stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

High jinks

Hopefully not "high jinx" as we were abseilling down the 70ft Hardy Monument for The Anthony Nolan Trust.

A friend's year old granddaughter has a genetic condition, but a bone marrow transplant has transformed her future life. I found I was too old to donate bone marrow so thought at least I could help by doing a sponsored challenge - accompanied by the LLF, youngest daughter and my biker-chic friend (the same age as me!)

It was a dank and misty morning, and as we drove up the hills to the monument. It was blowing a gale - literally. We peered upward through the swirling fog to watch the brave souls who had already had their safety briefing and five minute training.

A group of stalwart friends from the meditation group had come along with cameras to support us and were shivering in the wind. But as we were harnessed up and donned helmets, miraculously the cloud lifted and the sun shone.

I am a bellringer and so I am used to climbing up seemingly never-ending spiral stone steps in towers. But my legs were shaking at the top! All the group, one by one, were attached to the safety line and talked into lowering themselves over the edge, over the overhang and down.
I was left till last, alone. I looked at the wonderful view of Dorset,spread out around. The fields were glowing golden with stubble left after the wheat harvest. The hills were soft and green. Towards the sea there was still a load of rolling fog. " Gosh, what a view. To get such a great vista this tower must be really hiiiiiiiiggggghhhhh....." Dont even think about it! Up until that point I had been cool as a cucumber. And there was my youngest daughter, smiling as she went down!

So I sat there, and mindfulness training kicked in. Just be in the present moment. Here and Now. Humming quietly the sweet little song "breathing in, breathing out, I am blooming like a flower, I am fresh as the dew....."

Off I went. Other people had been swinging about in the gale, but I was confident my weight would be in my favour! There was a nasty moment when I had committed to leaning out horizontally and realised my rope was in the wrong place. So the guy at the top said "you had better grab hold of the top ledge again, and sort your legs out" Aaaaagghhh, that meant for a split second my hands were not attached to anything and I was aware of the amount of air beneath me. But it was OK. Only once did the wind threaten to swing me round the the next face of the octagonal tower, so I slowed and tiptoed back parallel to the face again - twice.

At the bottom I was greeted with cheers from the rest of the group, and the LLF said she felt the need of a strong brandy. I must say that my adrenalin levels had shot up somehow too. Strangely enough, the fog then closed in again!

The LLF and youngest daughter and I repaired to our local pub, and felt we had all done very well. We had raised over £700 and the LLF had done most of that - sterling work! And the sun had come out again, so we went for a lovely long walk - on terra firma!

What a way to spend your 39th wedding anniversary! And yes, the first photo really is me.


At 6:42 am, Blogger Jade said...

Wow!!! Val!! you are very brave and have made a fantastic contribution to The Anthony Nolan Trust.

Very very impressive.

Congratulations on your wedding anniversary too! that is quite some achievment also!!!

At 10:07 pm, Blogger kerrdelune said...

Wow, I did this years ago but haven't tried it in a very long time - hats off to you and kudos too for the contribution to the Anthony Nolan Trust and this lovely post and photos.

At 11:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic achievement Val both for yourself and also for the Anthony Nolan Trust.
Thank you so much for generating funds for a trust which helped to save my grandaughters life.
It can happen to any of us and without the genetic research that is needed many children and adults who are living today would be in memory only now.
love Golder
Well done!

At 11:14 am, Blogger Tanya said...

Congratulations - what an adventure! And well done on raising all that money too. So inspiring.


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