A part of me did feel for him. But at 15-years-old, we could hardly leave him home alone or send him clubbing in Ibiza with a bunch of lads. Not quite yet.
To go some way towards compensation, I decided to organize a surprise for him for the last day of the holiday. A treat that would feed his sensation-seeking nature: a ride on the 490m long, 40 mph zip wire at Adrenalin Quarry.
As we took the turn off and drove up the steep, gravelly hill, he jerked out his earphones, jolted upright and stammered, “W-w-what you doing? I thought we were going back to the caravan.” He’d been looking forward to caving up in his cupboard of a bedroom and getting some non-family time, clearly.
The signs gave him all the clues he needed.
I turned to look at my 8-year-old daughter. My protective, motherly instincts kicked in hard, in the pit of my stomach, and every bone in my body screamed “Nooooo!” I couldn't possibly send this little dot of a thing out into that abyss. Alone. Far away from me. Into the distance. Connected to a wire by a small metal clip.
But I mustn’t project my fears onto her. “Of course you can. Great!" I said in the most confident voice I could muster. "I’m really impressed that you want to do it!”
“I put a 3-year-old down there yesterday,” said the girl at reception reassuringly, as if reading my mind. “And they loved it. No-one’s ever come back and said they didn’t’ like it!”
Come back? Yes, hang on a minute: Where exactly was I sending her? What was at the other end of the zip wire? Because you sure as hell couldn’t see it from here. “Oh, it’s just a five minute walk,” said the girl.
So my son and daughter stepped up to what looked hauntingly like the gallows. To the man – who with his hood up in the rain – looked hauntingly like the hangman.
And now they were ready to step forward to The Edge. They were going to travel side by side on parallel lines, which I took some comfort in. My son’s face was openly happy and nervous, in equal measures.
“North line, 75 kilo. South line, 25 kilo, barrel-assisted” said the man through the walkie-talkie to the person at the other end of the zip wire who was going to receive them, as if describing cargo rather than human life.
And they jumped.
“I think the rain kind of added to it,” said the Teenager. He was chatty and cheerful for at least half an hour.
Visit the website of Adrenalin Quarry here.
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