Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Back in January my eldest daughter gave birth. She and her husband both have good jobs with generous maternity deals. This led to a conversation about hiring a villa in Spain for the whole of August and enjoying daughter / granddaughter as an extended family. On the surface this sounds great, that is until you add in 3 other elements; COVID-19, we are a “blended family” and my daughter and her husband are kite surfers.
So this September I found myself on a windswept beach in Wales walking up and down with an additional 9Kg weight ( in the form of a very happy child) strapped to my front. It was not Spain but it worked for the kite-surfers and at least we were all able to get there - even if it meant some careful planning and a lot of deep cleaning by the owners of the cottage.
Now don’t get me wrong for a moment, I was delighted to be there. It had been touch and go right up until the last moment. Having only been able to inter act as Pops for a total of 6 hours since her birth it was a huge joy to spend a chunk of time with her. However you do delude yourself that as your children get older you won’t have to spend hours watching them do the sport you love and introduced them to.
At least with Kitesurfing it happens near the shore line. Many of the races my girls did as they progressed higher up the ranking in sailing happened so far off shore that even those with binoculars were not always sure which boat to follow. Kitesurfing is a great sport to watch - plenty of wipe-outs involving the less skilled, even more to admire in the skilled. However Wales in September is not the warmest and granddaughter and I went in search of other activities. She found an auntie who was happy to take over and I found a land kite.
I have not flown a kite since I made one with my Dad, took it up on Dunstable downs and tried to get it airborne. To be honest I was not that keen. My experience told me kites occasionally went up, rarely stayed there and didn’t do much if they did. However I was persuaded to try. After some tuition from my son-in-law ( I couldn’t believe at nearly 60 I was being “taught” about flying a kite - I have seen Mary Poppins - it is an innate skill!! ) I walked onto the beach to have a go.
Wow - that is all I can say, Wow. Kites have come a long way! It was so powerful - lifting my from the ground on occasion, manoeuvring all over the sky at vast rates. I was delighted.
It is never too late to try something new. I went to Wales expecting to be a babysitter but came back a “Kiter”. I am now looking on eBay to find my own and terrorise the locals in Coventry ( not many empty beaches here). I wonder what new adventures my grandchildren will bring to me as they grow older?
There are two main Kite Flying Organisations in the UK if you are interested in getting the wind up. The British Kite Flying Association can be found at bkfa.org.uk and the Kite Society of Great Britain at thekitesociety.org.uk .