Month: September 2012


Well, I’m sat in my house disappointed (plus I’m still reeling from Amy and Rory’s demise).

The cold I cant seem to shift, that cost me 2 days off work last week, has cost me a day out walking and the coveted trip on a steam train (I’ve been in helicopters, hovercraft and submarines but I’ve never been on a steam train and I really want to).

I bought an absolutely amazing Photo which I saw while visiting the Scott Polar Research Institute. Grotto in a berg  was originally taken in 1913.

It would have taken 3 people just to carry the equipment to take this picture.

On the subject of adventure, I’m about the book the accommodation for Israel in December, and I’ve booked my flight to Sophia in January (as things stand, I look set to visit 4 countries again next year as I did this one). Additional places I’m looking at, at the moment are Paris, Dubrovnik and Cyprus. Since the summer of hostelling and camping went so well, Ill be doing the same again next year.

IVC  (there’s no “the” at the beginning, as Sue was at pains to point out) had a do on Friday, and Glenn and I went along.

I don’t normally go for big party things like that, but this one was really good and it was great to see so many people there.

There were some of the original members from its first foundation 21 years ago, and Kay the chair who I met at Wild Boar Clough gave a short speech.

Only downside, was Carlsberg was the only lager they had, and after the first hour, flatulence became a problem.

Loads of people seemed to know me, but I had no idea who they were. There was one guy there who could make a good living as lead singer in an Ian Curtis tribute band. Other notable guests were Nikki’s argumentative friend and the diplomatic firebrand Alison, who leads a double life, on the blogsphere under the pen name of OB.

Sue gives us a lift home, and off to bed (I’ve re read this, and for clarity, neither Sue nor Glenn joined me in bed, just in case anyone was wondering).

In the morning, I get loads of things done in the house (its weird being at home again over a weekend, but the stress really disappears when I get all my jobs done.

On Saturday evening, it was Andy’s birthday. I don’t like to “wear the same clothes 2 days running”, so I took Dan this time and left Glenn in the wardrobe.

The idea was to have a few drinks around town, starting at the Bear and Billet. We also visited the Brewery Tap then finished off at the Commercial.

Andy is one of my favourite people at IVC (again with no “the). We hung out together at the Derwent water weekend. I was showing him and another guy how we could light a fire using a Norwegian fire lay. I decided that would make a good theme for a present, so I bought him a bushcraft style turboflame lighter.

Only a person who’s made fire from friction understands the real value of a lighter.

Dan buggered off talking to someone else, so I regaled Andy’s friends, with interesting facts about Chester (which I shamelessly robbed from the tour guides, when I did every one of Chester’s walking tours).

I met some of his friends. One guy was a lecturer from Oxford university. Turns out he’s a friend of Andrew Hodges, who writes about Alan Turing’s life and work. I wish I could have met him, after all, this website is dedicated to his memory.

When I got home, I realised that Andy had asked me to look after all his cards, as I had my trusty daysack. I’ve still got them, Ill have to get them back to him quick.

 I was a bit embarrassed the other day.

I was in town wandering around the shops, when a voice said John Sunter.

Turns out, it was George Lyndsay. The personal trainer I used when I was preparing for my season of alpine mountaineering. In just 7 weeks, I dropped down to less than 15 stone, and I could comfortably run 5 miles (that might not sound like much, but for me, it was a significant achievement.

I was so delighted, that on our last session before I headed for Geneva, I bought him a Swiss Army Knife as a thank you.

Well, things have change a bit now. I describe myself has being at the top end of pub fitness. Obviously I have changed my diet after last years excitement, but I’m not the lean guy I used to be, and although he was nice about it, I could see that George was wondering what had happened.

This year, loads of dreams and goals have become real, but fitness and weight loss are 2 that have evaded me. Meeting George in the street has kick-started me to get cracking. As soon as I get rid of this cold, I’m going to get out running.

Well, circumstances are different, now, and gym membership, let alone personal training is a project for future prosperous times (which will happen, no matter what anyone says).

1. When pursuing a goal, its absolutely essential to have a plan, and some way of tracking results. I’ve just bought a new super accurate set of scales, so I can measure that part of my progress

2. I’m using 2 apps on my IPhone.

Runkeeper, to work out my rout (it can do all sorts of clever stuff, but I’m just using it to map out a 4 mile circuit).

Get Running which tutors you through several session, until you can comfortably run 5k without stopping, running reasonably quickly.

I’ll put up my progress once I get started, and you can tell me what you think.

On the subject of health and fitness, the Countess of Chester hospital, are having an opening evening on Tuesday the 2nd of October. Since they took such good care of me last year, I’ve decided to go.

Ambleside weekend with Jon Mallet

On the front row, kneeling down on the left, is Jon Mallet.

In 2007 I attended a Desert survival course (1 & 2) and visited Morocco (1 & 2). While there I met Jon Mallet. He wasn’t from the usual bushcraft/survival family, and it turned out, that he worked in London for a bank.

I could tell straight away that he was resourceful and adaptable, and since he’d travelled extensively before, he’d be fine on a “rough it” trip like this one.

Short story long, was that we hit it off straight away, and we’ve been good friends ever since (he often travels all the way from London to join in my birthday celebration).

This year, he couldn’t make it, due to family commitments, so we decided we’d meet up and go to the lakes and he would bring some of this friends from London along with him.

Our transportation would be provided by Jon’s Landrover Discovery.

Jon and his 2 friends (both called James) arrived on Thursday night (they would be staying over in Chester, so we could get an early start).

I set everyone up with a bed of some kind, then we went out to a couple of pubs in town. The lads seemed to enjoy my choice of pubs, and we rounded of the evening with a visit to Asia fusion, where previously the famous the original “dizzy” Dave bought everyone’s curry by accidentally getting his arm burned.

We set of early in the morning. Everyone was in high spirits. The Landrover was really comfortable, compared to many of the vehicles I’ve previously travelled in to the lakes.

Our base would be Ambleside, and we’d be staying over for the next 2 nights.

One thing I realised early on (and should have been obvious, had I thought about it) is that Londoners have a lot further to travel when visiting the lake district.  For this reason, Friday wasn’t going to be our setup day, we were actually going to walk Friday and Saturday, and travel home on Sunday.

Before we headed for the Fairfield Horseshoe we stopped to get some breakfast from a nice cafe in the centre of Ambleside. Everyone else had a full English, but I went for scrambled eggs. Made with free range, it was (after Bills in Sydney) the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten so I thought it deserved to be photographed.

We set of walking and passed by Rydal. We passed a campsite there, and I saw some camping pods (idea for a future trip).

While walking, we got chatting, and it was interesting to see the difference in culture (I’m from the North and they’r from the South.

Earlier, we stopped the car to get some equipment. I was concious that the car behind us was waiting on us, and that we should move urgently.

Jon said simply “we wont be long, he can wait”. That’s when I saw the London side of this crew. Yes, Londoners have a reputation for a southern chill and perhaps not being as friendly as people in the north. That said, they live and work in a massive capital city. Its just not practical to act like the district nurse in an environment like that all the time.

Overall, I felt the London banker set, were typically British. Very decent people who know how to relax, but are clear in their mind about where their going and what they want.

It took some getting used too, when we went out for meals, and were asked by the staff if we enjoyed them. Jon would simply reply no. Then after a pause he’d say it was excellent, and everyone would start laughing.

I’m not very good with names, but I decided that one of Jon’s friends reminded me of Catweazle, and the other looked like Mat Damon. Mat and Cat, that would be easy to remember.


We finally get into the hills.

The view from the first peak of the Horshoe, Low Pike was pretty cool.

The walk is 16 killometres, and crosses 8 fells.

Sections of the hill were very steep in parts. As sometimes happens on walks like this, we split up and regroup on the peaks.

I was really impressed with Jon’s fitness. I walk most weekends no and I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. I was no match for Jon, he flew up every hill.

We carried on, and reached the mouth of the horseshoe at Fairfield.

From here we started to head downhill. The weather was foul, but the last section of the walk had a dry stone wall, which we followed back to Ambleside.

We headed to our accommodation. Ambleside YHA is one of the largest youth hostels in the country.

It features a tv room, self catering kitchen, lounge , cafe and bar. The full time staff there were friendly and knowledgeable and best of all there was a chippy next door.

I know some people prefer smaller more intimate accommodation, but I prefer anonymity. I even bought a copy of Tubular Fell picture while I was there.

Our room worked out at £25 per person per night for a private room, with 5 beds. It was nice and warm at night, and we had our own sink for washing (just a small thing, but it means your not wandering around the corridor at night, when you want to brush your teeth.

I read that the hostel was going to be re-furbished in a few months.

Think is, doesn’t that defeat the object. I mean the idea of hostels is cheap, basic clean accommodation. That way either:

a, people who couldn’t otherwise afford it, can get away for a few days.

b, people who could afford to spend more, can choose spend less and get out more often.

If you do the place up, make it really nice and up your prices, then you’ve just created another hotel, and there are thousands of those already !.

We retired for the evening to the Royal Oak, which became our local throughout the trip.

I was introduced to the 5th member of our band, Jon (sat on Jon’s left). He and his wife Rachel had given up the city life, move to the lakes, run a smallholding and live the simple life.

It certainly seemed like a busy life. Everyone morning, he arrived after mucking out sheep, and each evening had to head back to do something in the garden. I was looking forward to seeing this project for myself.

I was also fascinated to hear that he and Rachel were both members of the Antarctica exploration society (I’d visited the Antarctic exploration museum while in Cambridge with work, and I found it fascinating.

 Its interesting to see how the town has changed over the years. A building that has been an off license, picture shop, and kebab shop was now an Italian restaurant. We decided to pop in for dinner. It was really nice.

End of a long day, off home to bed.

In the morning, full English breakfast for another day on the hill.

While people were getting ready, I saw by the lake with some hot chocolate.

I was delighted to see that you could rent canoes and I wished I’d had more time, so I could have a go.

I came upon this sign.

And literally seconds after reading it, these 2 mentalist came charging down the jetty in shorts and jumped into the freezing water.

The peace of the morning is broken, and we head off.

Today we would walk from Ambleside to Langdale and the Old Dungion Ghyll.

Less steep, the walked snakd across the lakes and the environment was constantly changing.

Catweazle had  a dodgy leg so decided to have a lie down. The remaining 4 of us plodded on.

As we wander, we discuss the classic live to work/work to live debate and seem to conclude that neither absolute extreme is desirable.

We headed up some steep hills then dropped down on teh flat and wandered through another campsite.

We saw some caravans and Mat started to tell me about the one he owns. I was fascinated to hear, that it had a remote control.

Literally, you unhook the caravan from the car, then you can “drive” and “steer” it into its designated spot by remote control. Caravans have come a long way, from the ones mum used to take us to in Wales when I was a child.

Even though I’d only known Jon’s friends for 2 days, we had gelled really well.

As we stop for a break, I pose in front of the highest dry stone wall in the lake district.

After they photo is taken, they all start laughing. They’ve made the whole thing up, and apart from it being quite tall, have absolutely no knowledge of it and have seen it for the first time 3 minutes before.

Its a nice wall anyway, so I’ve put the photo up.

We arrive at the bus stop next to the ODG.

We would have got this bus, but cw was driving over to pick us up.

I really enjoyed this walk, and I’m determined to do it again.

Once inside it was a bit drab (certainly not as alluring as their website lead me to believe) and the guy serving certainly wasnt putting himself out.

Still, the walk was complete, and had to be finished off with a pint (as god intended) so I waited my turn for slow-motion-man to service me.

As I sat with the lads enjoying my pint and sea salt crisps, I realised the walking part of the trip was over. Catweazle wasn’t around, and I was a bit worried (whether he was ok, and more importantly, how the hell we were going to get back to Ambleside).

As I’ve seen happen a couple of times recently on walks, we had no signal, but we were sure our rescuer did. Back to slow-motion-man to save the day, as he produces a landline. We wake up cw, get picked up and its back to civilisation.

That evening, I dine on fish and chips on a bench next to the lake. I walk into town for a few pints at the Royal Oak, happy in the company of good friends.

In the morning we rise early.

No cafe this morning, were visting Jon & Rachel at their freehold for breakfast.

Its right next to Shap, the first place I ever visited in the lakes, and nearby is the cottage from the film Withnail and I.

They have everything here, lambs, chickens, goats for milk and an extensive garden and greenhouse.

The place obviously requires hours of work to keep it running, but must be incredibly rewarding and the rest of the lakes are just on the doorstep.

We enjoy a full English breakfast out in the garden with copious amounts of tea and toast.

I’m used to eating food that’s locally sourced, but in this case, it was within 30 feet of where I was sitting.

Jon finishes off the morning with an impromptu Freddy Mercury impression.

Back in the car, and I’m home 2hrs later.

Overall, I spent a bit more than I expected on the trip, but why not, it was a fantastic weekend.

Thanks to Jon for being a great mate, just like he’s always been. Hi to Mat and Cat who’s company and conversation I came to enjoy greatly.

Finally a very special thanks to Jon and Rachel. They hardly know me, but welcomed me into their home, which I found interesting and inspiring.


Still busily updating during my evenings.Things have calmed down a bit at work, and my next trip in the UK and abroad isn’t until December. Some people tell me I should just get on with it and put the pages up.

I disagree. A couple of years ago, I was with a girl I really liked. One evening in the pub, I leaned over and kissed her nonchalantly.

She didn’t look pleased at the exchange, and said simply “If your going to kiss me John, do it like you mean it”.

The relationship didn’t last for long, but that simple piece of advise has stuck with me ever since. Quite simply, when I do something, I try to do it like “I mean it” or just not do it at all.

An example I give was something that happened about 3 years ago.

I was working with a new assistant. We had only worked together for about 10 days, but I felt that he was cutting corners. Not intending to force a confrontation so early in my new job, I tried to use an ancedotel example.

I asked him. You know that I’m single and I live on my own ?

You know that logically, I spent last night on my own, and when I left this morning my bed was empty ?. You know that nobody is likey to enter my house today, until I get home ?, so the question is this.

If you could see my bed right now, what would it look like ?

The point I was getting at, is do you think my bed is unmade, or a mess ?. After all, why not, nobody else will see it, nobody else would know.

But that’s the point I was trying to get across. My bed is made immaculately every morning. Why ?. Because although nobody else would know, I would know.

With that thought in mind, I left for lunch. I was shocked to find when I returned, that I was invited into HR. My assistant spoke to the HR manager, and said he felt “I was having problems at home, and taking it out on him”.

That’s a story for another day, but the point is, if nobody else knows, no matter, always give and do your best work because inside you’ll know.


Gareth Wilkinson (the artist formerly known as mithering Gareth). Spoke to me a few months ago, about a trip to Paris.

I was delighted to help, and gave the best travel advise I could think off.

He emailed me this photo the other evening. He and Katie are having an excellent time.


It was with bitter sadness, that I said goodbye to my friend Lyndsay today.

The bitter sadness was because I really thought the lunchtime buffet would be pizza, but it ended up being sandwiches.

No matter, it saved me the cost of my lunch (even though a complete lack of communication lead to me finding out just a few minutes before it happened).

Lyndsay originally worked in accounts and we had loads of happy times. When she moved into another job within the company, I gave her a card.

We are both keen fans of Margaret Thatcher, and I was reminded of a quote from Lady Thatchers book. In it, she was talking about here friend, Sir Keith Joseph and his retirement. The book itself (the downing street years) is 1100 pages, but in just a few lines she said that once he retired, life in politics would never be quite the same.

I’m no prime minister, but my life at work would never be quite the same, once she left our office and moved to her new job. Now she’s moving to Switzerland, I feel that way more than ever.

The projects were working on at the moment, will mark the greatest achievements of my life. And my friend wont be there to see them (well, unless she regularly visits


 My friend from the CDWG Marjorie (wearing blue in the picture above, and holding a camera) celebrated her birthday recently, with a weekend in Anglesey that we all enjoyed (Ill be putting up photos and more details in the coming days, but this will have to do for now).

Took Friday off, did some beach-combing in the afternoon, then a walk to the highest mountain in Anglesey on Saturday (with a cool walk along the Anglesey coastal path on the way back) and a trip Anglesey copper kingdom on Sunday.

Copper Kingdom, has a large quarry, and 70’s and 80’s version so Dr who were filmed there.

Lots of good company, nice cake, and evenings in the pub. Superb.

As a gentleman (well, some kind of gentleman), I couldn’t possibly divulge Marjorie’s age. Suffice to say, she does significantly more with her time, in later life, than many others in their so called “prime” and is an inspiration to all at the walking group.

Update 2.


This month I replaced my prized head-torch with a Petzle Tikka xp2 (the old one had to be “prised” of my head, I loved it that much).

You might wonder what I did with the old one (or maybe you just don’t care). Anyway, I was on a weekend away (I’ll be writting about that trip tomorrow, as I’m presently putting up 1 article a day for the whole week) at Wild Boar Clough and met a girl called Leanne.

She really inspired me, as she is fanatically motivated to raise money for a teenage cancer charity (the picture above, is a Teddy, that she raffled (I was annoyed, I really wanted that bear !)). She is raising sponsorship for a walk along the great wall (I’ve done that walk, and its amazing fun, but not easy at all).

I donated my old head torch, as I knew she’d need one to complete the walk and it might save her a few quid on her equipment costs.

I completely endorse Leanne’s charity, and if any of you have any spare cash, I’d love you to donate it to her website (I know some of you have offered to donate to the upkeep of, but I’ve got that covered. If you’ve got a fiver (or a tenner) spare, then please donate it.

In fact, I’ll go further than that.

I’ve said several times, that I’m happy on my own, and that I like being single for the freedom and order that it gives me. Its become a cliché now, but as I always say, when I get home from work, there may not be loving arms waiting for me, but there isn’t a row either (unless the fish want some !).

However, in the last 10 days, several of my friends have commented on situations, and said that I should ask this girl or that girl out. I know that they mean well, but I’m pretty happy where I am. Loads of you have said I should open my mind, give it a try, and all the rest of it.

I remain un-convinced, but if friends (you guys reading this), donate £50 or above between you, to Leanne’s Trek China website, I’ll genuinely give it a try and ask someone out. To make it a bit more exciting, the person who sponsors the largest single amount, can pick my prospective “Beau”.

You can contribute to Leanne’s charity here. If you guys really want me to be “happy” (against my will) you won’t mind contributing £20 to making it a reality.

One final rule. If you win, the person you nominate can’t be Leanne herself (this is a bit of fun, but its for a sincerely good cause, so no messing about on that front).

Had an amazing bank holiday weekend.

First thing that was cool, was I completed the 3 remaining “houses” of my every-curry-house-in-Chester tour over 4 consecutive days.

Thursday evening, the Gate of India with “pub” Tony. Saturday evening, Barton Rough with Dan, and Sunday evening Cafe Naj with Glenn.

I also treated myself, and replaced my Gators, my head torch (as mentioned above) and bought a really cool picture called Tubular Fell.

It maps out all the Wainwright fells, in a “London underground” format. I didn’t actually take any pictures of us having a curry, so for this section of the blog, I founda picture of these 2 complete strangers on the internet with a Tubular Fell picture.

Dan has also donated his old computer, to so we are presently experiencing the joys and frustrations of Windows 8.

I also saw brilliant ultra light backpacking setup in Cotswold outdoors. The stuff I have is really light weight, but this stuff is amazing.

I’ve also been getting organised with overseas travel.

My goal for this year, is to visit 4 countries (at least 3 I hadn’t previously been to). Munich was the one I’d always wanted to go back to, complimented by Tallinn in Estonia and Helsinki in Finland that were first trips.

So, with one more country to visit this year, which should it be ?

A country I’ve wanted to visit for more than 20 years. Problem previously was, both my partners at the time (separate relationships, I’ve never been in a 3-way) , and my mother, wouldn’t let me go there, as they were convinced I’d “get killed”.

I’m happily single now (and sadly my mum’s gone) so the door is open to finally visit Israel.

I cynically put the picture above up, because that’s most peoples idea of what Israel is really like. In reality I don’t believe Israel is like that most of the time (and lets be practically, if it is or it isn’t ill only know for sure when I actually go there).

I’ve booked flights in early December, as its the cheapest time to go in a 3 month time horizon.

We’ll have an overnight in Tel Aviv, and then 3 nights in Jerusalem (loads to see on foot, and a few road trips out, to places like the dead sea and Bethlehem).

Dan and Glenn are coming, so if I do “get killed” I’ll have my friends with me, when I arrive on the other side.

On the Friday evening at the beginning of the last bank holiday weekend of the year, the walking group had their usual around the walls pub crawl, organised by Anne.

It was a special time for me, as it marked my 1 year membership of the Chester and District Walking Group (which is strange as I feel like I’ve been there much longer. The people I’ve met feel like friends I’ve known for several years, yet chronologically, they can’t possibly be).

I’d like to thank Sarah blond hair (don’t know her surname) for recommending the walking group, at a meeting of the Chester Globetrotters (the next meeting of the “globey’s” is on Saturday, I’m quite looking forward to it, as I’ve missed the last 2 meeting due to travel commitments).

Anyway, it was a brilliant evening with a chance to catch up with people I don’t see very often,  Glenn turning up in the same coat as me, and a brief visit by “pub” Tony getting into rounds, and then sloping off to buy his own drinks. But that wasn’t all. A plan was hatched to have a meet up and go cycling.

Couple of years ago, Chester council set-up a series of fun rides through the countryside around Cheshire (there are 8 all together) and up to this point, I’d only done 1 of them.

It was decided that on Bank holiday Monday, we would go out for a ride, and complete my 2nd one (I’m determined to complete them all, before the 1st of Jan 2013).

We all met up at Glenn’s unit (that guy will do anything to sell furniture).

Alex and Glenn, came dressed for the Tour de France. I however, wore my patented “old clothes” and I tucked my right trouser leg into my sock.

It was commented on later, that I looked like a paralympian with a carbon fibre leg !.

Lets clear one thing up, right away. The weather was foul. As I woke that morning and looked out of the window, I desperately didn’t want to go. But,  I never let good friends down (although none of them were going, there was Alex and Glenn to consider 🙂

Its for this reason, that you won’t see any pictures outside. It was raining, and I didn’t want to get my phone wet/couldn’t be bothered to take photographs in the rain (in fact, just close your eyes, and imagine your standing outside in the rain. See, there wasn’t any need for photographs after all).

The ride we did was called the Manley Meander.

As you can see from this photo, Alex did a superb job of navigating a series of mundane roads on a grey day (and even made time to eat a sensible sandwich, along the way).

As we arrived at Manley Mere, the woman proprietor started shouting and waving her arms as we fastened our bikes to the gate.

Turned out, that the gate didn’t open outwards as we’d thought, and opened across electrically. If we’d put them there and the gate had opened, it would have cut the bikes in half.

We hung around the Chameleon restaurant/bar a while longer, and the weather wasn’t improving.

As time ticked by, the sun (which nobody could see for clouds) went above the yard arm, so what could I do ?. I got a pint in, and like so often, contemplated life, through my reflection in the glass.

After this, we cycled some more. I realised that by adjusting the hight of the saddle on my bike, I could make riding a lot more comfortable.

With an angry mother-in-law of a day, weather wise, it wasn’t long, before we were back in another hostelry (the Plough).

Glenn treated me to fish and chips, washed down with a few more pints, before I headed of down the canal back to a warm bath and some dry clothes.

I want to say at this point, that despite all the discomfort, it was, overall a rewarding day.

I want to say that…

But it wasnt. I think my cycling experiences from now on, are going to be based significantly on the weather forecast.

still, thanks for Alex and Glenn for coming with me.

Day back at work after bank holiday, and I’m at Manchester airport. I’ve flown extensively, but I’ve never flown there and back to a place in the same day.

On this occasion, we had a meeting with one of our suppliers in Horsham. With 2 directors in tow (Tim and Helen), the time to drive there and back with an overnight hotel stay wasn’t an option, so plane it was (I tried talking them into a private jet, but they weren’t “on board” with it, so to speak) 🙂

The plane to Gatwick was barely in the air 30 minutes, before we landed. We were picked up by a chap called Stewart (again, this is work stuff, relating to a massive project, so I cant discuss details. What I can say, is that Stewart is an expert on telecommunications and one of the cleverest and most charming people I think I’ve ever met).

We arrive at their building.

As I expected, the building was List x rated, but even more cool, they shared the building with another company, Fender, the famous guitar manufacturer.

We were shown loads of cool telephony products. The main thing I learned, is there’s no such think as a phone system any-more. There is a call handling system (which handles everything from texts, to phone calls and hd video conferencing) and endpoints, which can be headsets, software programs that run on your laptop and work like phones, monitoring people in your team, and even conventional plastic phones as well.

I spent the day looking at some amazing telephony solutions using Microsoft Lync. I remember someone once saying to me, If you like computer networks, you’ll love convergent telephony, its even better. I’ve seen it, and it is.

Back at the airport, its been a productive day. We have a quick pint at the bar, and then it occurs to me. The last time I was in this specific airport, was the first part of my first trip around the world.

At the time, the building felt so mysterious and exciting. But now I’ve been too so many airports, that the mystery has gone from this place.

I also noticed that Jamie Oliver has a restaurant there now. Is there anywhere he doesn’t have one.

Flight back home, train back to Chester.

Back on the train to work the next day.

You can always tell the people who are getting the train to the airport and don’t often travel on the train. There noisy, disorganised, carrying to much baggage, faf around deciding where to sit, and take ten minutes to get on the train or get off it.

If you one of those people, I’d just like to point something obvious out, that you may have missed.


If I’m behind you at the bottom of the train, and you take 10 minutes (and I’m not exaggerating) to put your bag just where you like it, just so, it means that 2 things are happening.

1. Me and all the people behind me cant get a seat until you move.

2. While your faffing around, the people getting on the top end of the train, are wandering further and further down the train. ALL the people in that queue will get seats (which is against nature) and all of us will end up standing (which isn’t very nice).

All of this so your £9.99 Argos pull along, filled with dresses from Evans, can be in the premium spot, for a 23 minute journey.

If in doubt, do what Rohan say. Travel light and move fast.

Anyway, reason for this photo, is I saw a student had put this rucksack down. Its exactly the same make as the first rucksack I ever owned (mine was orange, but that’s minor detail). Took me back and made me laugh about how discerning I am now with my outdoor geare

Ok, so its Wednesday morning in work, and I’m impressing everyone in finance with story’s of courage, adventure and tenacity. After I’ve finished telling them, I finish with a few stories about myself.

Next thing, the boss appears at my desk and tells me something important is going down. I look outside the window, and butty van isn’t there, so I wonder what he’s referring too.

Turns out, were involved in some due diligence work off-site (which, you’ve guessed it, is confidential) and that we need to drive 6 hours south of our office, where my firewall/security skills are going to be needed.

With only 30 minutes notice, were off. I don’t have any spare clothes or anything like that, but I’ve lived in the desert for 10 consecutive days, and in the Jungle for 6 so I’m mentally prepared (I just don’t have a toothbrush).

Get down there, do the deal, then drive an hour north, to a place called Newbury. I’ve heard good things about the town, but never been there.

We decide to stay over, at a superb pub called the Bacon arms (daft name, brilliant accommodation, with the 3 essential b’s being more than adequately catered for (Bed, Bath, Breakfast)).

We had a couple of pints around the town, then had a kebab for super (I’ve not had a really good kebab for ages, and this one was superb).

Cooked breakfast in the morning, where I entertain the waiting on girl, with stories of my high level/covert mission. Then the boss arrives, and I have to be quet, in case he tells her we dont really work for a government agency after all, and ruins everything.

Back at work, and impressing everyone in customer service’s with story’s of courage, adventure and tenacity…


Update 1.

First of all, let me apologise in advance for not updating this website recently.

As I’ve stated before, I’m trying to make the most of the summer by going away on as many weekends as possible and its a very exciting time at work. That all sounds great, but it lately, it has left literally no time for anything else, and more than once, I have had to buy brand new socks, as I didn’t have any clean ones in the house and eat my evening meal off paper plates, I bought for the barbecue !.

Well, summer is over. Although I continue to aggressively pursue adventure in my spare time, and build the greatest achievement in my career during working hours, there is at least, a bit of time left.

I’m putting up this page now, and I’ll be publishing pages about my summer adventures, 1 each day, for the whole of the coming week.

Monday, I worked flat out with Dan. By the end of the day, we must have done 2 days work. I was so exhausted, I was in bed by 7pm that night. The following day, I was attending the Insight event, hence the reason to sort things out.

Insight are a computer supplier I’ve used for nearly 12 years (they sell everything, and I mean EVERYTHING). Its always said, that people don’t deal with company’s, they deal with people. I’ve worked with a guy there, called Gary Siddle for 10 years. He’s never let me down,  and couldn’t recommend him more highly.

I was at their London event earlier in the year, but when I went to the Manchester (the greatest city on earth, even if people do step over you when your having a heart attack) event, I remembered my camera.

I finally got a photo of me and Gary, and by a complete stroke of luck, I ran into Peter Grice, someone I worked with a few years ago (At the time I nicknamed him Skinny Pete, but looking at this photo, anyone standing next to me, looks skinny 🙂

So, here it is. Me, Gary and Pete.

The event was hosted at the Gmex (the building you can see outside the window is the Midland hotel).

I normally find the food and drink at events like this to be a bit so so, but in this case it was superb, with an excellent mix of exotic and ordinary.

They also had some beers and wine, which was a nice touch.

But its not food and drink that you go to an event like this for.

In this room are top experts, from some of the most successful technology company’s in the world. You can literally walk up to a stand and ask any question you like.

The other thing that’s cool, is they have the very latest technology on display. In this photo, we have the Microsoft Surface table. 5 years from now, there will probably be one in every house, but right now, its cutting edge (although the touch screen movement was a bit flaky).

I got to try out windows 8 on a computer/table combination, with office 2013. I’ve looked at this before, and considered it un-feasable, but actually using it alongside an expert from Microsoft, I can see how it works (you can see what I mean by watching this.)

My main reason for attending was to research some stuff for a big project at work (which obviously I cant talk about on here).

I saw some cool stuff with interactive whiteboards and video conferencing and stuff like that, but I was most interested in convergent communications.

The idea of convergent communications, is a bit like the idea of the information superhighway. Put simply, the phrase was being bandied around, 6 years before the technology actualy existed.

Convergent comms, is real now. Put simply, it links everything from mobile texting, to hd video conferencing and everything in between under one roof in the data-centre. Even better, it uses open standards, so you don’t have an Ericson phone system, you have a back end, and then things like handsets and screens can be purchased from many different vendors.

I’m something of an expert in MS Lync now, so the one I wanted to see in action, was its rival, Cisco Jabber.

In an entertaining demo, they had a caricature artist in London, talking to people across a vid conf link. In the picture above, you can see a delegate being drawn in real time, and in the background, a couple of “Captain Picard” devices from Cisco.

After this, we had a 40 minute demo of Jabber, and I learned about a concept called full immersion.

Absolutely fab day, loads of cool tech, exactly the reason I work in this industry. Got loads of new ideas, I’d like to thank Gary from Insight for inviting me.

On Wednesday we had to visit a client site, which involved a trip down to London. I think its a real shame that Virgin are losing the franchise. Its said when they took it over 15 years ago, they had the simple idea of making a train, feel like a plane, and they’ve certainly done that.

I cant say much about the reason for my trip, but what I can say, is that its one of the best hospitals in the world, it was an honour to be asked for our help (and we succeeded).

When I visit London, I normally build in enough time to walk where I’m going (I don’t like travelling underground and I prefer to get the feel of a city (lets be honest, I’m from the North of England, London feels like visiting another country, so I treat it in the adventure context it rightfully deserves)). Because we were on the clock, we ended up getting a taxi.

Travelling in a London taxi is a unique and fascinating experience. On the face of it, your driving in a taxi, so so what.

Well, this is one of the safest cabs in the world, by both design and frequent random safety checks.

The quiet guy driving, will have studied the 6 mile radius around Charing Cross for 2-4 years, before receiving his green badge. He will know the 320 runs in the area, which encompass 25,000 individual roads, which he must know from memory. Additionally, he will be highly qualified in first aid, and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of London’s attraction and landmarks.

With our 3 hours of intensive work complete, we walk back to London Euston.

We wander along the South bank of the river Thames. We have a quick look in the British Film Institute shop. I see an authentic Escape from New York t shirt. My co workers laugh when I tell them how much I loved the film all those years ago,  and if 15 year old’s could be legally tattoo’d then, I’d still have a python tatoo’d on my stomach, like Snake Plisken.

We pass by the London office of ITV and see autograph hunters waiting outside studio 3 (where Daybreak is filmed).

We visit Gabriel’s wharf, and have lunch at a restaurant called Studio 6. Its a beautiful day, so we sit outside. We can see the Oxo building nearby (apparently, it used to be illegal to put advertising onto buildings, so the designers of the Oxo building, had the letters built into the architecture to get around this.

I’m surprised to find that their “home made” burgers, really are home made, and the coffee is Italian (and someone famous from EastEnders is in the same restaurant, but I have no idea who she is, as I dont watch it).

Further along the bank of the Thames, we see London Bridge (Dan had never been to London before, so we thought we should show him a bit of the town).

In the background, is the shard, the tallest building in Europe (I read an interesting theory about tall buildings and the economy, which you can read here.)

Its funny how things meant with good intentions, can boomerang back.

As I get on the Virgin train, its a warm day, so they are giving out ice lolly’s. I decide to save mine for later, so put it in my bag.

On the way home, I’m engrossed in the report I’m writing, and forget all about it. The next day in work, I realise its melted, and completely destroyed my book on Israel.


After a mad busy, hectic week, its Friday. My assistant is on leave, and I’m running from one job to another to get them finished.

At lunchtime, I decide to get some headspace, and walk down to the driving range (its a bit out of the way, they have a bar, and I usually have the beer garden to myself). Dan Q, is busy on a team lunch, whatever the hell that is, so I wander over on my own.

As I walk past the lake, I see 2 fish. They are at least 2 foot long, and swim with grace and poise. I’m starting to unwind now. It will be weekend soon, and I can relax. Thing is, Friday night is only fun, if you feel like you earned it, and this week I have.