9 August 2010 (Monday) - Home Again

I’d planned to have a bit of a lie in today. I was woken at 6.30am by someone shouting asking for the gate key. It was the ranger who either had forgotten his own key, or didn’t have one. Once awake I wasn’t going to get back to sleep, so I started packing up my stuff. Rather noisily so that ‘er indoors TM might wake up and do the same. My ruse worked.

Omelettes for brekky to use up all the leftovers. We’ve done this for the last few camping trips – I’m personally hoping it becomes something of a tradition. I like omelettes. The sun was shining, and I remembered the rain after the kite festival at Brighton a month ago as today we packed away dry tents. Everything went away quickly – having packed up a lot of stuff the night before was clearly a good idea because we were on the way to the Bat-Farm by 11am. With a camp at the farm in a couple of weeks time it seemed daft to take the camping gear home only to bring it out again later; far more sensible to take it where it will be needed.

I did have a plan to take the kettles back to Camping International this afternoon – two new kettles; both broken. But in the event I couldn’t be bothered. I’ll do that some other time. Instead I found myself reflecting on the camping and kiting events I do. On the Sunday night as we sat chatting after Brighton Kite Festival, the conversation turned to the kite festival being organised at Bristol. Apparently there’s a lot of discontent about the thing. I was led to believe that it is run as a profit-making business, and that where the kite festivals that I attend ask for a donation from the campers, the one in Bristol will charge a flat rate of fifteen quid per camper per night. It was suggested that this was to cover the costs of inviting international kite fliers over, and the question was raised as to why anyone would pay someone to travel half way round the world to fly a kite. After all the general public (at whom the festival is aimed) don’t know one kite flier from the next, do they?

I also heard about how popular the kite festival in Swindon is amongst the hard-core kite fliers. Now I’ve never been to it, but I understand that Swindon Kite Festival is considered to be one of the year’s better ones by those who attend lots of the festivals. A while ago I was chatting with friends who live in Swindon; I mentioned the Swindon kite festival. They were surprised to learn there was an annual kite festival in the town in which they had lived for over twenty years. They’d never heard of it.

This has got me thinking about kite festivals in general. I camp out at three every year, and visit a few others. All of which are not too far from home, they are fun places to be; I enjoy them. But I must admit that when I’m camping at a festival I prefer the time when the normal people aren’t there. And before I’m being accused of being a miserable old git, I’d ask my loyal readers to have a close look at the normal people at a kite festival. It’s supposedly a kite event, but there they all are with their disposable barbecues disposing of smouldering ashes into the nearest hedge and playing football around the kites. I can’t help but wonder if I’m in the minority with this opinion. I’ve been going to Teston kite festival since June 2002, and in that time the attendance of people staying and camping has noticeably dropped off, whilst (seemingly) the amount of pic-nic-ers, barbecue-ers, footballers and assorted normal people has increased dramatically.

A group of friends have taken to organising their own kiting events at a field in Sussex to which the normal people are not invited. They run events purely for themselves, away from the normal people. I can see the attraction…

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