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the long way back



Chapter 1 history

The first time I flew a two line kite I was about 16 or 17, my dad got a Peter Powell (a blue plastic diamond with an ally frame sprung at the tip) I flew it a few times but I had other more pressing things on my mined (motor bikes, boos and girls in that order). By the time I got to 18 I dropped the boos as the bike was now a T500 two stroke twin (about 120 125hph) and speed was king (I've never lost the love of bikes just too broken to ride any more).

I then discovered caving and pot holes, becoming totally obsessed with it, to the point of missing out on the pub sessions, this worried some of the club member. the little hard core group managed to get to  places visited by only a very few people and on occasions going where no one had gone before. I even took up cave diving (not the type seen on TV the type you have to remove your gear under water to force your way through a squeeze and visibility was less than swimming in a week old pot off billy tea).

This all stopped (the caving) when I moved from Yorkshire to Scotland the caves were just to far away (little did I know). I'd moved to Bridge of Don, Aberdeen and one day whilst riding my mt. bike  along the esplanade I spotted 3 guys flying kites, so I pulled over and went to chat, next thing I'm flying a kite (think it was ether a swallow tail or a phantom) instantly I was hooked, the next week I got a skynasour delta (the only thing available). The next time I went down to Yorkshire to visit the folks I popped in to Leeds corn exchange to visit Mark at Leading Edge Kites (home of Fizz and Tim Benson) and came away with a Phantom. From then on more kites came in the mail, visited more shops and started to go to festivals (average 850miles,1300k round trip) and at my first festival I picked up my first buggy.


next instalment may include fling to Wildwood NY USA visits to Oz, love, moving to Oz, marriage, kids and disaster

or it may be a load of old toss. But eventually it will get to flying.

may your winds blow freely

and in the words of Mel I am not a number BBC 065




Add for my first kite

Chapter 2 Flying high

So now I’m going to as many kite festivals as I can 2 or 3 a month and in Aberdeen the days are long in the summer so I fly after work and am oft seen riding the mountain bike with the front wheel of my buggy strapped on the rack and several bags of kites strapped in the buggy. It took me a long while to get round to buying a car (don’t like cars or lamingtons)and just use a hire car on the weekends I travelled down south or share a car. My girlfriend at the time reckoned she was a kite widow and this was wears than being a golf widow. I was having a great time and getting pretty good but the long winters where starting to drag, work was getting harder as a contract designer in the oil industry I was working about 6 months a year but getting more cash than when I was staff, the hours where interfering with my flying time (about 10 to 14hrs a day some times more)(that’s the work not flying time).

Then bad new hit, nephew had incurable leukaemia, my brother and family had migrated to Australia a few years back and shortly after discover the leukaemia and went through all the treatments. So I went to my boss explained the situation to him and since we were in a lull between the sales proposal and getting the order I got 3 weeks of and flew out to Perth. Over the next 6 months to see him. It was during the first of these trips that I met Neil Taylor and after meeting only ones or twice I was looking after his shop so he could go to an Indonesian kite festival.

I loved it in Oz so much I sold my flat in Aberdeen put all my furniture in storage and spent a year out hear toward the end of my year I met a young French women how I later visited in Sydney during The FOW 1996 we met up later before my visa ran out and I had to go back to the UK where I was offered a job working the kite festivals (a dream come true). But after a visit from Muriel (I’d learnt her name now) over new years and visiting her family in France plans changed and we got married on the 4th of July (dependents day) 98 and lived in Sydney where we had our  first baby on Friday the 13th May 99 moving to Perth 6 months later, as you may imagine my flying days started to diminish and by the time we had our second December 2001 it had just about gone. But that’s OK life goes on and as they grow I can teach them, that plan went wrong as I had my own personal 9-11 but in 2002



next instalment may include details of disaster and may be some flying may your winds blow freely

may your kite not touch the ground till you won’t it to

and in the words of Mel I am not a number BBC 065


Chapter III

I was living in the suburbs of Perth a place called Yangebup and riding home on my GSXR 750 after a 10hr day grinding chamfers with a 9” angle grinder thinking has Osama bin Laden given us an anniversary present, when a guy in a Land Curser Ute pulled out in front of me. I reckoned I had no time to brake so I tried to go around and missed. I clipped the bull bar getting my left arm between it and the front of the ute, having remodel my arm I continued along the bull bar till my knee contacted a shovel tied there(the surgeon later told me he’d put his hand in). I then proceeded to slide along the road where I lay for what seemed like hours listening to the sirens of the ambulance that had taken the wrong exit off the freeway. In E R I finally got to look at my arm and it looked like I’d no forearm, just elbow then hand to which I said “looks like that my sex life don for a while”. The Doctors were so busy with my arm that it didn’t come to their attention till 3 day later that my hand was broken. Then followed 6 months of therapy several operations on my hand and arm and after nine months I’d had enough the pain killers wern.t working I was bored out of my skull. So I went back to work armed with a fist full of pain killers and another full of ant-depressants, my work station supplied by the Australian Rehabilitation Service, as a structural drats man. Now as you can imagine the combination of pain medication (supplemented with over the counter pain killers) and ant-depressants had something of a soporific effect and to counter this I consumed 6 or 7 coffees with 6 shots each. After a while I was taken for my review and told my work was suffering, I decided to stop the medication( 1 the pain killers seemed to have little effect 2 I was depressed because I was in pain and my life was really shit(these being facts and not imagined, depression was the correct reaction to the situation)( at a latter review I was told I was a lot more productive but a lot less funny)can’t win em all.

Kite flying went out the window and if I saw kites in the sky it would bring me to tears, it was not till 2009 that I got over this and then another 3 years till I could fly for more than An hour, now I’m doing well if I keep at it for 3 hours.

Now a days I’ve learnt to keep the pain at bay by mental effort, and adrenaline works well, the price for the metal effort is I can no longer read books and find it very had to concentrate for long (which is why this is in chapters)

So said I leave you with the wish your kites fly well and the sun stays behind you.



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@the_hatman, I live in an area with a lot of caves within 45 minutes of where I live.  I used to go frequently 20 years ago.  The last time I went, I got stuck deep inside a cave.  I was with 3 other people.  Panic started to set in but I tried to remain calm and forced my way through the narrow vertical crevice I was in.  To this day, that was the scariest moment I've ever had and still have nightmares from time to time.  Moral of the story and what I tell others that go caving:  Go last and make sure your not the biggest guy in the group and you'll be fine.

Edited by ssayre

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@ssayre similar thing happened to me on the first trip a guy had a panic attack 4 rungs up an electron ladder and just let go, big panic by every body about 10 on the trip a couple of guys dragged me out and we got the cave rescue. I swore I'd never nead rescue again and paid little head to any one to any one that hadn't earned respect. Looking back it would have been so easy to pull every one out.

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the new entry is terrible, I advice you not to read it

Ignored your advice and read it anyway.  Wow, remind me not to mess with errant land cruisers.  Glad you're here and back into kites :round-thumbs-up:

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yep think I'm doing OK 40 to 50 hours in back in the air and things are coming back so it's nearly time to learn some new tricks

Edited by the_hatman

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