Yesterday was young 'Norris'' eighth birthday! The exclamation mark at the end of that statement is perhaps indicative of the surprise that fact is. While sometimes, eight-years-ago feels like a lifetime, in truth it could equally be a fortnight since he came perilously close to being born in the hospital car-park. When 'Mrs Hideous' was offered an egg sandwich as a meal to recover from all her labours, she immediately checked-out of the hospital, came home and ordered a big curry. As we arrived home that day, I carried the little bundle around to show him off to all our neighbours.
And now, minutes later, that little squidgy little ball of potential is eight. That means amongst many other things that he is old enough to be allowed in the kids club at the climbing wall, "Alien Rock" in Grantown, Edinburgh. So as a birthday treat both boys were let loose on the climbing walls - with an instructor, showing them (amongst other things), the ropes. They absolutely loved it, and are really keen to go down there again for another session. That was partly because of the exhilaration of the achievement itself, but also because the instructor was so good. He had them bouldering, traversing, learning how to put on their own harnesses, climbing ever more difficult walls, and learning how to belay each other too.
The best thing about the experience for us was watching our boys throwing themselves completely into a really good activity - and absolutely loving it. Young 'Norris' little life isn't without its stresses and disappointments - but it was just fabulous to see him just absolutely grinning as he abseiled down from the top of the wall, having managed to completed his first climb.
Norris' big-brother Boris, joined in the session too and is seen in the last photo, powering up the wall. Hanging off the holds, and crawling ever upwards they each looked like a cross between a monkey and spiderman - hence spider-monkeys. What made the afternoon even more enjoyable was that as soon as we were satisfied that they were safe and happy there, their little sister, parents and grandparents slipped off round the corner to the wonderful "Porto & Fi" cafe, for lunch.