The First NorthEaster.

Reprinted from NHGC newsletter Jan ’80.
(Note. Mike Pulford was famous for being a fair-weather flyer).

The brave flyers gathered, huddled closely together. The cold bleak wind whistled over the cliff top. The atmosphere was intense with excitement for this was no ordinary wind. It was a Nor’Easter – the first in a long long time.

The usual crowd were there. Greg, sober at last and weary from the floods of ’79. Derek Moore had made the journey, a few essential items packed tightly into the back of his Ford Transit. John sharp, ready for some unusual dual flying (2 kites, 1 pilot?), and Ray Watering stood silent complete with new chin strap and still recovering form the shock of Mike Lake actually ‘buying’ a glider. Will Reynolds stood holding his equipment in both hands (big boy is our Will). But nobody spoke, for there remained one deciding factor to determine whether this North Easter was to be flyable.

Mick Pulford it was who made the move. The rest watched in silence as he edged forward towards the cliff top. The cold wind stung his face his limbs, tired, having never fully recovered from the 3-day week. He stood motionless his eyes scanning the beach in search of the phantom flasher but, alas, there was no sign of him this week. Then slowly, ever so slowly he raised the slender instrument into the air stream allowing it to take the full force of this all to rare North East wind.
Gradually the beginnings of a smile forced itself over his tightly closed lips.
Some of the crowd sensed this and the excitement grew almost to bursting point. Mick Starling it was who finally broke and, with a voice full of anticipation he cried out, “what’s it doing Mick? … What’s it doing”?
The whole crowd held their breath. Mick Pulford, in true Clint Eastwood style, once again slowly and deliberately raised the instrument into the air stream.
One of the crowd could hold his breath no longer, and passed out, Pete Hammond fell asleep and another went home.
Mick finally put the instrument in his pocket. His smile broadened as he turned to the red-faced crowd for HE knew for HIM at least, today was a flying day.
“WHAT’S IT BLEEDIN’ WELL READ?” cried several angry impatient voices.
“39 degrees Fahrenheit!” said Mick, ducking as several helmets and bits of alloy tube whistled past his lughole and dropped silently onto the sand 200 feet below.

Mike Lake

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