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AWOL
Absent WithOut Leave

In quite a few different ways, and it's not only me either;

The Wolery
The Wolery
Firstly because awol has another meaning than the above.
In A A Milne's Winnie the Pooh children's books written in the early 20th century, the character Owl carefully nurtured his reputation for being wise and clever. Unfortunately he rather spoilt this by misspelling Owl as Wol. His home/nest was the "Wolery".
From this, amongst kids of the generation bought up on the world according to Pooh, "Wol" gained currency as a pejorative term for pseudo-intellectuals, and in a bit of self mocking, Elwyn and I have, since the '70's, named our various residences the "Wolery". Currently a ('70's vintage) "Wolery" sign graces our entertainment deck, where there's plenty of pretentious debate (during summer anyway).
Yep, I'm a wol, - fully paid up.
But you already knew this.

And absent without leave I also am; kite flying wise, rather than owl wise:

Redwood Lodge main course 2006
Redwood Lodge main course 2006
At this time of the year I'm usually in England and Europe. I'd say it's 15 or 20 years since I wasn't.
The Bristol International Kite Festival had become a fixture on my calendar; not least for the hotel atrocity stories that I could pick up each year there at Redwood Lodge. These ranged from the dreaded dysfunctional key cards, and staff breaking down in tears when management bullied them into telling lies, to catch 22 exchanges about charging things to room numbers that I eventually wrote an 'I-say-then-you-say' script for.
This was ready to hand to new staff when they flubbed their lines (and they were all new, every year- only the guests knew how things worked there- or more generally didn't). In 2010 though, for the first time ever, I never had a single difficulty at Redwood Lodge- my room booking hadn't been cancelled, the food was edible and adequate, I never once needed to walk back 100m's for another key that wouldn't work;- rather disappointing: Why did they think I kept on going back if it wasn't for great stories of guest abuse that I could dine out on until the next time?
This'll learn them (my not being there this year that is).

But yes, I'm not there- nor at Portsmouth nor Margate nor even at Scheveningen.

How will these events ever manage without me?!

Quite well I expect- if Andrew (Beattie) and the Alfarsi team can figure out the launching technique for their new biggest kite (it either requires a high degree of skill or it's completely random- not sure yet, as it's only ever been done three times so far).

Instead, I'm here in NZ enjoying the winter- and enduring the " and about time too, serves you right " comments when we have heavy snow, which I, this time, haven't contrived to be away for.

Snow at 105 - August 2011
Snow at 105 - August 2011
Nor am I doing much kite flying just now- at this time of the year, Ashburton doesn't have wind except when it's also cold and raining or snowing (and often dark as well).

Not much kite making for me either- except the tentative beginnings of a new pilot series, or two different series if a radical idea shows merit (which I can't find out until there's wind).

What I have been doing is skulking around in my workshop (with the heat pump on max.) making a new Stirling engine (see last month's newsletter).
I'm also enjoying some relaxing and affectionate times with Elwyn(wife) and Tory(cat).
And re-connecting with a local community that sooner or later (judging by the current antics of my 97 year old father, it'll be later) I need to settle back into- and it's a wonderful community too.

But I am thinking about kites and kite flying- getting mentally prepared for the next round of events starting later this month in (mainly) Asia.

And I've been organising the cutting down and clearing of a bunch of trees; to double the size of the kite field beside the Peter Lynn Kites Ltd. Factory- which I have a view of from my kite making place here at the house.

These trees have eaten their last kites
These trees have eaten their last kites
Bigger kite field on the way
Bigger kite field on the way

But I also have a view that the entire world of large single line kites has gone a bit AWOL in the last few months.

The market seems very quiet- I've never known it to be quieter.

Maybe this is just because of where I'm looking from;-hiding away down this end of the world rather than in the usual whirl of northern hemisphere kite events.

Or maybe the maxi kite market really is temporarily saturated- not least because kites aren't wearing out fast enough?

Or maybe things really are quiet, perhaps detritus from the slow train wreck that the major economies of the USA and Europe appear to be engaged in.

But it's generally true that, in the past at least, the maxi kite market has been relatively recession proof, probably because the top end (by income) of people who take early retirement or are laid off during recessions ted to throw themselves into kite flying with great enthusiasm as soon as they have free time.

So it's most likely that what I'm seeing is a fluctuation that's only noticeable because the large kite market comprises a tiny number of customers who occasionally buy quite expensive items.

We'll know if it's a trend, or just a blip by Xmas time I expect.

But what is undoubtedly true, is that even if kite flying is on something of a plateau in the west, in the east it's roaring.

Go east young man (and woman of course)!!- and this may also be good advice for fields of endeavour other than kite-flying.

Peter Lynn, Ashburton, Sept 1st - 2011



Octopus
Peter Lynn Kites Ltd
105 Alford Forest Rd
Ashburton 8300
NEW ZEALAND
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Fax: + 64 (0)3 308 1905
Email: peter@peterlynnhimself.com
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