Thursday, 5 July 2012

Climbing with my grandchildren

June has gone and now we are into July, as I write its one week and a day to my 100km in 30 hours South Downs walk with Steve, Ash and Paul. I think I can do it, but its going to hurt! Next week is 'Carb Loading' week to get as much energy as possible, with as much rest as possible. Am I ready? I don't know, but I hope so! A final walk on Saturday with all of us and a planning meeting to make sure we all know what we are doing is all that remains. I'm happy to say the Jo Goodson has agreed to help Jackie in the support crew, along with Andrea (Ash's wife) and her brother in the other car. What a great team we've got - we HAVE to do it!

On the last day of June (last Saturday) my daughter Fiona came over with my three granchildren, Abbie, Becky and Jenny. We had a fabulous day, starting with spaghetti bolognese, followed by apple and raspberry crumble and custard, cooked by Jackie and myself at our house. We then caught the train into Birmingham from our local railway station at Alvechurch. Abbie thought our out of the way little station was really quaint and didn't believe stations like this really existed. They were even more excited to learn that a public footpath crossed the line, meaning they are allowed to walk on the tracks! They didn't need telling twice:
Off we went to Redpoint climbing centre in the city, walking about 1.5miles across the city along roads and the canal to the climbing wall (there's a little story about the canal I need to tell, but more of that later). Fiona didn't have a go, but all three girls got really involved and did spectacularly well.

Abbie, after a bit of a shaky start, really got the hang of it and climbed firstly a 3+, then a 4, then a 4+ and finally, really wanting to push herself, managed a grade 5, completely clean! It was a really balancy climb on a slab, meaning she needed to get her weight just right, getting her hip over her stepping foot and stand up straight using her hands for balance. She did it very well and she loved it!
Here's Abbie on one of her first climbs
Enjoying the abseil back down
Thats a long way up there!

A bit of a 'helping hand' to get started on the stalactite!
Becky also did really well and got to the top of some really difficult climbs. At the end she was virtually unable to use her hands, but she also really loved it!
Becky near the top of one of her climbs
Little Jenny doesn't say a lot, but she really gets on with it. She tried and tried to get to the top unaided and finally did by the end of the session. Well done to her!
Here's Jenny on one of her first climbs. 
Jenny under instruction from Jackie






After the climbing wall closed at 6.00pm we walked back into the centre of Birmingham to watch the Olympic Torch relay come through the city. I'm sure many people got better pictures than me, but at least I got something:
Don't know who he is, but he gave it to Cliff Richard further down the road
Here we are patiently waiting!
On the way we walked back along the canal and a little gosling took a liking to Jenny, paddling along beside her, with mum and dad close behind:
Abbie with a 'singing in the rain' moment

































Now, a little bit more about the 'canal story'. This happened a couple of weeks ago and involved me cycling into Birmingham to collect Jackies car after servicing at Bristol Street Motors. I intended to then pick her up and go climbing at Redpoint. I decided to go on my old mountain bike, put it in the boot of the car and go on to pick Jackie up. I decide to go along the canal, which is an actual cycle path into the city.

All went well and I was making good time after managing to get past the many walkers and geese on the towpath. What I hadn't reckoned on was the puddles on the towpath after recent rain, as I went through them it splashed mud up onto my clothes, something I didn't want! The solution was to veer off the towpath on the other side to the canal, returning to the towpath after I'd passed the puddle.

This was working well, until I came to a full width puddle. No problem, I could see people had gone over a small kerb and onto some drier mud at the side, so I did the same. Unfortunately as I returned to the towpath, my front wheel came over the kerb OK, but I was at too shallow an angle, meaning my rear wheel stayed the other side of the kerb causing me to lose balance.

Because of my relatively fast speed, things happened pretty quickly and the bike and I parted company. My velocity meant that I didn't hit the towpath, but was catapulted straight into the canal with my bike rapidly following. It was a total dunking! Needless to say, I wasn't in there long and got out pretty quick, retrieving my bike by grabbing at the tiny bit of wheel still showing above the surface of the water.

A quick scan round revealed the a couple of passing narrowboats had seen the whole thing - damn! They were very good, asking if I was OK, but I bet they had a good laugh afterwards!

What do I do now, I grabbed my phone out of my pocket to see it die, looked at my wallet to find the money not too wet, what else, the electronic car key! Well, that seemed OK. So I can't ring Jackie, I'm 90% of the way there and I don't want to go back past all the people I've overtaken dripping wet. It had to be to carry on, so I did, on to Bristol Street Motors to pick up the car.

On arrival I first went into the loos to wash my hands and then presented myself at the desk. Nothing was said, but when he asked in a casual way how I was, I just had to tell him, it was obvious after all! He was also very good and gave me a plastic cover to put on the car seat so as not to get it wet. I'm sure he didn't laugh after I'd left!

Now on to Jackie. Yes, I was late and she opened the door wanting to know exactly what was wrong with my phone. It didn't last long until she was laughing!

Needless to say, we didn't go onto the climbing wall, but returned home so I could shower and wash everything.

Ah well, we've all done silly things!




1 comment:

  1. Oh Brian, you poor poor thing! You must have been sooooo smelly! (and wet, bruised and embarrassed!!!).
    I cannot believe jackie laughed at you (or can I???).
    Take care.... you have a bit of a walk next weekend. Will be thinking of you. xxxx

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