As I stood this morning on the shores of a shipwreck strewn desert island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean it was with a surprising sense of pride that I unfurled a little RNLI kite.
It all started years ago on a long sandy beach at Kilmuckridge in Ireland. (An unpromising name admittedly, but it turned out to be an idyllic family holiday.) The owner of our cottage supplied a kite as part of the essentials package.
Her kite was a huge colourful dragonfly with four separate wings. It must have reminded me of the paper kites of my childhood in Malaysia, and one sunny windy day that week, I decided to pack it with our beach picnic and try it out.
My sensible husband who is usually above such childish pursuits, took the reins first, in a manly way, to show me how it’s done…Twenty minutes later, like a six-foot Charlie Brown, he was still dragging it up and down the sand with mounting frustration. He fought valiantly to retain his composure but when he was defeated, it was hard not to laugh as, in front of an amused crowd of locals, he eventually stamped on it.
It was never my intention to humiliate him, but as the sun went down that day I just thought I’d give it a go. With one pull, the dragonfly soared into the air and proceeded to loop the loop and dance high above us. I couldn’t coax it down. He must have really hated me when I tethered it to our wind break to give my arms a rest. To his credit there isn’t a single other thing I can do that he can’t, except have babies, but if he could, he’d be really good at that. Since then he groans if I bring home a new kite.
On a Northumbria beach holiday I lured him into a kite/magic trick shop (sadly no longer there) in Seahouses, and we bought two superb kites for the children. Arthur was only six and literally seconds after Danny had reminded him not to let go, his kite was disappearing round the bay at Low Newton by the Sea and heading for the stratosphere. The poor child was inconsolable, but Danny our super hero, took off after it and was gone for ages. I’ll never forget the sight of him in the distance rounding the headland triumphantly holding the lost kite aloft.
Last summer I took the children to Mason’s campsite in the Yorkshire Dales, (recommended) On the way, we parked the camper van at Ripley for an obligatory ice cream, and while browsing the Ripley Castle gift shop I purchased two pocket kites, just in case.
Later that week I tortured the children with a non-negotiable long uphill hike. The little darlings remained surly despite the spectacular view from the top, but after the last KitKat was eaten their faces lit up when, like a magician I pulled the tiny Ripley kites from my rucksack and they spent the remainder of that afternoon just flying kites. Happily. Without the aid of a mobile phone. I know! How mad is that?
Whenever we visit the Coble Landing at Filey, I make a point of buying something at the RNLI shop. rnlishop.org.uk It’s an excellent charity and I have huge admiration for its volunteers. Did you know that the RNLI is completely self-funded? Not a penny from our taxes is spent on the thousands of emergency rescues carried out in our waters every year. So the last time I was there I bought two more pocket kites (yes, I do have a worrying problem but my rationale was that the others are special camper van ones now) and slipped them into our holiday bags.
So far, on this holiday we’ve exhausted ourselves with long days of unrelenting lying about staring into the middle distance and doing absolutely nothing, but for twenty minutes this morning with a pocket kite in hand we were reminded what our arms and legs are for.
#rnli #travellight #holidaypacking #fun #kites #santamaria #sal #capeverde #childhood #minikite
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