Posts Tagged ‘terror’

The virus and I

O, virus. You thought you could bring me down, didn’t you? You thought you could ruin me. You spent weeks ruining everyone around me before you got to me.

Well, virus, you had your work cut out with me! As soon as I felt a little tickle and a cough, I ate so many throat sweets, I forgot how to even spell sore throat.

On the advice of work colleagues, I got some echinacea tablets and took three a day to subdue you.

When the blocked nose arrived, I swore off dairy and took decongestant tablets and just about kept it under control. One morning I awoke totally unable to breathe through my nose but that was the only time you managed to interrupt my sleep.

I remembered people saying “feed a cold” and ate incessantly, from morning until evening.

Who knows if any of the old wives’ tales were true but I put my faith in them anyway. With a little help from some Beechams medicine and a bottle of cough syrup, I got through the worst of it without ever properly ‘having a cold.’

I transported all my medicine around with me constantly and whenever you appeared, in even the mildest form, I kappowed you with vitamins, I thwacked you with lemon and ginger tea, I karate chopped you with Strepsils throat sweets. The fight was on. And I was winning.

And now, virus, little sad virus, it is you who is regretting our meeting. You should never have arrived here. You should never have taken me on. For, instead of ravaging me, keeping me awake at night and making things unbearable before moving on to your next victim, I have stopped you in your tracks and struck you down.

Virus, your reign of terror stops here! I am equipped with echinacea and you shall not take me!

Bungee jumping in Africa

When I was younger I was, as most people are, a lot more hyperactive. I was constantly excited by something, looking for an adventure. My first big adventure was my gap year. I had been saying for ages before that, in a nonchalent ‘yeh-I’m-crazy-and-wacky-what-of-it’ type of way that I wanted to do all these extreme sports. White water rafting, sky diving, bungee jumping, anything, you name it, I’d rave with enthusiasm about how ‘cool’ that sounded and I’d definitely do it given half a chance.

So I’m on my gap year. It’s the last month or so and we decide to do a bit of travelling before heading home. We were in Namibia and had already been to South Africa for our previous break so decided to head north this time, up to Zambia. I couldn’t wait, Victoria Falls, it was going to be amazing. Amazing! I was so excited! Always excited! Yeh! Woo! (I must have actually been quite insufferable.)

We got there and we had about six days, I think, to spend in Livingstone. We started looking around for exciting things to do. We went to music performances, ate Zambian food and marvelled at their money, which consisted entirely of notes, and tons of them! Getting a fiver out of the cash machine gave you a handful! There was even a note which was equivalent to 0.2 of a penny! I think I still have one somewhere.

Then we noticed a few leaflets for extreme sports type of things on the Zambezi River and around the Victoria Falls bridge. And then it was time for me to do some of the things I’d been going on about, when they didn’t seem like a possibility. We white water rafted the Zambezi one day, which wasn’t too scary as it’s not really turbulent the whole way, a lot of the time you spend just paddling along the still waters singing aloud and looking at the crocodiles lounging around on the rocks, eyeing you up.

Then came the big one. We went to the Victoria Falls bridge to sight-see… and there were people jumping off it! That’s right, there was a bungee jump off the bridge. It claimed to be the highest from a bridge in the world! And Lucy reminded me that I’d always said I wanted to do one… hadn’t I? Yes indeed, I had, yes, that’s right. Well let’s go and do it then, I can’t wait.

Before I knew it I’d paid my £40ish and been stood in a queue on the bridge. And then there I was, toddling onto this little platform and getting my ankles tied together. And I thought, damn me and my big mouth. So now they’re tied together and I’m shuffling to the edge of the platform and I’m looking down and I can see the Zambezi underneath me with teeny tiny little people white water rafting, in boats that I knew were quite big, so their smallness from up here just confirmed how high up I was.

I got ready for the pep talk, you know, you think they’re gonna give you the low down, let you psyche yourself up then say, jump when you’re ready. But no! As I got to the edge and looked out, I heard a voice behind me say “Hold your arms out straight when you jump. Ok! THREE! TWO! ONE!” And I just had to go….

I remember thinking, “I’ve just paid £40 to die.” If I could have stopped time and gently stepped back onto the platform, I would have.

But I couldn’t! And I was just hurtling down and down, turning upside down, arms out, screaming in terror. About half way down, the scream caught in my throat and my mouth stayed open, silently, in horror. I got to the bottom and bounced up and down wildly, my heart beating frantically when suddenly someone appeared on a rope thingy, grabbed me and we were both hauled back up.

I remember later in the day, reliving the experience and having the fear all over again! Every so often, though, I think, well that was over eight years ago, I’d probably be fine to do one again. The fear has been forgotten now, surely? I’ve not tested my theory but I certainly think carefully before saying I really want to do something! Although I have also skydived a few times so I didn’t learn my lesson that well!