The cheery chappie on the reception desk at “Clip and Climb” asked me cheekily if I would be “giving it a go” myself. I replied that I had given it some consideration but decided not, on this occasion
- which was, of course, a thumping great fib. There was no way I would have trusted myself and my rickety joints to clamber up even the easiest of the climbing walls on offer.
I do like the fact that “Clip and Climb” does what it says on the tin. Climbers choose a wall, out of the many on offer, raise one arm in the air to attract the attention of the “clippers”who then clip a safety rope onto the
harness they were fitted with during their pre-session briefing and let them get on with the climb. Once they have either (i) reached the top and rung a bell to indicate success; or (ii) decided to try an easier / harder / more colourful climb, they raise
an arm at the bottom of the wall to indicate that they need to be unclipped. What could be simpler? We are not talking about the actual climb, I mean.
I was there
to watch the Rascally Trio on their very first visit to “Clip and Climb”. Their father (“Rules Is Rules”) was also signed in to climb the walls. He protested a bit about being the only adult in this particular session but it was easy
to see that he protested too much. He couldn’t wait to throw himself into every challenge, egged on by the staff who were keen to encourage him to add extra difficulty into each climb. The Middle of the Darling Daughters was invited to join in as an
additional clipper, but said she had to look after her dear old mum. Also known as Yours Truly. Apart from anything else, she was keen to photograph the happy scene.
Due to the requirements to be Covid Secure, two of the challenges were closed. One of these was the Leap of Faith, which requires the climber to hurl him or herself off the top of a tower in a bid to grab a distant trapeze. I well remember taking my
(Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys to “Clip and Climb” a couple of years ago when Sam the Brave was the first in the queue to tackle the Leap of Faith. The fact that grown men paled at the prospect of leaping into the unknown delighted my grandson.
There were, nevertheless, lots of climbing walls to keep the Trio and their father well occupied and their mother busy with the camera on her mobile phone. My favourite of
many special moments was watching Faris the Rascal and his dad competing on two facing transparent walls to see who could reach the top first. Nobody was prouder than Rules is Rules when his young son beat him to the top.
Meanwhile the Middle of the Darling Daughters was doing her best from the sidelines to dissuade Lilia (younger of the twins by one important minute) from trying to negotiate a series of green columns,
leading upwards almost to the roof of the building. Lilia’s little legs, she pointed out, simply weren’t long enough to stretch from column to column. We might have guessed that this sensible maternal warning made Contrary Lil even more determined
to tackle the challenge; in a scene reminiscent of The Incredibles, our very own Elastigirl somehow managed to move her way from column to column, only the three highest columns proving beyond her oh, so stretchy legs.
After all that hard work, the family set off for a few hours at the nearby seaside while I returned to Mr B to spin him a tall tale about my morning out and to check the contents of the freezer to
make sure I had sufficient quantities of fish fingers and chips to feed the Trio when they called in at ours before the journey home.
When they did arrive, all
sun-kissed and happy, I came into a certain amount of criticism from Faris the Rascal over the fact that the cherry stone planted on his last visit had failed to sprout. In fact none of the Trio’s cherry stones had done what was expected of them but
small, indeterminate weeds had taken root in each of the Twins’ flower pots, leading them to crow with delight that their cherry trees are growing. There are times when I wish the Rascally Trio didn’t have such amazingly retentive memories...
A meal of fish fingers and chips was followed by several Potato and Spoon races, with Mr B (aka Grandad) acting as the starter. Plus, of course, the Watering of the Garden
which is the Trio’s favourite occupation in our back garden. I’m not sure it’s the welfare of the plants which concerns them - or the lure of the water butt.
Seated in the back of the car, ready for the journey home, their thoughts turn to - guess what, Christmas! It seems they are already planning ahead on my involvement.
Please tell me, it’s still a few months till Christmas isn’t it? I don’t need to be climbing the walls already.....