I sometimes wonder how it is that my brother and I ended up as [fairly] normal adults, because we were pretty feral children. We lived in the middle of nowhere and were given free reign to go cause chaos in the countryside.
We’d spend hours outside either in the orchard, or out and about on our bikes, the only rules being that we were to get home before tea or sometimes just before dark.
We (or more accurately, our Dad) would build stuff in the orchard. Rafts (how far across the pond can you get before sinking), rope swings (how many times can you swing across the pond upside down), treehouses (how to sit in a tree in slightly more comfort than hanging off a branch), BMX tracks (how fast can you do a lap).
I remember asking my Dad to build me a tent because I wanted to sleep outside, and trying out an au naturale toilet (not a #1) just because I wanted to (obviously practising for my long distance cycling trips and endurance stuff where there aren’t any toilets). I told you, feral.
But I’ve been asked to explain the “Death Slide” I mentioned in this post that my Dad made for us.
People in NZ might know them as a Flying Fox, and I’m not sure what people in the UK actually call them (we always just called them death slides). Maybe a zip wire type thing?
So our Death Slide was a home made, slightly unique, version of one of these. Dad put some rope between the roof of the ‘Big Shed’ (a HUGE warehouse type thing) and our garage roof. He got an old bike (who knows where from), took the handlebars and front wheel (no tyre), turned it upside down and somehow got the rope so the wheel rim ran along it (I think).
We’d grab the bike-contraption, drag it with us up the rope while climbing up a rockery and a wooden step to get as high as we could go on the Big Shed then jump off hanging onto the handlebars and whizz along the rope before crashing into the garage wall. I think the only way of stopping was just to stick our legs out and bounce off it – either that or face plant, or just let go and drop off before we crashed. Health and Safety 100% there.
And repeat. Many times.
It was one of our favourite things, and I wish I had a photo of it. Thanks Dad for the Death Slide fun.