In June my arrogance reached new heights. I stepped off the Longmynd and flew.

My instructor had told me to run, but there was no ground under my feet so I pedalled pointlesly in the air for a few seconds and then sat back to enjoy the ride. We coasted along the edge of the hill and over the woods at the foot. Beyond was the patchwork of little fields and hedges that seems to come from a previous generation.

We curved and banked in the breeze trying to catch an upward draught and swung back over the slope where Debbie was sitting with a camera.

I heard a skylark singing and looked down to see its busy wings fluttering below me; the first time I have looked down on a soaring skylark. Further off down the hill a kestrel was hovering. We sailed up and down the ridge and rose on a breeze before sinking again on a patch of cooler air. After a while,  and it was actually much sooner that it seemed, we realised that each run along the hill was a bit lower than the last one, so we turned out across a rocky outcrop, across the lane, across the woods, and landed in the sunny field below.


A fantastic experience, even if I felt a bit queasy! And that was the second special birthday present I have had this year, this one had taken over two years to find a slot in the calendar.