This is what it’s like to eat breakfast at 450ft in the air

I’m chatting to my partner about our respective days as we share an almond croissant and sip our juice, occasionally pausing to enjoy the view. In many respects, it’s a morning like any other. But in one massive way, it’s completely different. Today we are enjoying our continental breakfast at 450ft.

Harnessed and strapped in tight, we’re sitting atop a metal girder that’s been winched into the sky from the rooftop of a 32-storey building next to the Shard. Although we’re high up, the UK’s tallest building still manages to dwarf us – at 1,004ft, it’s more than double the height of our lofty vantage point.

Even so, the sense of being on top of the world as we look out over the capital is intoxicating. 

“Go on, swing your legs a bit – go for it!” yells a guy from the rooftop, egging us on. We’re here at the invitation of Deliveroo. The online food delivery service created this event, running from 21-22 August, which lets members of the public enter a free ballot to recreate the iconic Lunch Atop a Skyscraper picture that defined an era. You know, the one where Rockefeller Center construction workers sit along a metal beam, seemingly oblivious to the fact they’re suspended so high that one wrong move could see them end up as a splat on the New York City sidewalk…

In our case, the fall would only be 15ft or so to the rooftop, and even that would be almost impossible given the harness. I’m sure, too, that the men from the picture weren’t tucking into pastries from Pret or quaffing a cold pressed apple, ginger and lemon juice. But other than that, I feel we’re channelling the spirit of the photo pretty well.

The beauty of the original lies in the reportage style; only one of the men appears to be looking at the camera, while the others chat, smoke and peruse their lunchboxes. Today’s photographer follows the same brief, snapping us unawares as we douse ourselves in croissant crumbs and joke about how odd it is to be involved in a stunt like this at 8am on a work day.

The only downside is that the most incredible view lies behind us – providing the perfect backdrop to the photo – while our eyeline is dominated largely by an ugly ventilation shaft. I’m sure the final image from our shoot will show the back of my head; I can’t stop turning around to admire the whole of London spread out in the early morning light. The colours seem brighter than usual, the London Eye’s clean white standing out against the river, the buses’ scarlet coats providing a pop of colour next to the grey city streets.

“Are you ready to come down?” shouts the man from below. Pastries demolished and juice bottles emptied, we have no excuse to stay – although I find the whole thing much more relaxing than anticipated. There’s something about being above it all that makes you feel at peace with the world.

Reluctantly we reply that yes, we’re ready – we can already see the next group ready to take our places. And with that it’s all over. We’re unstrapped and dispatched to head off to our various workplaces in different pockets of London.

That feeling stays with me all morning though. The calm that comes with starting the day 450ft in the air, high above the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s most exciting cities.

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