28 on the List for Living

28) Zoom down a zip wire

Really, what was I thinking?? Why did I want to dangle in the air, held only by a few ropes? Fly across a quarry so deep that it’s used as a diving centre? I had ages to wonder as we waited for our turn on the zip wire.

I had been lulled into a false sense of security. When we got to The Wire in Chepstow there was a picture of a woman doing to zip wire and she had a seat. It kinda looked like she was on a swing. Great, that’s what I’ll do. But do you think my friends would let me take the easy option? Of course not!

There big of group of us. Rache, my friend who loves fancy dress, organised the day. Thankfully without any fancy outfits although she did point out to us that she’d seen a video of Batman and Robin riding the wire.

This is billed as one of the longest, tallest and fastest zip slides in the UK. It reaches speeds of up to 40 miles an hour.

To get to the start of the ride you have to walk around the quarry that you will zoom over. That certainly gets your heart pumping. It makes you realise just how far you are going to go.

At the top of the quarry, on the edge of the cliff, is a high platform with a ramp that you have to walk up. You have to then climb up a small stop ladder. From there the only way is down. And over the water. Very fast.

I lined up with Denise, one of my oldest friends from school. We were both strapped in and petrified. She went first. I had to wait and watch as she zipped off and away. The man in charge pointed out the Severn Bridge in the misty distance. My legs were turning to jelly.

Finally, it was my turn. I’d like to say I took a leap of faith. But actually it was more of a tentative step. Then whoosh. The feeling was incredible. I was flying through the air. After a few seconds of sheer terror, it felt peaceful being above the water. I loved zooming on the zip wire.

Doing something like this makes you understand that fear is only a feeling. It doesn’t mean you can’t do something. What I really enjoy about doing my List for Living is that it’s such a great excuse to have fun with friends. We laughed, we screamed and we all survived.

You may have heard those screams in my BBC World Service documentary, The Bucket List. If you missed it, here’s a link to the programme.


Now we are looking forward to our next adventure. This time it does involve fancy dress. The thing that will be the most frightening will be what we are wearing!

12 thoughts on “28 on the List for Living

  1. Hi Helen,

    If you are in position health wise to travel to Sri Lanka, we can help you tick of at least 7 on your list..
    5 Recover from chemo on a ridiculously perfect beach. – Maldives is only an hr flight away
    10 Snorkel on a coral reef. – Maldives again
    27 Try kite surfing.
    29 Surf somewhere hot.
    33 Fly in a hot air balloon.
    37 Sleep under the stars.
    48 Sail alongside a pod of dolphins.

    If you can send me a private message would be fabulous ..
    Regards xo

  2. Hi Helen
    I think you would enjoy reading my daughter’s blog….she was 28 last year when she was diagnosed with terminal malignant melanoma. Her blog is actually wonderfully funny, uplifting and inspiring. I would like to publish it.
    You can find it at http://www.sharkyandwillow.wordpress.com
    I now have Willow!
    All the best to you and you are really helping your family with your wonderful attitude.
    Carolyn x

    • Thanks so much Carolyn. It’s a beautiful blog. Your daughters amazing personality and joy for life was wonderful. It really shone through. I cried reading the blog but at the same time it was funny and up lifting. What lovely memories you have from the blog. And thanks that means a lot x

      • Thank you so much for your comment Helen, it means a lot to me that you read it. Like Ella, your family and friends will be deriving so much inspiration from your blog and your zest for living! Well done and I am so happy that you are choosing this path. In Ella’s words…”Live, love and don’t be sorry”.
        Incidentally, we live in Gloucestershire too.
        All the very best to you and your family and I hope you achieve as much of your bucket list as possible. My other two daughters and I are now doing as much living as we can; that is Ella’s legacy to us xxx

  3. Hello brave woman Helen, I see you made front page/main story on The Daily Mail (on-line version anyhow) today. Keep going Helen.

  4. Wow what an inspiration you are ! Just read your article on the daily mail. Makes you realise how often we take life for granted and should always live it to the max :-). Your bucket list sounds amazing and looks like your having a good time experiencing your dreams. We should all take a leaf out of your book and enjoy the greatest of life :-). Lifes too short to ponder on things and should just go for it ! Experience new things and challenges. Anyway will enjoy your many forthcoming experiences and look foward to reading about them :-D

  5. Hellen

    I have to tell you, I really admire your spirit and your strength and though I don’t personally know you and perhaps never will I’m really glad to know that you’re out there and that people like you exist. You are a true inspiration.

  6. Hello Helen, I’m Maura.
    I wanted to go to leave my greeting and tell you you’re a wonderful girl, with more courage than many other people “adult” …
    I’m with you and I will continue to follow you!

  7. Dear Helen, I listened to “The Bucket List” podcast on the BBC yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed you. You sounded so full of life and energy and nothing near someone who has been given a while to live. Could you please tell me the name of soundtrack used in the documentary? I used to have it on my computer and listened to it intensely the night my first child was born. The music, meditative as it is, reminds me of life. I hope you live long and that your cancer recedes. I love your attitude and focus. Stay strong and thanks for the wonderful documentary. Greetings from The Netherlands.

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