20 Aug

Kites at Mottisfont

Mottisfont Abbey is a National Trust property about 5 miles from Romsey, Hampshire. It was a great place to meet two friends with whom our main contact has been Christmas cards and letters while they lived outside the UK for many years. The tea shop did good trade as we sat and swapped stories of the years.

The house itself focuses on the 1930s and early 1940s as the woman who gave it to the NT used to entertain writers and artists of her time, the artists being persuaded to leave paintings and drawings which now hang in various rooms. The upper floor of the house has been opened as a gallery. The timeless original illustrations of various Winnie the Pooh books being the current exhibit.

One small space, though, was given to a display of kites by John Browning. John uses leaves and other natural items to build the most beautiful and fantastical kites. I was taken by this one which looks more like a nature-based decorative piece than a kite.

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Each kite is given that name only after John has flown it. He gets his creation aloft, hands the string to a companion, then photographs the new kite.

John’s long years as an industrial chemist help him devise new methods of turning leaves into the gauze-like skeletons he uses in his new designs.

Did you know that stinging nettles can provide a useful fibre to be spun into string?

20 August, 2013