We had another busy weekend here, in fact, my diary for the rest of the year is actually quite frightening on the weekend front. This last week has seen my 7 year old son becoming a Lodge Leader and facing fears in London. It’s all go.
I’m not a great one for heights, I can go to the tops of towers, castles and most things if I’m encased by stone or steel. You’ve got more chance of me scuba diving than you have of me ever doing a Go Ape style activity. It would scare the life out of me. With my issues with water too, I can totally understand someone having fears, and my son has been particular risk averse over the years. It’s only really been in the last year that he’s started exploring play grounds further than the swings. He still can’t be persuaded that he might actually enjoy the zip wire, but slides are now a big hit.
Thankfully he doesn’t share quite the same level of fear for the water that I’ve grown up with, but he’s still a bit picky about what sort of boat he will venture out on. Over the last few years I’ve seen him overcome a fear of the unknown, when it’s come to climbing towers in castles and exploring ruins. Whereas at one point he would point-blank refuse to climb anything that looks remotely different from our staircase, he’s been enjoying finding out what treasures old buildings and ruins can hold. It’s been lovely to watch this change over the last couple of years, especially as I love castles rather a lot.
We share a love of a particular bridge in London, and have spent many a visit admiring Tower Bridge. It’s the one bridge I have been fascinated with since childhood and my son certainly seems to feel the same about it. When he was a lot smaller we were invited to an event inside the bridge which was very exciting, especially as we got to see the bridge being raised. But we’ve never been able to persuade him to go on the Tower Bridge Experience. Daddy P and I have wanted to walk across the high level walkways for a long time. But my son could not be persuaded.
Well all that was to change on Sunday. We were down in London for a review trip to the Tower of London and had had a really full day there exploring all the castle has to offer. Chiltern Railways run a 2 for 1 offer for a number of attractions in London and I’d spotted that the Tower Bridge Experience was one of them. It seemed silly not to make use of the offer when we were literally standing next to the bridge. What do you think Monkey? Ok, yes, I’d like to go inside.
I knew he’d enjoy the engineering side of the experience and he’s also so much better at watching short informative films these days. But how would he cope with the walkways? He was fine for the most part. They are done in such a way that you don’t really know you are so high up until you reach the glass floor sections on both walkways.
I’ve stood on something similar at the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth years ago, so it didn’t worry me at all, but my son needed some encouragement to give it a go.
He was very unsure to start with and held on to my hand with a vice like grip, but he did it. We were so focussed on helping him face his fear that neither of us had noticed a member of staff keeping a watchful eye on his progress. When we reached the end of the glass section, Monkey got a sticker for his bravery, which went down very well.
By the time we walked down the second walkway he was a total pro, and even let go of my hand.
It’s quite an unusual feeling to look down and see traffic both on road and water going past beneath your feet.
Then you look up and there’s a mirror on the ceiling, which makes the experience even more surreal. Lots of people were actually sitting down on the glass, but that was a step to far for my intrepid explorer, but he was quite happily walking backwards and forwards across the glass and looking down at the world going by. It was another step forward on his confidence journey, and lovely to watch.
We were really impressed with the exhibition and I’ll be writing it up for a future post seen.
We’d had a pretty rubbish day here on Monday, after such a wonderful weekend. The demise of Monarch Airlines in the early hours had thrown our trip to Portugal next year up in the air, and I’m left hoping that my credit card company will honour a refund. Time will tell. Brewster was limping and clearly there was something wrong with his right foreleg and a trip to the vet was in order. He’s got a poorly paw and will be indoors on medication for a few days. By dinner time I was really in need of some good news.
My son headed off to Beavers and the smile that waited for me when I picked him up at 7pm was just wonderful to see. The four eldest Beavers, including Monkey, were made Lodge Leaders and they even got a badge to prove it. He spent the whole walk home telling me how lucky he was, as the badge has only recently been introduced and he’s one of the first Beavers to have one.
One very happy boy. I’m hoping that this role will also help to boost his confidence levels in the months ahead. Becoming a Lodge Leader and facing fears has started the week of well for this little chap.