Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Reaching new heights

Okay, so after my last monthly challenge in June I was left flying high and, interestingly enough, in August my challenge was high flying.

(By the way, my July challenge was to be glass walking - yes, walking on a bed of broken glass - but unfortunately it fell through so hopefully it will happen at a later date).

August is festival time in Edinburgh. A time for fun, a time for music and laughter, a time for national pride as the sun streams over our beautiful city and bathes the castle and gardens in a bright, uplifting light.

My friend has come to the rescue this month. Our challenge is to have breakfast 100 feet in the air on a platform held up by a crane overlooking the city.

Now, I'm not overly keen on heights. Glass lifts are not my thing, and standing on a clifftop invariably gives me a tingle in sensitive places and a temporary urge to jump off just to see what it would be like. I can't for the life of me understand the urge to throw oneself off a tall bridge with nothing more than a piece of elastic between me and the ground, and, as a former air hostess, jumping out of a plane voluntarily goes completely against my safety training.

So to be strapped into a seat (albeit a very comfy one) and hoisted one hundred feet in the air for breakfast gives a new meaning to a 'room with a view'.

Anyway, we arrived in plenty of time and joined the other twenty people who would be flying with us. The staff treated it as a proper flight, talking of boarding gates, departure times and take off. Normally I would be completely at home with these terms, except that I was standing in the shadow of a bloody great yellow crane with a cheerful driver giving us the thumbs up as we received our safety briefing.

We were led through the departure gate and one by one we climbed into our big black bucket seats and were strapped in. Straps over the shoulders, around the waist and through the legs. Even Houdini would have thought twice about this lot.

Or so I thought, until it occurred to me that underneath me was a small metal plate to rest my feet on and a whole lot of nothing else. Our chairs were literally sitting out from the table so that we would be suspended in thin air once we reached cruising level.

The countdown was made. The thumbs up given to the crane driver. And we were off. Rising slowly and steadily, over the treetops, over the church spires, getting nearer and nearer to the castle. At 100 feet, we came to a gentle stop and the staff served us breakfast from their floored rectangle in the middle of the table. While we ate, the guide told us some amusing stories from Edinburgh's rich history and pointed out the local landmarks, nonchalantly informing us that our seats could swivel if we were brave enough to give it a go.

I looked down, heart in mouth, took a deep breath and swivelled. I was aware of hanging in space, feet dangling, as the crane slowly rotated the table so we could see the views.

And suddenly I was aware of the peace and quiet. Of the birds singing. Of the rich red colours on the tops of the trees that weren't visible from the ground. Of the beautifully crafted facades on the buildings along Princes Street that you don't see when you are focused on heading for Boots or Debenhams.

The height meant nothing. But the thirty minutes we spent suspended above our majestic city was a wonderful reminder of how lucky we are to live here.

And I didn't feel like jumping off once! 

1 comment:

Sharon McPherson said...

Hey well done Susan!!! Hell of an experience huh? And the food?? Tasty?