Friday, March 30, 2007

Kitesurfing : Day 2

Having a contractual half day on a Friday is great. I'd recommend it to anybody!

This afternoon turned out to be another beautiful one, with lots of sunshine and a light wind. We decided to give the new kites another try, and today was altogether more successful.

We spent some time reading and watching tutorials, and training SWMBO in exactly what we need to do, and what not to do.

The first stage in learning to fly a kitesurfing kite is to learn to launch, and fly the kite just above the ground. With substantial help from SWMBO, we managed to get this done, and it gave me a lot of confidence in the kite, and its setup. I think it'll be fine.

However, there definitely wasn't enough wind for anything more, or we would have needed the 12m instead of the 8m. I was very pleased with today, we achieved the first stage perfectly, including boosting my confidence. Now we're ready for day 3. Bring on the wind (relatively light, and not gusty, please ;)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Kitesurfing : Day 1

After the arrival of the kites in the middle of the week I was looking forward to getting out with them this weekend. However, I was delayed in getting home from work yesterday, and was asked to help out at a CU event in Limavady Grammar School for the afternoon/evening.

Today we all got up, had breakfast, and packed for the beach. I wasn't sure how it would go, because the forecast was for almost zero wind, and outside our house that was exactly what was happening.

However, when we approached Benone we could see windmills turning and trees swaying. On the beach we met with another problem - high tide and lots of shells. We found a suitable spot, parked up, and began to unpack. However it actually turned out to be a bit too windy for a pair of learners, even on an 8m kite.

It took a good while getting set up, and by the time we were ready to launch the wind had really picked up, and although my faithful assistant had been helpful and patient, she found the force of the wind pulling the kite a little too strong for comfort. If she isn't comfortable, then I can't be, so we called it a day and packed it up. Didn't even get the kite into the air.

We got the old faithful 4m buster out, but unfortunately it was too gusty even for it, so we had to pack up and go home. Unfortunate, but there will be other days....
There was no action, therefore no photos, but I have to include this one taken by Kate. I had removed my camera and phone from my pockets because of the harness, and left them in the car. Kate obviously found the camera and decided to take a few snaps, and managed to take this shot which is not very level, but amazingly has me framed nicely in the wing mirror!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Summer again

Four seasons in one day; not uncommon for our part of the world. Well we have just had two distinct seasons in one week. Last weekend was winter. Strong wind giving windchill factors of around -5.
Tonight however was a gorgeous evening, you know the kind that occur at the end of the summer. We decided to go for a walk on the beach at Castlerock, and it was perfectly still and very mild. Great :)
May there be many more!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Long weekend

This weekend has seen the most prolonged and sustained strong wind I can remember. The wind has been blowing through our yard in a way that makes it difficult to stand, and difficult to keep the bins etc in their place.

Today was a public holiday in lieu of St. Patricks Day on Saturday. We spent the morning at home, and at 11:30 we met up with a few of the folks from our Sunday night Bible study group for a walk on the beach. Again the wind was spectacular, but because it was blowing almost directly on-shore we went ahead. About five minutes into the walk we were hit by a hail shower, which was pretty painful given the strong wind. The ladies of the group retreated to the sand-hills, a move which wasn't really that wise, because the wind was stronger there and by the time they made it to shelter the hail had stopped.

Anyway, we walked back across the sandhills, and headed up to Crusoes for lunch.

After a great feed we got Kate from school, and went home. While homework was in progress I took the head-staggers and decided to paint the window-sills on the inside of the house. Well, I suppose we are almost in three years, so it has lay undone for long enough. Managed to spend the afternoon doing almost all the sills downstairs.

For the evening we popped to B&Q, picked up some curtain rails for the front room, and had a good general browse.

Kids off to bed, and then a quiet night in. Watched "The Trees That Made Britain" about the mighty Oak tree, very interesting. Thankfully the football on BBC1 meant that there was no Eastenders. Every cloud...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Floor almost complete

Dad returned today, and we finished off the wooden flooring. Three years later the last two downstairs rooms no longer have a concrete floor. That just leaves the hall then. I suspect another three years :)

It's nice to see these jobs getting done. No kiting today though, too much rain, and far too much wind!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pride comes before a ....

Today Dad came over to continue the work on the wooden floor. We did all we could at the floor, and then headed over to the field with the kites. After a quick tutorial Dad had the hang of flying my toy 2.5m Ultrafit kite. He was even launching backwards and everything.

It seemed to be another of those perfect days, nice steady winds, not too gusty. I was having fun with my 4m buster too, and getting some good jumps in, not too high, more long - just how I wanted them (not so far to fall).

The wind picked up a bit, and it only took a few jumps to get dangerously close to the trees, and I had to let go of the handles and let the kite-killers do their work several times, the kite often landing closer to the trees than I had expected.

It was beginning to get a little gusty, but I was having too much fun to notice, and so came the mother of all gusts. You know how when an accident is in progress everything slows down, and you can see every detail in slow motion, just with an inability to control it. Well, that's not how this was.

It was over instantly.

One second I was happily flying, jumping, running etc and later that same second I was getting up off the ground, having been launched forward, so dramatically that my feet went into the air, I landed on my face, then shoulder, rolled over my arm onto my other side, and skidded to rest on my leg. Due to the rolling nature of my fall I had also landed on the lines of the kite, so I instantly got off them, and got up, in case they would make me into cheese.

I don't think the photo Kate took does me justice, but it does show how dirty my leg got.

A valuable lesson learned. Picking up the Kite (I will now address it with a capital 'K' out of respect) I tried again, and learned to let go of the handles instantly when I felt a big tug. Can't wait to get back out again :)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Spring Break (4)

Again we had a lovely start to the day with a family breakfast and getting the kids off to school. However, as part of those tasks we noticed that the radiators were cold... we were out of oil!!

Panic. Call Hunter Fuels, and yes they could deliver today, phew! With that resolved we went down to Castlerock beach for a freezing walk.

The rest of the morning was spent trying to get a part for the electric window of my car, we tried NB Autoparts, the real VW dealer, then off to the breakers. We tried Eddie Torrens, a fantastic place, quite literally the stuff of fantasy; I have visited his yard many times in the past, but its worse than ever. Pictured for your convenience. Then we called with a smaller breaker outside Kilrea, but he couldn't help, and so we went on to Quiggs who deal exclusively with the VW range of stuff. They assure me that they will help me next week, so lets hope they can.

Oddly in the evening SWMBO and I went to the Women's World day of prayer. Although it is not explicitly spelled out in this Blog, I am not a woman. I was asked to do the sound at it, and I have to say it was one of the trickiest events I have done. It is a fully scripted service, with various people taking various parts, and it required a lot of concentration, which I am not particularly good at. But it all passed off peacefully, thankfully :)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Spring Break (3)

Brekkie starts the day again, then the kids off to the Bus. We popped back into the house for a wee cup of tea.

I was asked to investigate walking routes for the Young Adults group in church, so we set sail for the causeway. We were really checking out parking arrangements, to try to ensure we could plan to park at a free carpark.

After calling briefly at the £5 per car Giants Causeway, we went round the coast road to Dunseverick Castle.

From there we travelled on around to the harbour, and then on round to Portbradden.

Travelling on the next port of call was White Park Bay where we stopped for a walk on the beach. It was freezing (almost literally).

Lastly we called at Ballintoy Harbour where the waves were breathtaking as they splashed over the rocks.

Afterwards we went home via Portbalintree for a light lunch, before picking up Kate from school.

We had a couple of small issues with the house, and so we waited for the builder to appear, and after some time he did, and we got problems sorted.

For the first time in a long time we got the kites out, and it was fantastic wind for them both, and it was great until the rain came on.

We gathered the kites up, and had a lovely Tescos pizza for tea. The excitement for the night was only about to begin, but unfortunately for the details of that excitement you'll have to check the minute book of First Dunboe Church's Committee.