Sunday, 30 September 2007


Astonishingly, I actually did it! At roughly 1.00pm yesterday, 29 September 2007, I defied my fear of heights and performed a parachute jump from 3,500ft! I was absolutely terrified in the plane going up - to the extent that I had my eyes tightly shut most of the time until I actually jumped - but I did it! I'm still trying to sort out my fragmentary impressions of the jump, and I'll do a proper write up (with pictures) in the next couple of days, but in the meantime if you want to see my ugly mug go along to the Black Knights Parachute Centre website at and go to the "Hall of Fame".

Immediately after the jump, someone asked me how it felt. I said it was about 75% scary and 25% fun. It got more fun the closer I got to the ground, and I was actually starting to enjoy myself by the time I was coming in to land! More about that in my next entry.

Thanks to everyone who sponsored me, I'm sure the North West Cancer Research Fund will make good use of the money. My JustGiving site will remain online till about mid-November, so if anyone else wants to chip in just click on the widget to the left.

For now, here's a little something off YouTube which sums up how I feel about myself right now:

Thursday, 27 September 2007


The weather was looking decidedly doubtful last Sunday, so I didn't even bother driving up the the parachute centre. This weekend's looking about 50/50. Fortunately, a sudden (but not unexpected) change in my employment status (sacked on Monday, unemployed on Tuesday, temping since Wednesday) means I've now got Saturdays free as well as Sundays. Unless the weather's looking totally horrible on Saturday morning, I'll drive up there and at least have a briefing (which I need to do fairly regularly until I take my jump, just to refresh my memory). Hopefully I'll jump Saturday. If not, maybe Sunday - but if it's Sunday, I'll have to make an excuse to my parents, who I normally visit on Sundays and don't actually know yet what I'm doing.

The sooner the better - psychologically I'm "Go for EVA", but the weather's only going to get worse from now on.

Sunday, 16 September 2007


What a weekend. The training was fun (quite a lot to pack into 6 hours) and I passed the course with no problems (it's easy to pay attention to lessons when they're all about how to avoid getting killed) but the weather turned a bit bad about the middle of yesterday afternoon - bright sunny day, good for hill walking and suchlike, but the wind was blowing too fast for inexperienced people on their first jump. We could have ended up being blown about all over the place - into woods, roads, pylons, the sea etc. So they said come back anytime to do the jump.

I went back this morning and the weather was even worse - cloudy, windy and cold. So bad that no-one at all, no matter how experienced, went up. On top of that, I think I've caught a cold. I'll have to see what the weather's like next Sunday now - I will take the jump, but it's a bit of a mither having to wait till the weather conditions are good enough and I've got a day off work. I could end up making several trips up there before I get to jump. No point complaining though, there's nothing anyone can do about the weather.

Saturday, 15 September 2007


The weather's been good today - good for anything except taking your first parachute jump, as it turns out. I got to the parachute centre nice and early, and took the intensive six hour course along with about a dozen other students. Then we waited for the wind to die down to the correct speed - the parachute centre likes first-timers to jump in wind speeds of about 20mph, for reasons of control and safety. The wind was a little to fearce today. We waited several hours to see if it would change, but no luck. I was the last of the group to go home, I think, at about 7.00pm. Now I'll have to go back tomorrow and see if the weather's right - and if not tomorrow, next Sunday, or the Sunday after. Very frustrating. Today I felt as ready as I'm likely to get to take the jump - tomorrow, who knows?

Friday, 14 September 2007

I'M WORTH £100,000 - DEAD!

This is it, the last few hours. I need to be at the airfield by 8.30 in the morning, preferably a bit sooner - a full day's training followed (weather permitting) by the jump. I hope the weather's good enough to jump on the same day, I'd hate to have to go back at a later date, when the training's not as fresh in my mind and I've had more time to lose my nerve.

Everything's now ready. I took the sponsorship money out of my savings account in the form of a banker's draft the other day. I've got the doctor's certificate. I got paid today, so I've got the jump fee. And these evening I took out parachute jump insurance online - £100,000 if I die or am permanently disabled on this jump, for a fee of £20. All that remains is for me to scrape myself out of bed first thing in the morning and get to the parachute centre.

Hopefully by this time tomorrow I'll be a bit of a hero - either that or everyone will consider me the coward of the county! Or I might snuff it, but I'm happy to say the odds are against that.

Monday, 10 September 2007


I expect my parachute jump to be a bit less eventful than this!

This song's been going through my head for the last couple of days. It seems you can find just about anything on YouTube.

Saturday, 8 September 2007


Almost time now. This time next week I should be either in the plane already, or making final preperations for the jump (I don't have a timetable, but it's a day of training with the jump taking place at the end of the day). Strangely, I don't feel nervous about the jump. It's the money side I still need to take care of. About half of the money I've raised has been in cash - this is currently resting in my savings account. I have to hand that over at the airfield. They won't accept cash, and they'll only accept a cheque with a cheque guarantee card, which I don't have. So I'll have to give them a banker's draft, which will cost £15. Very annoying, but I've checked with the bank and there shouldn't be a problem with me collecting the draft on Tuesday, which is my day off. I also have to pay my jump fee on Saturday (£160). One problem, due to me having to have the brakes on my car fixed last week, I don't currently have that money. Fortunately Friday is payday, so I should be able to collect it then. Finally I still haven't taken out my jump insurance (£100,000 of life insurance for a fee of £20). That's something else that will need to wait till Friday, I'm hoping I can book the insurance online then. So I'm basically depending on the bank not messing me about, and getting paid on time. Strange that I'm currently more nervous about money than I am about steppin out into a 3,000ft void. I expect that will change next Saturday.