Whew it's great to be at home for a
... (I don't go away again until later in the week), to at last enjoy some
quality time with the cats - and during the baby rabbit harvesting season, so
they (well Tory) is really licking his chops.
Chia has a party trick too- she's finally learnt to come down from the hot water cylinder cupboard (where it's warm) by using the the stairs I built for her, rather than by yelling for help.
Don't you admire my DIY effort!- Elwyn is equivocal though.
Tory and Chia are the world's greatest cats.
Not like Molen and Wiek (who's personal are Michelle and Nop Velthuizen in Den Hague) even though Molen can leap off tall buildings (and has). M and W are a silly colour- except in snowstorms- and show up red wine stains really badly- like Susan Gomberg's carpet does*.
And not like Chairman Meow- who's key staff members are Fiona Pete and Chris in New Brighton- either. Blackbirds come brazenly (or shouldn't that be blackenly?) into the house and steal his food - and when an avian miscreant is apprehended and presented to him to do something about, he runs and hides. What a wissy excuse for a feline! I hope this behaviour isn't catching, as what will the Greenies turn their evil eye to if the conservation estate is no longer threatened by cute little pussy cats.
While on cat stories though, the luckiest around here is the guard cat at
the junkyard next door. Our local Steptoe was at a farm clearance getting the last pickings while the departing farmer was rampaging around with a
gun pinging off all the farm cats (as required by the new owner, probably a Greenie). Climbing back in his truck to leave, Tony S. discovered that a (very) friendly kitten had taken refuge in the cab. Originally black and white, since taking on his new responsibilities Lucky has adapted to the environment by changing to black and grey- just like white butterfies in industrial revolution England.
What has this all to do with kites?
Well, not a lot- but the following has;
As a small thankyou to Masaaki Modegi for his, as always, wonderful hospitality during the visit that Jenny, Clyde and I had to Japan in 2003, we sent** him a nice bottle of red wine, (which he's rather partial to). Not just a nice bottle, a VERY nice bottle- Penfolds Grange Hermitage to be exact, and they just don't get any better than that. This year while we were there again, he told us that he'd drunk it!- the pleb!- could at least have waited 10 years even if he couldn't hang off for the more appropriate 25. Said it was, not surprisingly, verrrrry nice, and would like some more. It's possible we should have tied a sign to it- but saying what?; "don't drink this"? He has excellent taste anyway- and will know next time. At least it didn't end up on Susan's carpet.
Or did this have much to do with kites?.
A Merry Xmas to you all, see you on the NZ Kite Tour in January.
Ashburton NZ, 30 Nov '04
* Susan, it wasn't me.
** bought it at the supermarket actually- don't believe me?- see the photo proof.
Ah yes, something unexpected- sure surprised me anyway, sort of slowly
crept up suddenly.
Since 1990 there have been many attempts to make a buggy that works well on snow. For various reasons, none of these have yet been totally successful. Until now.
Can't tell you how it works until the patent application gets filed, but then you will see- and the world of snow kiting will change as a consequence. A version of this KiteSled, should be capable of taking the flier plus 100kgms of food and equipment - enough to be self sufficient for 10 weeks or so unsupported in the Arctic, Antarctic, Canada, Alaska or Greenland. In this time distances of thousands of kilometres would be possible when the wind is favourable- and in the worst case, could still be man-hauled at least 600km for self rescue.
This is unprecedented, as the current best solution is a kiteskier towing
a sled- which is about half as fast in the same wind, much harder physically, more dangerous and with nowhere near the potential range. We envisage single handed races across the antarctic and 'Footsteps of Scott' re-creations taking just 6 weeks or less. All the major historical snow and ice expeditions including the northeast and northwest passage attempts from the 18th century on can be replicated- but successfully now. It will also be possible to string three or four of these devices together in a train- powered by just one or two kites at a time, allowing the other fliers to sleep- 24 hour journeying in the midnight sun.
And, as I slyly alluded to last month, hoping you mightn't notice- there are more* mega kites on the way. Watch this space about the middle of next
year. As Stalin said: "Quantity has a quality all of it's own"
* yes that's right, I didn't say "a"