KITE FLYING ~ INNGS FARM
This was one of the most traumatic experience of my life.
It all started on a windy autumn day. At the end of our lane-way was an old church. I had been going to Sunday School every Sunday morning for some time now. On this particular Sunday, I arrived home to find mi mum with dress patterns strewn all over the floor. The old treadle sewing machine was out in the middle of room.
The sewing machine was her tool. It also served as my source of fun. When she wasn't around, I'd pull it out from wall, roll the belt on to the wheel then take cover off top. I would then proceed to peddle the footplate as fast as it would go, pretending it was a bicycle or racing car. I was hoping I hadn't smashed the needle or something.
Standing there, watching her cut out patterns, she said "Get your Sunday best off and go out and play."
"Now't to play with.", I sez.
"You're not staying inside and pestering me. Now, get those good clothes off and get outside or you'll go to bed for the day!"
"It's real windy out and there's now't to do."
"There'll be sum't to do in a bit lad. I'll find some jobs for ya."
I made mi exit right on cue. After changing out of mi Sunday best, I come downstairs and just stand there watching her. Right then and there I had a brilliant brainwave!
"Can you make me a kite?"
"I'm making winter dresses for your sisters. Where do you think I got time for making kites?"
"Go on mum, it's real windy and I haven't got now't to do today."
After some good-old persistent winging and whining, she finally agreed.
"Go upstairs, in my bottom drawers and bring an old sheet."
Off I flew, up the stairs, three at a time. Grabbed a sheet and down again, 4 at a time. I carefully put it in front of her, trying not to disturb her.
"Not this one, ya gormless bugger. It's me best flannel sheet!"
Back up the stairs I go. 'This one's got to be it. It's got a hole in it." Down the stairs again, 4 at a time.
"This one mum?"
"Ay lad, that's it. Give it to me."
Now the excitement was building. Even mi mum looked interested as she opened the sheet, looking for a spot with no holes in it.
"Go into the kitchen and get me a piece of dowel rod. There's some behind door."
I looked behind door and saw two pieces. One piece was the one she used for my legs when I got her real mad. The other was a spare. I grabbed the leg-smacking one and took it out to her. She was cutting the sheet up by now but when she looked up and saw the leg cane, she sort of smiled and said,
"Not that one lad!"
Mi mum was nobodies fool, not even mine.
First she cut out an oblong shape from the old sheep. Then she measured the shape out sho it looked like a kite. She measured the stick and showed me where to cut it with mi dads rusty saw. When this was done, I took it back to her in two pieces. She saw a speck of blood on one of the dowels.
"Show me your finger."
"It's now't.", I sez and proceeded to lay the blame on mi dads' rusty saw-blade, seeing as he was out in his garden.
She cut 4 small triangular shapes of material and one larger triangle shape. She then went over to sewing machine and took lid off. After pulling the bobbin slide back, she turns to me and sez,
"Have you been playing with my machine again lad?"
"Who me mum?", came the reply.
"Yes, you lad. Who else do you think I'm talking to, the bloody cat?"
"Not me mum."
"Then how come the needles broken?"
Mi heart sunk as I saw my kite disappearing before it was even made.
"Bring me that sewing box over here and look sharp about it. I haven't got all day to sit here making kite, you know."
Phew! What a relief, She has some spare needles. I resolved not to peddle her machine after that. Well, maybe not as fast. After filling the bobbins, she proceeded to stitch the hems of the kite shape. Then she stitched the small triangles on the corners. When this was done, she stitched the larger triangle off-center in the middle of the other side of the sheet.
Now it was looking like a kite! When she inserted the 2 pieces of wooden dowel, it really did look like a kite.
"Go and get a ball of string from your dads' tool box."
Inside his feed room, the only string I could find was attached to the end of his plum bob. I decided to cut the plum bob off with one of his old chisels. I hid his plum bob in back of cupboard drawer so he couldn't find it. I'd deal with that later, I thought.
Mum attached the string to the larger triangle on the front. She then tied a long string to the bottom of the kite.
"Go and get me some old newspapers.", she said.
She then folded a piece of paper in half and rolled it up into a thin tube. She tied it onto the bottom of the kite with the long string. Repeating this 4 or 5 times, the kite now had some weights on the end to balance it.
"Take these extra rolls of paper with you. You may need them to make it heavier. It it's too heavy, take some off."
"Thanks mum.", I said giving her a quick kiss on cheek, while stuffing the spare weights in mi pocket.
Coat and clogs on, kite in hand, away I went off up back fields where it was hilly. What a great day this was turning out to be!
Over the back wall I go.
"Dinah, you stay here today. I'll be back soon."
She never liked being left behind. Her face always had this hurt look on it at these times.
"I'll be back soon Dinah", I sez as I go running off away from her.
Sometimes she'd find a way around the wall or sometimes if she really wanted to go, she'd scramble up and over the top. On this day, she sort of accepted it although I could see she was none too happy about it.
Up the hills I ran, letting the kite out behind me. The kite kept swinging and twisting around. I thought, 'Ah well, I'll tie some more weights on it when I get further up the hill.' The wind was blowing very strongly now so I decided to stop running. I pulled the paper rolls I was going to use for weights out of mi jacket pocket. I tied one under the one mi mum had put on. Throwing the kite up into the wind, I tugged on the string a few times. It soared to about 10 feet, then spun around and nose-dived into to the ground. Picking it up, I examined it. Nothing broken. So I put a couple more paperweight tails on it. Launching the kite in the air, I ran backwards with the string, tugging it as I went. The kite hovered in the air for a while and then twisted around in circles and finally nose-dived into the ground again.
By this time, I was getting a bit upset to say the least. I made 2 more paper tails and put them on. I decided this time to run down hill and get up some more speed but the faster I run, the more the kite spun around in circles, eventually crashing to the ground.
I was getting really frustrated now so I decided to tie a smallish branch onto the tail string. I launched the kite again. Up it went high, hovered for a while and then slowly decended. On and on this procedure went hour after hour. I suddenly remembered on of the Sunday School teachers saying that God helps those who believe in him. So, as a last frustrated resort, I got down on my knees, put my head on the ground, hands together and prayed.
"Please God. My name is Richard Swindells. I'm a young boy and my kite won't fly. Please help me to make my kite fly!"
After a few times saying this prayer, I got up and took the small branch off the kite, launched the kite and started running. Up and up the kite went. 10 feet 20 feet 25 feet and then, all of a sudden round and round it spins. Down and down it comes and finally crashes, head first into the ground, knocking one of the cross sticks out of its' pocket.
Now I was really mad! Mi mums' madness had nothing on mine now. At this stage, I was nearly out of control! Down on mi knees I go again. This time I put mi hands together and instead of bowing mi head down, I looked up with mi eyes open onto an almost perfect blue sky. I repeated the prayer again, this time for much longer. I was doing more praying than flying now. 'Two paperweights off and one small twig on. Launch the kite and run, run like hell', I was thinking.
Round and round I go, up the kill, down the hill. 10 feet - 15 feet, then all at once the kite spun around and made a perfect nose-dive!
'That's it! That's bloody it!' At that point I could take no more. I grabbed the kite, threw it back down on the ground, screaming and yelling, cursing and swearing, more cursing, jumping up and down. In a fit of rage and temper, I smashed the kite to bits! I jumped up and down on the cross sticks till they were completely splintered and smashed beyond recognition. There was no one around for miles so there was no stopping me now. It was far too late for that!
I found a large stone. Screaming and yelling obscenities, I smashed it down into the crumpled piece of matted string, paper, twigs and cloth. Then I tore the bed sheet material into shreds. More cursing and more swearing!
All the no-no words I'd heard the old farmers use when they thought no one was listening. I threw myself down on my knees in complete exhaustion. Now, instead of putting my hands together in the prayer position, I clenched my fists together and looked up towards the blue sky. I continued to curse, yell, scream and swear at God. I said everything that I could imagine and everything unimaginable until I was probably blue in the face! I was totally out of my mind! As I shook my fists and cursed, everything started to fade away. The cursing and swearing seemed to drift away, off into the distance. It now felt like someone else was doing it and I was just faintly hearing it from miles and miles away.
That was it! Everything went dark and I disappeared into the darkness. I became the darkness. I was no more!
I have no idea how long I was in that state.
The first thing I remember was seeing a small boy on the ground, curled up in a ball. Next to him was a pile of broken wood, knotted string, rags and paper. His face was covered in dirt and his eyes were red. It looked as though he'd been crying. As I watched him, I felt tremendous compassion for him. At that point I decided to help him for as long as he lived. I have stuck to my word form that point on. I watched him slowly come around, then sit up. He turned to look at the mess of string, paper, wood and cloth next to him. Some of the string was tangled around his clogs. He ripped the string from his clogs, stood up and started to walk away. I saw him look up to the sky and heard him say,
"Fuck you God! You let me down in my hour of need! I don't need you in my life anymore!"
He ran down the fields and back to his house. As he jumped over the wall, he said to the dog who ran to meet him,
"Come on Dinah, we don't need him, do we lass!"
As he walked into the house, his mother said,
"Where've you been? I've been worried sick about you, you little bugger! What have you been up to?"
"Nowt", he said.