Parrots and storks don’t care about the rain (apparently).

Deciding that wandering around a maze (lost and in the rain) would be a silly thing to do, we made our way slowly back to base. Via the Dog Collar museum (really!), the ice cream stall, and various craft stalls. Billed as “craft stalls”, there was very little there which I would have described as “craft”: the fact that we came away with ten quid’s worth of sausages better describes what was on offer (!)
Rather than flying more kites, we spent half an hour untangling some kite lines, but just as the frostbite was about to set in (oh – it was cold!) we got some kites out for the last half hour. And then home – five miles away from Leeds Castle was glorious sunshine.
It had been gold and damp, but I for one had a really good day out with friends. But I must admit I pitied anyone who’d paid the entrance fee expecting to see what Leeds Castle had billed for the day. The weather was such that no hot-air balloons took off, and with the Bentleys…what can I say? If you see one car, you really have seen them all... (!)

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