Monday, 14 May 2007
Yesterday, heavy sunshine and a moderate north-easterly wind. The ideal conditions to go for a little flight in Monceaux, just above the river Dordogne.
Those of you who never had a flight in a paraglider do ignore one of the greatest pleasures live can give you. And so I was gliding at moderate speed just three or four meters above the treetops. Seen from above, those treetops look sometimes like broccoli. Then comes a sudden gust of wind and up you go. It's like stepping into a high speed lift but stout hearts hearts are needed here. Because you step into that lift without any forewarning. So up you go, the launching pad you left just five minutes ago becomes small and smaller, same for the broccoli trees under your feet.
To my left, I see a hanglider, that is Bernard, an experienced pilot. He knows what he is doing, anytime. But a little bit under him I see another paraglider circling around to go up in the warm air. I have to keep an eye on him, all the time. Because the idea is to hid the same thermal without being too near.
Meanwhile, we are five pilots in the air. Going up and down, circling up, gliding down. A kind of air ballet dance, in complete silence, only the slight whine of the kevlar ropes linking the canopy to the glider seat.
However, all good things have an end. Here it is the wind dying out and a big cloud masking the sun thus stopping the hot air going up. So I go down, prepare for landing on the other side of the Dordogne. Circling over the river, I see two canoes. I yell at them and they answer joyfully by giving a sign with their hands.
Near the landing pad is a big oak tree and there I see leaving that damned buzzard, my personal enemy. He is already gaining height yelling or screeching while approaching from above. Now he is above my canopy, I still hear him but cannot see the bird anymore. I imagine him diving on the paraglider, yelling, claws ready. Or is it his beak? What can I do? I yell, too, as loud as I can, making little moves with the glider.
Stupid buzzard leaves me and I imagine he returns to his nest in the oak tree. There he tells his wife and birdies how he is protecting them against those predating colored plastic birds.
Back on the ground I inspect the works of Mr. Buzzard. Three holes this time. Knowing him, I have some patches ready. Last time he made fives holes. And my previous glider had fifteen at all. Mister B suffers certainly from slight attacks of paranoia, especially at spring time. A visit to Doctor Freud should do him a world of good.