Yesterday I managed to get off work in the afternoon to go paragliding. Unfortunatly the wind rose to above my skill level as I arrived. (Yes I should have gone in the morning, it was likley the wind would rise as the day went by). There were about 7 gliders at the site. Most of these stopped flying while I was there because of the stronger wind.
As I packed up at just before 5 pm, the wind eased of a bit. So I and another guy (John Cooper) went for a short fly before sunset. Managed to get in another 30 minutes of flying. This time I took off from the carpark, and not the bowl, so I have now flown over all the bushes etcetera I have always avoided in the past.
Finally I left top landing too late, and got dropped by the dieing wind. Landed at the bottom in the small area in the corner of the bowl.
The flag flew all day. Friday night I crept across and replaced the Saint Georges Cross.
Some debate on Friday and Sunday as to who put up the Welsh flag. We blamed Colin (part Welsh), on Sunday the landlord was blaming the French Chef. Tonight, if anyone is in, I will admit the swap. It all seems to have been taken as a joke.
This week end the weather was not too bad. No rain, No wind, but only a little sun. We managed a trip out to Stow Landscape gardens. These are managed by the National Trust and are around the public school Stow. This was the first open day of the year.
It must be seven years since we last visited. There has been quite a large amount of renovation on the garden features since we last visited.
Left work early (just after lunch), the wind was blowing 230 degrees, not ideal, but flyable for Dunstable Downs. It was about 8 mph at the bottom wind station.
Arrived at just past 2.30, there was one paraglider in the air (Bill). The wind was stronger than I expected. This was my first flight in 6 months, and all those previous ones had been made in nil wind. So take off was a bit of a mess. I think I take too long arranging the glider, by which time the wind gusts and drags me back into the bushes.
Anyway a bit of advice from Dave, and I was away with a pretty clean take off. I soared the ridge in the cloudy conditions and gained a hight of 120 feet. After 30 minutes I flew out from the ridge and bottom landed. While I was flying there was only Dave. Bill had left. It was great to be in the air again after such a long lay off.
Today is Saint Davids Day, patron Saint of the Welsh. In celebration I have taken down the George Cross from the flag pole of the pub opposite and replaced it with the Welsh flag. Dare I visit later in the day? Will I have been banned for ever?
After the stong winds in the UK a couple of days ago, I can report we have had no damage. The only thing which happened was the cover on the hot tub was blown open by the wind during the night. A few bricks weighing it down was enough to sort this out for the rest of the day.
All the rain we have been getting has made the fields totally water logged. I dare not venture out onto them.
On Saturday met up with my brother and his mates (Tim and Jim) at a service station on the M5. Drive down was in fog and sunshine. Then on to Cardiff for a few pre Wales France match drinks. Chosen pub was filled with Welsh and French supporters. A few pints later we went to the Millenium Stadium for the match. Looked sold out. Wales started well, but gave away a few lineouts later in the match to be well down. Towards the end of the match they recovered and could well have won. Two Welsh attempts at tries in injury time had the whole crowd standing. Final score was Wales 33, France 37.