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Fictitious Birds Made Of Paper: Streatham Common Kite Day

I must echo the words of Dr Samuel Johnson, a frequent visitor to Streatham, who once said: ‘I am a great friend of public amusements, they keep people from vice’.

I don’t know whether Dr Johnson ever attempted to fly a kite. He defines a kite in his dictionary as ‘a fictitious bird made of paper’. If he did ever try kiting, I’m sure he’d be very impressed by Streatham Common Kite Day. It’s a public amusement and vice-free. And if that’s not enough to enthuse a weary lexicographer, there’s a bouncy castle and face-painting. Dr Johnson would have a whale of a time.

I’m looking forward to the simple fun of Streatham Common Kite Day on 10 April. Not because I’m a proficient kite flyer – most of my attempts have been, as Dr Johnson might say, tragick. But I love the multi-coloured spectacle of hundreds of kites flying high above the broad green expanse of the Common.

I like the camaraderie of the event, where dedicated kiteologists show feats of airborne skill alongside people who come along determined to get their kites off the ground for more than five seconds. I also like the fact that Kite Day is organised by the community for the community, and attracts people from far and wide. It’s a proud expression of Streatham at its best.

And I’m doubly proud because it happens in my ward! To misquote Judy Garland’s closing line in Meet Me in St Louis, ‘I can’t believe it. Right here where we live. Right here in St. Reatham’.

Anyway, put some time aside on 10 April to visit Streatham Common. Buy, borrow or make a kite and bring it with you. Here is a video I made of last year’s Kite Day.

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