It’s a busy few weeks for me at the moment.
A day out at Windermere – perfect!
Brockhole at Windermere is only an hour from where we live, and has a great adventure playground, as well as loads of space for Flea to run around, and lovely picnic areas.
We took Flea’s Dad with us.
I get along okay with my ex most of the time, but lately he’s been driving me NUTS by referring to me as “Sheldon“. For the uninitiated, Sheldon is a character from the TV show “The Big Bang” who is a neurotic genius, crippled with OCD and utterly unable to relate to other humans. “One lab accident away from being a super-villain” is how he’s described.
My ex is hilarious. (In his own mind)
The Treetop Trek
Anyway we arrived at Brockhole to find there’s a new tree-top adventure course called Treetop Trek. Flea’s been desperate to try out one of these for years, and begged her Dad to take her on the course. He’s afraid of heights, but agreed. Flea asked me to join in, and I couldn’t think of a decent excuse.
So it was that half an hour later I found myself trussed like a turkey and clambering over a series of wobbly rope bridges and negotiating various obstacles to get from tree to tree around the course.
The ex went first and I went last – the idea being that if Flea got stuck, there would be someone in front and behind to help out. It seemed like a fine plan but it turned out Flea was like a tree-dwelling monkey, leaping from log to platform to rope.
The ex? Not so much.
He was absolutely white, and trembling across the first few obstacles. There might have been the odd shriek and whimper. Flea thought this was hilarious.
I felt like I should be the bigger person so I told Flea that her Dad was actually being really brave, because he was doing something he was really frightened of. And it’s really not fair to laugh at someone who’s doing their best, and being brave.
See? That’s some top parenting right there, friends.
And then it all went to pot.
I was just helping Flea jump across a gap between trees when I heard a scream.
Flea’s Dad had wandered ahead and tried an obstacle on his own. It involved sitting down in a low chair, and using a guide rope to pull the chair across a 15 foot gap between two trees. The ex had sat in the chair and somehow – at the halfway mark – just fallen off it.
He was dangling at the end of his safety rope, like an upside down turtle, 25 feet off the ground.
Flea and I rushed to the platform behind him. There was no way to get past him so all we could do was encourage him to use his arms to pull himself back towards us, so we could pull him up.
The ex tried manfully to pull himself backwards, and I reached for his hand but he’s considerably bigger than me, and with nothing to hang on to on top of our platform, I couldn’t heave him back up.
Next, we encouraged him to pull himself the other way, and try to climb up on to the platform in front of him.
He tried, but couldn’t quite manage it. He’s a big fella, and considerably older than me.
So, I am an AWESOME ex-wife
So he stayed where he was, just dangling. I was trying to be REALLY supportive, honest I was. I was telling the ex to stay calm, that I’d get a member of staff to help, that he couldn’t fall, he was going to be fine.
Then a thought occurred to Flea.
“Mummy, Daddy is just like Sheldon, isn’t he?”
She was referring to an episode of The Big Bang where Sheldon climbs a climbing wall, and passes out halfway up, leaving him dangling on the rope…
Well, that was me. I totally lost it.
I’m ashamed to say I laughed so hard I almost fell off the platform. And the more I felt bad about laughing, the worse it got. It’s like that time my university room-mate’s cousin was eaten by a shark. You know it’s not funny. It’s really not. But you just can’t stop laughing. Awful. Just awful.
I managed to attract the attention of the course staff, who honestly couldn’t have been nicer. And they were terribly understanding when I had to sit down because I laughed so hard when one of them radio’d in a message, “We have a code orange on the chair obstacle…”
It took about 10 minutes but the Ex was finally rescued. There was a winch. Then the staff let us over-take him, and he was escorted around the rest of the course by a strapping young man called John. He finished the course about an hour after the rest of us.
I pretty much know I’m going to Heaven because I didn’t take a photo of all of this for posterity. I am officially the world’s greatest ex-wife. But trust me, the mental image will sustain me through many a long, quiet evening for years to come.
And if that’s not enough, Flea called her Dad “Sheldon” for the remainder of the day.