Hi everyone, I hope this post finds you full of festive cheer.
This will be the last post before Christmas, as I’ll be away for most of Christmas visiting Cyprus (more about that later, but some Newton Heath friends are staying at my house while I’m away, so anyone thinking of robbing me will be in for a surprise 🙂
My fascination with the first ascent of the Ogre in Pakistan, is quite well known and running into Chris Bonington on Skidaw was one of the proudest moments of my life.
The Rohan magazine landed on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago, and it mentioned that Doug Scott was giving a talk in Wrexham.
I’ve seen Doug before, but it was a massive event and you couldn’t really ask questions or anything. This was a lot less formal event run by the North East Wales mountaineering club at the University campus.
The first part, was a fascinating walk through of all his major climbing projects. This guy has done practically everything. I’ve read about the Ogre extensively, but hearing it described by 1 of the 2 men who was there was something quite different.
He even had photos of the first rock he’d climbed near school and an x-ray of his broken leg (he sustained 2 during the descent).
Literally made of iron, his British eccentricity was proven when his IPhone rang in the middle of the talk (he doesn’t get phone protocol at events 🙂
During the break, we had some drinks and N bought me a copy of Himalayan Mountaineer (along with “I chose to climb”, the 2 mountaineering books I’ve always wanted to own).
Doug’s work with Comunity action Nepal, and setting up schools and medical centres in the high mountains is well known.
He said that he would be auctioning framed photo’s and made no apology, as for £15,000 he could build a medical centre in a village.
When I saw the photo of the tent in Hispar pass, signed by Scott and Bonington, there really wasn’t any question what was going to happen next.
The talk continued, and Doug talked about what motivated people to climb saying while Mallory’s well known quote (because its there) is true, its the tip of the iceberg in terms of wider motivations.
It was quite sad when he went through a list of his mountaineering friends, and how they’d died in the mountains search of adventure.
Collecting my framed photo, I asked if it would be cheesy and sycophantic to be photographed with him. He replied simply “yes it would, but I don’t mind”.
I don’t know if he was joking or not, and I don’t care. It was an honour and a privilege to have met him.
Thanks to N (who everybody now knows is Nikki) for organising it.
Been hearing a lot lately about the economy turning around, house prices going up etc.
I saw this video recently, and it reminded me that we mustn’t fall into the trap of making the mistakes that got us into the recession in the first place.
Its a really good video, very honest, but shot in the classic financial product/my life is perfect model. Only lasts a few seconds, well worth watching.
A few people know this, but my favourite Sci Fi character is Elim Garak from Deep space 9.
A simple tailor who’s also an expert in computing, espionage and military strategy !.
Anyway, he was doing a book signing at an event in Manchester some years ago, and I bought a ticket.
And at the last minute decided not to go. Why ?. Well, in my mind Elim Garak lives on Deep space 9 and goes to Quarks bar each evening.
If I see him out of character and I meet Andrew Robinson, will he ever be real to me again ?. I didn’t think so, so I went to the White Lion for a pint instead.
So, it was with great trepidation, that I went to see Alan Davies doing his stand up set.
Alan Davies has always been Jonathan Creek to me (one of my favourite shows of all time).
What happened ?. He was absolutely hilarious. For 2 hours, I laughed until my stomach ached.
When I went home, I put on a dvd of JC just to test a theory. Amazingly, I still see him as Jonathan Creek as well, so a double result.
Another evening out, this time to see Fascinating Aida.
There a sort of cabaret act, described as somewhere between Noel Coward and Ab Fab.
Wouldn’t normally be my first choice of entertainment, but it was funny and very topical (although I disagree with their views on Ofsted).
They sung a few “serious” songs which I enjoyed the most and really connected with.
One surprise was a song one of them sang about growing up. Then I realised. She was a post op transsexual, and had been born a man. A really moving story.
Especially nice, was to visit the Liverpool Philharmonic venue, which I’ve never been too before.
I’ve been sorting through the house recently, tidying up (months spent on the office move, then weeks spent catching up with friend and adventure, have left my house, the poor relative).
I’ve found a couple of things I no longer need.
As its Christmas, I’ve decided that I’m going to give them away to friends. If you see anything you like, just drop me a line.
From left to right:
20 litre daysack, os map of Snowdon with a map case, 8 old episodes of Viz, North Face tent Mules (around size 12), Kenwood food processor, 4 gig usb key, pc headphones and mic for skype and an old (but just about working) sat nav.
On the media front, I’m presently reading the new Wilbur Smith novel Vicious circle.
Considering he’s my favourite author, its absolutely awful. You can find out why here.
My favourite characters in Boardwalk empire and Family guy have both been killed off !.
Blacklist (originally recommender by Glenn) gets better and better.
On the gaming front, Call of duty Ghosts is now in my possession. Nikki isn’t really into that stuff, but me and the fish are really looking forward to it.
I’m especially looking forward to the Christmas edition of Dr Who and Sherlock.
On the subject of Christmas, I’ve had such a great year, that I’ve decided to put up a tree.
I’ll be away most of Christmas, so I’ve sort of brought Christmas forward in my house, and will be celebrating Christmas eve on the 15th.
As you can see, the tree is set up with baubles and lights. The white thing its on, is supposed to be simulated bed of snow.
I got some boxes from work, and packaged them up so they look like presents.
As usual for Christmas, I’ve got my train set out. Different this year, is I’ve now got the Hornby 125 Intercity trains. Nearly 40 years old, its the train set my Dad always wanted me to have.
Some sausage rolls and bottle of Jack Daniels should complete the look.
Well, this weekend I’m off to the lakes for the CDWG Christmas walking weekend.
Most of my friends, know that I use mind maps and spreadsheets to organise my life and adventures, but unless you’ve been to my house, you won’t know about the Whiteboard.
The whiteboard is mounted on the wall, outside my bathroom. I normally jot down ideas, but I also list the trips I’m going on. Its a handy tool, as I will pass by here at least 3 times a day.
There are about 20 trips on the list for this year, with the walking group weekend and Cyprus being the only 2 remaining.
Considering the number of weekends this year I’ve spent at work (at least 20) I’m quite pleased with my efforts.
Featured friend of the week: Monika
I know Monika through the walking group and the Chester Globetrotters.
I’d heard stories of someone who went walking until 3am, then slept for 3 hours leaning on a tree, then continued walking.
Suffice to say, on our first meeting, I gave her an orange bivvi bag as a gift.
Originally from the Czech Republic, Monika works long hours here in the UK as an Au pair.
When she isn’t working, she never rests and is constantly out adventuring.
I help where I can lending her equipment and on occasion my mountain bike.
Other famous thing about Monika. She likes to take photographs, and her “selfie” shots, like the one above are legendary.
Well, for the first time in my life, I’m going to be away from the UK during Christmas.
I fly out to Cyprus on the 21st and don’t return until the 31st.
Were touring the island this time and doing 2 and 3 night stop overs throughout.
I really wanted to get a Landrover, but instead were getting a Micra, or something like that.
Ether way, it will be superb to wandering around the countryside in sunshine in late December.
Near and far, have a great Christmas, and amazing New Year and never stop searching for adventure…