The Fearless Dad card doesn't always work | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman

A while ago, it became apparent that my children were carrying an anxiety. They were both afraid of heights.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 4:49 pm
The Spinnaker Tower. Picture: Sarah Standing (180540-1119)

I have a reasonable fear of heights squirrelled away too. However, whenever we’re out, I always play the fearless card. It’s what dads do.

As lead extreme mentor of the family, I designed a therapeutic intervention, which I called the Vertical Road Trip. Here’s how we got on... 

Without forewarning, avoiding refusal to travel and other protests, we made our way to the first stop, Spinnaker Tower.

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Once the children realised what I was up to, my daughter seemed quite keen.

However, my son threw a grade one wobble and we were pinned in reception.

I asked if we could use the stairs but the tower staff refused.

After 20 minutes of protracted negotiations, I agreed to buy my son a computer game he wanted, if he went up. I know, but I was under extreme pressure.

Up we went in the lift. Kids were fine and I had to get a seat for a while, until the vertigo passed.

Things were looking good as we headed north to London.

Here we would fulfil our booking on the London Eye.

This was quite something and neither child seemed concerned. I found it terrifying.

When the Eye has taken you to the top, you can no longer see the wheel, it’s as if you’re floating. I ended up getting shirty about a small child who insisted on leaning against the emergency exit door.

I sat for the entire trip and closed my eyes for about 40 per cent of it.

The children were lifted by the experience as we boarded the Thames Cruiser for the finale, up to the Millennium Dome (O2) for the Emirates cable car.

This was a squeaky glass pod of terror. Blown from left to right on a cable no bigger than a human hair.

I shouted at the kids to sit still as they moved from side-to-side pointing out landmarks and oddities on the river.

Who cares about what you can see, I just don’t want to die.

It was a straightforward round trip and we returned to terra firma and made our way back home.

We had managed three extreme height experiences. It was immersive and true to the original idea, it pushed the boundaries.

What I learned was this:

Projection is a defence mechanism, in which an individual attributes characteristics they find unacceptable in themselves to another person.

My kids are fine and I’m the one with all the issues.

I hate heights.

A higher price on my head

Lou and I recently met a super cool guy who owns a chain of men’s hair/bearded/grooming salons.

He came for an interview and made this comment: ‘Alun, you have cut hair not a hair cut.’ Boom. He was right.

I was caught in the trap of the classic cheap cut that’s the same every six weeks.

I’ve only been to a hairdresser once and that was when I got married.

After that it was all about price. Currently, I’m getting the job done in a back street barber’s for nine quid. Although – shock – it was recently increased to 11 quid.

Year after year I say the same thing, have the same cut and pay as little as possible. I now think it’s time to at least try and put a marginally higher price on my head.

I’m not sure why I have the desire to change. However, I’m booked in, I go tomorrow and I have no idea what I’m going to say.

I have no magazine cuttings of better-looking people, no style concepts and I’m dreading having someone wash my hair and demand anecdotes that may involve sporting knowledge and holidays.

I’m going over to the dark side of male grooming, tomorrow I may be discussing moisturisers and skin care routines.

I will report back and when I do, I should look fabulous darling.