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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

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Nowra NSW 2541


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Lauri drives people up the wall

There were some 25 folk wandering the streets of Nowra with nothing much to do recently, so they all threw $10 in the hat and went off with Lauri Ball and Sandra Kelley to North Nowra Gym.

Lauri was in for a big surprise, because he didn't realise who was signing on for this very adventurous assignment. As promised by the Gym, a ladies class of gymnastics was in progress when we arrived, with the appropriate music banging out loud sounds so the shapely ladies could dance, gyrate and lift weights with gusto. We only peeped a little as most of our attention was on the very pretty instructress who was assigned to teach us how to climb a wall - safely!

The first hurdle was putting on the harness. Either there were some very small kids using them before us or we were above average size and weight. The harnesses were eventually adjusted to fit us. I thought they were like chastity belts, designed to keep our minds on the wall, but their real purpose was to attach us to a rope and then to the floor via our soul mate, who was instructed to belay the rope and keep it tight as a safety device. Also, of course, to lower us down after getting to the top of the wall. Although it would be possible to climb down, most chose to freely descend back to their waiting friends below.

Now this wasn't just any wall. It was about 25 feet high and inclined either in or out and parts even had a ledge sticking out, just to make life more of a challenge!

It is not easy to highlight all the laughs, giggles and fun we all enjoyed in the 2-hour period, but Kynie was our experienced member who helped everyone and made the first climb look so easy. Alan Thomas was probably the most mature, and took to the wall like an old pro. (?)

Nick Lloyd didn't bat an eyelid climbing the wall quite a few times and, not getting the adrenaline rush he expected, he trusted his life with Yuriko as his belayer. Now Yuriko enjoyed bouncing off the wall on the descent and thought Nick would enjoy this too. Doing so, Nick fell for Yuriko and ended up on one knee at her feet. Lauri is looking into this, but is not too worried as Nick was wearing his regulation chastity belt at the time.

Looking in on the side was Margaret Brown and Dot Gallagher who came only for a "look see". It got the better of Dot and up she went. The first climb only half way, but Dot being determined, she came back and Lauri really drove her up the wall and she got to the top. Margaret was itching to climb too, but alas, had no shoes to help her. I know for sure next time Margaret will be first on the rope. Jan Roper plucked up the courage while Alan hid behind the chips, but he needn't have worried - Jan went straight to the top first time.

Then there were the others, Peter Walsh who turned out a real Spiderman, as did Brett and Karen Davis, Colin Taylor, Warwick Knowles, John Crisp and Chris Bellamy. Most of this elite group climbed up over the impossible ledge that protruded from the wall and which I had thought was impossible to climb over, but they did it.

Then the best part was watching the "Belles of the Wall", Pam Dix with her daughter Joanne, Sandra Kelly, Sylvia Archer, Janice Walsh, Fae Lloyd and Margaret Perkins all did wonderfully well and everyone amazed themselves by not falling off the wall. Most importantly, they made the effort to challenge something that is usually reserved for the young and foolish.

My congratulations to everyone who came and took the challenge. We won't mention that there was energy still left over to play a little volleyball and put away a Chinese meal after Lauri had driven everyone up the wall. Well done everyone ...