Tag: adventure


If you live in the centre of Chester and scanned a wireless network with the same name as this website, welcome to johnsunter.com – the adventures of an ordinary person.

Some of our regular visitors may have noticed some changes recently. The banner above has been changed from the Ganges at sunset to Uluru at sunrise, to symbolise a new beginning. Technical changes include  a tag cloud on the right and I have finally fixed the scrolling quotes.

It was my intention to re-launch the website yesterday, but various things caught up with me. We will now be re-launching on Friday the 5th of November. The tag cloud on the right will be fixed on all versions of explorer. Most importantly, the pages about Capetown, which complete my bluelist (and have taken nearly a year to update !) will be up on the website.

I’ll also be writing to catch up with some of you, who I’ve lost touch with.

Near and far, the search for adventure continues…

Meet up with an old friend.

Nick joining us for a drink at my brothers house.

There aren’t many positive things about attending a funeral, but it was made a little better by the appearance of my old friend Nick Barker.

Afterwards, he came back to me brothers house and the 3 of us were reminiscing for several hours about old times.

I took nick up on his invite and had a night out in Newton Heath. It was just the way I remember it (although Jon Leech now has the pub, and there was no Lionel there to call me joystick john (alluding to my work in computers). We had some good humored laughs at the bar of the White Lion, and another old friend, Gary Hilton popped in.

A rather annoying drunken woman kept wanting to interrupt our conversation. But of course, this is Newton Heath, and there is no poncing about, re etiquette. Some words were exchanged and she was encouraged go away.

Went to the Church street Chippy on the way home, that was a trip down memory lane. I spent the rest of the evening chatting to Nick’s wife Maggie and got to meet their son Sam ( he was 3 when I moved to Chester and 13 now, he really is an amazing lad).

Ill go back as soon as I get the chance, thanks to everyone for making me so welcome.

On the subject of old friends, Julie Coffee (previously Julie Dermody) got in touch with me through me website, so I’ll be meeting her for lunch, next time I’m in Manchester.

A quick thanks for the kind words from a bloke called Phil, who I worked with at (the awful) Corning.

Finally, completely out of the blue, after rumors of him disappearing and re-emerging all over Europe and the UK (which is contained inside Europe, I got an email from Craig Sutton, an old friend from my early days in Chester.

To all of you, thanks for getting in touch.


Halloween at the Griffin house.

Around at Tony and Lorraine’s house the other evening for Halloween. Well, actually, I don’t normally go for all that crap, and I went around for Sunday roast, nice wine and good company.

However, forces were at work to get me on board with the whole trick or treat thing.

Back in my younger days, when trick or treat first contaminated the UK from America, children used to knock on your door and ask for money. If they didn’t get it, you would have dog excrement put through your letterbox !.

Things have moved on, and Lorraine (who spent a number of years in Canada, and something of an enthusiast of this stuff), had a chocolate box for “the kids” and even had a sculpted pumpkin, in the window, which you can see above.

In Fairness, many of the child visitors had made a real effort, and one particular child was dressed as a mummy, with bandages and everything.

Anyway, as I grow a little older, and become more miserable and cantankerous, its nice to know that I can still enjoy pointless indulgences like this, once in a while.


Retro 30 year old gaming with Atari.

One of my colleagues at work was asking me about the lyrics from a song, presently annoying people listening to the radio on their way to work. “Maybe he’s an XBox and I’m more an Atari” go the lyrics. Whats an Atari asks Gareth ?

After my mum passed, some of my old possession have come back into the fold. What do you know, the 1980’s Atari that David and I saved so hard to buy was setup in my house the other evening.

Atari revolutionized home gaming. Before that, was Binatone with dozens of different games, all based on a kind of ping-pong theme. The Atari allowed you to play as many games of Space Invaders as you liked without having to part with 10p, for every 3 lives !.

In perfect working order, it even had the Kempston pro joystick, which we bought, when the bobbins one sourced with the Atari fell apart. My living room was alight with Pacman and Defender, but I simply couldn’t find space invaders anywhere (I found a copy on ebay for 99p, so that should be pretty good).


The Sandstone Trail Sign.

I’ll  be re-walking the Sandstone trail this weekend with Tony. We have found a camping barn to sleep over in mid trail and a pub nearby for our evening meal.

Next week I’ll be in Budapest from Tuesday until Friday. Its my first and only overseas trip of the year, I’ve just about been able to scrape the money together, so I’m going to make the very most of the trip, and get everything I possibly can from it.

I was reading about the UK Government putting up the Tax on long haul flights.  The thinking by our betters, is that International travel, is obviously a luxury and should therefore be taxed even more.

My thoughts on this are clear. I’m not going to go with the “other people choose to have children as their hobby, so leave mine alone” nonsense. However by the time I’ve paid taxes for everything and everybody else, there’s usually a bit of money left just for me. Why cant they just leave that alone.

4th dcd and the 3 peaks.

The 3 peaks in Yorkshire is one of the hardest “pleasure” walks in the UK.

Unlike the UK 3 peaks, there are no stops in between to drink tea in cars. Its one long run, with 3 progressively higher mountains, a long walk between the 1st and 2nd mountains and a backbreaking slog to the village, once the final peak has been bagged.

I walked it in my 30’s with Frank and Dave Mandy and it half killed me. Tony was really keen to do it, so off we went.

Tone standing outside Horton on Ribblesdale.

We rented a car from Avis for 3 days, at a cost of only £42 (but beware, when you bring the car back, unless its completely full, you’ll be charged for a full tank). Tony came down on Thursday night, to sample the social scene in Chester, and so that we could set of early on Friday.

I haven’t been camping in a while, and I was surprised how quickly you lose the packing skill. It took me ages to decide what things to take, when previously, it would have taken only a few minutes. More proof, were it needed that I need to get back to previous adventure habits.

For various reasons, lots of messing about in the morning, meant we didn’t set off, until after lunch. This was for the best really, as the weather was utterly atrocious.

We got up to Horton, put up our tent and had a walk around. It was at this point, I realised they had a bunk house, which we should have used rather than the tent, but what the hey.

The farmer kindly gave us Sausages and burgers (I didn’t eat them on the trip, but they fed me for 3 days when  I got back !).

We had a couple of coffee’s in the Crown in (Horton is served by 2 pubs, the other is the Golden Lion). Tony had invited some friends from Social Circles (an outfit based in Manchester that organize regular social events, walking trips and holidays etc) who were going to join us.

They arrived a little late, as they had experienced problems getting a spare tent, car breaking down and having to rent another one etc. All in all, I was impressed with their tenacity.

As I’ve written before, the real challenge for me is not getting out of the tent and walking the mountain, but the night before. You finish work, are presented with the options of leaving your comfort zone, getting on buses, carrying bags about etc,  versus going home and relaxing in your house, meeting up with your friends.

Its all too easy to choose the 2nd one, but despite the prospect of driving rain and the night in a tent, they had got there all the same.

After getting something to eat in the pub, we wander back to the tents and bed down for the night. It was quite late, and a male group, who had been drinking heavily in the bar, decided to extend the party until 2.30am, which wasn’t appreciated.

The joy of camping !.

Up in the morning, we use our stoves to make coffee and then fill up the flasks. Some people opted for porridge I had a continental breakfast as I was keen to get on the hill.

I was under no illusion about the walk. You need 2 things to get up a hill. Fitness and determinations. If I could only choose 1, it would be the 2nd. As Twid told me on my mountaineering course at PYB, sometimes you just put up with the pain and keep walking.

I’ve lost a lot of weight lately, but Tony and everyone else on the trip, were much fitter than me.

We set off, and you can see from the picture, the weather was fantastic.

Tony with some friends from Social Circles.

I had brought my map, compass and gps, but Kosia who leads a lot of the Social circles trips, was all over it, and I was very impressed with her leadership and navigation.

After Penny-Ghent, its a very long walk to the next mountain, which was really boggy from the previous days rain.

The rugged and misty trail.

I took the picture above, to try and capture the feeling on the trail. We had a couple of stops for drinks and lunch. It was really nice meeting new people. Kosia it turned out, was from Krakow, one of my favourite places in Poland. An Italian friend of her’s was from the Italian alps near Lake Garda and Cortina.

A couple that joined is in the morning were scientists, and we had a long talk about whether discovering aliens (or them discovering us) would bind humanity together or finish it.

She also explained why the replicators in Star Trek couldn’t really work (Old newspapers are carbon based. Loaves of bread are protein based. With what we presently know, one can’t turn into the other !)

Whernside is different than the other 2 mountains, as it has a sort of elephant back, that stretches for miles. It was a real slog getting up there.

Once down the other side, we made our final march to Inglebourough. We stopped off in a pub to get a drink and use the toilet. They told us we weren’t appropriately dressed. I pride myself on the versatility of my Rohan clothes, but how many walkers wear a shirt and tie !.

The final mountain Ingleborough is really steep, and has steps cut into the mountain, to avoid accidents. The top of the mountain is a large flat area, I saw the group, and realising success was in sight, took off, with renewed vigour. I get a picture of me and Tone, at the the trig point.

Standing on the 3rd peak.

Its now time to head home. Its a really long walk, not well sign posted, and darkness was closing in.

I set of as fast as I could,  I was conscious I had arranged to meet my Aunt and Uncle that evening for dinner at their house.

As I headed down the hill, my Uncle asked how long I would be, and gave directions on the quickest way back.

Navigating back is pretty easy at first, as you can see lights from the village. The path descends into a sort of basin and once your lower then the village, you cant see anything (there is also a sign that says 1.5 miles to Horton, which must have been put up as a joke).

We get back to the village, and too my suprise, my Uncle is waiting for me at the Railway station. We say goodbye to the Social  Circles crew and drive back to Uncle John’s house (he owns a cottage in Horton). Take of our boots in the garage, and within minutes, I’m sat on a comfortable arm chair, in a warm living room, with a glass of cold beer. Heaven.

More is to come, when we sit down to a warm filling meal, that they’ve cooked for us.

I only see my Uncle John every few years, so we sit up until after midnight talking. A warm shower and then a well needed nights sleep in a comfortable bed.

In the morning, a full English breakfast, then say goodbye, and head to the campsite to take down our tent, and drive home.

I drop Tone off at his house, and then drive back to Chester.

That’s when it hits me. Before Frank moved to Thailand, I could think of any kind of adventure, and know I would have someone to come with me, with all sorts of organisational skills, a sense of humour and a general love of getting out there.

I have been looking for someone like that since then, but it isn’t Tony.

No, in reality its the other way around. Tony had a dream, and the drive and determination to  do the 3 peaks and I helped to make it happen. I haven’t found a replacement Frank, I have become Frank and Tony is the old me !.

Thanks to everyone who came, especially Kasia who was an inspiration. Also my Aunt Vernica and Uncle John for their much appreciated hospitality.

Oh, nearly forgot Tony, sorry.


First of all, apologies for the delay putting up this weeks pages. I have worked the past 2 weekends (but I have this Friday off, so it should all balance out).

Lyndsay’s birthday.

Lyndsay with the cake that she made.

Congratulations to a close colleague and friend, Lyndsay, who celebrated her birthday last week.

Not only did Lyndsay go to Oxford, maintain a significant role in the accounts department, is captain of a sports team and  qualifying as an accountant, but she can also bake (as you can see from the delicious cake, featured in this picture).

From everyone here at johnsunter.com (which these days, is basically, me) happy birthday.

Final episode of Last of the summer wine (whine ???).


On the subject of time passing, the final episode of Last of the summer wine aired recently.

My stepfather used to make me watch this tired rubbish when I was a teenager (and that ship sailed long ago !)

I just wish I could find the people who made this rubbish, and find out what was going through their minds ?.

No actually, I wouldn’t like to speak to them. In silence, I would like to load them all onto a bus and then drive it of a cliff. The loss of my own life, would be a small price to pay, to rid the world of these media criminals.

In a perverse way, I actually prefer the hated Big Brother. At least they are trying to do something modern and different (though failing miserably).

Simplified life. The joy of a small garden.

Garden before.

A lot of people are critical of my garden. They say unkind things, like “it isn’t really a garden at all” or “why don’t you cover over the windows on your back door, so you can’t see that thing”.

Well, I’m quite fond of my garden (despite the fact that its a bit noisy, because of the generators used by the Mill Hotel).

I have spent many years, trying to simplify my life in as many ways as possible. My garden has one additional advantage. Take a look, at the picture above.

Now look at the picture bellow.

The Garden after.

I think you’ll agree, that in this picture, the garden is a lot tidier.

It took me 25 minutes to maintain my garden, after 4 months of neglect. Can you sort out your garden more quickly ?.

The cost of good outdoor gear, is never wasted.


I recently had to work the bank holiday. It involved coming into work early on a Sunday morning (6am). Although the Government, constantly bang on about the environment and public transport, sometimes, they just don’t provide an alternative.

In this instance, the first train to Warrington from Chester, would have got me there at 9:30am !. No good at all.

I decided to sleep over the night before. I set up my bed rig as you can see above. I also got some microwave pizza’s for supper, and relaxed watching the Sopranos on my laptop, before retiring to “bed”.

I was up bright and early, and everything went to plan. Unfortunately, it has been pointed out, that the building isn’t insured for tenancy, and it wasn’t the cleverest thing I’ve ever done. Obviously I’ve promised not to do it again.

Talking of trains. I got up last Saturday, to get the 6:13am train (yes, 6:13am). I was standing on the platform, and it was cancelled. Can you imagine how annoying that was ?.

More walking and adventure.

The Sandstone Trail.

Well, we’ve been out and about walking again. The weekend before last, we did a circular walk around Frodsham, to find the source of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Last weekend, we walked from Frodsham to Delamere forest, along the Sandstone Trail route, I walked some years ago, with Frank.

We usually wrap up a walk, with a couple of pints in the Helter Skelter pub in Frodsham (that’s if the walk actually ends in Frodsham 🙂 A lot of the other walkers and cyclists there, sport beards, and for a brief time (about 3/8ths of a second to be exact) I considered growing one myself.

I occasionally wander around Warrington at lunch-time. Some people are a bit snobby when it comes to visiting places like Pound World. I popped in the other day, and got a superb luggage scales, which I’ve wanted for ages.

I nearly paid £15 for some in Capetown airport, so you can imagine my delight at getting exactly what I wanted, for a £.

If you get a minute, read Simon Calder’s website. It really is excellent.

Unusual surprise about Newton Heath.

The old Co-op on the corner of Church Street and Oldham Road.

While growing up, I lived in a place called Newton Heath, in East Manchester. I don’t like to do the place down, but lets just say, with the exception of a few close friends (who have mostly moved out themselves) I’m not sad that I don’t live there anymore.

Everyone knows, that Man United’s original name was Newton Heath football club, and played at the Loco (pretty much 100 metres behind where this photo was taken).

What I didn’t realise, was the number of interesting and famous people (in addition to myself) that came from there.

Mike Atherton – Famous cricketer and OBE, actually went to Briscoe lane school.

Alfred Morris – Barron of Manchester. I didn’t even know that Manchester had a Barron !

Sir Harold Matthew Evans – Former editor of the Times.

Judy Finnigan – born and brought up on Amos avenue, where I delivered papers.

Mather and Platt the international engineering company (now owned by Germans) was founded here.

Okay, its not exactly Who’s Who, but its a lot more inspiring than I had expected.

Near and far, the search for adventure continues…

Feeling like a teenager.

Never put your trust in an E111 form.

I had planned this weeks johnsunter.com out in advance, but an article I read this morning on BBC News, must take priority.

The Dudriges from London, went on Honeymoon to Corfu. They had decided not to have a Honeymoon after their wedding, as they couldn’t afford it, but family and friends chipped in to pay for it.

After a Romantic meal, Carrie went onto a balcony for some fresh air and ended up falling 30 feet and damaging here spine in 3 places.

It was at this point, they fell back on the reciprocal E111 card, which provides medical assistance in other European countries.

Once his wife was stabilised, Michael had to try and raise £16,000 to transport his wife home. Luckily,  local residents, credit cards, loans from family have raised the money and they are flying home today.

The sad fact, is that insurance that would have solved the problem, would have cost less than £10 (and probably £5 each) on something like moneysupermarket.com

You’ve probably read stories like this one before. If you do nothing else today, commit to buying insurance for every trip that you take.

The Expendables.

The Expendables - utter rubbish, but made me feel like a teenager.

On Friday evening, I went to see the Expendables. It contains all the 80’s action hero’s in a kind of re-visitation of the genre. Well that’s what film critics have been saying, what do I think ?

In a story, that would have better fitted the A Team, I have tried to break it down.

The action:
Ultra violent, without a care. Explosions everywhere, knife fighting (with knives, that although moving slowly, make the kind of wisping sound that electrical cable makes, when it cuts the air !). Scenes of 30+ people meet ng their maker in one “sitting” and moments later, nothing is said of it. Rapid fire, explosive shell firing shotguns. The laissez-faire removal of body parts and infeasible knife throwing.

The plot (!):
Helpless women (who are tough, but helpless all the same), Buddy relationships, Sad moments of reflection, some awful attempt at explaining the meaning of life. Simple peasants who never do anything wrong of any kind. Despot dictators. The whole soldier of fortune with a conscience cobblers. Good people, trying to find their own way in the world, but “The Man” is keeping them down. The drinking of bottles of strong spirits, and minutes later, demonstrations of hand/eye co-ordination that would make an eye surgeon envious.

References to other films:
They are everywhere, in this film. The name Expendables, harks back to a conversation in Rambo First blood part II. People being thrown into burning rivers, is right out of Beast-master. The plain is a tip of the hat to Commando.

Other notable things:
Mickey Rourke plays a character called Tool. A hilarious Cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis (Arnie even seemed to be wearing 80’s clothing).

Overall, what did I think. Utter rubbish from beginning to end. But for 90 minutes, I felt like a teenager again. They just don’t make films like this any more and I hope they make a sequel.

On the subject of film/video, my old mate Jason, who runs Woodland Ways, bushcraft and survival school, has started a video diary, so you can remove the glamour and see what its like to run a bushcraft school.

The Chester film society re-opens its doors for the 40’th year. I went to see a film with them last year, and I’m intending to watch a few more this time.

A new African restaurant – The Coconut Hut.

The Coconut Hut, a new Restaraunt in Chester.

I’ve been trying out some budget places to eat again recently. A really nice (and rather unique) African restaurant has now opened on Brook street. Wasn’t keen on the name Coconut Hut, but the food was really good (I had Gemsbok stew, which was really nice). They also do a really good platter, with prawns and beef and stuff like that for a tenner a plate.

If makes a change from the standard fare you get in other restaurants. One word of caution, most people don’t associate African food with being hot. The stuff in here really is, I haven’t eaten anything hotter since I was in Thailand.

A simplified life with technology.

Tesco Automated check-out.

I’m always looking for ways to simplify my life (I have several books on this subject). I recently started using the Tesco automated Check-Out. It’s easily 3 times faster than conventional “tilling”.

The trick I have found, is to make sure you have all your cards/money etc to hand before you start. Its an amazing piece of technology and I’ve become addicted.

The Italian Job.

Picture from the Italian Job.

Sorry for no update last week, mad busy again, but I’ve put twice as much in this week, to make up for it.

First of all, I had hoped to “interview” Matt and Glenn about their trip to Italy and put up some pictures.

As most of you know, its been a pretty quiet year for me personally, so I was delighted when 2 of my friends, told me of their plan. The idea, was to buy a knackered car, drive it to Rome, sell it and then fly home (obviously doing loads of other things in between).

I followed the planning and prep of this trip. Hilarious moments like deciding which CD player to have fitted in the car (which may or may not have cost more than the actual car itself !).

Unfortunately, Matt and Glenn both run businesses, and for the moment they are catching up with work/family etc..I should have more info in the next update.

Sean’s birthday.

Seans birthday.

Last year, I missed Sean’s birthday, as I put it in my diary, under the wrong day. This year, I got organised, and we all had a get together at the Frog.

Tony was there, as Sean and Mandy are 2 of his best customers. Also, Nathan who left the Frog last November came out as well. Mandy doesn’t like to be photographed.

On the subject of friends, Steve came around the other evening, and showed me a really cool trick (which most of you probably already know, but I think is pretty good). I was making a curry, and couldn’t get the remainder of the sauce, out of the jar.

You half fill the jar with water, and then tip it into the wok. Not only does it empty the jar without any effort, but you end up with some extra water, that helps the curry soak into the chicken.

Sunday afternoon walking.

An old bus.

On the way to Chester Railway station, I saw this old bus. They really go for that old crap here in Chester.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to start exploring some of the countryside around Runcorn, but for the time being most Sunday afternoons are spent walking around Frodsham and Helsby.

Last Sunday, I put on my old trainers, grabbed my packed lunch and headed for the station. At Helsby, I met up with Amelia and Tony Lewis.

Instead of the standard walk between Helsby hill and Frodsham Monument hill, I decide to use my map to work out an alternative route, which would be less busy and have some more unusual things to see.

The Weather was pretty fab, and most of the walk was through Forests, so perfection for me (I often say to people, If you gave me ten million tomorrow, I’d still go out walking, the day after !).

Loads of interesting conversation, and planning talk about Tony’s trip to Africa.

Frodsham Monument.

We reach the end of our walk at Frodsham Monument.

A view of Frodsham from monument hill.

And this view of Frodsham Town.

The Helter Skelter pub in Frodsham.

We arrived an hour before the train home was due, so decided to have a pint.

I had heard good things about a pub called the Helter Skelter. It was rather smart, and even featured a traditional real ale, made in Newton Heath.

Back home, and another ace Sunday completed.

Next weekend, I’m going to finally visit the Eden project and Stone Henge, with new found adventure friend, the excellent Lyndsay from work.

I’m also planning a really good walk from Frodsham to Delamere on the coming bank holiday Monday if anyone is interested ?.

Tech stuff.

The underwhelming Riverbed Screwdriver.

One of the cool things about working for a global company like mine, is that you get to work with the latest cutting edge stuff. One type of technology I’ve been interested in for a while, but never exposed to, is Riverbed.

It uses state of the art patented technology, to create enhanced application services over the internet.

Having spent a morning working with it, the tech is cool and fascinating. One disappointment, was that it came with a free screwdriver. Actually, its pretty crap.

Speaking of technology, for the first time in nearly a decade, I am studying for exams again. Before the 1st of January, I want to get a CCNA, a VCP and the  SQL 2008 one (who’s name I cant be bothered to look up)

My CCNA is booked for 3 weeks, so I am mad busy revising. Honestly, the stuff I am mostly re-learning on the Cisco course, really is fascinating. I am also spending lots of time practising my binary maths.

In other training “news”  I was sent on a manual handling course (it was about how to safely lift heavy things, not how to pick up computer books).

I wasn’t looking forward to it particularly, but it was only half an hour. When I got there, it turned out to be 2 hours, and I deeply regretted not bringing a some sort of health and safety book, big enough to hide my CCNA notes inside.

Anyway, it turned out to be really interesting. One thing was that the number of accidents is going down. When the instructor actually explained why, I was fascinated. He pointed out, that we have no real industry any-more, and fund managers accidents are a lot less serious than ones which would have previously occurred in shipyards !.

He also pointed out, that nobody actually “fixes” things any more. When was the last time, you saw a TV with the back off it, being worked on. Probably, it just broke, was thrown away, and another one purchased and brought home the following Saturday afternoon.

Another thing I’ve been learning a lot about lately, is backup exec (for those that dont know, its software normaly used for backing up file servers). Its in version 12 now, so you can imagine is has an elaborate feature set.

For the 1st time, I am learning to use the Robotic Caddy and a whole host of other features.

Its only when you use something a lot that you learn tricks and quicker ways to do things, and thats the point i’m at with BE. I guess the point is that a technology that wouldn’t normally describe as exciting (its backup for heavens sake) can be really interesting, if you spend enough time using it.


The superb series Sherlock, on BBC.

Well, the 3 part series Sherlock is over. its one of the best things that’s been on the TV in ages, and no suprise that it was written by many of the same people who make Dr Who.

I’m up to season 6 of the Sopranos. The 5th series was one of the better ones, so lets see what happens now.

Bought the latest Dan Brown book the other day. One of the problems being careful with money is that its really difficult to walk into book shops, see so many interesting books, and not be able to buy them (well I can buy them, but within a structured plan over time).

Saving power (and money).

My reduced Gas consumption.

A friend gave me a really cool gift.

You connect it to your pc at home, and then plug all your peripherals like printers, speakers and monitors into the other side.

Whenever the computer is switched of, all the other devices are switched off as well, automatically. Smart.

Got me thinking. Now I have isolated loads of things within the house, grouped them together and connected them onto 4 way connectors. Mon – Fri, I am only actually around my house for about 3-4 hours.

When I’m not there, the fridge and sky + are the only things which are plugged in. It annoys me that I didn’t think of it before.

Is this Becka ?.

Is this really Ali Bastion formerly of Hollyoaks ?

I’ve never been much into the soaps, but for a while, I quite liked Hollyoaks.

The main reason, was a smart character called Becka. She was a school teacher, really nice, and obviously very pretty (played by Ali Bastion).

The other evening I was on Warrington railway station, platform 1, and a woman in dark glasses who looked just like her, was standing next to me.

I didn’t take a picture while I was there, but took one on the train (you can see that some scruffy bugger has left a bag on the window shelf.  Scum.)

I have emailed her “agency”, but they haven’t gotten back to me about whether it was really her. I like to believe it is, but have a close look at the picture, and tell me what you think.

Near and far, best wishes. The search for adventure continues …


One of the replacement Rhino's near the Salmon Leap in Chester.

Rhino’s, why ?

In Chester we have some sort of themed Rhino thing going on. Personally, I think that the Rhino idea is tedious and un-original. I’ve seen something similar done in Singapore and Manchester.

One shop in 3 is closing on the Chester Rows, if this is the best thing the council can think of, to promote visitors to the city, they would do better, to get on with repairing the walls. A farce that they have been closed for a year, considering it was originally constructed 2000 years ago, from sandstone, mud and sawdust, built (like Offa’s dyke) by people using wooden shovels.

That said, why do people insist on vandalising them (like the one above). As stated earlier, I saw a similar project in Singapore, and none of their painted “things” got vandalised (but then you would get 5 strokes with a Rattan cane, shame we don’t do that here).

Radio 6.

BBC Radio 6

I was pleased to hear the other day, that Radio 6 is going to stay on the air. The BBC had previously argued that most of their listeners, like the content of Radio 1. But that’s the point. Any local radio station can stay in business, playing that kind of content.

The original idea of the BBC charter, was that they would be directly funded. If they wanted to make a documentary, about a story that really needed to be told, the wouldn’t have to worry who would pay for advertising in the breaks when it was eventually shown.

Radio 6 plays all sorts of really good music, and I believe its exactly the kind of thing the BBC is there to create. Frankly, having listened to Radio 1 for 2 days when helping Glenn at Antique Pine Imports, I think they should take Radio 1 down and put Radio 6 in its place.

On the subject of BBC, their news website, is consistently one of the 10 most popular sites on the internet (that’s no mean feat). They recently re-modelled it into a sort of magazine format. Reading it the other day, I read this disturbing story about a bloke in Dubai, who was broke, but had his passport confiscated, so couldn’t leave so was living on the street. Dubai. All that glitters isn’t gold.

Friends, TV and Films.


Well, the last couple of weeks have been pretty busy, recovering from sickness,travelling to visit friends etc.

Met up with Caz and Yvonne the other Friday, and Lee and Susan came as well. Every time I visit Manchester now, its changed a bit more. I cant believe what they’ve done with the Brunswick.

Talking of meeting up with friends, I finally finished migrating the interailing pictures over. They don’t really have a narrative (it was years ago now) but I think some of the pictures have a charm that tells a story all of its own. You can see them here and here.

This weekend, I took Friday as holiday and decided to just relax. I watched a total of 8 films over the weekend.

I took Friday off, and had a long weekend. I watched, Splice, Wolfman, Solomon Kane and the A Team. I also watched 8 episodes of the Sopranos (season 4 is really good).

In other TV Stuff, White Collar season 2 got of to an unconvincing start. Eureka blew me away, what I fantastic plot twist, right at the beginning. True Blood season 3 continues to be mediocre.

Recorded the new series of Sherlock Holmes. Its supposed to be set in the present day (they tried that with Jeckyle, and look what a mess they made of it) worst, after all the fuss, it turns out there are only 3 episodes to watch.

The changing role of Superhero’s.

Bitten by an Atomic Spider.

I tidied my house completely on Thursday evening. As many of you know, I hate chores to migrate into the weekend, I’ve never felt that was what weekends are for. I saw a dead spider while cleaning the house. I carried it to the bin, for a descent Christian burial, but on the way, I wondered for a moment, what would happen if the spider was just sleeping, and woke up and bit me.

Would I have a fever all night, and weird dreams. Would I wake in the morning able to climb walls, and and fire webs of goo, that nobody would ever clean up, yet the next day, when I was swinging through the city, would all seem to have gone.

Anyway, made me wonder. Does the superhero premise still work, in these modern times.

I mean, you always have images of a team of bank robbers being thwarted by Spiderman. Wouldn’t Spiderman himself, be breaking into the vault, stealing the bonuses of high flyers, and giving the money to low ranking bank staff who had been laid off.

Equally, instead of the Fantastic 4, stopping criminals from stealing priceless art collections from museums, be more likely to use the GPS system in their Fantasticar to find out where Fred the Shred lives, steal his paintings, then sell them and use the money to buy Christmas gifts for the children of his recently-made-redundant workforce ?

Hell’s creation.Pull-allong luggage. The devils creation.

After much thought, I’ve reached a decision. Pull-along luggage is  the worst invention ever created. Forget nuclear bombs, the gun or man made viruses, this device has created far more misery than all of the above put together.

Pull it along through the station fine, but then listen to sighs and gasps of annoyance, as we all stand behind you in the rain, while you can’t lift the thing (that you’ve over-packed) onto the train.

Alternatively, try pulling 2 at the same time across an airport waiting lounge, tripping people up, knocking over tables as you go.

Far simpler, why don’t you just take a bag. If its too heavy to put on your shoulder, then you’ve packed stuff “just in case” that you don’t need.


This week I hate: All my recycling facilities are less than 100m from my house. Why have they moved the can collector nearly a mile away !.

This week I like:  A program/internet app, called you send it. Recommended by the excellent Mell from work, it allows you to send massive files to people, they receive an email with a link that they can easily download. Brilliant invention.

Another brilliant thing I read was in The money diet, the book by the Money Saving Expert. While growing up, mum used to always say to re-fill the kettle, for the next person that wants a drink. Now, I completely empty my kettle, and fill it up, by filling the correct number of cups required with water.

One cup of tea, takes less than 30 seconds to boil. Efficiency, in both cost and time.

Congratulations to Matt Bridges, who has moved out of Chester, and now lives on the Wirral.

One final thing, I’ve had it with Facebook. I’m removing my friends and decommissioning my account (so please dont be offended, if you’ve been dropped as a friend, I’ll still email you. I’m just going to use Facebook, as I used to use Friends Reunited (remember that) to find people I’ve lost touch with.

Near and far, best wishes. The search for adventure continues…

Ranulph Fiennes – in search of adventure.

Interailing around Europe. The first adventure I organised myself (well, Lee helped as well).

The first adventure that I organised myself (well, actually, with my friend Lee, who you can see in this picture studying the European train timetable) was an interailing trip around Europ.

I knew that we would be spending a lot of time sat on a train, so choice of “anti-boredom” equipment was essential. I decided on a cassette walkman and 5 tapes, and a good book (I reasoned, that no matter what happens, a book can’t break, it’s battery’s can’t run out etc).

The question of course, was which book to take. I had seen an interview with Ranulph Fiennes. It made some kind of sense to me, that while going on an adventure, you could read about one of lifes great adventurers and his adventures.

So I bought, living dangerously, the autobiography of Ranulph Feinnes, listed in the Guinness book of records as the worlds greatest living adventurer.

My book, living dangerously, which I read as we travelled hundreds of miles across europe.

It was a fascinating book, he talked about his life, the love of his then wife Ginny, time in the Army, exploring, facing danger and most of all, the inner ability to push yourself and not quit when things get tough.

Basically, loads of useful things, that would help me in later life, in all kinds of ways (some of them, years later, I didn’t actually realise I got from the book, which I’ll explain later).

Ran arrives on stage, and is fitted with a microphone. The woman in front of me, had a very large head.

Twenty years later, Sir Ranulph Fiennes comes to Chester, to give a talk. How could I miss it. A few days in advance, I spoke of my excitement, to colleagues at work. “What do you think is his best film” was a frequent comment.

For clarity, Ranulp Fiennes is the 3rd cousin of Ralph Fiennes, the actor from English patient and others.

I had expected a pretty informal quiet affair. Most people these days want to hear over-the-hill London gangsters or x big brother house mates speak, surely only a handful of people would turn up to listen to a real legend.

Wrong about that. 2000 people, fully booked, and more than 100 outside, hoping for a seat in the event of no shows (of which there were very few).

As he walked onto the stage, I was struck by how fit and healthy he looked, for a man of nearly 70. He spoke with charm and confidence, but at all times modest.

For the first hour, he spoke about his expeditions and adventures, and then for about half an hour about his family history. I wasn’t really interested in the family part, and I don’t believe in high birth anyway, but here, in no particular order, are the things that were said/happened in the first hour.

He was stationed with the Sultans army in Oman. The army had 1 boat and 2 aeroplanes, to fight against the Russian trained and equipped Marxist insurgents. They used 6 land rovers, to patrol a 2000 mile border. He explained that if the land rover drove over an anti tank mine, it would be blown more than 100 metres.

While stationed there he went looking for the lost city of Ubar. He made several trips out to find it, but didn’t succeed. At some point, a NASA satellite, scanned  the area, and found a spot that formed a perfect right angle. Since they dont occur normally in nature, it was presumed that this was the lost city.

Ran managed to get hold of the grid reference and lead an expedition there. It wasn’t the city, and just to show how strange real life, is, was a naturally occurring right angle in nature !.

His wife Ginny died a few years ago. He spoke often about here in his book, and her contribution to his expeditions. Ginny’s father was critical of Ran. When the proposition of marriage was put to him, he cautioned her: this fellow is Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know. A phrase that Ran would later use to name one of his books.

During questions at the end, he was asked what his greatest achievement had been. He said simply it was being married to someone so special for 36 years.

Even though he has climbed Everest (the oldest UK person to do it) and the Eiger, he has vertigo and literally can’t look down at any point while mountaineering.

During an early trip across the Arctic, we saw pictures of some sort of cardboard potting shed that his wife had designed. They could be dropped by plane, and would provide shelter in the evening’s. He said that the snow would collect outside, which would strengthen them, but you would be trapped inside, until morning, when you dug yourself out.

Why would you want to go outside he asked rhetorical ?. Well, your cooking on pressurised petrol in a paper house !.

He spoke honestly about expeditions, and explained that it was all about sponsorship, and you had to pick something that would inspire company’s enough to pay for them. He said that the Arctic had inspired a lot of people in America and that’s why he had moved a lot of of his expeds from Africa.

One thing that surprised me about the Arctic and Antarctic adventures, was how long they took. On one occasion, he was dropped off by boat and set off on foot. The boat would sail around the other side and pick them up 18 months later.

Some interesting stuff about navigation. You basically, look at the time, and as you walk, measure the angle of your shadow. At the time of Scott, that was the best way to navigate in the polar regions, as it still today. He spoke very favourably of Scott and said many of his critics, had never ventured  outside of their study.

While traversing Antarctica, they had a solar powered radio, that would run for 2 minutes each day. At one point, the radio said Britain has declared war with … (the battery’s ran out). Several days later, they established it was Argentina, but until that point, there had been constant debates about who it could be.

At other points, he mentioned leaving school with no A levels and growing up without a father (his father died before he was born in the 2nd world war).

I established throughout the talk, that he had little time for BBC film crews or Eaton, the school he criticised heavily in his book.

After a talk about his ancestors, he accepted questions from the audience. An annoying woman from the MOD language school, started to try and harras him, but he had no truck with her.

He was asked how he selected people for expeditions. I couldn’t believe it when he said something about how you can teach skills, but can’t teach personality traits.

Ive said that every time I’ve been recruiting someone. I forgot that the idea wasn’t my invention, it was something I had read in that book, on the train, all those years before.

He was asked, if he believed in a higher being. He replied that he had a heart attack on an Easyjet plane. For 3 days, he didn’t respond to resuscitation, and came around on the 13th attempt.

Commented that if he hadn’t been resuscitated, he would have been like that forever (after all, he was, to all intents and purposes dead). While in that state, for 3 days, he didn’t see god or angels or anything like that, and concluded that death, must be like having a really good sleep.

People say you should never meet you hero’s. Well I did and it was amazing.


North Cheshire Trail.

Well, I’ve always loved Chester, but I have to say, that living here has made me lazy. When I lived in Manchester, my house was 4 miles from the city centre (which was itself 1 and a half miles across).

In Chester, a pub called the Fat Cat, is considered to be out of town, as it is on the other side of a main road, off the main run of town ?. The whole of Chester city centre (in which I live) is a third of a mile across !.

Delightful then to be out walking again today, as I do most Sunday’s. There are some great trails, walk-able from Chester city centre, but as I now work in Warrington, I have a train pass, which allows me to travel to Helsby and Frodsham for “free”.

I’ve done sections of the Sandstone trail, but today, I decided to walk a part of the North Cheshire way. Most walkers that I meet around the area, just follow the signposts, which is fine. I find, that by using my map, and hard earned navigation skills, I can find alternative sections of the route, which are much quieter.

If you look at the picture above, you can see the grass has grown 2-3 inches, and that this section, has hardly been walked by anyone, in the last couple of days. Places like this are obviously very quiet, and with the undisturbed undergrowth, its possible to “track” which kind of animals have passed this way recently. In this case, its some birds, a fox and a man walking his dog.

I couldn’t work out what kind of dog, but it was a large one. I also deduced from the length of stride, that he is around 5 feet 8, and walks with a stick (although the impressions from the stick are light, and the foot pads are even, which shows that he has no walking problems, and simply carries the stick for pleasure).

As I wandered around the hills, I was reminded of a few years ago, in the Alps. I was doing a mountaineering course with Plas Y Brenin. In the evening, we went for a pint, and met up with the mountaineering club of Ireland. A great bunch of lads, they insisted on a sing song.

Thankfully, Sunday Bloody Sunday, wasn’t one of the tunes, but there, so many miles from home, we started singing The Manchester Rambler. I quite like my job. I know that a lot of people don’t, but I think we all get a slight apprehension on Sunday, knowing that we have to go to work the next day.

The thing for  me, is the fact that we HAVE to go to work. Many of us, would probably still want to anyway, but I think its the lack of freedom that leads to apprehension.

Going back 70 years, to when work for many people, wasn’t the creative challenge, it is today (the time, around the Kinder Scout mass tresspass, when the song was written) one line from the song, really hit me. “I may be a workslave on Monday, but I am a free man on Sunday”.

That’s the thing about walking. You can choose whichever route your fitness will allow. Walk, stop, drink, sit down, change your route, and do just about anything else whenever you like while walking. It is an illustration of one of our most fundamental rights, the freedom to roam.

Enough Philosophy. I am working hard to get fit, but after 4 and a half hours of walking up hill and down dale, I am quite exhausted. I finish of my water, and treat myself to a Mars bar.

Helsby's award winning station, with one of the vollunteers painting a bench.

I wander back to Helsby, to get the train. I pass the station every morning and evening, it has won many awards, for being one of the best kept stations in the country. That kind of award doesn’t come easily, and as I sat relaxing, waiting for the train, one of the volunteers arrived and started to paint a bench.

Two Monitors. I've waited a long time for those, and I'm delighted.

Things continue to go well at work.  There is a leaving do on Friday, and a few of us, are going for a pint. A year of unemployment, has changed me, so there will be none of my infamous hell-raising, just 2 pints, and then the train home.

One of the other cool things about my job, is that my employer has loads of really cool life balance schemes. One of them, enabled me to finally get 2 monitors for my computer. Its taken me a few years to catch on to the multi monitor idea, but it makes the kind of work I do at home, much faster.

I was talking to Lee the other day (Lee has a teenager at home, as many of my colleagues do). I was explaining a dilemma I had recently. Two friends I have know for years, introduced me to their Children. Matt introduced me to Eve and Dave Littlewood introduced me to his son Dan.

In both cases, it made me think. We were friends when those children were born. For a brief moment, it made me wonder how my life would have been different, if I had chosen/been blessed with children. Would the immense pride of having a healthy and intelligent teenage child, really of-set the hard work and frankly the inconvenience of bringing them up. I have to say simply, that I don’t know. I have to say, that some people are just too selfish to have children, and that basically, I am one them.

Still, made me think of a mate called Jo, when we were in Morocco. We were heading home, and I asked everyone how they were getting back from the airport. Jo said that his daughter was going to pick him up, and he beamed with pride. I was explaining this to Lee, who said simply, considering the mayhem that teenagers cause at home, its probably simpler to live your life as you do, and get a taxi !.

My first attempt at Pasta and Meatballs.

I’ve been trying all sorts of recipes lately. Pasta and Meatballs, was one that I had never cooked for some reason.

I used the Jamie Oliver Botham Burgers recipe, to make the meatballs. Overall impartial opinion (by me) is that I need to work on the Pasta, as its still soggy, and some grated cheese would have finished off the ensemble more fully.

More news next week, when I cook chips and gravy 🙂

Gordon Gekko, in the iconic original Wall Street.

On the media front, there hasn’t been anything I’ve wanted to see on the cinema recently, so my 2 cinema vouchers from Powergen are sat on the shelf.

One film I really do want to see, when it comes out, is Wall Street 2. Do I think it will be as good as the original ? I don’t know. Do I buy the idea of GG becoming a hero and saving corporate America from itself ? Get real.

The main 2 reasons I want to watch it are. 1, how things have change in 30 years since the original (I mean that, as much in terms of sets and clothing, as I do in acting and film making) and 2, how are they going to transition this guy, who is on the outside of a game he dominated and effectively built in the first place (I’ve been listening to Once I was the king by Hard Fi, and it made me thing of it).

On the TV front, the 2nd half of the DR Who finale, is on next week. It looks really good this time, as they seem to have an original plot, rather than just rolling out the Dalek’s peace meal (although there are Dalek’s in it).

I’m still watching Breaking Bad, as recommended by Jason MacDonald, a couple of weeks ago, when he came down for the evening with Caz.

To finish off, I just thought I’d put up this video of a printer, made entirely from Lego.

The IPhone 4 is out on Thursday. I’ll probably get one for personal use, but I’m going to wait a while and see if I can get a better deal. In the meantime I’m trying to get a phone for work, can anyone recommend a good Windows Mobile/Windows phone, its a while since I had one.

Near and Far, best wishes. John

Weekends, Socks and Adventure.

Pairing up my sockes on Saturday Morning.

As I’ve mentioned before, I always try to plan each weekend in advance, so that I get everything possible out of it.

Friday night, the weather was fab. I don’t go out much now, and tend to stop in with a bottle of wine, but ventured out all the same.

The commercial (recently opened) is excellent as I’ve said before. Thing that’s good, is it backs onto a forecourt, which it shares with the Victoria and the Amber Lounge. Away from the main runs of session drinkers, its an oasis.

Saturday mornings are the time when I write emails, do web research (see bellow) and catch up on the TV that I’ve recorded.

Lets just say that some of the TV programs I watch  are action orientated and don’t really require the use of your brain. I therefore schedule some mundane tasks for this time. Above are the socks I was pairing up while watching 2 episodes of Human Target.

Got me thinking. I moved to Chester in September 2001, so in a couple of months, I’ll have lived here 10 years. As I was reviewing my emails, I got an update from the excellent Woodsmoke (they run Adventure Bushcraft courses, you can see some of the stuff I’ve done with them here.)

In the update, Ben Mcnutt (who runs Woodsmoke, along with Lisa Fenton) wrote about various stuff, and that they had written-up their ethos on the revised website (you can read it here.). Its pretty moving stuff and definitely worth a read.

That’s when it hit me. When I came here (worked in Helsby for about 18 months before I actually lived here) I decided to climb Helsby Hill. All these years later, I still hadn’t done it (although I’ve visited 56 countries !).

With that, I grabbed my trusty “old trainers”, jumped on the train, and made it happen.

Me standing on Helsby Hill, after nearly 10 years.

Well here I am, standing on the top.

I have an OS map of the area (It was invaluable, when I was unemployed, to organise walks on the cheap), and using skills I learned on the NNAS Bronze and Silver course, I was able to back track along the Sandstone Trail, and meet the train home, at Frodsham 2 hours later.

Job well done.

Web Res:

On my IPhone, I have a really cool to do list. One thing I frequently do, is put information into it, prefixed with wr. This stands for Web Res or Web Research.

The basic idea, is that I make time, to go and look at things on the web, rather then when they are thrown at me by email or such. I set time aside, to carefully read about things that I’ve decided are important, at a time when my brain can take them in.

For example. If your firm allows it, there is nothing wrong in booking an easyjet flight over lunchtime. If I was selecting an adventure holiday and there were 8 to choose from, you might try something similar over a couple of lunch hours. DON’T.

Sunday morning with a cup of coffee, Tuesday evening after jogging. Only you know, when your imagination and creativity are at their most heightened, and that’s the time to do your wr (it also works for paper catalogues, and tv programmes about interesting places and subjects, but one thing at a time).


Sorry there hasn’t been an update of johnsunter.com in a while. I’ve been run off my feet at work.

Mickel Trafford Village Club (this picture does'nt do it credit).

An unusual evening on Saturday. I have started to try and broaden my horizons, hence visiting Chester cinema club, and stuff like that.

The other evening, Glenn invited me for an evening out, at the village hall in Michel Trafford. Amazingly, its run by the Parish Council, and the bar staff, are actually volunteers.

I was wondering whether it would be like the vicar of Dibley, but in reality, it was quite smart. A a practical point, the bar star were very polite and the service very personal (but it would be, its a village hall). I was also impressed with the price, at £1.80 for a pint of Carlsberg (took me back to 2003 !)

One downside, was that the website advertises free wireless broadband. Glenn, had brought one of his 2 (2 !) IPads to try out (I wanted to try them out and write a review, I cant help feeling that Glenn wanted to show off to the locals). Unfortunately, the service doesn’t seem to be popular there, and had been disconnected for non payment.

Overall, a pretty interesting evening. I hope to go again in a couple of weeks, and try out the free pool table.

Sex and the City 2

I know some people reading this, will be surprised that I’m a fan of sex and the city.

I remember hearing a story about a prisoner of war, who was beaten every day at 10am. When he was released, it was found that his body had compensated for the ordeal, by pumping adrenaline into his system at 10am each day. The irony was, that he was actually uncomfortable not being beaten.

I can’t claim the exact same thing, but in a relationship some years ago, I was “made” to watch Sex and the City, and a similar effect took place (and to be honest, I think my love of travel destinations, and the scenes of New York helped to numb the pain).

Anyway, Sex and the City 2 came out, and I went to see it on Saturday afternoon (to avoid loads of couples and people on first dates, and other rubbish like that).

Enough intro, so what did I think:

The film opens with a brief history of New York, and a few visuals of Carrie and her friends, when they arrived in NY, around 1986.

It then moves on to a garish gay wedding. Its hard to describe exactly, but it was an affront to the ears and eyes.

We are given an update, on what’s happened since the first film (I mean that, from the point of the characters. From the point of the producers and actresses, its obvious that they needed some more money).

I do like Big as a character. It would be easy to fall into the perfect guy, who just isn’t in touch with his feelings cliché, but it never happens.

On the subject of cliché, they are many, including watching black and white “classics” together. Vom.

The plot then moves to Abu Dhabi (except that I immediately recognised Marrakesh airport in Morocco, so knew that’s where it had been filmed). At this point it got a bit out of hand, with the kind of clash of cultures between the girls and Abu Dhabi society, ending in a free for all in the market.

I know the film is exaggerated, but from experience, New Yorkers are probably the most street wise westerners in existence. Brash surely, but they know every inside track, every trick, the lot, wherever they go. Unwittingly getting arrested in the way implied in the film, would just never happen.

Overall, I enjoyed it, but like the 1st, it was 2 and a half hours, which felt a bit long.

I did love the music, Empire state of mind, by Jay Z, featuring Alicia Keys. Since watching the film I cant stop singing it.

One line from the film “eventually the baby will get tired” took me back to the original series, and all the things I liked about it.

I was sorry to hear about the death of Gary Coleman from the series different strokes. It reminded me of this hilarious sketch of Tony Bobbins (a spoof on the real life peak performance specialist, Tony Robbins) which he appeared in.

Other things happening on the TV front. Well, loads of series have finished this week. Before anyone asks, I went off lost after 4 episodes, so I didn’t watch the final episode, and don’t really care what happened.

Ashes to Ashes finished after 3 series, and ended a 5 series arc, incorporating Life on Mars, one of the best TV programs of the decade.

People have been critical, but I thought it wrapped things up pretty well, and I enjoyed it immensely, just like the rest of the series.

I caught up on about 8 episodes of 24. I only started watching them again, after season 2, last year at season 7. This season really is dazing, and I cant wait to see what happens in the season finale.

Two series I am getting into are Human Target and White Collar. Human Target is based on a comic book, and basically action from beginning to end, with enough plot to tie it together, and nothing else.

Blue Collar is interesting. It about an FBI agent, and a former Con man/Forger who he enlists from prison. I was  talking to Glenn the other evening and he mentioned it.

I commented that when I saw the program, the first person, Neal Caffrey reminded me off, was him.

The Final episode, series 2 of Fringe. A recommendation from my brother last year, its excellent.

I’ve also been watching a series called Broken Bad. It was recommended by an old friend Jason MacDonald. He wasn’t wrong, its simply made, but quite dazzling.

Peter Kay. The Immersions On !.

Things have turned around, and the mortgage is getting paid, so the house is safe, but money is very tight.

It will take a while to turn things around, but in the meantime, I am trying to live as I did when I was unemployed, an dleverage every money saving and/or value enhancing tool available.

For example, earlier in the blog, I mentioned going to see Sex and the City 2. I get my gas and electric from Powergen. They give me Tesco points for paying my bill, by direct debit. I convert the points into cinema tickets, and get to see 2 films a month or “free” (the reasoning is that I would have bought food etc. from tTsco and electric/gas from Powergen anyway).

One thing I’ve just tried, is putting a 2 litre bottle of water in the lavatory systern. The idea, is that less water will be used when the systern fills up. Its a project I’m keen to see the results of (modern myth, or money saver).

One final inspiration, was actually from Peter Kay.

I used to always have the hot water come on with a timer, twice a day. Obviously, If I didn’t have a bath or anything, that hot water was wasted.

Shows how times have changed. The Peter Kay joke, where he is invited out for a drink or something at the Phoenix club, and explains that he cant, saying “the immersion is on”, took me back 30 years.

In my youth, the immersion heater would be put on, to heat hot water. It would take an hour to heat 2 baths full of water. Using the water was sacrosanct. If I was going out or to the shops, I would be strictly ordered home, so the water wouldn’t be wasted.

Made me wonder. Wasn’t Gas and Electric, relatively cheaper then, than it his now, but many homes today have heating/water switching on for several hours, when they aren’t even there.

I’ve learned my lesson. I put the water on, when I need a bath or a shower, and turn it off again, 20 minutes or an hour later. The savings have been significant.

Near and far, best wishes, the search for adventure continues…