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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Went to a cool climbing gym today. The gym's in a big sports centre - they have horse riding and tennis and basketball and football as well as a huge climbing area. The strange thing about this place is that it's directly under a bunch of highway flyovers. It looks very odd to see people riding horses while cars whizz past above their heads. The climbing there is excellent; one of the best gyms I've been in. Unfortunately, however, even though it's only 24 miles away from us, it took us an hour and a quarter to get there - London traffic. And, even though the gym has a climbing team, the kids couldn't be on it, as they don't live in the borough.

The kids all desperately want to find another climbing team, but I'm not sure how we're going to achieve that.

There is a climbing gym very close to us, but it's really sad, little itty bitty walls, nothing challenging, and no climbing team anyway. And there's a third gym a bit further away - about 25 minutes I think - but again, they don't have a climbing team and they also don't have a members rate where you pay monthly and get unlimited climbing, so it would be terribly expensive - around thirty pounds every single time the five of us climbed there.

So none of the available options really suit us. The kids don't need to be part of a team in order to take part in the competitions, but the team friendships are as important to them as the actual competing - more important, in Sophie's case. So it would be a bit sad for them to just train on their own ...

Hopefully we'll think of a way around the problems.

One weird thing about today's gym : in order to be certified safe to belay, you have to undergo a belay check if you're an adult, where you prove you're safe. Pretty standard. If you're between fourteen and eighteen, they won't check you there and the. Instead, you have to pay fifteen pounds for them to test you formally. So Steve has to sign up for one of those tests; you have to book them in advance, so he's doing his this Saturday. They wouldn't let Em do the test, as you have to be fourteen. But, since they could see that she is experienced and competent, she's allowed to belay her siblings. So, not old enough to be allowed to do the test, but fine to belay anyway. I still don't quite see how that works. At least we don't have to cough up the fifteen pounds.

Tomorrow is Bobby's last day of freedom; he starts work on Thursday. He's not really looking forward to it; says he feels like he needs a holiday. Which just goes to show that however much holiday one has, one always needs a little more. I hope he is going to enjoy the new job; they seem awfully lumbering and bureaucratic and he tends to get frustrated when things don't move quickly. At least here he isn't tied to one employer, the way he was in the states, so if he hates it he can just leave.

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