I’m lucky enough to love my job but I love my free time and the weekends even more! We really try and make the most of our weekends. I think you’ve got to really jam them full of fun and make sure you’ve made loads of new memories. Here are a few of the awesome things we’ve been getting up to recently…
I’m a bit of a thrill seeker, and am always up for trying out new and exciting things, so jumped at the idea of heading over to Hangloose Adventure at the Eden Project. You don’t actually need to book, but as the summer draws near, it may be advisable- there are always so many tourists around. The weather was absolutely glorious and perfect for this type of adventure. We walked down the path towards the Eden Project, however, you don’t actually need to go inside, just follow the signs for the adrenalin adventures of Hangloose, it’s kind of separate.
There are a variety of packages to choose from, but I thought it was worth it just to choose the Adventure Package, doing all of the activities available on that day and to make the most of our time there. Once we had booked ourselves in, the staff gave us the terms and conditions to read and got each of us to sign our lives away (the disclaimer form).
We had our very own team member who stayed with us for the majority of the activities. She took us straight on to ‘Big Air’. This is a free-fall jump onto a giant airbag (like a bouncy castle with no sides) the sort stuntmen use. There are two platforms to jump from and we were taken to the lowest one to start with so we could ‘perfect our style’ we were told.
You had to land on your bum with legs outstretched to the front and avoid putting your hands down- almost like a move in trampolining. It sounded pretty tricky, but she reinforced that we were not allowed to move onto the higher platform until we had mastered this style of landing!
This first platform is at a height of around 8 metres and looked pretty scary from up there, knowing that you had to just go for it, take a step over the edge and jump onto the airbag. So I decided, being the true gent that I am, I would let my girlfriend have a go first- you know, so I could take pictures! After a few minutes of talking and building her confidence up, whilst looking over the edge, she finally jumped! And made it look really easy.
I couldn’t back out now! I was a bit worried about how to land, as I think you could do yourself a serious injury if you didn’t land properly. I’ve done loads of jumps off high rocks before into water, but this was a lot scarier, I think jumping into water feels a lot more natural – jumping like this doesn’t! However, like a real stunt man, I went for it. I felt ecstatic when I landed on the airbag and slid myself off the end. It was a really scary and stomach churning feeling forcing yourself to jump, but once you’ve done it, it really is something epic. After we had each jumped a few times, our leader took us up to the highest platform- at 12 metres! Yep, pretty terrifying looking over the edge this time! It felt so much higher, but after my girlfriend finally did the jump, I had to follow. Such a great activity, not for the faint-hearted!
Next it was time to get our blood pumping further with the Skywire, the activity I was most excited about. It’s basically a 660 metre-long zip wire, going over the biomes of the Eden Project. And what I found, is the only “Superman” style zip wire in England! We were led into a large tent to kit ourselves out. They put us in these full body harness suits, a helmet and goggles. I definitely felt I would be safe! Once we were dressed appropriately for the Skywire, we jumped into a mini bus to take us and another group up to the hill on the opposite side of the Eden Project valley where the zip wire began. We arrived and were given a thorough health and safety talk, then headed up the steps to get ready for our super adventure!
It was high up (97m) and the views of the domes and gardens of the Eden Project were amazing. When it was my turn, the guy clipped me in at three different points in my harness, I then had to go into a press-up position and put my feet up onto the bar with straight legs (this is attached to the harness). The guy told me that as soon as I started travelling down the wire, I had to stick my arms out like a bird. The when I reached a certain landmark below, I had to bring my arms to my sides to make me more streamline in order to keep enough speed to reach the end.
Apparently, a few people have slowed down too early and have been stuck, causing a rescue mission to happen- thankfully that didn’t happen to me. At the top, you just hang there, waiting for the zip wire to be clear at the other end. You can hear the voice on the walkie talkie. “Yep. It’s all clear down here.” And then the guy counts down 3-2-1…. And off you go, soaring along the zip wire. It is truly an exhilarating feeling. You can reach speeds of up to 60MPH, it felt so much faster, it was just epic. It felt amazing just flying across the sky, like a real superhero, looking down over the Eden Project. Once I located the point where I had to bring my arms in, I did just that and I swear I picked up speed. You come into land pretty quickly and a brake stops you right as you get to the end. It does this a little unexpectedly, with a small jolt! The staff unattach you from the Zip Wire easily and quickly, then I was helped to take off my harness, helmet and goggles. Once I was out of the way, it was my girlfriend’s turn. It was fantastic to see her making her way down the zip wire and she had the biggest smile on her face afterwards too!! What an adventure. A superb, heart-pumping experience I would definitely do again!
Last but not least, we headed over to Gravity- a giant swing that makes you freefall 19m over the cliff edge. I’d seen 3 people on Gravity earlier in the day so knew what to expect, however that didn’t stop my stomach turn a little. I think it’s because when they sit you down, although you are clipped onto the chest and waist harness they give you to wear, the seat is just made of a thick strip of material and your legs are just daggling. You hold onto the large metal bar in front of you and that’s it! You’re ready to go. Although there are thick wires on each side of the swing, the team member attached a piece of rope behind us. This is what would be helping to pull us up. As they pushed the button to start the experience, the swing started to “crank” up and backwards, taking us higher. We got to a point which felt really high, but the girl told us that that was only halfway up!
My girlfriend was absolutely petrified, I’ve never seen her look so frightened. We finally reached the top. The views were awesome. The girl shouted “do you want to just go or shall I give you a count of three?” We both called out for the count of three. She shouted back “OK, a countdown it is… 3…” Then with no countdown, no warning, she just pushed the button to release the swing. And we were swinging. Wow, it was amazing. It felt very exciting and thrilling, the fact one minute you feel you’re weightless as it just drops straight down, but as the rope catches the swing, there is a bit of G-Force as you swing forwards at around 50MPH. And my girlfriend suddenly started screaming and laughing- she clearly loved it too! I think this was my favourite adventure at Hangloose, and I will definitely be returning with friends. I think the whole place would be great for birthdays and stag dos, providing you have brave friends!
Cash and Guns Board Game Review
To add to our board game collection, we have recently bought the 2nd edition of Cash ‘n Guns (there weren’t many versions of the original printed so it is really hard to track down). However, the 2nd edition is just as similar as the original and just as much fun. For those of you who have never played the game or heard of it, I thought I’d give you the low-down after playing it with my friends last Sunday. Spoiler alert – everyone loved it!
So you get to play the role of a gangster (players also get the chance to take on the role of the Godfather) after pulling off a successful heist. Throughout the game you have to try and get the largest cut of the share of riches. The richest gangster still alive at the end is the winner…. Oh yeah, that’s right, you have to stay alive!
Inside the box, are 8 foam black guns, which are literally the coolest game item I’ve ever seen. Before we started playing, I did sneak around just like James Bond, and pull the gun on my girlfriend at every chance I got. I mean, who wouldn’t?! Okay, back to the actual game… So each player starts with:
1 Foam Gun: seriously, so cool
5 Click Cards: these are taken from the ‘bullet cards’ pile
3 Bang! Cards: These are taken from the ‘bullet cards’ pile
1 character with a little stand: Each player chooses their own character from Mr Black, James, Luca, Farha, Nikita, Pedro, Yoko and Deacon, then stand this in front of them.
The setup is pretty simple – shuffle all of the 64 ‘Loot Cards’ (These have pictures of expensive paintings, diamonds, and cash bills) then divide them into 8 piles of 8 cards. Put the ‘New Godfather Token’ card alongside the Loot Cards. Next place the ‘Wound Tokens’ (these look like mini plasters) somewhere nearby. Finally give the ‘Godfather’s Desk’, to the oldest player who puts it in front of their character. Phew! It’s all set up; you’re now ready to play!
The Godfather leads the game play going through the following steps 1-7 (on the back of his desk there is a printed reminder, so you don’t have to remember all this)
1: LOOT: Flip 8 Loot Cards over, so they are face up.
2: CHOICE OF BULLET CARD: Every player now chooses a ‘Bang card’ or ‘Click card’ from their own hand (secretly) and lays this face down in front of their character. (The main rule for this step is the fact that each Bullet Card can only be used once, so this is where it gets must more strategic. Each player has 8 Bullet cards in total, 1 for each round)
3: HOLD-UP: This is the best bit. The Godfather counts to three, then each player must quickly aim their foam gun at a player of their choice. If a player is too slow, they don’t get to aim (it’s the Godfather’s decision). I loved this bit, it’s just like at the end of Reservoir Dogs.
4. GODFATHER’S PRIVELAGE: At this point, the Godfather can decide to order a player to change targets and player must oblige.
5. COURAGE: After the Godfather counts to three again, each player must decide to do one of the following:
Option 1: Lay down your character: You discard your selected bullet card face down and are not allowed to take any of the loot. N.B. This option guarantees the player is not wounded. If your own target has chosen this option, you must discard your bullet card face down!!
Option 2: Leave your character standing and shout out ‘Banzai’: N.B. This player has taken a risk of getting wounded, but also has a chance to get a share of the loot.
6. CARD EFFECTS: So for all the brave players that chose Option 2, they reveal their bullet card. Click Cards= Nothing happens, Bang! Cards= The targeted player is wounded, so take one wound (plaster) and lay their Character down – they must not take any of the loot!
7. LOOT SHARING: Share the Loot, in a round-robin fashion, amongst all characters who remain standing- this can either be the Loot or the New Godfather Token- until all of the loot is gone.
Cash ‘n Guns was an instant hit with everyone. What worked really well is the fact that anyone can win. You have to be pretty good at bluffing your way through, and you can try to turn players against each other. Because everyone has to point their guns at someone during each round, it is super interactive which means everyone is involved the whole way through, no matter how confident or shy they are. Over each round, everyone got more and more into it, putting their own flair on aiming the gun at someone else. My girlfriend was hilarious and pretty embarrassing- when she pointed his gun, she pretended to be a gangster, even adding her own, very poorly executed, ‘Tony Montana’ accent.
It is quite strategic but so easy to pick up. You have to really manage your Bullet Cards as you only start with 3- plus you don’t want to get too wounded, as a total of 3 or more wounds means you die!
The game got much more heated as it went on. I was strategically trying to collect Paintings, as the more paintings you have, the more value they are worth, meaning you have more money in your own share! Everyone started ganging up on me as I had started to collect quite a lot of loot, so at one point everyone decided to aim at me, giving me 3 ‘wounds’ which put me out of the game. Sadly I hadn’t picked up the ‘First Aid Kit’ Card which, if collected, removes 2 wounds.
The game is not only about surviving; it is about taking risks, being rewarded and strategic thinking. I literally cannot recommend this game enough. It’s really good as a filler for 30-45 minutes to get friends together, plus you get to play with foam guns! What could be more fun?
A few weeks ago, my friend invited us along the gig rowing club that he is a member of. They do weekly free taster sessions to try and recruit some new members and he thought we would enjoy it. So that Sunday morning, my girlfriend and I headed down to Restronguet Creek, just off the Carrick Roads near Falmouth to join Deveron Gig Rowing Club for their trial. I’ve never tried Gig rowing before, I’ve only ever watched it, so I was super excited! I love being on the water so thought this would be the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. It was pretty chilly but the sun was out so I didn’t mind too much, also the water was nice and still which was great. After meeting the ladies who were running the morning trial, and having a catch up with my friend, we signed ourselves in to one of the gig club’s large training gig (the boat).
The organiser allocated each of us a numbered seat depending on where we were to be positioned in the gig. Feet placed on the footrest, legs only just bent when you lean forward. One top-tip, know which side of the gig you are rowing on- Bow or Starboard, as the Cox (the person at the front of the gig), will call out instructions throughout your time on the water.
Once we set off, I realised very quickly that there are certain tips to follow to make sure you have a good row:
• Listen to the Cox’s commands at all time
• Your hands should be positioned as follows to gain more control when rowing: inboard hand should be holding the oar from under and the outboard hand should holding the oar over the top.
• The leather handle on the oar should always remain in the centre of the thore pins.
• The oar blade should remain vertical when it enters the water and during each stroke
• Perch on the edge of the thwart (seat) rather than sit on the middle of it
• Concentrate on the timing set by the stroke oar (the person at the front, nearest the Cox) so you don’t bang your oar into people next to you and to ensure the gig is travelling smoothly across the water!
• Sometimes, you may “catch a crab” (when the blade of the oar digs too deep in the water). If so, pull the handle up quickly, with the blade still in the water. This will help correct the error!
The rowing technique was a little tricky to master as there are so many things to think about. Once I picked it up, it became so enjoyable. It’s all about the way you lean forward, then lean back with arms still straight, until the very last moment when you bring your hands to your chest. Then repeat. I was concentrating so much, I couldn’t work out how long we were on the water for, it felt like ages. Having the Cox giving instructions was definitely helpful. At one point the water turned quite choppy, so it was difficult to not catch a crab on each stroke. I found as long as I followed the timing from my stroke oar, that helped mitigate any issues.
After some time, we head back to the slipway along the harbour wall and were asked to lift our oars vertically up as we were doing alongside. Once we had stopped and were tied on to the wall, we lay the oars along the inside of the gig, ready for the next rowers.
It was such a fantastic morning at a beautiful setting. We joined the club members in the cafe for a chat and a cuppa to warm ourselves up after being a bit cold out on the open water. Since then, we have been out with the club for our 2nd trial. That time, the water was so still and we both absolutely loved it. Gig rowing really prefect way to enjoy a Sunday morning in Cornwall!