Month: December 2011

Christmas Day.

As you read this, I’m sat at my house, waiting to be picked up and spend Christmas with my brother. I spent last night just relaxing in my house (a house 18 months ago, I thought I was going to lose). I’ve got the whole of Christmas off, until the 3rd of Jan (something I’ve only done twice in the last decade).

In traditional Christmas spirit, I’ve spent time this week with my friends from work (Nick Barker, Tracie and the Warehouse crew), Sue and Brian from the CDWG and  Steve, Glenn and Dan.

Just like my mum used to, I prepared a sort of open buffet, which between them, they have completely eaten.

I put it out on my pine table, with the superb chairs, which were a gift from Glenn. I’ve also setup my train set on the table, so I can race it around.

Although half the train set was broken when it arrived from ebay, Id like to thank Jim from Model World, for assisting me in getting it ready for Christmas eve.

I spent last night relaxing, catching up on various TV (Dexter, Chuck and Fallen Skies) and had another go at Halo 3 (I’ve bought modern warefare 3, and it is a spectacular game, but to be honest, Halo will always be the only game for me (even though in fact, there are 3 “episodes” of it.

I got loads of presents this year, and pictured above, are some of the many cards I received. Spectacularly good news, is that Frank is home from Thailand, and we are meeting up in the English lounge at some point over Christmas.

In 2008 and 2009, Christmas was a very dark time for me. Christmas last year, was great, but I didn’t so much enjoy it, as have an overwhelming feeling that I could relax and things would ultimately return to normal. This year I feel like they finally have.

Id like to thank all of my friends for their support and kindness and making this an amazing year.

Next year is going to be even better, with loads of exciting things happening at work. I’m also returning fully (well as fully as I can) to the adventure fold, so if you know me through shared adventures, and haven’t heard from me in a while, your phone may be ringing in January.

Ill get going now, but Happy Christmas to everyone reading this.

The search for adventure continues… (I haven’t said that for a while 🙂


Feel the fear and do it anyway.

A couple of days ago, I was invited to attend a Sharepoint seminar in London by the excellent Core.

The first I noticed something out of the ordinary, was when I entered the carriage in first class (I’m the UK head of IT now, there are some privileges to rank :). As I took my seat, I felt a little nervous, which isn’t like me at all.

The journey passed without event, I read a book, browsed my IPad and ate my ashtray sized breakfast.

The train arrived at London Euston. As I got off the train, the first thing I saw was the scene above. Suddenly I felt nervous and slightly afraid. I was in London, “far” from home. I remember thinking, what would happen if I got mugged, or lost my ticket ?, how would I get home ?. Whats going on I thought. I’ve landed in China with just my rucksack and didn’t feel this way, whats going on ?.

That’s when it hit me. Like physical fitness, your “adventure muscles” need to be exercised regularly. I’ve spent the last 18 months, doing things like hill walking. Although I’ve visited Bucharest and Lisbon in that time I’ve realized that although I’m experiencing adventure, I’m not leaving my comfort zone often enough and when I’m forced too by external forces I’m experiencing discomfort.

Everything turned out to be fine. On the train on the way back, I used the time to think about things. I’ve spent the last 18 months concentrating on my career, improving my home and spending time with friends. Things have been great, but I was reminded of a quote by Kahlil Gibran.

“Comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and becomes a host, then a master. And then it becomes a tamer, and with a hook and whip it makes puppets of your larger desires”.

I also remembered watching an episode of the TV series the Office. One scene features the receptionist (who is played by Jasper Carrots real life daughter Lucy Davies). She is being interviewed and says that originally, she worked as a children’s illustrator. She took a job as a receptionist to pay the bills. When questioned, she originally described herself as a children’s illustrator who worked as a receptionist, but over time just refereed to herself as a receptionist. A simple and comfortable solution, but at that point, she’s given up her dream.

Has that been happening to me ?. People I work with used to ask me about travel and adventure destinations. Now they just seem to identify me as John, the man who runs IT.

My bluelist (now completed) was all about leading a normal life, buying a house, building a career and spending time with friends but also pursuing adventure, without compromise.

I need to get back to that. I need to redefine myself.

Adventures with the CDWG.

Two recent outings with the Chester and district walking group.

A wander around Llangollen, starting and ending at the Ponderosa cafe. The really cool part was wandering around in the hills, with mist in the valley bellow.

More recently, we had a weekend away at Hathersage.

I took all my usual stuff, including torch, Swiss Army Knife and Glenn. I even won some fair trade chocolate in the Secret Santa.

The facilities at Hathersage YHA were superb. Costing only £63, we had 2 superb evening meals, 2 breakfasts (as good as any £150 + per night hotel) and packed lunch for the hill, were all included. Here Glenn makes some tea, in the new fleece he purchased just for the trip (this picture doesn’t do it justice, its a fantastic piece of kit).

Unfortunately, the weather on Saturday wasn’t very kind (although it was good to get out in the open countryside).

In the evening, we drank, played cards and took the occasional trip to the pub (or the grave of Little Jon, who famously fought Robbin Hood).

One superb thing, was spending time with a chap called Alex. As some of you knew, I spent time in the Countess of Chester hospital earlier this year. I wanted to make a contribution at Christmas. Turns out, there is a sponsored 5k Santa run this coming Sunday, and they need marshals for the event. Alex put me in contact with the relevant people, so I can once again turn an idea into action.

If you haven’t done it already, join the Chester and District Walking Group.




Christmas arrives at the Sunter house.


Well this year, I’ve decided to give the house more of a Christmas feel.

I got this rather fetching tree, for only £2.85 at Wilkinson’s. The associated tinsel and baubles were a pound each to match it.

I found by positioning it in front of my X-Files “I want to believe” poster that I was able to use the saucer as a replacement for the traditional star on top of the tree.

I’m spending Christmas with my brother this year, it will be there first time I’ve been out of Chester on Christmas day, in about 9 years. If you’re free over New Year, I’ve invited a few mates over (sleeping facilities will be the floor). If any of you fancy it, your very welcome.