The weather turned out to be fairly benign today compared to the forecasts, 10-12mph or less and no rain during our usual flying time.
The new kite had arrived on Wednesday having spent the previous few days in Leyton. On Thursday I flew it for a short time in about 4mph with the new Diamond rods. Today it was flown for somewhat longer with the standard Reflex frame alongside an Xtra Vent with 4 wrap frame. Today the 'Reflex Super Spider' felt light and quick especially through wingtip turns.
We did not make much attempt to check the wind window but it felt reasonable without a strict comparison.
For our purposes we will have to fly it 'inline' in order to assess it fully but my first impressions are that this is a very useful configuration for a 1.5 sail.
The low 'anticyclonic' clouds did not break but the SW breeze was mostly consistent. We were mainly on full vented 1.5s with race rods which were only stressed a couple of times.
The UE device software has been updated and now has a 'stereo' option when using two units. There were plenty of called sequences today with this improved sound system.
The new kite arrived at the courier transit facility in Leyton early on Saturday morning according to their tracking. That is about 3 miles from home but delivery is not expected until Thursday...
High cloud and a light SW breeze to start today. Mostly 1.5 sails with diamond and race rods but I put up the standard Reflex as a reminder for the 'feel' of a larger sail.
Just a small bit of called flying today with some musical background.We should be on site as usual on the next two weekends and hope to have a new kite to test fly at some point!
The fast approaching slightly lower clouds partly prompted our departure today. It didn't look particularly threatening but as soon as we were all in the cars it started raining...
The forecast was such that we had decided against any attempt to fly today.
The rain turned to snow shortly after 8:00am in Hackney and it was still falling at 1:00pm. There is no real accumulation as the temperature has been just above freezing point...
A slow trudge in the slush proved the be hard work, not least because of the 'age related slip fear'. I may have to forego the usual bicycle circuit on Monday if conditions do not change.
Low grey clouds and heavy drizzle at times today!
The breeze was from the NW and mostly about 5mph so there was some lift available for the wet kites and lines. Full 1.5 sails, mostly with race rods worked with occasional wet face down moments.
There were some issues with wet line wraps; somewhat inevitable, I guess...
No calls and no tunes today, just the hiss of the traffic on the A2.
Mostly clear blue sky with a reasonably steady westerly breeze today.
Mid vents with race rods were used but the one full vent was only occasionally underpowered.
The fillers between the Decs tracks were supposed to have been edited out but somehow that hadn't happened. Another try required but we put up with the drums today!
Just the occasional call today and we finished when the tracks ran out and the occasional clouds began to become more frequent.
Accidents at the Blackwall Tunnel meant that some of us took the scenic route home via Rotherhithe.
Variable cirrus and other high cloud today meant that there was no low cloud formation so some sunshine filtered through. The NW breeze was mostly at about 4mph but quite often dropped away after shifting towards the SW.
Full 1.5 sails with diamond LE and race uprights were mostly OK but a few line catches proved to be 'final'!
Not much called today but we did have some of the team tracks playing.
Variable breeze from the NW today, sunny spells in between dark cumulus.
We were on full vented 1.5 sails with race or 4 wrap spars. Xtra vents with race rods would have been a better set up as the wind speed was based around 15mph but was gusting much higher for extended periods.
We had a 'line' incident' at the start and the solution was to pull the lines tight together and then tease out the counter twists under pressure. There really was an actual crossed line at the core of the problem which was simply resolved by untying one line at the handle end while holding the line tension to the kite.
Mostly called flying today, once we got started, with various tracks from the team list.
I had taken the precaution of wearing extra layers so remained reasonably comfortable. Others were less prepared for the 7C less windchill.
Clear blue sky to start but over the two hours on site the fine weather cumulus gradually built up in the WNW breeze.
Full vented 1.5s with race rods were only occasionally overpowered.
Mostly free flying but when we added some music to the mix there were a few calls as well.
No issue with the site today. The breakdown and cleaning were well advanced...
We were on site at the normal time despite the clock change!
Northerly breeze, probably 10 plus mph gusting higher so full vents with race rods.
While the temperature did reach double figurers (centigrade) today I was glad of an extra layer, just in case!
The clear-up after Blackheath Firework display may impact our regular flying site next weekend but the plan is to be there as usual...
It was not quite as windy as had been forecast but we still flew the Xtra Vents with 4 wrap spars today.
While it was not actually 'cold' it was a timely reminder to layer up and remember the gloves, 'just in case'.
No calls and no music today. Just the whistling lines...
We might be on site a bit early next weekend after the clocks change!
The day had started with clear blue sky but a dense layer of low cloud formed before we set off from Hackney. This cloud layer gradually broke up in the SW breeze and later in the day there was plenty of sunshine.
Full vented kites with race rods were only occasionally slightly underpowered.We were talking again today about the merits of a mid vented sail and the cost of getting a team set for the rare occasions when they would be needed.
Doubling up the the music playing device worked very well today once the technical issues were resolved finally. Martin has the reserved 'seat', of course...
When it is working the web cam at Berck streamed via You Tube is very good.I hope that it will be in place for the kite event in April next year!A two hour window should work very well...
The light west to north westerly breeze today was a bit elusive but there was some warm sunshine to make it feel less autumnal than might be expected for the OSOW weekend in the UK.
Full sails with diamond LE and race uprights but we had one casualty with an awkward ground contact. Two clean breaks in one diamond spar! I'm wondering if they are still available?
Some called moves today with a different soundtrack...
Chris from Ireland (Ohio/New York) paid us a visit today having recently moved back to London. We will expect to see him on the kite circuit again!
The weather had not looked promising but we were lucky with our usual timing.It was showery during the drive from Hackney but there was no rain on Blackheath.
SSW with low clouds and the occasional brightness. The breeze was probably 12 mph with occasional higher spells so we were flying mid-vents with Race Rods.
Nothing called today but we had musical accompaniment and the occasional passing murmuration of starlings.
It seems very early but we are getting asked about plans for 2018. It is 30 years for the team so we might have to do something special <grins>
A mild sunny day with a gentle SE breeze today. Mostly blue sky with high cloud approaching very slowly from the west.
Full sails with Diamond LE and Race uprights were just occasionally a little overpowered in the variable breeze. There were quite a few direction shifts suggesting thermals were passing by...
After last weeks introduction to music on site, this week with the brighter weather brought out interested 'passers by' in greater numbers than we have seen in a long time.
It was almost all called flying today interspersed with conversations with our audience. Quite a change...
Back at the usual time and place today. NNW breeze was supposed to be 6mph but it was not consistent.
Full sails with Diamond LE and Race uprights seemed fine when there was some air movement.
Quite a bit of called flying today not least because we finally (after how many years?) acquired a viable rechargeable music playing 'device'. Somehow, even for intermittent flying, having something to counter the A2 traffic noise was very welcome.
Having been dazzled in the sunny intervals a rather dark cloud did produce a short shower that sent us on our way. The last few spots falling as we got back to Hackney...
10/09/2107 Victoria Park
A music event on Blackheath meant that we had to find an alternative venue today. There was a pop-up running event on the Olympic park so we flew in the east end of Victoria Park.
There was a running event in Victoria Park as well as a cricket match but there was still some space in the NE 'corner'.
The westerly breeze was somewhat erratic and gradually strengthening. Mid vents with race rods were OK most of the time.
Nothing called but there was a sax, bass and drums combo that set up close by soon after we arrived so we had a live accompaniment. It was a pity that the breeze was not more consistent but in a tree lined area that is what would be expected.
We should be back on Blackheath next weekend.
SSE breeze today, probably 10mph and upwards, not that I measured it, so full vents with race rods of various flavours.
The approaching weather front which affected the rest of the country N,S and W looked threatening with slate grey clouds but the forecast held good and there was no rain on Blackheath while we were there!
No calls again today, end of season discussions about recent events and thoughts about priorities for next year took precedence.
We will not plan a formal team trip to Fanø next year as Cervia and Dieppe should be our main focus...
A very light 3mph northerly breeze was not entirely consistent so we did not get much flying today. Full sails with diamond LE and race or diamond uprights worked when the breeze was present. Rowan clocked some 360's but I was certainly not going to make that effort!
In these circumstances the great thing about Blackheath is that there is plenty of space and we are not going to impinge on anyone else's kite flying space.
Jade flew his Portsmouth auction purchase, one of Martin Lester's white kites...
I put up the 3m JMH rokakku for a short time. It is OK in 3mph but hard work if there really isn't any air movement.
Great to see that blue skies did arrive in Long Beach eventually.
Westerly breeze today, often dropping away as thermals passed by in the sunny spells. Full sails with diamond LE and race uprights were just fine.
No calls today as after the last two weekends as Ashley was taking a break.I was almost doing the same (break wise) as taking delivery of a not 'new' car has been slightly delayed.
We may venture further afield next weekend subject to transport arrangements and weather conditions.
In the meantime I will be looking out for reports from Long Beach <grins>
13/08/2017 After Portsmouth
Everyone arrived in a timely manner for this event with some kites being delivered on site first thing on Saturday morning after transatlantic routing via Hackney and Bexleyheath!
It was a good breeze on Saturday from the west. Our dilemma was that we did not have the mid vented option which would have been ideal... The full sails with diamond leading edges and race uprights were OK for the regular fliers but others showed their inexperience.
In the lighter breezes on Sunday this theme continued. Happily there was a breeze which had been in question in the forecasts as late as Saturday evening.
An excellent weekend with some particularly good Mega Team routines thanks to Ashley's calling...
06/08/2017 After Exmouth
We did eventually arrive in Exmouth on Friday 4 August just before midnight after considerable assistance from the roadside rescue company and in the replacement vehicle that was eventually provided...
All the travel aggravation quickly faded as it was a bright and breezy day on Saturday with just an occasional light shower. The breeze was actually at the higher end of our comfort window with the JMH vented kites. We did not have to resort to four wrap spars though; green race were sufficient.
Sunday was equally bright with the wind a bit lighter and more form the west than the north westerly of the previous day. Full sails with diamond leading edges and race uprights worked well all day.
There were also opportunities to fly the JMH rokakku kites as well as assisting in the festival agenda with other kites.
An excellent weekend... I just need to have a careful conversation about my 'car' as we need to resolve transport arrangements for the Portsmouth event next weekend!
The Cycle events of the weekend meant that our arrival at Blackheath was a bit delayed this morning.I must not complain as a spin round the City and Westminster yesterday was, as ever, a bit of a treat!
Slightly blustery SW breeze today so we were on full vents with race rods.
Some called moves today produced some very enthusiastic responses from passers by! Eventually it becomes a bit difficult to know exactly how to respond to “I've never seen anything like it before”.
There was a brief full sunny interlude but the cumulus consolidated into a dark grey mass of clouds that threatened 'some' rain. I had expected a light shower but as we headed towards the Blackwall Tunnel there was a brief deluge!
Exmouth and Portsmouth are all set. We'll see what the late summer weather will deliver...
Damon Meheux was already on site when we arrived today.The wind dropped as the sun broke through so it was a case of switching from full vented as Damon had been flying to full sail with a short time with the mid vents in between.
Rowan decided to stick with the mid vent as a 'training' strategy ahead of Exmouth.
Some discussion today about stacking in the air and how there should not be any 'pressure' or need to resist unless a flier is really 'not capable' or not paying attention!
Some 'face to face' 180's illustrated how this works rather effectively as the transition requires a complete switch 'on the controls' and there is no way of hiding if a flier is not 'engaging' correctly...
Another gentle day with thick low cloud and increasing humidity.The breeze was relatively steady so we were on mid vent/full vented 1.5 sails with race rods.
Nothing called but discussion was about the Canada events and ancillary plans for the 2017 Exmouth and Portsmouth events.
Some thoughts about 2018 plans as well...
Bright but with gradually increasing cloud today. The breeze was nominally from the SW but once again we had considerable variations in direction and wind speed, far from constant.
Mostly diamond LE and race/UL uprights.
Another quiet fly.We did decant the flight box, probably for the last time as we'll need to replace it!
Hoping to finalise arrangements for the remaining UK events soon...
Clear blue skies today with only an occasional small cloud... Wind supposedly from the NW but we were seeing 90 degree plus shifts in a typical Blackheath summer breeze.
Full sails with ultra light, race and diamond spars. Nothing called, just winding down from the last two weekends!
The annual race/stroll event was taking place today so we did not bring the broken kite box to re-distribute team kites. That will have to happen another day. Plenty of opportunity ahead of Exmouth, the next calendar event!
27/06/2017 After Saint-Honore and Swift Current, Canada
We arrived back in the UK today after a fairly intense 10 days travelling and kiting in Canada.
The first weekend was at Saint-Honore in Quebec. The site for this event is a live airport.Flying kites on or close to the third runway was a novel experience. The other two runways were in use all the time, mostly light aircraft but also military and firefighting craft.
There was some rain on the first day. The second day was mostly sunny and ended with one of the best Rev Night Flies that I have experienced. As the performance was ending the rain started and as the lights shut down with the kites landed there was an intense shower...
The final morning was mostly wet and towards the end of the drier afternoon a thunder storm approached.We packed kites and then witnessed the formation of a supercell storm with the characteristic cloud formations and final deluge.
We then had three days wandering around Montreal enjoying some of the 'cultural' facilities <grins>
The second weekend was at Swift Current in Saskatchewan. This event has a reputation for challenging wind conditions but we had two days of sunny conditions and fairly benign but changeable breezes. The gopher holes and their occupants were very much in evidence on the flying field.
We had hoped to be six fliers for both events and we succeeded in finding a volunteer at each one to make the number...
A residual cold front passed over Blackheath around midday with some unusual cloud formations. There was some hope, once we realized what was happening, that the blustery SW air stream would calm down. It did not happen!
We were on full vented mostly with race rods which were definitely overstressed in the gusts.At lighter moments we were able to keep the kites in the air without trouble.
All set, such as one can be, for the visits to Saint Honore and Swift Current... Watching the weather forecasts for both sites is a bit interesting at this stage!
Not so hot today but there was a mostly steady SW breeze so vented sails with race rods to cope with the lulls. Typical summer Blackheath wind shifts were in evidence and the swifts were occasionally out in force again.
Nothing called today but we were set to prepare the kites for the Canada trip. 30 kites were duly checked and boxed along with spare spars and the 'tent'. Excess sand was discarded as well...
I am now 2 clear months in to my new regime.It seems that the world at large is intent on upsetting my calm resolve but the absence of occupational stress has been significant!
Just need to get on that flight on the 15th June <grins>
The forecast was for 2mph switching from north to south or maybe the other way around at midday.Not a great prospect...
The net result was predictable, no wind!
The thick high cloud kept the temperature a reasonable c23c and the swifts were putting on a fine display with the very occasional (once today) head height pass.
The thundery depression moving up from the Bay of Biscay lost its bite soon after passing the Channel Islands and did not appear to be very intense when it reached the Portsmouth area c2:00pm.
We will hope for good flying the next two weekends ahead of the Canada trip <grins>
Another pre-11:00am start today. The wind was from the south but variable in the summer Blackheath way with thermal effect moving through, from very light to 'quite strong' and 90 degree direction shifts within a short, c2 minute, interval.
Mostly full sails with diamond LE and race uprights. One flier left diamond uprights in and lost one in a gust at the usual fail point...
Rowan opted for the mid vent and was able to use his rapidly expanding light wind skills and the extended handles to keep up with the rest of us...
A mostly called session today with Ashley refining the six flier thread to arcs and rotation with the 'long' get in.
Canada preparations are almost complete now!
Arrived just after 10:30am today as we had arranged to receive the team kites back from Cervia, courtesy Tom.
Bright and breezy from the west, 12-20 mph at a guess so we were on full vented sails with mostly race rods. Six up for a while as Damon had joined us again.
A mostly called session once we got going and even when we were down to four Ashley kept up the pace. We actually ran through one of the old prepared routines as well which seemed very short and un-demanding compared to some of the more recent efforts.
Four weeks now before the Canada trip. Just need to agree who is going to do the driving!
We were late arriving today c11:30am and found Maggie already flying with Damon and his brother Justin.
I had to switch back to a 120ft line-set so as the beach events for the year are done I rolled out a new set of lines.
We flew six for a while with Damon and Justin but as they had been on the Heath since 8:30am they did not stay for long!
Some lazy free flying followed but as the northerly breeze was on the cool side we wrapped at about 1:00pm.
02/05/2017 After Cervia
And then it was all over. Monday started with a light onshore breeze. All very encouraging.We went to lunch hoping for a classic Cervia afternoon.
What we got was a quickly increasing breeze which was probably a consistent 30 mph which simply closed the event...
We managed to get the kites and kit safely stowed without loss or accident but it was a close call...
We will hope to be back next year!
Suddenly it is Sunday and only one day left to fly...
The JMH Rokkaku flew well today!
The JMH Rokakku was OK on the light offshore breeze first thing today.We did not really attempt to fly the Revs in the stop/start conditions.
As with yesterday an early lunch coincided with the breeze switching to onshore! We did not get into the arena early enough after lunch but will try harder tomorrow!
The 2 meter JMH Roks had an airing during the afternoon but the yellow one was not settled.A bit more fine tuning is required.
The final arena performance saw Tom getting into the groove of team calling. A very satisfactory result for the end of the fourth day...
Another fine day in Cervia.The wind switched at about 12:15 at which point we had adjourned to 111 for an early lunch.
We were intent on taking the opportunity to get some time in the arena after the early lunch which we duly did. Team for Fun joined us soon after 2:00 pm so we were able to combine forces for a while before vacating the space for the formal events which start at 2:30pm.
I had the opportunity to see Trevor's portrait kite during the afternoon. Along with the other subjects I will be flying the kite at 4:00pm tomorrow.
The second day wind set in steadily from the SE again so there was a full Cervia sky.
Not much room in the arena but we did get six kites up in the morning around the JMH rokakku.
Arena slots at 5:30pm and then the night fly where once again the JMH rokakku was the right kite for the conditions...
An excellent first day here in Cervia. Good onshore breeze from the start of play this morning...
Got to pitch the 'tent' in the usual place and get warmed up before lunch at 111.
The afternoon fly was a good rehearsal prior to an arena presentation called by Tom just before 5:00pm.
A bright morning but while there was some sun, the NW breeze was not warm!
The Easter Circus occupied our usual patch so we were on the east side of the road on the slope down to the pond!
Nothing formal today, just re-arranging the kite bag post Berck and getting 100ft line sets out for Cervia.
It will be an early start on Thursday but it will be great to set up the 'tent' on the beach again...
10/04/2017 After Berck
Nine days at Berck was a real treat. We were not subjected to any severe wind or rain/snow and the event ended on a summery high note and an accompanying grid-lock on the roads out of town early Sunday evening.
The Mega Team performed very much in line with our expectations, a respectable 56 on Saturday 8th April putting in a polished performance over something like 25 minutes... Winds on the light side made for demanding flying at times.
We'll be going back next year, I'm sure, so I will be looking out for the dates in due course <grins>
Easterly breeze today, not quite as strong as last weekend so full vented with a mix of spars. The white 'race' type did feel a bit stressed, 4 wrap would have been better.
Free flying to begin and then a final called session as a warm up to the Berck event.
We did a shuffle of kites into an extra bag for 'logistical' considerations. A cabin on the beach is booked, we just need to make sure that we have enough chairs...
It will be interesting to see how many fliers do actually turn up for the mega fly 'rehearsals' this year...
A complete contrast this week with a strong westerly breeze.Xtra vents with four wrap were not too much effort except in the stronger gusts.
Final arrangements for Berck are in hand. We will be an eight person team for the whole week with three additional fliers for the last three days...
We will be travelling out on Friday 31st March, the last official day of my employment. It is going to be a strange moment!
The forecast for today was not good but the approaching front stalled during the morning so we did get to fly for a bit today.
Very little air movement as we walked onto the heath at about 10:30am. We decided to fly first and then check kit ahead of Berck.Full sails with diamond rods got us into the sky but little else.
The kit check revealed almost all was in order. Mostly green race leading edges in the vented kites. Diamond leading edges in the full sails with black race uprights. our wraps in the Xtra Vents...
We ended up with kite lines at all points of the compass and as the few first spots of rain arrived decided to call it a day. 3 hours later it is still raining, albeit, lightly...
Windy today, from the South so for the first time in a long time we were on Xtra Vents. Jade was on the line today so we have 'borrowed' from him the sixth kite from our set for Berck just in case we do not meet up in the meantime.
The details for Portsmouth came through today so that should be finalized in the next week or so pretty much wrapping up arrangements for 2017.
I will not be flying next weekend as I have to 'work' on tidying up a server room in the 'handover' to the outside contractor who will be looking after the company systems when I leave at the end of March. What fun!
The southbound A12 towards the Blackwall tunnel was slow and then closed as we were close to the final approach. We diverted to the Rotherhithe tunnel but probably lost ½ an hour in the process.
On the heath there was a reasonably steady westerly breeze so we were on 1.5 full vented with race rods or some mid vents... Where is that team set?
Much warmer than last weekend, probably double figures but still quite a bit of called flying today.
6 weeks to Berck.There should be 11 of us to contribute to the final weekend's mega fly effort!
It was a really gloomy day today with no distant horizons.
The breeze from the NW was however quite consistent and so we were on full 1.5 sails with mostly race rods...
It was 2-3 degrees Celsius and so in order to keep warm we did do a fair bit of called flying.Thoughts were of Berck, just 7 weeks away!
Just need to get the Canadian 'tour' wrapped up now.
It looked like the Heath would be in the clouds as we approached up the hill from the Blackwall Tunnel.
It was a Northerly breeze on site, with the fog/clouds barely lifted and only occasional change in the flat grey ceiling.
Mostly full vented 1.5s with race rods. There were some lighter spells but as it was mostly not called flying that was not an issue. Plenty of close interaction with just a few accidental touches and over wound lines. Some themes become apparent but it would be very difficult to write them into a routine.
Arriving back in Hackney the sun was just visible through the thick high cloud.
We had a critical escalation of the projected costings for the Canada trip but flights are now booked. I had better set up the 2017 events web page on the Decs site!
The forecast was for rain today but the timing was a bit uncertain. It was still quite bright in Hackney but on reaching the A12 there was light rain. This increased south of the river but there was brightness to the south and west.
Walking onto the field there was another short spell of rain but it looked like it was clearing. By the time we had run out the lines it was stopping.
A lightish southerly breeze so we had opted for mid vents with race frame. Nothing called but plenty of close interaction.
The bright sky to the south occasionally rendered the Greenwich Park trees an extraordinary colour against a slate black northerly cloudscape.
Raining again now back in Hackney...
Light wind from the SE was forecast today. It was misty/smoggy on the A12 and on arrival on Blackheath the ground was hard with frost even if it had melted on the sunny side.
3mph from the SE was just about happening to begin with but then there was a lull. We 'stood' around commenting how warm it felt 'in the sun' compared to when there was any air movement.
Rowan was keen to try 360's while in the lull but was suffering slightly from wet lines and kite as well as lack of experience.
The air movement then started from the north so we were then 'flying' straight into the sun. We were all on full 1.5 sails with diamond rods. Finally I decided to give the original Reflex a test flight in these very low wind conditions. It was interesting to find that there was a threshold effective wind speed for this design.Once above that the kite kicked in but below it the physical weight of the kite as felt seemed to have a negative impact. I will look forward to trying the 1.5 version.
On arriving home in Hackney we noticed a hissing sound from the front nearside tyre. A lucky escape fixed with a call to the AA... All done by 17:50 <grins>
I did not plan to venture out today as the forecast was quite clear that there would be no let-up in the rain all day. That proved to be the case.
My plan was to spend time on team matters for the 2017 events. Arrangements for Berck, Cervia, Saint-Honore and Swift Current needed to be finalized, fliers and transport schedules arranged, communicated and booked.
As always this is a 'stop-go' process relying on everyone responding in a timely manner. The one good thing is that I, for one, will no longer have to negotiate time off work as I will be leaving work on 31st March just in time for the Berck event. <grins>
We were expecting anticyclonic gloom but leaving Hackney on the A12 the sun broke through dramatically with Canary Wharf towers still submerged in the low cloud and mist.
Wet underfoot on the heath so getting started in the light breeze had its wet line moments. 2-4 mph so full sails with diamond rods.Rowan had been hoping for a light wind day and this was just about perfect.
We don't, by habit, go for shorter lines in light wind conditions.I have always enjoyed the long walk forwards from the top of the window. Sometimes the curve in the lines suggests that the kite is gliding rather than remaining under control.
Nothing really called today but we did do some close following without losing too much ground.
The weather window looked a bit close today but we did manage to have a gentle fly under a changing high cloud base grey sky. There was a shower on arriving and an occasional brightness from the sun.
It wasa light westerly breeze so full 1.5 sails with race, 2 wrap and diamond spars in the mix.
Traffic was noticeably light both ways today, no queue on the northern approach to the Blackwall Tunnel going home for a change. The expected rain had settled in by 1:30pm in Hackney. A dark afternoon...