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One Winters Day - A true Story

Date: 01/02/1989
Author: Ken Wilkinson
Contributor: Chris Jones

Just after Christmas, I went out to Draycott, as, for once, the weather actually looked reasonable, with a fairly unstable south-westerly flow. I got there about oneish, and, with the reality of a winter flight staring me bleakly in the face, my enthusiasm became somewhat muted, and, rather than striding to the front of the hill, kit in hand, I elected to just take a look, leaving my kite, but carrying my flying bag across.

The weather definitely had deteriorated since the morning, and with the wind fairly light, the possibility of going down was quite high. My enthusiasm was definitely receding, especially as I was alone. Turning to leave, I saw Dereck Target, and Geoff Rodgers arriving, full of enthusiasm. Apparently they'd just flown down to Weston, with Geoff getting 3000 ft ATO! They were back up for another go, and had Simon Whites Ace with them, Which they offered to me, to save me the trouble of getting mine from the now distant van. This seemed a good idea, as the end of the day was fast approaching. 3000ft in December, wow! I could use some of that!

I rigged quickly (come to think of it, I can't remember a time I haven’t rigged quickly); pleased to see Simon used a Pitchy, so my hang straps wouldn’t need adjusting. He also had bar mitts, luxury!, same as me too. I took of and floated around for half an hour or so, pleased to get a try on another Ace. It seemed to go quite nicely. Pity about the height gain though, the morning may have given 3000 ft, but I was lucky to be getting 300 in the afternoon. Still, can't complain in the winter.

I came into land, Just behind the wall, and, in spite of the smooth conditions, didn't get it right, and finished up on my nose. I thought I may have slightly bent an upright. Rats, loads of extra trouble for a moment’s incompetence. I carried the glider forward, to see Hamster Haycraft in conversation with Derek, laughing. As I drew level to them, I offered seasons greetings to Mark, and looked around at my distant van. Shock!! my gliders not there! some bastard's had it. I wasn't too sure, at that distance, and checked with Derek. "My eyes aren’t what they used to be" he said, curiously having difficulty keeping a straight face, in what to me seemed a serious situation. Mark was pissing himself with laughter, a most inappropriate pose, I thought. Then they told me the truth, which may have become obvious, namely that they had given me my own glider, picking it up from my van as they drove in the field! All the stories about 3000ft ATO, and trips to Weston were revealed to be as truthful as the statement of ownership of the glider.

All this goes to prove that there’s no fool like an old fool. I am getting fairly old.

Contributor's Notes:

This is from Ken Wilkinson during his "first coming". At the time he was Club Chairman and a league pilot.


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