It's a perfect morning, here in Combarro. Not a breath of wind, slightly hazy blue skies and the sound of the town coming awake. I watched as Cedric the Swan decided to get air born. Now, as every aviator (even retired ones) know, hot slightly sticky days with no wind equals a longer take-off run. Well, young Ced (must be young because there are no old & bold aviators) didn't appear to be taking this into account. He got into ground effect after about 200 metres, a stirring sight,. wings beating hard & rhythmically, neck stretched determinedly out ~ you could almost see the determination written on his face.
Anyway, into ground effect, then nothing. By now closing rapidly on the beach he started a gentle right turn, around the boat in a wide, majestic sweep, slowly gaining altitude. Completing the turn he seemed to have some difficulty maintaining height and there was a marked increase in BPM (wing beats per minute). This was obviously an effort as he appeared not to notice he was rapidly approaching the harbour wall, about half-way up it. From my perspective, right in line with him & the wall, I could see that this was not going to turn out well, a bit like trying to coax a Trislander off Alderney on a hot day with a full load. In a Trislander the front wheel would hit the grass then the island would drop away, in young Ced's case hitting the wall would not be of any apparent effort.
S-l-o-w-l-y he labouriously gained height, now level with the upper third of the wall. At pretty much the last minute there was a violent left turn, the 'g' forces on the neck must have been painful, the increase in drag overcame the wing power and he descended back into ground effect and skirted round the harbour wall and out of sight. As I turned to refill my cup of tea I'm sure I heard a faint swan-type call of 'bollocks'.