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Kites at Swanage

by Jeff Phelps on September 26th, 2009


I JUST LOVED THIS photo of Sonia trying to fly a Chinese kite at the very end of August. One of those idyllic days in Dorset, this strange summer that was supposed to be full of sunny days that somehow failed to materialise.

The kite was my present from China. It looked wonderful and caused quite a few stares, but was almost impossible to control. It took off from the packaging, an endless string of connected lantern-shapes that wanted to be off over the sea like a flock of birds. It reminded me of St Ives – those colours, the wind whipping up the white caps.

It was all so much easier in Beijing apparently. The salesmen made it look easy, but the spars turned out to be little more than strips of bamboo, the fabric was tissue paper and the string thinner than cotton.

Afterwards we bundled the tangled remains into the car boot. We’d sort it out later. But the knots were tight and tiny and the cotton intractable. Maybe it was only meant to fly once. It did its job joyfully, like the tail end of summer.

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