The long awaited 13th birthday arrived on Friday and I duly strung up all the bunting. The sixty felt flags I made into 5 sets of bunting and also had 4 sets of borrowed bunting. So with nine sets of bunting available it was very festive. In case of rain cancelling outdoor eating I put some bunting in the house where it twinkled in the light despite the lack of wind, The remainder has been outside all weekend. It was a quiet family party on Friday where our daughter opened presents and marvelled at the generosity of family, friends and even complete strangers – what a lucky girl. It was also the first time since last October that she’s got out of bed and dressed so quickly!
Saturday dawned fine and clear – party day. We’d asked her friends to bring a packed lunch for our excursion to become baboons and gorillas. After a very tedious journey we arrived at Go Ape in Rivington. It was a quick lunch not least because the temperature had fallen and we were all cold. Our mission for the afternoon was to traverse a course in the tree tops by ropes, tarzan swings and zip wires. Preferably with no loss of life or limb.We climbed into our harnesses or safety pants as the instructor called them, received our instructions and were let loose.
Ready for the off.
Birthday girl, cool and calm at thirty feet.
We were reliably informed that if you could climb a rope ladder you could complete the course. Not an activity I could check at home and I was worried that with my arthritic neck I wouldn’t cope. The first ladder was a struggle but I managed it. I really, really didn’t want to do the tarzan swing and would have given up but the four children had already done it so what choice did I have. I bravely (of course) stepped off and duly crashed into the cargo net. It was at this point that my problems began. Rope ladder the most difficult – hah! Movement left and right was okay but with my dodgy neck there was no way I could haul myself up the cargo net and onto the next tree platform. I sought help (shouted in pain) and was rescued by a man with a rope who instructed me to attach it to my safety pants and then proceeded to haul me up like a sack of potatoes. The saving grace was that the girls hadn’t hung around to see my ignoble rescue and I was free to continue the course. Not that I had any choice the only option was onwards!
At my next step into mid air I discovered it was possible without major upset to my nerves if I simply turned around and stepped off backwards, which is what I proceeded to do at every zip wire. I have to say that once you’ve let go and realised you’re not going to die then it’s great fun and you can get good views as you rush by with a whoo hoo. And the girls? Need you ask! Not a complaint or refusal amongst them. They took even the more difficult obstacles in their stride, had great fun and were a credit to their parents and themselves (unlike some children on the course). Without exception they did the big tarzan swing at the end which had a long drop before you then crashed into a cargo net. Me? No of course I didn’t do it. I was the only one of the party to take the optional chicken run but at least i didn’t then have to be hauled out of trouble. A brilliant excursion and now time for home, pizza and cake.
It was already dark when we arrived home, very still and cold under a cloudless sky. Without a breeze to flutter the flags they didn’t do as much sparkling as I’d hope but they did look lovely and it was magical with all the candles out there.
The girls huddled under blankets with pizza and mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails to us older ones) and pretended to be more grown up and not cold, but I could see them shivering! The cake was made with love but not much skill and was declared awesome before being devoured (sorry no pics). They finished the night in a tent on the lawn where they didn’t go to sleep before 1am and were awoken by a cold frosty morning far too early. Why do they call them sleepovers? Not much sleeping happens that I can detect. A successful birthday all round.
Our thanks to those of you who gave time and flags to help me achieve the target of sixty flags on my felt bunting. I heard my daughter proudly explaining to her friends how many countries the flags had come from and pointing out each contribution for you all. It’s time to take them down now but they will be back.