Many years ago! (isn`t it funny? I used to be able to say a couple of years ago :o))) I decided that to raise some money for a charity along with many others, I would try and ride my sons unicycle around the Theme park I ran ( don`t let my ex boss tell you anything different, he only took all the credit :o)) ). So I spent about four weeks hanging onto the washing line and generally falling badly on the paved area of my back garden. I never really got past being able to do a twenty metre burst which involved a spectacular crashing dismount. I did however raise about eight hundred pounds from contractors other Managers, and friends. I later found out that most of my staff had also donated to the sponsorship. How the hell my son rode it everyday to University I will never know but he told me it was great for "Pulling" (his words and nothing to do with my escapade you understand). I managed to get around the park but fell off about a million times much to the hilarity of my staff. There I was making a fool of myself for a charity! well £8oo wasn`t to be sniffed at was it?.
The previoust year I had announced that I would walk stilts around the same park, and manufactured a pair of stilts from 100 mm drain pipe, yes they were flimsy but they worked. I went up to the circus, with them, and "instructed" the owner to teach me how to do it. his immediate reaction was to laugh telling me that I must be mad, and asked how long I had got to learn.
When I told him two days he just laughed even harder. I asked him again but in a somewhat more subdued manner as to why he was laughing. He told me that he couldn`t remember how long it had taken him to learn ( Circus owners can usually do most things required to build a Tent and often several acts. the stilt walking amongst other things was used to fit the side walls of the big top) but it was a lot longer than two days. Oh well! I said would he try which he agreed to do. He went to get a coat and I progressed into the big top and started to put the stilts on, sitting on the fourth row of the seating. when he came back he showed me that I actually had to be seated at almost the same level that I would be walking at which was about 6 feet so, first mistake made, I moved onto the band box which overlooked the stage and was at the right height. He told me that the only way to the ground now was either by grabbing on to something and lowering myself with help or to fall badly so he directed me to look at the quarter poles of the big top and told me that traditionally Circus stilt walkers learnt their trade by walking from one pole to the next and back untill they were proficient .
Well I stood up, with help, and felt sick with the vertigo I took my first step and promptly overbalanced but was held upright my the circus owner. This isn`t going to be easy I thought.
W ell to cut a long story short. Eventually I managed to walk fully around the circus using the quarter poles for support and yes I did fall quite a few times (the pro wrestling helped me a lot with that) and I sprained a wrist, but dont you always?
On the day of the proposed fundraising I had, promised or collected, fourteen hundred pounds in sponsorship. My secretary had bullied all the contractors to give generously and the staff had come up trumps chasing their friends and families. I had spent an hour back in the big top trying to walk unaided and without the use of the quarter poles and found that I could almost get about unaided.
At the appropriate time for getting ready I was approached by the circus owner with a smartly pressed bundle of clothes. He told me that whilst I had defeated the odds in learning to walk stilts, I really didnt look the part and so here were some clothes to add to the illusion. The parcel contained a proper lenght set of trousers newly manufactured and a clowns jacket and wig that were the late Coco the clowns props. I was over the moon and with help got kitted up and out on to the start line which was the other end of the park. The circus performers all to a man/woman shook my hand and said how they admired my learning so fast, telling me to break a leg, can you believe it and they meant it too, and off I went. I headed for the lamp posts and made a late descision to miss the first one and see if I could make the next one and so on and all of a sudden I was back at the start/ finishing line. No I hadn`t gone the wrong way round I had actually completed the course. I was really chuffed, everybody clapped and sitting on on an Ice cream stall roof I regained my breath ( not from excertion put pure fear of failure) I went back up to the circus to dismount and rejoined the party later. I gave the stilts to the Circus owner who said that they were the best pair of stilts that he had ever seen (sicophantic old bu**er but I loved him!).
It was two years after when I was trying to think of a scheme for the next fundraising that I was told by my secretary that the sponsors of the previous years thought that catching a bullet in my mouth might be a good one and that they had only sponsored me to watch me get hurt. Now isn`t that unkind?? :o)) The charity got well over the fourteen hundred pounds that I initially raised and I thought it was time to step back and "quit while I was ahead" What a booring life it is now. :o(( not
Its my birthday today 62 years old and feeling like I`m twenty (millenia not years) Te he!