Kneeling in the open door of the aircraft, wind and engine roar drowning out all other sensations, I can only tingle with a mixture of terror and anticipation. Below me, clouds swirl like disinfectant in water, and far down I glimpse a ring of prime colours which I take to be some kind of target. Viewed from ten thousand feet, a rainbow is a complete circle. Iâ€™m determined to keep my eyes open. Every second is to be relished.
â€œOn the count of three, lean forward, dip your chin to your chest, and roll out, okay?â€
We rock forwards, then back.
Forwards again, and my heart has somersaulted. The instructors cheat, in case someone yells â€˜noâ€™ at the last second.
Plummeting now at a hundred miles an hour, the noise of a thundering express train fills my head. My mouth is parched: it is gaping open. The cloud vapour dissipates. I am bathed in sunlight. The earth is hurtling upwards. Am I upside down? I can make out the peak of a mountain, directly beneath me!
I pass through layers of red, orange, and violet. I am falling through the rings of the rainbow. This is the most powerful experience ever. I have relinquished every vestige of control. Inside, I am quivering with intense pleasure.
A tap on my shoulder. Way above, I make out three black dots tumbling towards me â€“ my children! I must be crying, but I canâ€™t tell.
A jolt at my back, and I am floating in complete silence. Peace descends; the wings of an angel are flapping above me. I am convinced I will break my legs when we land, but I donâ€™t care.
Spread-eagled on the grass, I scrutinise my childrenâ€™s faces. Twitching from adrenaline, we scream for joy from the bottom of our lungs.
Each time I look up at the sky, I glow with the same excitement. I know how it feels to be up there, and nothing will ever be the same again.
Skydiving over Cairns, Australia, for my 50th birthday.