On a bright day recently, Julie and me decided to go for a little drive. Sunglasses on, Madness on the CD player, we headed off westwards along the A27. This route takes you right into the heart of the [newly declared] South Downs National Park, which features lots of old river valleys, broad and shallow. It's a nice place to be, and very popular with walkers, hikers and other people that don't mind getting rained on.
Since it's chalk downland, people in the past felt the need to make their mark on the landscape. Like the White Horse at Uffington, these marks are large and tended to on a regular basis. The Sussex Downs has two such things in our area. A solid horse on a hill near Alfriston, and the rather more famous Long Man of Wilmington.
As we were driving past the Long Man on this occasion, I noticed what I can only describe as a flock of paragliders circling over the hillside.
For those not in the know, paragliding is rather similar to hang gliding, except that when you throw yourself off the hill/cliff/whatever, your means of support is a lot less sturdy. It doesn't help that you have to have someone make the run-up with you, holding the parachute - in pretty much the same way someone would help you to get a kite up in the air.
For all my snide comments above, I have to admit that they did look especially graceful when they were up in the air and drifting about.
Julie, on the other hand, is nowhere near as enamoured with the paragliding idea.