The Kite Man

Entranced, enthralled, mesmerised … some of the responses to this video. Here, Ray Bethell is flying 3 kites at once and making them perform a beautiful ballet to the music of  the Flower Duet from Lakme (Delibes).

Have you ever flown a kite? I have, and it isn’t as easy as it looks. My father enjoyed kite-flying. When I was small he made me kites out of balsa wood and coloured paper, with a long paper tail; he also made them for my daughter and granddaughter, by which time he was in his late seventies.

He was limping slightly when he and his great-granddaughter returned from their outing, and to his chagrin she let slip that he had fallen down while running down the hillside to get the kite airborne. The old, old story of still being ten years old inside, no matter what age your body may be.

Ray Bethell is in his eighties, and is the world champion in multiple kite flying. Three kites at once is nothing to him: he has even managed to fly 39 at once, holding 13 in each hand and another 13 attached to his waist. I have no idea how he controls so many, but having seen these videos, I have no doubt that he does it magnificently.

Who is this man? From the Internet, I gathered that he is a retired gynaecologist, and has been kite-flying since 1980. Also he is totally deaf. But it was his gentle wisdom that most impressed me when I eventually got around to watching this interview. Long may he continue to do what he loves doing. And long may he make his kites dance.


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