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Ray's World Adventures 1996

Ray Goes home to Salisbury, England
He said:" I am going out to fly a Kite!" and he returned 46 years later as a master Kite flyer!

I was sponsored to participate in the Kite & Sky Hoolie Plus to join in all of the other weekend happenings that were put on by the Salisbury District Councils Leisure Dept. And Happenings they certainly were, as good as any that I have ever seen in my worldly travels. What a modern city Salisbury has become.

What a difference 46 years have made.

The basic idea is that everything will be linked in some way to Salisbury, famous people, local people and the people that have made their mark in the world.

I think the people of Salisbury will remember this weeks activities for a long time to come. I know I shall. The whole city was buzzing with things too numerous to mention in this article, but I must mention and give 10 out of 10 for the Saturday evening events that took place at the Elizabeth Gardens. A very lovely and tranquil spot with a beautiful view of the renowned Cathedral. There was an open air concert starring major local celebrities, backed up with a whole range of visual attractions including colored water fountains, fire sculptures, laser and search light Kite flying and the grand finale was a fire works, dancing water fountains, laser lights all were synchronized to the best music and sound system money can buy. Thousands of people were thrilled and captivated by all the events.

The next day was the kite & Sky Hoolie festival, Cunning Stunt Kite shop owners have been planning since last year, today was the day.

I arrived at Hudson field around 9:30 am, I was greeted warmly by the festival organizers Neil and Martin, also Mark Coventry and Geoff Murray both multiple Kite flyers whom I have not seen since 1993. It was a beautiful day sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Already there were about 2'000 that had arrived with kite flyers from all over.

It was great to see so many old friends, what more could one wish for?! WIND!! There was none , not a whisper, not a blade of grass was moving. I had been well advertised over the last week by the media. A lot of my old school mates came especially to see me, plus quiet a few old girlfriends that I had long time forgotten. Well some anyway!

Also some of my relations, some I had not seen in over 20 years and some I have never seen. Well now about 5'000 spectators had collected and were waiting for the show to start, so when does this world champion show his stuff?

The organizer Neil said: "Ray, have you got anything in your kite bag that will fly in no wind, because after his nibs "meaning the Mayor I think" has finished the speech we want you to officially open the festival with a 3 kite ballet to music, can you! DO IT!!?

No problem Neil, leave it to big Daddy... What the hell was I saying !!? I bent down and picked up a small bird feather and tossed it up in the air. It fell straight down, like a rock. So, I set up my pro Dancers from Sky Burner, USA, with 50lbs test line and took of my shirt, the sun felt good!! "Wish I did!! Come on wind!!"

Well the mayor finished his speech I looked at both organizers. They were standing there with arms legs, toes and fingers crossed. The music man gave me the sign that the music was rolling. The music I had chosen was "You are the wind beneath my wings!" At that very moment I felt a slight breeze on my back ... that was all I needed, up went the center kite then the two outside ones, just as the music started. I managed to keep in flight until the music faded away. Neil had a big grin on his face and he said "Good Stuff, Ray !"

The wind was back to zero again but we had to entertain the spectators somehow. Geoff Murray said he had flown from the back of a motorcycle once. I asked Mark and he said lets try it. So three motor bikes were brought into the huge arena. There was plenty of room. The three of us sat on the back seat facing backwards. We gave the word and off we went flying tow kites each chasing each other around ad around like bats out of hell.

It was a blast! And the spectators were thrilled and loved every moment of it. The danger aspect always adds to the excitement. Now we have the crowds really stirred up and wonder what to come up with next?

I said to mark Coventry the UK multiple kite champion, "How about you and I making a first timer?" He said, "I'm game, what's the score?" I said, let's be the first ever to fly multiple kites simultaneously from the same motorcycle... He said: "Ray... you are out of your cotton picking mind !!.. Do you know the danger aspect of something like that? I mean, I am game if you are!.. Let's do it!"

So Mark sat on the back seat and I stood on the back foot rests between Mark and the driver, both of us facing backwards and off we went . It was very exciting and thrilling . Mark and I had a ball and the crowd was clapping and cheering.

After that we flew from the back of Land Rover . I did not like that the driver went over every hole he could find. I ended up with 3 damaged ribs which took me ten weeks to heal, but it never stopped me from flying. Later in that day the wind came up a little and we were able to give demonstrations in a normal way. So all together the kite festival was a great success. I was glad I was part of it.

Next week I was invited to Hereford and at the weekend to the International Kite Festival at Bristol, but that is a whole other story.

I enjoyed watching all the flyers especially the all girls team "Dream of Flight" from Norfolk. They put on a great show in spite of very low winds.

Well done Salisbury, you certainly have come a long way. Thank you for a fantastic weekend.

I wish to thank my sponsor the Salisbury District Councils Leisure department for their sponsorship, Cunning Stunt Kites Neil & Martin for a great time at their Sky Hoolie, plus a great week flying at Hudson field with the 1-2-4 club, night flying was also great at the London Road Inn.

And last but not least thank you Mary & Peter Webb for he super accommodations. You sure know how to make strangers welcome. I would highly recommend your establishment, many thanks.

Thank you for listening.


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