It was all so promising to begin with. Bright blue skies and not a cloud in sight as we turned onto the M1 to make our journey to Nottingham and Langar Airfield. We got there in great time to be greeted by the world and his wife, who were also there to make a jump. Only five in a plane at one time, and an hour turnaround, so it was going to be busy.
We all bundled into a small room where 'Dave' – a giant of a man – told the gathering that yes, as tandem sky divers, they would be literally jumping without a parachute. I think I sort of glazed at that point and tried not to listen to Dave's dulcit tones waxing lyrical about 13,000 feet, freefalling for the first 10 seconds or more (during which time your brain won't allow you to recognise what you're doing, so you'll feel very little!) Funny that, I would have thought the only message in your brain would be "What in heaven's name am I doing????".
He then said those making a tandem jump, who were attached to instructors, would get a tap on the shoulder and they could then uncross their arms and put them outwards as if they were flying. I could only think that when you're scared witless, a tap on the shoulder would be the final thing to stop your heart from beating. But of course I wasn't jumping, Sam was, and he seemed pretty happy with it all.
However, as the hours ticked by, the skies darkened and the wind sock became a thing possessed. We heard over the tannoy that all flights had been delayed until at least 4pm and even then it wasn't going to be a sure thing. Now mental maths was never my strong point, but even I could work out that with five people on each plane and a one hour turnaround, my boy who was 25th on the list, wasn't going to be jumping that day.
It was a rather folorn little party that headed back from Langar airport, but determined not to be beaten, Sam called on Monday and booked for Wednesday. Each day we scanned the BBC Weather pages, and Nottingham promised to be fine all day, and boy was it.
Stunning blue skies, soft clouds and just a whisper of wind meant that within 20 minutes of arrival, and a recap on safety measures, Sam was climbing into a rather fetching blue and yellow skydiving suit and heading off with Dave towards the plane.
"It's important you shout something before you fall out of the plane," said Dave, "just to kick start your breathing…" I prayed silently it would be nothing too profane! Then having got Sam and he to pose for a photograph, which came out a lot better than I thought it would as my hands were shaking, we watched them climb into the plane and then in turn watched the plane take off and head out into the wide blue yonder…
I think in truth the pictures say it all, and in all honesty it's difficult to tell the before from the after – Sam doesn't even look that windswept! From the moment he was out of the plane, it only took a couple of minutes or so for him to get down to the ground, but in his words, it was AWESOME.
For Dave it was his 7,000 and something jump, for Sam it was a once in a lifetime… or so I thought until he said he'd like to do it again, and next time with me! I've got to get my doctor to sign a form to say I'm fit, fit for what?!!! Fit for nothing but my bed after that I can assure you
So what next?? Well, a corking launch with Joan Rivers last night and the best ever Northern Nights TSV to come at midnight tonight, so I'll look forward to your company then.
Enjoy the rest of your week,
Love Ali xx