Friday, 3 May 2019

Birthdays: Beechenhurst and Barry Island

It's all about the birthdays!  I've just begun a whole 11 days off work.  Yesterday was Chris's birthday, and I am turning 40 years old next week.  Two of my oldest friends have already reached this milestone in the last six months, and we've been having a few little celebrations.  Our last meet up was a boozy one, so we felt we should try something wholesome and outdoorsy next.  We ended up having a treetop adventure!

My friend Victoria lives ion the edge of the Forest of Dean, so Kelly and I drove across to meet her at Beechenhurst visitor centre.  There's a lovely 'sculpture trail' through the forest that I remember going to frequently as a child with my parents and younger brother.  However, we were after something a bit more strenuous, and had booked onto a treetop 'high ropes' adventure.  We've never done anything like this before, and booked onto the smaller course, as a taster.  On arrival, the others queuing for the 'junior' adventure seemed to be aged about seven years old.  Victoria was a little embarrassed and in a move to try and save face, told the assistant that she'd originally booked on with her children, but that they were ill and couldn't come.  The assistant cheerfully replied "Oh, do you want me to see if there's space for you on the adult course?  It's only down the road!".  There was space, and to Victoria's dismay, Kelly and I enthusiastically said 'yes' and we headed down the road to the full-on 'Go Ape!' adventure.  I didn't quite know what to expect, but it turned out to be immense fun, absolutely amazing, and well worth every penny.  The staff were fantastic, the forest-setting was enchanting, and the hours flew by.  It was a bit nerve-wracking at times, but by the end even Victoria was flinging herself down zip-wires with zeal.  Sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  It was a bonding experience too, and our new collective mantra is "40 and fearless!".  We really needed the big pub meal we had afterwards, what an appetite we'd worked up!

There I go, down the zip wire!

Very proudly holding our certificates of 'awesomeness'!

For Chris's birthday yesterday, the two of us had a day out of a more relaxed pace.  Alas, the weather did not cooperate.  When we arrived at Barry Island, we found a parking space immediately, right on the seafront.  That was unusual.  When we stepped outside, we realised that there was a most chill wind that was probably putting other people off.  There were a few people by the shops, but the beach was practically deserted.  We found a sheltered spot under the columned promenade and tucked into our picnic.

To eat our dessert, I thought we should stroll out onto the headland and take in a view of the sweeping bay.  It was the fastest we've ever eaten cheesecake, blimey!  The wind was bitterly cold, and so strong that it spun my camera around on the bench mid-photo.  We power-walked back to the car after that, deciding to forgo a longer walk at the seaside, and headed into the town instead to take advantage of the shelter of the charity shops.  They proved fruitless, so we continued our celebrations back at the house with some home-cooking, and played Connect 4 in front of the woodburner with a wee dram of Chris's birthday whisky.

The rest of the birthday adventures will continue over the coming week - plans include an antiques fair, an afternoon tea, and a trip to Devon.  I'm not approaching 40 quietly! 


  1. Happy Birthday to both of you - let the celebrations be merry and last for weeks!
    Hats off to you for doing that Go Ape thingy.
    You both look fabulous (and rather cold) on your trip to Barry Island. The waether certainly isn't playing nice, is it? xxx

  2. A very Happy Birthday to you both! I'm all for celebrating as long as you can, I spread my 50th out over 9 months because why not??

  3. Happy birthday to you both! We drove past Go Ape when we were in the Forest of Dean once. I've got terrible vertigo, so wild horses couldn't drag me. I saw people doing something similar on Belgian television this week, and felt faint just watching it. Hats off to you and your friends, though! Love that photo of you and Chris on Barry Island. And your plans for the coming week sound just great. Hope the weather treats you nicely! xxx

  4. Happy Birthday to Chris and you! Haha, and Victoria had herself there! But it looks like great fun!

  5. What a great way to celebrate! HB to you both.
    The first time I did zip lining over tree tops, i loved it so much .. even though i burnt my wrist with the rope and had a tough landing against a tree.

  6. Happy birthday to you and Chris! (I've always had it in my head that you're about 32; that Welsh air is clearly good for the skin!)

    I always say, "Stop trying new things, start getting old," though I think I'd take getting old over going on those ziplines - you are all very brave. An antiques fair and afternoon tea sounds much less terrifying.

  7. Happy Birthday to you two!


  8. Happy birthday! It looks like you all had a fun time!


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