Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Flaming Steeds


As a child I imagined the modes of transport in the later years of my life would consist of charging a hover car for the super highway, stocking up on fuel for my jet pack and remote controlling my scooter when I needed to pop to the shops. Life in the 21st Century hasn't quite lived up to all these expectations, not quite, but I came closer to a part realisation of one of these fantasies last week when She Who Dares tried Off Road Segway. A segway is the closest we've come to the remote controlled scooter, an upright, electric motorised vehicle that looks as if it should be zooming down the corridors of a space station, not cutting through the forest in Norfolk. These one's are specially adapted for rough terrain, with tyres like tractor wheels, and camouflage paint to make them look rough and tough.

We didn't feel quite so rough and tough when we signed the indemnity form with a warning printed across the top in large red capitals:

THIS IS A DANGEROUS ACTIVITY THAT MAY LEAD TO ACCIDENT OR DEATH

I'd never seen a sign like this when we've abseiled off cliffs or jumped into swirling seas, never mind reached a top speed of 10 miles an hour, under supervision, a foot above the ground on an upright scooter, but in these days of health and safety they weren't pulling any punches with the warnings.

It took us a while to get the hang of the things, even to get them started, they're responsive to balance, so we had some very wobbly starts and juddered around the training area at a snails pace before setting off on designated tracks through the forest like a gang from Chorlton and the Wheelies. Gliding along under trees and through ferns, our confidence grew until we unexpectedly hit troughs and holes in the path, the bumps adding extra excitement as we flew, inches above the ground. Given our growth in confidence, the instructor set the segways to sport mode and eager to try out the new responsiveness we leaned forward pushing them to maximum speed on the level path back to base. Just as we were gaining a level of competence, our session was over, but I've persuaded the family to go back and give it a go in a few weeks, watch this space!





Monday, 5 September 2011

Summer Daze

When I was younger, lets say school age, the summer holidays seem to last for ever, the sun always shone, I was out on my bike from dawn till dusk, finding adventures alone or with friends, mum relaxed the rules on sweets and treats and I got a lolly ice from the ice cream van almost every day and even fizzy pop from the pop van once a week. I've spent the last few years desperately trying to recreate these halcyon days for my own children, finally, I have to admit defeat. They'll make their own memories from mammoth XBox tournaments, sleeping till noon, movie sessions and the occasional sleepover, I'm sure they'll be good memories too. This summer I tried to inspire them with the She Who Dares spirit; Daily walks for a dose of fresh air, the odd trip to the beach. There they watch from a distance as I swim a little in the murky waters of the North Sea, stepping back as I cajole them into joining me on the waltzers spinning on the pier, shake their heads as I proffer sugary doughnuts and pints of hot tea. I thought we had it cracked on our holiday this year, a Baltic cruise to new places, culture rich and super organised, my daily lists were abandoned as the Cruise Compass delivered to the cabin listed everything for me. Given the choice of activities, my kids opted out of most of them, with the occasional flash of participation when I wore them down. A quick dip in the pool on deck 12, even if it was lashing down and a force 9 gale, climbing the wall on the very top deck above the churning North Sea. There was no opportunity for outdoor swimming, so they got out of that one, although I did dip a toe into the Baltic shoreside in Tallin. I suppose they don't need to be inspired by me, they'll find their own way. For everyone else, a copy of the newly available She Who Dares book is a good starting point!