For Ben's 30th birthday, he decided we should all go out in Nottingham. The plan was to meet up on saturday at an ex-student-rental house owned by a friends parents and then head into town.
Emma brought her laptop pc for watching videos or listening to music but it turned out that the neighbours had an unsecured wireless network so we had internet as well. This was handy on a couple of occasions, the first of which was when Jack arrived. The taxi dropped her off in the wrong place so we got onto a couple of mapping websites and managed to direct her to the house.
The second time we needed the internet was to find the Midori to make the squashed frog cocktails. After phoning around most of the off-licences in the city we found one with some in stock. I drove off to collect it, assisted by one of Ben's friends with a GPS navigation thingy.
We took the tram into town and then walked to TGI Fridays to sample the cocktails. Then to the Pit and Pendulum for some overloud shite music and more cocktails.
The main part of the evening was supposed to be the meal at the Red Hot Buffet Shack but the only booking we could get was half past 9. When we got there the place was very busy and we were waiting ages before our table was ready. I think it was worth the wait though. All the food I tried was good. The range was impressive, covering Indian, Chinese, Thai and Italian. You could even order your own pizza with a selection of toppings.
After leaving the restaurant we took the tram back to the house for more silliness and drinking games and stealing neighbours internet connection.
A few of us wanted to go out for sunday brunch but we had to wait for a hamster first. Emma agreed to take a roborovski hamster off someone who decided she wasn't comfortable handling them. She got lost on her way to the house (cue more use of mapping websites). The hamster arrived safely though (photos to follow) and we eventually left to look for somewhere to eat
It turned out that there was no-where within walking distance was serving food. All the pubs were open for drinking only and directions to places which might be doing food involved confusing paths through side roads. We gave up and went back to the house.
We gave everyone a lift into town then drove home, via the KFC at Leicester Forest services on the M1.
Venue: Go Ape at the Sherwood Pines forest park near Mansfield.
It involved rope ladders, swinging from trees into nets, walking across wobbly bridges, sometimes proper rope bridges, sometimes logs suspended from wires. I managed to put my fear of heights behind me and completed the course.
We were late getting started because on the first obstacle after the training area there was a little kid too scared to swing across onto one of the nets. Various members of staff tried to talk him into it but without success. He was even too scared to climb down the rope ladder to the ground and didn't realise that he needed to make a decision otherwise he'd be up there for the rest of his life. We wasted about 45 minutes while all this went on.
Each stage of the course followed a similar pattern:
Rope ladder to a platform halfway up a tree
Several crossings to other trees
Zip wire down to the ground.
One of the crossings from tree to tree was an aerial zip slide from one platform to another. Normally the zip slides take you to the ground so you go at quite a steep angle and there are wood chippings on the ground to help slow you down and cushion any landing. In this case though, the end of the line was on a wooden platform so the approach was slower and not so steep. The idea was to get your feet onto the sloping approach to the platform and climb to safety. Unfortunately Emma's legs were too short and she started to slide backwards and ended up suspended from the cable, 30-odd feet above the ground. Now my fear of heights was at it's worst when I was standing on the narrow platforms up in the trees, but I think it would have really kicked in if that had happened to me. It took quite a long time for a member of staff to hear the cries for help and to come to her rescue.
Despite this minor setback, everyone seemed to enjoy the day out, including Jill, who's recent birthday was the reason for going.