My favourite childhood toy – Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine
This is not exactly a childhood toy but we males never really grow up, do we?
The drawing shows a kite, built by a friend and I in 1972. We were interested in the possibility of taking aerial photographs so, with lots of help from Margaret, who sewed the fabric, this 5 foot monster was constructed. The main problem was how to activate the camera’s shutter but my friend came up with the idea of tensioning a spring next to the camera’s trigger, holding it, in tension, with a length of folded paper soaked in flammable liquid then inserting a slow burning fuse next to the paper. The kite was then launched and eventually the fuse would cause the paper to burn quickly releasing the spring and taking the photograph. We would be able to see the bright “flash” from the ground so we could haul the kite in for another go. This worked well for some weeks and folks used to gather in Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park, next to the Botanic Gardens, to watch the fun. Our experiment came to an abrupt end when the thing went on fire and the burning wreckage crashed into the park’s rose gardens. We were asked to go away.
There are two photos included with this ramble. This one shows an actual shot from the kite
and this one is a “Google Earth” shot of the same area.