As the April sunshine blazed and the days grew drier, the boisterous north east trade winds swept in from the restless Atlantic and our schools closed with a sigh in a tired haze of dust. With growing excitement we would soon dash down the hot roads dodging stony potholes, sweating and chatting, to crowd the nearest shop and stare in admiration at the neat stacks of thin, delicate paper, layered in vivid translucent tones and tints along the worn, wooden counters.
Caressing the silky smoothness, while we considered our choice of concentrated colours and satiny textures, we were always careful to first dry our hands on our clothes and not to crease any of the fragile pieces or we would be charged extra from our precious, limited budget by the eagle-eyed shopkeeper.
The crinkling of plain parchment characterised by its slight, sharp smell of oil, the rustling of the feather light tissue sheets that stained in a flash, the faint flutter of the finished finery fastened overhead, and the close consultations in the shimmering heat with its floating pinpoints of particles, conveyed that it was once more serious time for our annual kite-making rituals. Thick, sturdy and opaque, the more expensive Barbados blend with its shiny one-side finish was reserved for the highlights such as the angles of the star point “tips” outline design that we favoured.…to continue reading this article, please subscribe. Already a subscriber ? Sign In.