This little diamond of plastic was a recreational experience waiting to happen

It took me no more than quarter of an hour to assemble the kite. Twenty minutes, perhaps.

The transverse struts were slotted into the appropriate retaining pockets. The vertical transverse strut was then bent into a convex contour to facilitate its removal from the retaining pocket because it hadn't first been threaded through the kite tail. (see Fig 1a).

The transverse struts were relocated in the appropriate pockets, and the retaining clips for the two string attachments were presented to the junction points. (A and B).

Reference was then made to the enlarged detail (Fig 2a) indicating the mechanism of the retaining clips. Construction was briefly interrupted by the query of a prospective kite-flier: "Have you done it yet, Dad?"

After the self-evident nature of the reply had been demonstrated, renewed reference was made to the enlarged detail (Fig 2a), which illustrated the method of attaching the clips by means of arrows. Incomprehensible, squiggly arrows.

Attention was transferred to the larger illustration (Fig 2), indicating the method of attaching the kite handles to the - as yet unsecured - string loops on the main body of the kite by means of two other... clip things... located... located...

At this point, Query A - "Have you done it yet, Dad?" - was repeated. Eventually, as I say, after not much more than half an hour's effort, the kite was made ready.

"You're a genius, Dad! Daddy's done it!" I wasn't sure what the element of surprise in this exclamation said about my general level of practical ability. But I let it pass as a mood of gathering anticipation took hold.

With its cheeky, watch-me-fly Mickey Mouse face and long red ribbon tail, this little diamond of plastic was a recreational experience just waiting to happen.

A curious thing occurred in the course of the subsequent test flight. As I dragged the gaudy gift around the field Mickey's face took on another, less pleasant expression - one of derision; perhaps even scorn.

The little mouse seemed to grow ever more delighted as he tantalised with little skyward dashes before plunging repeatedly into the springy turf.

Unwisely, I had read the pocket guide beforehand, taking in the instructions for more spectacular manoeuvres. "Figure eights: pull on left line to loop left, then pull on right line to loop right..."

No more than a soaring fantasy. I was, however, successful in one respect. "When stunting, your lines will become crossed," the pocket guide had promised. I managed to achieve this even before take-off.

The double strings had in fact intertwined with such complexity that they would have prevented the kite from rising in the - admittedly unlikely - event of any sustained flight.

As I bent towards the tangle I was momentarily impressed by my efforts. Now there was something that wouldn't come undone in a hurry, I thought. Better than any of the reef knots or sheet bends which had I had practised so diligently - and so pointlessly - as a Scout.

Perhaps, I wondered, I could patent this as a new knot. The only problem was I didn't know how I had made it.

It took no more than quarter of an hour to untangle the kite. Twenty minutes, perhaps. By the time the twin lines were straight, my children's faces were beginning to take on a distinctly Mickey-like appearance.

But I could feel hope rising, rising with the wind that was now beginning to stir the huge poplar at the edge of the field into fresh life.

There are good times to release a kite. My guide book had helpfully summarised the procedure in a little scale. And I had the feeling that we were at least in a stage two situation - "Wind 4-7 mph. Wind felt on face. Leaves rustle" - and perhaps even at stage three: "Wind 8-12mph. Leaves and twigs move and light flags extended."

Now was the moment. Now was the opportunity. Hurling the plastic high into the air, I raced backwards and felt the string handles tugging. Up, Mickey, up! He rose; he smiled. He nosedived.

"The kite doesn't work," my five-year-old announced with finality. "I'm going to play on the swings."

From hero to zero in 45 sweaty minutes. The genius had been found out.

I am looking now at the blithe words of the instructions: "Practise aerobatics gently, high up in the sky." If I ever get there, I promise, I swear, my aerobatics will be gentle as lambs.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015