Note to self: do not not take part in any more activities that involve heights. I have vertigo, which seems to be getting worse with my advancing years. I came a cropper at Kew recently when I found myself staggering like a drunkard along the Treetop Walkway within seconds of setting foot on it. The only way I could get to the end was to cling to the handrail and edge my way along, whimpering quietly as men, women and children sauntered past.
So I should have had the sense to say ‘yes’ three times over when a nice man with a clipboard at the foot of the Eden Project’s Rainforest Lookout asked if I have angina, am pregnant or taking any medication. And I should definitely have turned back when a nice lady smiled encouragingly and said casually: ‘there will be some movement’. But on I went, encouraged by the group I was with and the prospect of the view from the top.
‘There will be some movement’ turned out to be an understatement (the steps are suspended from the roof and wobble quite a bit) and almost immediately I found myself inhabited by the spirit of I’m a Celebrity’s Gillian McKeith. My legs started jerking beneath me (not helpful when trying to walk up nine flights of steps) and once again I had to cling pathetically to the handrail, trying not to look down, while everyone else scampered upwards like mountain goats. If feigning a faint would have been any way useful at that point I might have been tempted to try it.
I can’t tell you what the view is like from the top because I couldn’t look at it. By that point I was sweating profusely in the 100 degree heat, my stomach was doing somersaults and I had developed some rather alarming ‘jazz hands’. But I’m told it’s spectacular.