Westward Ho! and the tug of the line

The Devonshire seaside village of Westward Ho! is not only famous for being named after an imperialistic historical novel, it’s also known for its extensive sandy beaches, surfing and pebbled sea defences. At low tide the sea often recedes so far back that it appears like a pale blue line painted onto the distant horizon.

Back in the mid 70’s we would take our family holidays at Westward Ho!. We would make the long and often-tedious journey from Wiltshire to Devon wedged into a hot Ford Cortina.

I can remember that the jerky movement of the car, combined with the noxious smell of hairspray and occasional wafts of Old Spice created the perfect conditions for car-sickness. Most of my journey was spent with my head in a plastic bag or lying prone across my grandmother’s lap.

One particular holiday my brother and I received kites. The kites had a traditional diamond shape and were made from tough canvas. Thin wooden rods were threaded through the red and green material to act as structural support. The flying line was very long, perhaps 500 feet and was made from strong orange nylon. Each line came tightly wound around a four-inch-wide plastic spool.

At first, our kites just flew a few feet above our heads; they bobbed and jerked about in the cloudless sky, after a while we allowed the wind to take our kites away, towards the sea.

The wind was strong and consistent, soon the kites were racing away, the plastic spools spinning rapidly in our hands. Eventually our kites began to fade-away, disappear, the only connection we now had with them, was the gentle tug of the line.

Posted: by Leeroy.

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