Stairway to Heav……….Glass Floor Level

Up until now my relationship with the tower has been one of understanding, gaining knowledge, understanding how it works, I’d described Edgewalk as an organic part of the skyline, but in October it would briefly become my enemy. I would have to conquer it! I was doing the stair climb. This isn’t any casual stair case, its 113 building stories, 1776 steps. Normally I would make this journey in the elevator, 58 seconds of casually sipping my tea, or getting to know my group, but this time I would have to slog it for 15-20 minutes.

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It’s a long way up…..

I’m not exactly unfit, but I was aware of the challenge and a little nervous that it could catch me out, so I needed to do some training. Luckily Nyssa had moved to a tall apartment building which I could get 27 floors out of, so I was able to do a few training sessions before hand. I’d worked myself up to 81 floors a couple of times, and apparently you’re not supposed to train full distance in running, so I felt somewhat prepared.

Nevertheless in the morning I felt I slightly nervous. My aim was to see it off in bellow 20 minutes, but I was unsure of how effective my training had been, I was seeing off a head cold, and I hadn’t slept all that well the night before. I ate a few bananas and headed down to the tower for 6am, and eventually met up with some of the other tower staff including two fellow Edgewalkers – Romina and Angelyn. Once we had our timing chips we were whisked out from the gathering area and across to the base of the tower and quickly through the entrance into the tower. The start was a bit of an anti climax we were funnelled into a very normal looking stairwell of the tower, we slapped our timing chips on the start box and we were off.

I knew that I needed to pace myself on the climb, and this was both my weakness and my strength. The flights were numbered, but at the time I was thinking that they were the floors! Initially I started slow, keeping with Romina and Angelyn to get warmed up, but then as we got higher and I felt warmer I upped my pace a little bit. Getting to the 70 flight mark I perceived I was nearly there and pushed more, but then I realized that actually I was only halfway!! The last 20 flights were hellish, but I managed not to chuck up my lungs or blow my calves and sprinted the last flight to claim my time! Romina and Angelyn were close behind and together we headed down to get our times.

We conquered the tower!!!

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I was really pleased to have finished, for entering the tower has donated $100 to the United Way, the charity hosting the event, and I had conquered probably the biggest physical challenge of the trip. After we’d taken some victory selfies, we headed over the road to a cafe for a well earned cup of tea.

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We did it!

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A September Wedding..

In September I made my way back to the UK once again for my third and final wedding of the trip. This time it was my dear friends Joe and Soph “tying the knot”, and this time I would be very intimately involved in their big day. Joe has asked me to be his best man, and with this comes a host of duties the first of which would be to organise the stag party. With Joe planning his big day, my aim was to keep do as much as possible myself, so that he didn’t have to worry about the planning, and could just enjoy the party. To make things a little more tricky, I also had to do this from 4000 miles away… …………………………..

This sounds like a problem, but actually its not that difficult really! In this age of WiFi, and Skype, most of what I had to do involved setting up a Facebook group and sending a few emails, and Facebook messages. The only element which I needed help from in the UK was paying for our karting, which my friend Craig kindly organised. I returned to the UK with main elements in place – a plan that everyone knew about, accommodation, and the karting booked, but the first couple of days back in the UK were nevertheless hectic. In order to borrow my mum’s car for the stag I had to return home, but in order to borrow my friend Tom’s projector, and actually spend some time with him (I hadn’t seen him in a year), I’d have to drive to London that night. Then, the next day we would 4 hours down to the accommodation, and stop to get booze and a meticulously prepared list of shopping on the way. Our accommodation turned out to be perfect for what we needed, with a huge well equipped kitchen and a big living area to relax in.

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It was a pretty awesome weekend, everything that I’d planned went off without a hitch, and it was great to get all of Joe’s close friends together and celebrate before the big day the week after!

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I spent most of the week before the wedding at home, seeing friends and family around Stroud. It was quite busy, I was doing stuff during the day, but I tried to make some time to relax as well. Whilst I’m on a working holiday, I’ve been tending more towards the working side of it than the holidaying part over the last few weeks. My mind was mostly focused on the best man speech, which I’d been writing on and off for the last 4 months.

The big day was a mostly outdoor affair, down in picturesque Dorset. Me and a few friends headed down the night before to set up in our tents, and had a quiet evening before everyone arrived the next morning.

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By the light of the moon..

I awoke on the morning of the wedding a little nervous, hanging over me was the spectre of the speech. Its your biggest chance to pay tribute to a dear friend, so you have to make it good, and you have to deliver it well! To take my mind off things I was entrusted with another big responsibility just before the ceremony began…..

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Don’t mess this one up Dave…

The ceremony itself revolved around the metaphor of tying the knot, and I got the chance to tie a ribbon around Joe and Soph’s wrists to symbolize their bond, before providing my precious cargo at the end.

After the ceremony we sat down for a big dinner revolving around pie, the food was great but my nerves were having an impact on my appetite as my moment drew near. Luckily Soph’s dad set me up very well with some banter before, and my mum had made me an amazing pair of comedy cadet trousers to support my opening joke, and all my nervous practicing had essentially got me to memorize the speech, so it went pretty well. Everyone laughed at the jokes and I think I got across what I wanted to say.

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To Joph!! (Photo – Meurig Gallagher)

I sat back down relieved that the last of the things I’d planned had gone off without out a hitch, and with my appetite restored. Conveniently desert turned up almost immediately! After we were treated to much whisky, a performance by Joe’s old band, and dancing long into the night.

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I left the UK with mixed feelings. The trip back had been really great, and I was sad to say goodbye to everyone again knowing that I wouldn’t see them for months, but as Toronto appeared again on the horizon the excitement for Canada grew once more. I still have 10 months of this crazy double life to lead and it’s turning out to be quite a ride.