My admiration for the female of our species is increasing every day.
- and no, not just because Anne Marie Parry has taken up the challenge and is to marry Phillip McConnachie at Adelaide later today.* At the Thailand International festival with the Mega Ray last weekend, Clyde and I were being our usual obnoxious selves about attending the opening and closing ceremonies, and about getting up for breakfast at 7.30 (so as to be ready to leave for the field by 9.30 so that we can sit there and wait for the wind to arrive at 11.30 and the public at 1.30), and things like that.
Well, we met our match this time. A young lady from TAT (the Thai Tourism Authority) soon had us sorted. Always smiles, hardly ever tears (visibly anyway) but unswervingly persistent. Eventually we just did whatever she asked- it was much easier. Clyde even appeared for breakfast on the last two mornings- first and second time for probably 10 years. We called her Little Miss Duct Tape- fixed every problem and never let go.
Also in Thailand we discovered perhaps the greatest innovation in single line kite flying that has come our way in 30 years- the Thai army. Friendly, keen, natural kitefliers. After a few minutes of teach by example, we could fairly much leave them to it; launching, wind shifts, packing, the lot. When kites tangled they would often have them sorted and re-launched before we could get there. They came fully equipped with mobile anchors (jeeps and 5 ton trucks) and, I suspect, would also be quite useful in any territorial dispute. The ultimate kite team.
Congratulations also to Stefan Cook and Lachlan Beed in the kitesurfing event at the Adelaide Festival. Stefan got 1st in Freestyle, 3rd in hangtime, Lachlan 1st in hangtime 3rd in freestyle. It was a small field - but few will suggest that, for example, Ben Wilson is easy to beat. All credit to Stefan and Lachlan, especially as they were flying Arcs - which according to some of the, ahem, purveyors of "other" kites, are not competitive!**. Actually, many kitesurfers don't yet realise the performance that Arcs offer- we've been keeping a low profile, doing almost no advertising or promotion and not sponsoring any elite performers during a year of incremental improvement and ramping up production.
Who can say what the future will bring*** - but 2 ½ years is a very short time in which to have taken our bridle-less ram air design from just an idea to where it currently stands against established tube kite design (now 19 years into their development). The next year or two could be VERY interesting! And, harking back to an earlier newsletter: On further research, I find that the connection made between Sam Kettering's development of the self starter for motor cars, the liberation of women, and the beginning of the downhill slide in all that was right and proper in the world may not be entirely justified. It seems that when Carl Benz was developing the first motor car at Mannheim (yes I'm still having lots of fun playing with a replica of this one), he was too scared of adverse opinion to venture out in public.
Well, one night in 1886, his feisty wife "stole" the car and drove it, heroically, 70 kms to another town, taking their 2 young sons along for the ride- thus demonstrating that such journeys were possible and bringing the entire concept of motoring to the public attention. Hence it was her, not Sam K., who added the kar to kinder, kirche und kuche and it is therefore unfair to suggest that he should shoulder all the blame for female emancipation.
As I should have said at the start, my admiration for women grows by the hour- I say bring on parthenogenesis****, I'll settle for reincarnation as a kite- provided that I'm cared for and protected by the Thai army that is,- hmm, I wonder if they have women soldiers? Peter Lynn, Ashburton April 1, 2002 * Rumour has it that the ceremony is to be held inside the Mega-Ray, (which is at their festival this Easter).
Oh, and something about the date worries me a bit.. **a pathetic attempt at irony. ***Just covering myself in case this turns out to be a 'pride comes before a fall' scenario instead. ****look it up yourself