Well, we all thought that a gentle game of ten pin bowling might be what he had in mind – but no – what Richard had in mind was rock climbing!! Now for those of you who know Essex will know that there aren’t any cliff faces made of rock…ours are made of sand where a bucket and spade might be of more use. Our cliff face was to be found in Basildon Sports Centre in the form of a climbing wall – and a very big one at that! So having donned our very finest sports gear (including some rather nifty cycle shorts in Terry’s case) we made our way, if somewhat hesitantly, to Basildon all in the name of ‘Team Spirit!’
The age of our team here at Ruark ranges from 24 to 66 with varying shapes and sizes. I have a feeling that the lure of a meal at Pizza Express after was too good an offer to refuse and that some of us thought ‘let’s just get this over and done with!’ before we started. However, it soon became apparent that we were all having a brilliant time. Everyone was a key part of the evening, whether they were the climber or the person holding the rope. Some of us were nervous of heights whilst others (Alan especially) were natural climbers and should, in fact have been scaling Everest years ago rather than designing radios! Moreover, the support given, no matter what the ability was simply amazing and there wasn’t the merest whisper of a giggle at the numerous Bridget Jones moments and if there were they were well and truly hidden! At the end of the evening an award was given to the most improved climber and that person was Mark in our Service Department. He had never climbed before and would be the first to admit that he doesn’t have the physique for the sport – but he reached the top and lost a toenail in the process - only discovered upon removal of his shoe when he got home later that evening! However, he did win a family size tin of Quality Street and as Mark is a chocoholic this more than made up for the loss of said nail.
The meal at Pizza Express was fantastic and everyone agreed ‘Team Spirit’ had been found in abundance and we can’t wait for the next evening.
Three weeks later Mark’s big toenail is growing back nicely, Jim has stopped limping, scars are healing, Alan is joining Sir Ranulf Fiennes on this next expedition and Rich has a slightly worrying glint in his eye as he plans our next team building escapade! Watch this space…