Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hanging by a thread!

Second attempt... the last one was wiped out by one of our regular 10 second power cuts, that despite EDF spending 300,000 euros last year to upgrade our power supply. It was better before!

So, where was I...

Well, it's taken me a few days to get over the trauma of DS and DD's visit to the Indian Forest, one of those 'swinging through the trees' adventure parks with zip wires and rope swings and stuff. I do really quite enjoy them but after damaging my arm getting thrown off a horse last year, my days of being 'Jane of the Jungle' are sadly over. But that's where the Conquering Hero comes in.

By fortuitous chance, the dear boy was home this weekend and didn't baulk when I told him that he'd be taking the children. Sadly (for him at least) his interpretation of taking the children differed slightly to mine. He thought he was taking them in the car and then watching their aerial exploits proudly from ground level. I knew that he was actually going in the trees with them!

I did question his attire - silky shirt and sensible shoes - but then he doesn't own a pair of trainers or hiking boots, which were the footwear of choice of most of the men. He did, when we were courting, once turn up in a pair of trainers but I told him he looked ridiculous and to throw them away.

He was always a more debonair dresser and, in fact, once when he was working on an advert with Clive Anderson, the wardrobe lady asked what 'look' he wanted for it and he pointed to CH and said 'I want to look like him'. Sadly, age and a receding hairline have taken it's toll and with everything going south or maybe West, or maybe even East depending on which way he's facing, he now dresses for comfort rather than for aesthetic value.

Just getting there was difficult enough as we had our first summer guests arriving in the evening and the swimming pool resolutely refused to turn it's usual sparkly, clear colour so I had to indulge in a little bit of floculation (quiet at the back!) For those who don't have to do annual battle with swimming bloody pools, this involves dissolving some sort of hazardous chemical in a watering can (which you'll then forget about and use to water your plants resulting in premature death) and liberally sprinkle it on the surface. It then collects all the particles which are in suspension in the water, making it a bit cloudy, and it sinks to the bottom like grey cotton wool.

Fabulous! Then all you have to do is get the pool vac, hoover it all from the bottom and Bob's your Uncle, the pool is clear. Except it's not because every time you try to hoover it up, it floats off in the water, only to sink again in a grey, wooly mass just as you put the pool vac away. So, you get it out again and keep hoovering away, tempus fugits, it's already 15 minutes past the time you were supposed to rendez-vous with a friend in the village to go in convoy to Dordogneshire, where the Indian Forest is located, tempers are flaring, it's already well into the 20s, you've got a face like a well ripened radish. You get the picture.

Eventually you're ready to go, you get to the village 45 minutes late, friend has gone (never to show up at the Indian Forest or return your phone call later that evening) so you head off.

The Karate King has seriously underestimated how long it will take us to get there, failed to mention that a village en route will be closed for it's weekly market or to remind us that the French have this irritating habit of only signposting roads in one direction - usually the one you aren't going in so we end up in Sarlat, several miles north of where we should have turned off. Eventually we arrive well over an hour late but thanks to the joys of air conditioning, my face has now faded to a light, boiled saveloy pink.

CH looks at me curiously as he is put into a harness and given gloves and a carabiner. "I thought I was only watching" he says. "Did you my darling" I reply innocently. Now bearing in mind that, apart from blanching at adverts for sanitary items, he gets faint standing on a chair, his hesitancy to propel himself along cables 30 feet up in the air was understandable but he could hardly back out now, could he?

He takes his place with the children in the queue to do the Initiation which involves ensuring he knows how to attach himself safely to a zip wire, can make it across a steel cable 'bridge' and swing across a yawning gap on a rope swing all from a height of about 4 feet off the ground. By the end he was feeling quietly confident so I left him to go off on the 'Kid' course with DD, while I had a little rest in the shade and brought the picnic up from the car.

Big mistake, because I missed the drama of the day. Having successfully finished the 'Kid' course, he and DD set off on the next level up. All was going well until he came to another rope swing. It's a bit like a zip wire but you have to hang on to a rope which has a large knot to take your weight. Lack of suitable footwear meant he lost his grip halfway across and was left hanging in thin air. Unable to pull himself up, he was reduced, according to DD, to shouting for help in English with a French accent!! Oh, the humiliation... for me that is! I once got stuck on a zip wire and was absolutely determined that I wouldn't have to be rescued. I managed to pull myself hand over hand to the end, pulling just about every muscle in my body on the way. But men aren't made of such stern stuff and the CH now looking more Conquered than Conquering dangled on his ropes until a rescue plan was hatched.

It's probably just as well I missed it all as I'd have refused to let him be rescued and insist that he got himself out of trouble. I'd also have consulted the nearest divorce lawyer or better still just opted for the simplified Muslim version 'I divorce you' three times and had done with it. Whatever, I'll never be able to show my face in the Indian Forest again!

There was a ladder a few feet away from him but that was too easy so they tried to pull him back up onto the rope - a brave feat considering he's 6'4 and weighs, well, quite a bit. Eventually they opted for swinging him to the platform at the other end from whence he decided that enough was enough.

He came and found me, recounted his sorry tale ("Don't laugh, it wasn't funny") and threw down his harness in disgust. His short career as Tarzan is well and truly over.

I'm not one of those parents that stays on the ground egging my children on to certain death, in fact, I was quite certain that the day would be the last of their short but happy lives but we all made it to lunch without serious incident.

A good day was, eventually, had by all. It is, after all, one of the times when you can 'legally' dangle your children 30 feet in the air without fear of prosecution. And all in the name of entertainment!


Sierra said...

I like the photo of me, people keep saying I'm doing my Lara Croft impression on the right. You can't even tell my knees were shaking (I'm worse than Robert).

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Did you not film it at all woman? You could have got yourself 500 quid or so by sending it in to have you been framed!

Just imagine how your CH would have laughed at that one! Just imagine how his colleagues in the industry would have laughed too!

Fun post to read.

(Very) Lost in France said...

MOB - that's me, always in the wrong place at the right time! Mind you CH didn't see the funny side so it may have been the divorce courts for me. VLIF