L is for Leaping #atozchallenge

For the last two years I’ve joined in the #atozchallenge, namely to post every weekday in April using each letter of the alphabet in turn. In 2015 it was places I’d been to, in 2016 it was London themed. This year it is a dictionary of my family, recounting incidents small and large that have taught me lessons down the years, caused me consternation or generally seared themselves into my memory.  I hope you enjoy them. To find other bloggers doing the challenge and maybe be inspired yourself, check out the A to Z Blogging Challenge Blog, here

not at my most athletic…

I wasn’t a brave child, nervy even and left it to the Archaeologist to do the big boy stuff. Not that he was especially brave, more experimental. Once we climbed this oak tree into which dad had hung a rope ladder. Sadly to get higher the ladder had been moved to a less substantial branch (no guessing who did that – you know you’re guilty, brother) and we decided to show off our climbing prowess by both swinging on it (me lower than him of course – pecking orders are v important). The result was the branch broke, we can clattering down and his arse squeezed my head onto the path below. Mum had kniptchens. I survived though mum remembered being given the third degree by the doctor who suspected I’d been hit. I suppose we should be grateful social workers weren’t so involved in the early 1960s or it might have been tricky times.

this is us at about the age he sat on my head; it was on odd shape before this too…

There was one very specific test of male courage in our house devised as ever by the 8 year old Torquemada to whom I was related. This was the leaping challenge and involved the staircase up to the bedrooms. The way our house was laid out the stairs were fully enclosed on both sides. While the lack of a bannister eradicated any sliding (unlike at our gran’s who had the best sliding bannister bar none that involved 5 or 6 flights of stairs) it did mean you could press your hands against the walls and lean right forward before jumping.

The challenge was off which step you jumped.

He had a height advantage at this point as well as a significant need to be better than me at all things (not really very hard). But I so wanted to be able to jump as far as him. I have a vague memory of achieving that once but the idea I was even on a par spurred him to just jump form the next step up. And he says he’s not competitive. I suppose it was more a case of keeping me in my place  than competition per se.

By the time we reached the top of the stairs he no longer saw it as a game worth playing. Which was a lesson in and of itself – if in danger of losing and you can change the rules then do.

Eventually I reached the top of the tree… the Archaeologist, meanwhile had moved on…

Other tests came and went such as the trapeze swing we had in our bedroom. He was the first to touch the ceiling with his feet but equally he was the first to damage the plaster so there was some justice in the fact he suffered the consequences of that damage. That test ended when a friend swung it back in my face breaking a tooth. Mum took it down after that.

I think I began to learn to accept physical challenges about the same time as he began to see them as passé and not worth his time.

Meanwhile I’ve not stopped accepting them, including a recent bungee jump about which I can’t imagine the Archaeologist seeing the point. He’s probably right and I should stop fighting battles that lost their purpose over 50 years ago….

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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22 Responses to L is for Leaping #atozchallenge

  1. I used bungee jumping as a way to get over my fear of heights… Didn’t work. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AJ.Dixon says:

    My siblings and I used to seize a folded mattress and slide down the stairs on it. These were then downgraded to a duvet, a carpet and eventually a single pillow-case. Perhaps not as daring as you, but my arse still remembers the carpet burns!
    Also, you are mad and brave in equal measure for making that dive. I couldn’t do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ritu says:

    No His Geoffleship! Keep pushing yourself… it’s character building!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Please don’t remind me of that bungee jump

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I admire the fact that you took up his challenges even though you knew you would get beaten!
    As for bungee jumping, I could barely even look at the photo you posted without going giddy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. willowdot21 says:

    I am beginning to wonder about your brother!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. AJ Hackett has a lot to answer for!! I am full of admiration for people who undertake such derring-do, but as I have grown older I find my feet have become more and more firmly attached to the ground…… I remember doing the same stair jumps as you two did (for the same reason, no bannister) and also stair surfing. Also hill sliding for many years on bits of cardboard. Once we ganged up and knicked a piece of lino off two new kids which went speeding down our polished grassy slope at dizzying speed and I, being afraid I would not stop at the bottom, be hurled through the barbed wire fence onto the road below, put my hand in front to stop the thing. I still have the scar across my wrist to this day. That day was a pivotal point in my life. I learned sliding down polished grassy slopes on shiny lino probably wasn’t such a good idea and more importantly, doing bad things to others results in bad outcomes for self. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills says:

    I look at that final shot and pronounce you the family winner!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. noelleg44 says:

    Sky diving was a lot of fun, but after reading about the sequelae from bungee-jumping, I drew the line there. How did you like it??

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Fabulous. I counselled myself a lot not to waste the opportunity and consoled myself with the thought it wouldn’t work as a tourist attraction if many died or wrere mailed and embraced it. I’d do it again if I could

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: A-Z Challenge Reflection/Meet & Greet! | A Texan's View of Upstate New York

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