09 December 2008


Today’s window opened up to show a parajumper… exciting!! I don’t know that Mr B and I can tell a parajump-worthy story, but I’ll give it a go. I’ve been thinking all morning of the most scary or adrenalin-filled activity that Mr B and I have done. One story stood out among the others – the story of Table Mountain.

Mr B and I were in South Africa in 2004. We had planned a mega-trip around the wedding of some of our best friends who were marrying in Port Elizabeth. We spent the first few days of our holiday in Cape Town. One of the first things we did in Cape Town was to take the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. I was thrilled to be doing this but Mr B was not so enthralled… he has vertigo and so he spent the entire cable car ride looking at the floor while grasping onto the handrail as tightly as he could. Once we got to the top he was ok, until I walked to the edge and leaned over the safety rail to get some photos!

We decided to take a walk and explore the top of the mountain. Table Mountain is so unusual – the top is really flat, just like a table, so we chose the longest, circular walk as it wasn’t going to be too challenging. The first half of our walk was great – the views were simply spectacular and the sun was shining. We reached the halfway point in good time and so we rested in the shade for a few minutes before starting the route back to the cable car.

Our route was deserted and took us round towards the front of the mountain. The views were am-aze-zing. The path became more narrow, flanked either side by rocks and scrub bushes and started taking us further and further towards the edge of the mountain. I was worried we’d somehow lost the main path. Then, suddenly, a marker appeared on the path, reassuring us that we were indeed following the correct track. The reassured feeling didn’t last too long when, soon after, the path took us right to the edge, the very edge, of the mountain. The path had no safety barrier, there was a sheer drop from the path right down into Cape Town . Mr B saw this and stopped. His vertigo meant there was no way he was able to walk the path. He refused to go any further. There was no other way to go – the rocks flanking the path were too steep to climb, and to turn and go back would take us hours.

I didn’t know what to do – Mr B really wasn’t budging. I told him I’d go and get someone to come back for him but he didn’t want me going next to the edge either. He was feeling so unwell from the fear and the height and I felt completely powerless.

I tried my best to convince him to carry on and slowly Mr B realized that we couldn’t just stay there, perched on the top of Table Mountain, alone. So Mr B and I crawled on our hands and knees in the dust along the path, right to the edge, and kept crawling until the path was a safe distance away from oblivion.

Up until that day I was fearless… but crawling on the path next to that death-drop made me feel frightened – we were so high up with nothing to prevent us falling over the brink (believe me, no amount of skiing in the Alps could prepare you for this!!) When we made it back to the cable-car point we turned back to see the last part of our fateful journey. We saw this

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