In the Spirit of Adventure

Charli Mills continues to prompt us thus:

March 23, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write an adventure, experienced or witnessed. Explore your own ideas about what makes an adventurous spirit. Is it in the doing? Does standing witness count, and if so, how? Be adventurous!

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Too cool for skool? Not me. I’m just grateful I survived

It is a wonder that I am the sort of person I am now, bungy jumping and white water rafting as I’ve undertaken in the last year or so. I was a timid little boy whose attempts at anything involving the spirit of adventure nearly always ended in a cropper (though to be fair to my younger self I usually had a go, even if rather half heartedly)

  • at 12 I went on a Scout Jamboree and nearly drowned in the swimming pool having assumed that ploughing across the middle of a crowded pool doing my new no arms back stroke would get me out of trouble and not realising I still needed to be able to touch the bottom

    2014-07-17 17.25.44

    I think I knew, even then, that I wasn’t safe in water…

  • I fell off a zip wire at another scout camp – probably aged 10 – because the strength of my arms was not sufficient for the weight of the rest of me. Fortunately I fell into a tree. I might add scout camps are dangerous places – I’ve been chased by wasps in Scotland, had a horse fly take a bite from my most private of places in the latrines in West Wales (an experience I turned into fiction in my first book) and sunk into peat bogs throughout the British isles with the same facility that most politicians watch their career aspirations sink under the weight of their own hubris
  • I followed my dog along the cliff top and failed to recognize his weight and mine weren’t in the same ball park so while the path held him it didn’t hold me – this is the one and only time I have turned a complete somersault while in mid air and dropping, with no mat beneath me – this time a small shrub, possibly aspen cushioned my fall – are you noticing a pattern?
  • 05 BOX-034

    It never let me down… what rot!

    I’ve had innumerable bicycle crashes, some through mechanical failure, some the result of third party incompetence and some whose fault must be laid at my own door – or as my gym teacher put it after 3 of us came a cropper on some equipment and he was asked to explain what had happened to the school nurse ‘…the others were unlucky but Le Pard was on a frolic of his own’. History will record I rarely if ever damaged third parties or their goods though one prat fall that involved me cycling in to the back of a bread van (quite literally did I go in to said van) did render a cottage loaf and two large tins less than edible.

But we grow up and I’m a stubborn sod who always wanted to be one of those devil may care boys who did stuff and were admired for their chutzpah. What took me time to realise was, back then, just taking part didn’t cut it. You needed to be successful to be recognised. But as we age – I hesitate to suggest this covers any sort of maturation – it is the taking part that is admired and, indeed, glorious failure is often given a higher status than winning. So my general ineptitude and ability to survive have come into their own as the decades pass. That is perhaps why I keep putting myself out there. One day I will feel the love and be respected for these manly pursuits.

And so to the flash and Mary, in Ireland with her brother seeking out her twin sister from whom she was separated soon after their birth.

Sometimes adventures aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

Mary and Rupert had finally found their sister, Katherine. She lived and died in Newbay, cared for first by adoptive parents and then her sister, all now dead. Her grave was tidy and they laid flowers. It seemed she had been simple – that was the word used.

‘Mrs North?’ The man was nervous, turning his hat in his hands.

‘Yes?’

‘There’s something you should know.’ He spoke slowly, barely making eye contact.

‘The Sisters of Mercy?’

The man nodded. ‘Back then it was the only answer.’

Mary stared at Rupert. He sighed, ‘The adventure continues’.

She felt so tired.

And if you’d like to follow Mary’s story from the start, click here

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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32 Responses to In the Spirit of Adventure

  1. M. L. Kappa says:

    Just like Eddie the Eagle…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. gordon759 says:

    I still remember the bread van incident, seeing you cycling out from the side gate, and return a few minutes later carrying the bike with a very bent front wheel. Mum was, of course, her usual sympathetic self – ‘What HAVE you done now??”

    Liked by 3 people

    • TanGental says:

      Indeed, ever practical she worried about the bike.

      Like

    • roweeee says:

      It’s amazing how your perspective changes over time. As the kid, you lament about your parents lacking compassion, understanding and being made of stone. As the parent, you look at the kid and think why haven’t they learned? What are those two useless flaps on the side of his head? What’s inbetween you’re ears? It is encouraging now that I’m Mum to see you’re grown up, survived and made a success of yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Allie P. says:

    I too have fallen off a zip line and been chased by stinging insects, except my attackers were ground hornets and it was the Appalachian mountains. I didn’t visit Scotland until much, much later. I’ve even had the joy of experiencing a surprise somersault while riding a bicycle, I only wish I’d nailed the landing. Who knew we had so much in common!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I spent a lot of my childhood upside-down and variously bruised but never broken! But unlike you now, prefer to keep my feet firmly on the ground although a hot air balloon adventure would not be refused should it float past.

    I remember the horsefly incident in your first novel and I also laughed at the follow on bit to that thought: ‘I’ve been chased by wasps in Scotland, had a horse fly take a bite from my most private of places in the latrines in West Wales (an experience I turned into fiction in my first book) and sunk into peat bogs throughout the British isles with the same facility that most politicians watch their career aspirations sink under the weight of their own hubris’ 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Sacha Black says:

    Well I was all in bits twas of laughter rolling down my cheeks then I read Mary’s story and shit got just a bit too serious. *gulp* sisters of mercy?!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. roweeee says:

    I loved your introduction so much that Mary’s adventures paled in the face of your own.
    What I particularly found interesting from your intro is: “But as we age – I hesitate to suggest this covers any sort of maturation – it is the taking part that is admired and, indeed, glorious failure is often given a higher status than winning.”
    I’ve found this so true. You should hear the praise I’ve received for taking up the violin in my 40s, even by people who don’t know about my mobility issues. It has both surprised and confused me. I remember attending a local violin concert and saying I was doing my preliminary exam and people were so impressed. I guess it is not so common for adults to take up instruments.
    Speaking of the violin, I’m not sure whether you have been aware of my battles getting my daughter to overcome her struggles with the squeaks to stick with it. It was actually her that got me to take it up. The new school has a string group which will be playing at the Sydney Opera House and this is the carrot. They have a huge mountain to climb to get there. However, the combination of having Mum, school, teacher and Opera House is finally enough of a pull to get her over the hump. Geoff says that if she’s any good, she owes me. I owe her too.
    xx Ro

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I’d say you are both amazing to proceed with something so challenging. I have feeble dreams of playing any sort of instrument to any level of competence which sion dissipate when I appreciate how long I would have to practice

      Like

  7. You keep telling me you’re not a fan of water, yet you’ve put yourself out there anyway. I think, like you, I wasn’t very adventurous when I was younger. To be fair, I’m still not ready to bungee jump or strap a parachute on my back, but as I’ve got older I’m more inclined to stretch myself a bit. After all, we’re only here once. Great reading, as ever, Geoff

    Liked by 2 people

  8. ellenbest24 says:

    My fear of heights bugs me and every where we travel, I creep towards , drop, or hold my breath on a bridge, and gently weep when again I fail. It doesn’t matter how much I try to conquer my fear it won’t shift…
    I wish my adventure story began with a zip wire . Once again you nailled the prompt brilliantly.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. restlessjo says:

    I will always look fondly on aspens from now on, Geoff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. having fallen down a banking five days ago and finishing with feet dangling in a river, chasing daughter’s mad beagle – I realised my daring-do days are over.. Love your posts, Geoff.jx

    Like

  11. Norah says:

    I admire your adventurous spirit. And that you survived! I wonder where Mary’s adventure is taking her now. Hmm.

    Like

  12. I don’t think that anybody would think you were anything but adventurous. Your New Zealand trip well and truly proved that. I know what you mean about scout camps being dangerous places — once a year my Girl Guide company went camping with the local scouts and I can tell you it was an adventure in more ways than one. I now feel for the adults that went with us. Whilst we adventured they must have had headaches that gave them nightmares.
    And mary continues to adventure. She sounds tired but perhaps a niece or nephew now has to be found?

    Like

  13. Charli Mills says:

    For a childhood filled with failed adventures, it was enough practice for successful ones later. Mary keeps finding one woe after another. We come to a conclusion to find a twist. Maybe childhood misadventures gave you the “write” stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Called to Adventure « Carrot Ranch Communications

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