From thinking the unthinkable 12 months ago I’ve gone and done it again, Awesome Walls Sheffield is now open and ready for action! How on earth did all this begin?
I opened The Climbing House in Liverpool 1999 against the odds and thought life couldn’t be more stressful. The local council had backed me, given me money, a slap on the back with a wink that the planning application would sail through- NO, deferred it was, the planners deemed it necessary to do a site visit before they could make their minds up if a unit that had been stood empty for 5 years could be turned into a climbing centre that would employ 5 people and possibly turn into something larger!
The big day came and I stood alone in the empty unit armed with enlarged pictures, a 5 page presentation and a speech fit to make the queen proud. I waited and waited, mobiles phones were newish but not quite Star Trek. I checked my brick very 5 minutes but to no avail.
I’d boiled the kettle, lined the cups up, placed the milk into a nice jug, moved the handles towards the door, removed the spider from the window and eventually 2.5 hours after the agreed rendezvous a bus pulled up outside the unit. My heart skipped a beat, this was it, my life depended on this, already feeling a failure I needed to prove to myself than I could turn my life around and help other people in the process.
25 bound documents in my arms ready to convince the Council of Sefton that I meant business, I stood tall, took a deep breath and watched eagerly as one party member departed the bus and headed towards my door. A quick tie straiten and ‘BAM’ the door opens I thrust my hand out to welcome the person that’s about to introduce the council delegates on the bus to me and…… the words fall out like soggy lettuce “the council representatives don’t deem it necessary to alight the bus Mr ……….. Douglas”. Let’s just say that I practiced a little bit of restraint and passed the documents onto this bearer of ? and kindly asked him to hand them out to the cautious council sat on their warm dry bus.
After the bus departed my mixed emotions ran wild. I didn’t know whether to run amok or curl up and cry. For the last six months I’d put everything on the line to prove to myself that I wasn’t a failure that I thought my little girl was going to grow up thinking I was. This was my chance to prove to a few people that I could make a difference and in return my life would turn around and I could go forth and stand proud again.