I am dressed in black.
I am in mourning…no, nobody’s died- the Olympics have finished!!! What an absolutely fantastic sixteen days of sport and an incredible medal tally from Team GB. I literally cried my way through the whole event and feel completely drained, what must the sports people feel like?! I only have a very small regret that I didn’t manage to get tickets to be in London but second best was the big screen at Don Valley stadium and watching Jess and Mo winning their golds on ‘Super Saturday’, it was an amazing atmosphere. And I spent inordinate amounts of time in front of the TV watching the BBC’s twenty-five Olympic channels, which meant non-stop viewing was unavoidable. The up side was I could do my physio for both shoulders all the time, at least it felt like I wasn’t being a complete waste of space. My left operated shoulder is slowly improving, certainly slower than I was expecting but I guess that’s the way it is after an invasive operation. But happily I can start climbing in a month, which will be brilliant and probably fairly odd too. I have certainly changed shape (especially because of my initial lack of climbing due to my earlier broken leg in February), I don’t think I’ve put on much weight but I have lost a lot of muscle and tone, so climbing with no strength will feel like being a beginner again. I am allowed to start swimming now and other sports, so that feels like forward progress finally.
Fortunately, I haven’t actually had time to wallow in the post-Olympic blues because a few hours after the Olympic torch was extinguished, I was heading down to Lincoln Cathedral to work on BBC’s Flog It! We were there a couple of days and it really brought back memories of Climbing Great Buildings. There was a nice TV crew and three of us rigging ropes (myself, Ben Heason and Chris Milford) to get the presenter, Paul Martin, up in front of the stunning stained glass window called the Dean’s Eye. Ian Burton (seen here right) who worked on CGB was also there to do the camerawork on the ropes, so it was great to see him again too.
Paul had never been on ropes before so the system had to incorporate a semi-haul, so that if he really couldn’t ascend the eighty feet then we could give him a hand. Because of the architecture, the ascent had to start from the ground, which obviously isn’t ideal for a beginner. As anyone who’s tried jumaring, it’s not easy at all the first few times you do it and to have an eighty foot free-hanging jumar to do, was a big ask. And that’s not taking into account the height and exposure issues, that you just can’t predict- nobody knows how they will react to dangling high off the ground above a medieval floor, however ‘up for it’ they think they are.
Anyway, with time ticking on Tuesday morning, Paul was given some instruction and then let lose on the rope (obviously with many safety measures too). It was never going to be easy, as he found out but with a lot of effort on his part and some help from us, he made it eighty feet up into position. He professionally did his pieces to camera and then abseiled down and landed in a happy, moist heap on the ground. Even though Paul had found jumaring hard, he seemed to have got the bug and was talking about the next building we could do. So next year we might be working on something closer to Bristol, we’ll see.
Tim, Buis and myself went up to the Lakes last weekend and did some nice walking in the hills. It was good to get away from Sheff briefly and I just about managed to get over not listening to every last minute of the Olympics. I don’t really know the Lakes that well, so it was good to spend a bit more time there, it’s a shame it’s so busy though. We managed to find a lovely spot to stay in our van and had some special views in the morning, which made it worth the journey.
Ben Heason, Paul Martin, Me and Chris Milford after the shoot in Lincoln Cathedral for Flog It!