It is good to see that the Highways Agency and Kent Highways Department have a sense of humour. This last weekend, the M26 was closed, the first of 4 weekend closures, all part of the "upgrade" to smart motorway. There are miles of roadworks on the M20 as it is "upgraded" to a smart motorway. There is the stretch of the M20 between Ashford and Maidstone that is still restricted to 50mph whilst "Operation Brock remains in place, even though we don't seem to be getting any closer to leaving Europe. The M2 was closed London bound between Faversham and Sittingbourne. And there are roadworks on the A2 at Faversham. All in all, if you want to get anywhere in Kent, and the car is your chosen mode of transport, give up hope and stay in and watch the cricket. Speaking of which, what a fabulous weekend of sport. England won the cricket world cup in a nail biting finale. Hamilton won the British grand prix (again). Serena Williams got wiped out by a relative unknown in the Wimbledon womens singles and Djokovic won the mens singles in a 5th set tiebreak. Despite all of the transport issues and sporting alternatives, four of us went to Milton Creek country park to fly some kites.

 Our host location

It was a real struggle to start with. There seemed to be more breeze at gound level than about 50 feet in the air. So we were getting very little lift at all in the period around lunchtime. Fortunately Simon had a new banner to display. The banner depicts Mars, with an image of his PL astronaut looking down on the earth. You may guess, Simon works in the UK satellite industry.

 New Banner

We struggled with the conditions to start with, my small della porta just didn't want to know, and my large sode struggled to stay aloft. Simon's 90 square foot flowform would climb then collapse as there wasn't enough pressure to keep it inflated.

 Sode

At around about 2.30 the breeze picked up and became a bit more consistent in force if not direction. We were finally able to get some kites aloft. Peter's single skin pilot was attached to Simon's midi ray and successfully took the stack, complete with recently modified penguin, into the sky. Peter's Skybums pilot was put into service lifting a stack of fauchis, and my dragon pilot lifted a stack of rabbits. All remained aloft for the rest of the afternoon, so whilst conditions had been challenging to start with, we had a pretty good afternoon flying.

While we were struggling with the conditions in Sittingbourne, It appears that the conditions were no better in in Herefordshire, from where Mike writes: "Another great weekend. Warmly welcomed by the MKF who organised the event held in the grounds of a National Trust stately home. Very well attended by both kite Flyers and public alike. Two wonderful warm dry days with sunny periods but a distinct lack of wind. Teasing winds that came and went, enough to make you get a kite out but not enough to keep it in the air for very long, managed to fly something on both days so not a complete write off. Good grub at the Berrington curry night on Saturday when we joined most of the flyers for a feast, good food and excellent company with Paul Morgan on top form. A lovely laid back glorified fly-in of a festival recommended to all if you are up way next year."

Thanks to all of the people who came to say hello. We will be back on September 8th for the Milton Creek Kite Festival. Meantime, why not come and find us at the Brogdale cherry festival next Sunday where we will be parachuting teddy bears (weather permitting)

How many...

Penguin

Fauchies

Those of you who keep a sharp eye on these things will be aware that some of our members put in appearance at Woodchurch village fete with the aim of flying kites. Whilst there was a good turn out of members, the wind never really showed up. But the public did, and chose to use our designated flying area as a carpark, which always makes life difficult. Still those who did go did their best and acquitted themselves well I understand.

This weekend we helped our club secretary, Malcolm, and his wife celebrate 17 years of married life together. On Saturday night we were invited to join them for a celebration at the Smiths Court Hotel in Cliftonville, "because we can". On Sunday we held a club fly-in at St. Mildred's Bay in Westgate, where Malcolm and Debbie had generously volunteered to provide a buffet lunch to friends and family who came to spend the time with them. I think I can safely say that a jolly good time was had by all at both events.

Sunday started as a bright sunny day with brisk if somewhat inconsi

On Saturday 8th June we were booked to fly on Walmer beach as part of kites on the beach. We arrived, along with our friends from the Essex Kite Group. Unfortunately we were also joined by an uninvited guest in the shape of storm Miguel. The result was winds reaching about 40kph, far to high to safely fly any of the display kites. Fortunately, the predicted rainfall stayed away. During the afternoon we could see a squall over Thanet, and dark clouds all around us, but we stayed in reasonable sunshine for most of the day. Despite the weather conditions we were joined by a good crow of people who came to try to fly kites, whether already owned, purchased, or made, on the day. We were also briefly joined by the Deal carnival queen and her princesses. We did manage to fly some kites that could cope with the high blustery conditions, but unfortunately not put on the display that we hoped for.

Sunday was planned to be the Teston Bridge memorial fly. The second weekend in June used to be the little Teston kite weekend. However, increasing costs now restrict the festival to the single large kite weekend on the second weekend in August. We now fly at Teston on the second Sunday in June in memory of long-time organisers, Pat and Ron Dell, and all other kite flyers we have lost over the years. But what a difference a day makes. Saturday in Maidstone had seen high winds and about an inch of rain, Sunday was a much brighter day with absolutely no wind. But still several members made the effort to try to fly kites.

Most members were attending Streatham Common Kite Date. Some of us who couldn't go decided to meet up in Tonbridge park for the afternoon. Four of us braved bright sunshine and light winds to spend an afternoon chatting and flying kites.