Day 10: 19 September 2012

Clearly Wednesday = Toxic Friend Day – it happened again but more about that later because there was a lot of good stuff before that happened.

I took three kites for an adventure today and we had fun.  There were challenges, there were frustrations, there might even have been a few swear words (that would be me not the kites!) but there was laughter and hugs and a feeling of achievement.  Let me set the scene – here is where the kites took their constitutional … Easthaven.

These pictures were taken from the dunes after the tide came halfway back in – when we arrived the tide was still on the way out leaving a big section of flat firm sandy beach.  It was a brilliant blue sky and bright sunshine most of the morning although the wind was a little slack and gusty.

So now there are three kites maybe I had better give them names?  I tested out the new sport parafoil kite first – I have never flown a soft unsparred kite so I was expecting this to be trickier.  It comes with a handlebar instead of reels which had to be fully unwound and then rewound before I could fasten the kite on; being sensible I should have done that preparation before I set off!  I really struggled to get this airbourne – the wind seemed too light and I needed to start with long lines to get it higher quicker – not something I could achieve on my own.

Next I got out Clarence (the Seagull) … he is a very simple single spar kite which flaps when he is flying from his single line.  He was easy to get up and keep up and I had a few good flights with him; the local gulls obviously thought he was quite realistic since they all appeared overhead.  Clarence appealed to me because I have a bat kite which I love but which needs new spars ordering … maybe if I sort that out I can get them flying together?

Encouraged I pulled out the Delta (stunt kite) and sparred her up and fixed her lines.  Again the strange flat wind was making it harder to get her high enough but I had a couple of okay flights and was getting the direction control more refined making figures of eight calmly.  After a heavyish crash landing I slightly adjusted her bridle lines to make a flatter profile (supposedly makes her easy to launch alone).  This made her slightly slower in responses and I had two good flights until my arms started to feel sore.  I can easily launch her and I can also land her properly if I concentrate.

After a rest for an apple and some beach-combing I was itching to get the parafoil flying.  I tried again and the wind had picked up so I was able to fly her a little higher but was still struggling with the windings on the handlebar.  I switched to the reels and she flew much more easily.  It is going to take a while to get used to how the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ control affects her flight – changing direction happens because part of the foil folds up.  I managed to launch several times and do a little directional control.  She still really needs a co-pilot though because when she comes down she is quickly caught up in seaweed stalks and stones or twisting herself up so I spent much of the time running up and down the lines to untangle her and try again.

So there we go – three kites all airbourne in a three hour kite fest … I am a happy girl!

Since the tide was coming in I decided to catch a bus to Arbroath (after a quick cheese and apple lunch) and then take the service 30 to Montrose and on to Brechin.  I would originally have planned to go on to Edzell but the timetable didn’t quite work for me.

The service 30 runs a little inland but still offers great views of Lunan Bay (that is a bit of a hike to/from the bus otherwise that would be a great beach for kite flying) and Montrose Basin (the first time I have seen that full and made a mental note to visit the Wildlife Centre soon).  I was going to take a picture of a large boat in Montrose Harbour through the bus window but my mobile had been set to video when I was on the beach and I missed it.  Montrose is another town I have never stopped in so maybe I need to put that right soon too!

I have only ever passed through Brechin previously, never spent time there.  There are some very picturesque heritage bits and there are some very run down bits.  I photographed some of the heritage buildings and will edit those photos before I add them – however I did find a Mr Benn shop … which being Wednesday afternoon was closed (like most of the rest of Brechin) so I couldn’t test the magic door … maybe another day!

I wandered down that street and saw a sign for the steps down to Skinners Burn and, on the map, steps up to the Cathedral.  The map made the steps look shallow!  I looked down into Skinners Burn and though it looked a wee bit creepy.  The steps were sealed off and there were some bright yellow diggers below.  I found a neighbouring set of steps and should have listened to the small voice chuntering in my head – but I shushed it and pressed on.  I took hold of the railing – it wobbled … I mean really wobbled!

At the bottom of these really not fun stone steps I found a mud track through creepy overgrown ‘woodland’.  I still shushed that voice because I was at the bottom of the steps now so I might as well continue!  I eventually found the Cathedral steps (and there was a sign to confirm) … my heart sank – they clambered up a steep woodland slope using wooden retainers for each step – obviously these were built by a giant because I struggled with the height of each step.  There was no rail to start with and to my left hand side the slope dropped away – to the running water of the burn (gulp).  I pushed myself up that set of steps as fast as I could and emerged at the top into … a graveyard!

Next time my voices are saying “it looks creepy down there and the steps are too steep” I should listen.  Sorry Brechin that was the most unpleasant experience.  I would have liked to linger in the Cathedral graveyard … but I was so panic stricken in case they locked the front gate and I had to go back the way I had come!  I was also by this time becoming desperate to find a public convenience and a hot drink.  I did pause to take  a couple of pictures though including this (I will edit it and resubmit soon)

After a bit of mooching I did find a hot drink and then I found the Co-op and they had a lovely customer toilet) and then I sat at a bus shelter and read while I waited for the 21A to Forfar.  First time on this bus service too (I have used the 21 before) which cuts through rural countryside and small hamlets on its way to the destination.

I think I caught the sun (or it might have been the wind) today, as confirmed by weather guru who was propping up the architecture in the High Street.  Paused enroute across road for my bus to share a quick kite flying debrief.

Within 5 minutes of me arriving home and feeding the dog, the toxicity started.  I went to soak my feet and when I came back through I had missed messages (three along the lines of “hello” (3 minutes later) “You not talking?” (two minutes later) “can I ……..”.  I replied but before the reply had arrived friend phoned.  Now he only has a brief meal break at this time but he phones and because I did not answer immediately (I was scraping my toes) he adopted a tone straight away.   I couldn’t answer what he wanted to know without more information from him – to which he said, he had already told me (I disagreed) then he said he didn’t have time his food was ready and he only had a few minutes.  Hello Pal … you rang me not the other way around!

Within 30 minutes Mother phoned to tell me about her ‘terrible day’ … sigh … would one of my readers take a quick look is there a word inked on my forehead? does it say “MUG”

Toxic friend I can deal with – like I said before one way street and fast approaching a dead end … not quite so easy with Mother!

So today I:

  • Flew three different kites and started getting control of the directional ones; hugely satisfying and mucho serenity(few points deducted for the swearing);
  • Travelled on two routes I have never used before;
  • Got halfway through a pedicure … serenity deducted;
  • Listened to toxicity and moaning … maintained serenity by not responding;
  • Scared myself by not listening to my sensible inner voice … silly girl; and
  • Did I say I flew all three kites …
Today’s Statistics: Cost: £0; Miles travelled: 112.4; Steps taken: 5,280
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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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