Kite Flying Big Style

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Kite Flying big style.

A cold and windy winters day, back in the time when there was a four or sometimes three day week caused by electrical strikes, it was a bad time for anyone working then, you were lucky if you got a weeks pay in those days. But one of the blessings in being a steel fabricator come erector is the ability to work in different areas, and we used to hop from district to district to miss the power cuts or do jobs that didn't require electricity.

This was one such day, a job that didn't require elec', but it was on the top of an eight story office building, sheeting in with aluminium cladding a lift room on the roof. And just to make matters worse it was right on the coast in a dockyard, so the wind didn't have anything to calm it before it hit. These sheets were enormous, only about three feet wide, but something like eighteen or twenty feet long, and they were square corrugated aluminium. They were just too big to bring up the inside of the building so we lashed them up to pull up the outside. But due to all the obstructions they kept snagging, so I had the wonderful idea of tying them kind of parcel style so the rope was crossed and pulling about a third of the way down the sheet, just like a kite in fact, although at the time that wasn't quite the idea, anyway by this method we were at least able to pull them up and the first two or three weren't any problem, but then the wind came on a lot stronger and the next one took off, so there's the two of us with the biggest kite in the world on the end of a rope no less about eighty feet up a building and it wouldn't come down, for a while there I thought we were going to either go with it or let it go, that however wasn't really an option as there were people wandering around down "there". Finally we landed the damn thing and took a break to re-think what else we could do.

Well there certainly wasn't any other way of getting them up, and if we didn't do this job we didn't get paid, so once again I had a brain wave if you can call it that. The roof was one of those flat topped jobs that had been ashfelted and poking through the roof were all these little mushroom vents about a foot tall, I don't know what they were or what they did. But I reckoned if we tied the rope to several of these at least we wouldn't get blown of the roof when the next one came over the parapet, well there was nothing else to tie a rope to, so we gave it a go.

Well this panel came up over the edge and just like its predecessor and took of, but we knew this time we had it captive, how wrong can you be, the bloody thing went up in the air and "pop" the first vent pulled straight out of the roof, it went higher, now with this pretty little mushroom thing hanging from the rope, and the two of us trying everything possible to bring it down but couldn't, off went the next vent "pop", and the third, by this time we had a twenty foot sheet of aluminium flying thirty or so feet up in the air with a whole row of these plastic mushrooms hanging from the rope like a streamer, we had all but run out of vents and rope and were on the last one when the wind calmed just enough to pull this wayward kite back in and ground it. After that we gave up and just watched the ships coming and going for the rest of the afternoon. Oh and we very conscientiously pushed the mushroom vents back into the holes in the roof and hoped no one noticed until it next rained.....