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Houlgate: 3-7 June 2009

Anne, Alan, Paul, Keith and John went to represent ENGLAND*
at Houlgate as Guests of Honour, no less.

We arrived at Portsmouth early and so took the opportunity to fly a kite.. of course.

The D-Day celebrations were to take place on the Saturday
There were lots of veterans & hundreds of 3rd Para on board
The most important passengers were, of course, the GITS!
One kite (do you recognize it?) nearly flew off the back of the ferry (in something like a 40mph wind)

We arrived to find that the French weather was much like ours - warm and sunny.

We stayed here

OK. Let's get things set up to impress the World - Soon, Minkey was showing his kite-flying skills to all

The Usual Suspects. Looks a bit like last year. Plus ça change (French for plus ça change)

Corporate Identity Boaters (CIBs) made all the difference

The Gonfalon, pennants and St George flag were soon set up to establish the rather impressive Git Camp.

Click the picture on the left, to see the full GLORY of it all.

When we arrived in
Houlgate, people kept
on coming up to
Keith and saying

"I know you from somewhere"

No wonder! Fame from last year.

The lad featured in the local paper!

The caption says

"This year, the British
will be the guests
of honour at the festival"

On our first day, we settled out on the promenade.
Then the kind people from Malaysia budged up to give us room in their tent.

Anne, doing her bit looking after the ENGLISH Embassy - and doing a bit of embroidery.

Meanwhile, the HISTORIC CORNER had been assembled by Paul.
An impressive and really interesting collection of originals.

Paul made a Fire Drake - from original 1635 plans taken from (yes, you guessed) his original copy of Johannis Bate's book.

To make it really authentic, the whole thing was daubed with a mixture of varnish and boiled linseed oil.
By Sunday, it had dried and a valiant attempt was made to fly it.

The wind, however, was so apallingly variable that the Drake's maiden flight had to be postponed.
It should be noted how Paul adopted the Corporate Identity (silly straw boater) with panache & aplomb.

That Church Spire Again

It had to be done - again

Ludo had risen to John's challenge the day before and succeeded.
His kite didn't stay up overnight though - so John had to uphold the honour of ENGLAND.

Would you trust this man
with a kite and a steeple?
THEN... Ludo put another one of his up and the two flew together wonderfully.

There was to be a Competition for the Best Kite. Keith and Alan bullied & cajoled John to enter.
So, since he had his Bees with him, they were entered.

Of course, there was no way that a few paper bees were going to win
over the large number of spectacular entries from the other delegations.

Just making sure these bees work ...... Keith does a splendid job as anchor man

The judges give John a grilling about all aspects of his Bees.
Serious business but it has to be done.

Marks have to be awarded based on at least 53 criteria.
The kites are to be flown later when they will be judged again using another 53 criteria.
All results to be entered into a computer.
You should have seen the other entries - spectacular.
(Do you see how Michel is keeping a careful lookout to make sure that no bribery is happening.
He hasn't spotted that John has slipped four €5,000 notes into the bees)

Meanwhile, all the ususal kite chat continues

And people fly kites

Paul enjoys a well-earned Pimms with his neighbour ....... 

and seems very happy to discuss all things historical with any interested parties

One evening, Paul showed us all how, in the most unpromising place
and with the most unpromising wind, he was able to fly his kite with great success

There is a very good webcam at Houlgate.
Images are recorded at certain times of the day and kept on the site for a week or two.
Minkey, ever one for grasping an opportunity, decided to pay the webcam a visit......

He made the official 1.00pm slot on the Friday. Bless him.
Click on the picture to see how it was done

Minkey's FAME increasing with his every move, it was not long before the mayor of Houlgate,
Jean-Claude Pupin, the webcam administrator, Patric Curcotte, and the festival president,
Agnes Pincepoche all clamoured to know more about Minkey & have their photos taken with him...

Could this the little guy be the next mayor of Houlgate?

Patric, John, Jean-Claude and Agnes seeking to bathe in some of Minkey's glory

Everyone wants to meet Minkey.

Fred announces to the world that Avue Uhliconce Forzat is a real star

Apropos (French for a propos) of nothing at all really, here is an arty shot:

Another Apropos - this time a detail of one of those splendid Malaysian Wau Bulan beauties:

Then it was time to fly the competition kites before the judges and the public.
All the kites were to be judged using another 53 criteria.
A really terrifying experience for the competitors.

The Bees buzz and the boaters boat...

Here we see the Bees in flight and one of the descerning judges keenly examining their performance.
(Michel, after receiving his €5,000 note, was well-disposed towards the Bees.)

We met a lot of very friendly people from all over the world:

Abdul from India
(Paul's neighbour)

Elaine from Malaysia

Claude from France
(he can find money all over the place)

And of Course, they all met us:

There were some less flattering pictures like these:

Those CIB's are really dandy. aren't they?

This splendid souvenir (French for souvenir) was made by Keith.

He made lots and we gave them to our new friends at Houlgate.

To Minkey's delight, Martine turned up with Fred and the two little fellows hit it off immediately

On Saturday, there was a Gala Dinner where about 150 people assembled for the most delightful meal

After the dinner, we went down to Houlgate and experienced an "After"
and it was at the "After" that Minkey was awarded citizenship of Houlgate.
Minkey, dressed in his Party hat, enjoyed the convivialities
and, as usual, was the life and soul of the party.

Then it was Sunday. All 106 criteria for the Competition Kites
had been fed into the computer and the results were announced.

Glittering Prizes (Note that the biggest one is wonky)

Guess who won the wonky one? AND another prize!

Alan looks on..... while the ladies from Malaysia smile in the rain... and Minkey celebrates...

So, Lovely weather until Sunday when we had some showers (and a mighty clap of thunder)

The Git Camp was a great success... We had some very good kite flying.
Thank you to Fred, Agnes and all the Plein Vent team

On Monday, we had time to do a bit of a tourist act in Caen.
St Pierre

St Etienne

St Eteinne is the Abbey Church of L'Abbaye-aux-Hommes
(which is très Français - and mostly Norman).

Guillaume le Conquerant is buried here.
He was the Viking bastard who beat Harold II (Edward the Confectioner's brother -in-law).

After an al fresco (Italian for al fresco) lunch near Ouistreham, we went to the ferry:

You can see the ferry and you can see Minkey - tired but happy after
yet another international trip where his reputation was further enhanced.

Thank you Fred for inviting us, looking after us and and giving us such a happy time in Houlgate.

Thank you Houlgate for your warm and friendly welcome.
We had a wonderful festival.

Youtube Videos by Buhamad Kite Team Part 1 + Part 2

Thank you Michel for letting us use some of your wonderful pictures.
Michel Noel's record of Houlgate Plein Vent 2009 can be found HERE

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