Month: November 2012

Celebs, Caving, Poetry, Jazz and Fray Bentos pies.

Loads happening recently, and as I’ve said before, lots of weekends away can leave you bereft of time to put your life back together on your return.

A thing that concern me at the moment, is the threat to 2 British institutions. Black cabs and New Scotland yard.

Black cabs are at the heart of British culture. I travelled in one recently and I can’t imagine London without them.

As a keen fan of crime drama, what would the world be without Scotland yard. I’ve been watching a series recently called elementary. Its a sort of modern take on Sherlock Holmes. The hero is a genius detective and his main claim to fame is that he spent some time working with Scotland Yard. Seems like one of those occasions when “Jonny foreigner” values our culture more than we do.

Weekend just gone, I spent stayed at Skiddaw house, for the 2nd time this year. I drive up with Brian and Nikki, and we met Brian’s friend Nigel while there.

The walk in was pretty good, weather was fine and we successfully submitted Blencathra (regular lake district walkers know, that most of the hills in the lakes are called fells, and that there are only a handful of mountains, of which Blencathra is 1).

Overnighted at Skiddaw house and I was delighted to find that Mathew Parris was staying there as well. Former MP and journalist, I find his articles and interviews fascinating. I wondered about engaging him in conversation, but it occurred to me, that that’s sort of his job.

Would I like to be at Skiddaw house and someone hand me a laptop and ask me to fix it ?.  He’s in the photo above, in between the 2 children.

Walking back, the weather was atrocious. It was the worst I’ve ever seen in the lake district, and I was soaked. Back in Mungrisedale we pop in the Mill pub and I had steak and ale pie before heading home.

I found out recently on a discussion forum (so this is by no means a guaranteed fact) that Foster, Carling and Tesco’s own brand lager are all made in the same factory.

I’ve said for some time, that you cant tell the difference between Fosters and Carling lager and many hours of pub “research” seem to prove this.

During the last few barques, I’ve put Tesco’s own brand lager into a glass. If its cold enough, its almost impossible to tell it from Fosters or Carling. Thing is though, Tesco lager costs about £2.30 for 4 cans so its extremely cheap.

Made me wonder, since Tesco seem determined to take the world over, why don’t they cut out the middle man, and open there own chain of pubs ?.

Above is an artist’s (skinny Pete) impression of what a Tesco pub might look like.

George W. Bush once made a mess of the idiom fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Poundland selling 4 Mars bars for a £1. Their not proper Mars bars and their really small. As the Who sang, wont be fooled again. Trading standards have been alerted.

I always like to try new things, and lately, I’ve been trying to extend myself culturally.

The Sunday before last I was invited to take part in the worlds first Poetry take away.

It basically involved something that looked like a burger van, with some tweed and scarf wearing artistic types. They would take some details from you, then you’d go away and when you came back later, they would have composed a poem.

Alison organised it, and had a poem for the IVC. I was the only male there, and 2 of the other girls got poems as well.

I didn’t actually get a poem as I’m on the fringe.

Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes and the main thing I got from the event was actually meeting some poets and chatting to them. They were very nice people.

Whilst waiting for the poem, we went to Pret-a-manger for coffee. That’s something else I don’t normally do, and we sat for about 40 minutes drinking coffee and chatting about things.

So, I’d only been out an hour, and done 2 new things.

From here, we headed to Alexanders intending to relax listening to some quality Jazz.

When we arrived, I wondered why all the seats near the front were free.

As soon as they started playing, I wished I’d brought my Specialist Phonak hearing aids as they would knock out the background sound and focus on the conversation of my friend.

However, as one of the guests at our table said, that will only help, if you have some for everyone else as well (It was really loud !).

It was a pretty mellow experience, and a lot more relaxing than a normal couple of hours in the pub. Everyone else drank soft drinks and pure orange, but I had 4 pints of fosters (its nice to try some new things, but its also nice to get pissed as well, so I went old school !).

My friend Sue from the walking group joined is a littel later. We all drifted off home about 5pm, and I was safely ensconced in the curry buffet for 7pm.

What a really smart Sunday, different than usual but loads of fun and I’m going to do it again.

Another Chester IVC event, was an evening trip to West Mine in Alderley Edge.

Aidan, that wolf of adventure had organised it. After enjoying his previous trip to Wild Boar Clough, I was hooked.

I also got to meet up with Sarah. I got on quite well with Sarah, and I’m most grateful, as we met at the Chester Globetrotters, and she was the person who recommended the Chester and District Walking Group to me.

I took this picture of Sarah with caving gear. I thought it was quite nice.

Which is a shame, as when she took this picture of me, its awful and I appear to have a Tefal head.

For £11 we got to wander around the mine for nearly 3 hears (it was a guided walk, and very informative).

Thing that’s fascinating, is that people are probably wandering around through the fields above, with no idea that this enormous mine (which would be big enough to house the evil hideout in a Bond film) was beneath them.

I treated myself to a new Rohan jumper recently (I didn’t pay the full price for it).

OK, this stuff is expensive, but its the best travel gear you can get, and brings me immense pleasure, just from wearing it.

I saw this advert recently. I last saw it in the 80’s when I was a volunteer at Fairbridge Drake.  All the instructors had some sort of Rohan clothes, but I could never afford them (in contrast, today I own 14 pairs of Rohan trousers).

This advert, was when they first introduced Rohan bags. Prior to this, walking trousers were very bulky, but it was said that a pair of Rohan bags would take up the same space and much less weight than a can of coke.

Those were the days. Today, you’d struggle to find walking trousers that WOULDN’T fit into a coke can.

But Rohan have moved with the times. I own 2 pairs of Rohan Goas. An amazing pair of outdoor trousers, and BOTH pairs would fit into a coke can !.

On the subject of things that last for a long time.

I always love those films where people are frozen in time, and when they wake in the future, the world has been destroyed by nuclear war or some other such calamity.

Although its science fiction, I always wonder what life would really be like in that situation.

Surely there would be hundreds of thousands of Fray Bentos pie’s left in warehouses, so they could survive on those couldn’t they ?.

Considered opinion is that they taste like slop.

I remember reading that when the Germans attacked Stalingrad in the winter, they were so cold and hungry, that they boiled up the tongues of their boots, to make soup.

They must have had loads of FB pies to spare, but boot tongue soup was preferable !.

If you gave people these in Rwanda or during the Tsunami, I’m sure they’d hand them back to you.

I was in Poundland buying Mars bars (rip off, their really small), and saw one. For the purposes of research, I decided to buy it, take it home, cook it and eat it.

Taking only 20 minutes to cook, in its own tin, the pie is ready.

I leave part of the lid on, to act as a handle.

I tuck in. To my credit, I finish it all, but its quit foul.

So, if:

The corner-of-the-pub-discussion scenario becomes true, and the Chinese do “airmail the big one” and we face impending nuclear destruction.

In the 4 minutes I have left to live, my neighbour leads me into his house, and shows me a time freezer and a small warehouse filled with Fray Bentos pies…

I always say a life without principles is no life at all. But a life filled with Fray Bentos pies would make death about as scary as watching the sun set over Ularu :).

I’ve always wanted remote controlled lights like my brother (I mean in his house, their not fastened to him !).

I bought some on ebay and was determined to fit them. Came back from the pub the other evening well oiled.

Spoke to Glenn, and said come on mate, lets fit these switch’s.

Glenn dead-pans and replies “that’s how people die John”.

I was in a drunk I-can-do-anything mood, so decided to engage him in debate. His reply “do you want the last words ever written about you to be an article in the paper saying drunk man electrocutes himself”.

Enough said, I waited until the next morning.

Thanks for taking the time to read the search for adventure continues…