Who is this Jackcabnory......

London Cab Driver, part-time Singer, micro/macro blogger, runner and primary school teacher in the making.....

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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Challenge

“It’s 5 o’clock,” whispered Harry.  “Yes, I know.” Came the reply from the confused bus driver. Harry had fallen asleep on the N85 routemaster as it wended its way through town. He had been with friends for a party in The Ram, and had stumbled onto the night bus; Knowing there wasn’t much time left until the day.  The day when he would face his fears and abseil down the largest building in London. The Shard.  Couldn’t they have called it something a little less dramatic he thought? He had enough on his mind, without worrying that the hand stitched climbing rope might somehow be affected by the cutting name of the building.  

It stood 900 ft on the south side of the river. Pointing skyward, with gleaming glass windows. Hardly the best surface for walking down.  Harry was to be among the first group of people to participate in this charitable exercise, scaring himself witless in order to raise £600 for Cancer Research.

 Today was the first time he had allowed himself to get worked up about what lay ahead.  Up until now his focus had been the great cause, how much it meant to him and the value of the work the charity does.  His mother had died of throat cancer 3 years ago, and he knew how vital research was in conquering this disease.

The training had been very thorough.  Starting in a classroom, where all the safety measures were explained, he was shown the equipment that would be used; and the techniques, from the experts, that would ensure safe descent.

When the day arrived, he looked out and was pleased the weather forecasters had got it so wrong.  Blue skies and a very light breeze were different to the rain and gale force winds expected. As the train pulled into the station, he could see it.  Towering so high that, as so often happens with tall buildings, he felt like he was falling backwards when he raised his eyes to the very pinnacle.

A final pep talk was given by the instructors and a handshake, wave and hugs from friends and family who had gathered to witness proceedings.

The journey up 80 floors was made via two separate lifts.  The first from ground to 44, then a second for the final 36.  The feeling was indescribable.  Harry exited the lift. It was time to secure his harness and prepare for lift off! Or more appropriately, let down.  The wind was much stronger at this height, Harry felt extremely cautious as he was lowered into the desired position for descent, roughly 90 degrees out from the glass façade.  

The first few tentative steps seemed to last an eternity, but probably lasted only seconds. He kept listening to the instructors talking him through the ordeal and before he knew it was within feet of the pavement; “Come on fella,” came a cheer from the crowd, “nearly there.”

And then, touch down! He’d done it.  He hugged his dad and brothers, hoping that somewhere his mum was doing a jig in happy celebration of his achievement.

Next time, he thought, I’ll do sponsored silence.

1 comment:

nanacass said...

What a lovely story - well done Lee xxx