It was a bright Sunday morning in June, just one week after we had first met, when Dorcas picked me up in her Mini outside the Railway Station in Bushy Down.
It was probably a little unconventional for the first date but after some discussion it was decided that she would pick me up as I lived in Bushy Down which was between her home in Finchbottom and our destination in the Dancingdean Forest.
Despite my apprehension I was very much looking forward to my first date with Dorcas and was praying it would go well.
My trepidation was quite apart from the normal first date nerves and it stemmed from the fact I had to contend with the death defying heights of the Tree Top Trail with all its incumbent hazards such as Tarzan swings, rope bridges and Zip Wires all at a height of 30ft.
I was not good with heights, I never had been, not that I suffered from vertigo or had an irrational fear of being up high.
In fact I liked high places, Aeroplanes, the London Eye, Canary Wharf or the Empire States Building, as long as there was something between me and oblivion.
What scared me to death was gravity and the belief that it would at any moment pull me screaming to the ground.
But I couldn’t show it, not to Dorcas, I had to put on a brave face for her benefit as I didn’t want her to think I was a wimp.
It was about an hour’s drive to the forest but the time seemed to pass by very quickly as we chatted about something and nothing.
Once we arrived my trepidation deepened as I looked up and realized exactly how high 30 feet was.
As if sensing my reservations Dorcas took hold of my arm.
“Come on then” she said steering me in the direction of a large timber shack.
There were 12 of us in our group, 11 first timers and one jovial leader called Gaz who was determined we all had a “great experience”
And on the whole I think we all did although there were moments when I was almost scared to death.
Though we were never in any real danger, we all had harnesses and protective gear but I was still scared up in the tree tops.
But at the end of it, thanks to Gaz, we all had a great experience but it was nice to get back to terra firma.
After divesting ourselves of our safety gear we all made our way to the café for a well-earned coffee.
As Dorcas and I sat either side of a picnic table discussing how much we had enjoyed the experience
“I wouldn’t want to do it again” she announced
“What?” I said with alarm
“The tree top stuff” she assured me
But she continued with more than a little smugness, knowing she had me hook line and sinker
“I’m up for another date though”
Then after a minute or two she suddenly said
“I have a confession to make”
“Oh” I responded fearing the worst
“I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t scared of heights” she confessed
“I only finished the course because I didn’t want you to think I was wet”
And I laughed
“It’s not funny” she said crossly
“I’m laughing because I was scared to death myself, I just gritted my teeth and got on with it because I didn’t want you to think I was a wimp”
I said and she laughed as well.
When the laughter had subsided we both concurred that it had been a good first date.
It was early evening when we finished our coffee and said fair well to our fellow adventurers and the weather was still lovely.
We were both getting peckish and as neither of us were ready for the date to end and as we were only half an hour away from the coast we headed off to Pepperstock Bay where we ended the momentous day eating fish and chips out of the paper on the sea front and talked about the day.
Our first kiss came in true romantic style as the sun slowly sank beyond the horizon and on the journey home we planned our second date.