The track looks "odd", because it was odd: driven by the fact that the clouds developed quite quickly, then spread out and took quite a while to fizzle away, and didn't move much - due to zilch wind; that, plus patches of top cover meant there were large areas of ground in shade for really long periods - so although I intended to do a triangle, I had to navigate a torturous path, hoping to string together the next two or three sunny bits I thought I could reach with half a glide. The final Southward return leg from Liss turned a bit silly - I thought my (sunny-patch) luck had run out, as it was clagged out all the way home, but it was the lifitiest bit of the flight, I was either on full bar or doing a series of short spirals (5-6 times) to keep under the 4,500 ceiling.
I am very grateful for some outside assistance, too:
The first was the ever-helpful Keiron Doick, who scientifically timed the thermal gusts and lulls, as there was zero meteo wind on the hill. We decided it was in regular 10 min cycles, and the previous 2 had had birds climb out nicely beyond the tree line. So after the 4th abrupt lull, I counted 4 more minutes, and then popped off into the void (nil wind), connecting almost immediately with very scrappy, moderately buoyant lift; 2-3 mins later I was able to push out into a building line of lift - so 10 mins it was and the theory worked a treat!
The second was also early on, when a white-winged microlight approached me within ≈1km, waggled his wings when head on, then turned away to the West and proceded to thermal upwards for a couple of turns with remarkably low airspeed - curious, thinks I… Then it dawned on me, it might just be Jan Henslow marking a thermal for me - which is exactly who & what it proved to be. I headed over, he pulled out of the climb and I shouted, waved and blew kisses as he gave me a fly by once I was established in the climb.
Greater love hath no pilot than this, than he lay down his own flight for his friend's.
No retrieve needed, I could get used to these Toblerones: )