My mum passed away earlier today.
Everything on this website and all the adventure I’ve done came from my imagination, which came from her.
The search for adventure will have to stop for a little while.
I hope you all understand.
I try to go walking every weekend now (mostly on a Sunday if I can). Although I’m working again now, I learned how to organise an adventure for £5 while I was unemployed, and I continue to “invent” new ones.
The Wirral Coastal path, runs from Hamilton Square to West Kirby and is about 12 miles. It ends where the Wirral Way begins, so the 2 can be combined to make a smart 25 mile walk.
A return ticket from Chester to West Kirby, costs £4.40. You get off the train at Hamilton Square, do the walk, and get back on the train at one of several stations, upto and including West Kirby. Bottle of water, flask of coffee, home made packed lunch, all in for less than a fiver.
I met up with my companions, Amelia and Tony. We arrived (well some of us did !) at the last possible minute before the train left. A misunderstanding about who was bringing what, made a re-distribution of gear a necessity (subsequently, on a windy day, I was cold for most of the route, as I had to lend out my Hagloff jacket).
Setting of from Hamilton Square, we walk along the water front, with spectacular views of Liverpool. After about a mile, you have to head inland, as one of the docks, is an international port (or as international as Ireland gets) and as such, is a secure facility. Its just a shame that you cant walk the whole way along the waterfront.
Once we leave Seacombe ferry port, the route changes, and landscapes like the one above form much of the rest of the route, with Sand-dunes to the left, a path down the middle, and a beach to the right.
It being a coastal path, it’s pretty flat. Unlike the Wirral Way though, there was virtually no cover, so although it was dry all day, when the wind came howling, you had to take it on the chin.
As you can see from this picture, we could either walk along the concrete path, or along the sandy beach. Luckily, I had my old trainers on (walking boots on concrete is about the best way to get impossibly blistered feet I know off).
As we get close to New Brighton, we see Fort Perch Rock (a Naval fort, built during the Napolionic wars). I wanted to go inside, but it was about £4, which I thought was just too expensive.
We tried to find somewhere to sit and eat our sandwiches, but it was really windy.
We reached New Brighton, which to say the least, was a surprise. There must be about 20 chippy’s in close proximity. Some sort of “poncy” theatre, which looks completely out of place. A strip club, which didn’t look out of place at all, and a fairground (which reminded me of all the reasons I don’t go to fairgrounds).
Moving on, we left New Brighton behind, and the beaches opened up before us (there were loads of people wind surfing and stuff like that).
We decided not to walk all the way to West Kirby, and instead, catch the train back from Moreton.
For eight years, I worked at a company, with one of its offices in Moreton. I frequently got the train back, which was a ten minute walk along a straight road. Just near the the station, the road climbed to a steep hill, and I always wondered for all of those year’s what was on the other side.
As a walked along a familiar looking road, inland (the opposite direction) and climbed to the top of the hill. I realised that the road to the Train Station, continues on to the beach.
The logo of this website, is someone (me actually) sat on a sofa, with a mountain behind him. The idea is that someone is relaxing, and adventures becons close buy, but he doesn’t see it and doesnt realise just how close it is.
I must have had several hundred lunch hours when I worked in Moreton, and never realised an interesting beach walk was 10 minutes away.
Well, anther cracking day out, and it was great to see that Travel “War Dog” again, Tony.
Well, all systems go for my birthday next Saturday the 8th. Full details here.
On my first Inter-railing trip, I took a book called Living Dangerously, it was the autobiography of Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Ran is one of my life hero’s, and I was delighted to read recently, that he will be visiting Chester on the 24th of June. Full details here.
I’ve added 2 things to 17 things I like, so its now called 19 things I like.
Speaking of Mountaineering, a chap I did my mountaineering training with is on expedition for 21 days on Baffin Island. Mike “Twid” Turner and 2 of his fellow climbers will be mountaineering in the daytime, and sleeping in hanging tents at night (oh, and in between, they will have to avoid wild bears).
The cool thing is, they they have a sat phone with them, and will be answering questions each evening. You can find out about it and possibly ask them a question (I will be) here.
I only have about 25% of my hearing (In my youth, I went on lots of longs walks, with a cassette walkman screaming in my ears. It provided me with all kinds of inspiration and ideas, but at a price.) if you want to get an idea of what the world sounds like to me, click on this.
You may remember, that I did some work with Antique Pine Imports, with the intention of learning about joinery. Whilst working with Matty, we listened (in my case under duress) to Radio 1. The outcome, is that I can’t stop humming “she said” by Plan B. Torture !.
Seriously, its important to vote. I’ve stood in Nelson Mandela’s cell where he worked for 27 years to restore democracy to his country. I’ve stood in Wenceslas Square in Prague, where Jan Palach set himself on fire as there was simply no other way to protest for democracy and be heard.
Warren Buffet once said “If you’ve been at a card game for 30 minutes, and you cant work out who the patsy is, you are the patsy !”. British Politics is a bit like that. The parties all seem the same, the expenses row has shown many politicians to be corrupt and the economic problem looms so large, that you wonder if anyone can fix it. But if you don’t vote, then you literally are the problem, not a symptom, whatever you tell yourself.
I remember being on a train once, and it was very late. I was annoyed, and talking to a passenger next to me. I explained that the ticket had cost £90 and the train still didn’t run on time. The passenger replied that he hadn’t bought a ticket, he had sneaked onto the train without paying, but he was still annoyed. The passenger sat across from me, turned to him, and said if you don’t pay, you don’t get complain !.
If you don’t vote, you cant really complain afterwards.
I’ve been watching a series by another of my life heroes, Stephen Hawking. Into the Universe, explores all sorts of things that you normally see in science fiction, in a grown up but interesting way. I’ve said many times that we cant possibly be alone in the Universe, and that I hope we make contact with Aliens in my lifetime.
I’ve always believed that once Aliens are discovered, the fundamental reality that we aren’t alone will bind the human race, more closely together. Startlingly (but subtly put) Hawking reckons that we should be cautious of meeting up with Aliens of superior technology and almost avoid letting them know of our existence.
He points to the example of the native North Americans as an example of what could happen to us !. I certainly hope not.
I went to see Iron Man 2 the other evening. Money is tight, but I use my Tesco vouchers to buy Cinema tickets, which works out quite well.
One thing that really annoyed me, was how they now have a sign saying you cant take your own food and drink into the Cinema. I can get 2 bottles of Coke from Wilkinsons, for 99p. They charge £2.40 for one. Things bought from the Cinema shops, have a special sticker on them. Everything else isn’t allowed !. I think that its a liberty, and I’ll be surprised if its legal.
Anyway, on to the film. Firstly, the scene in the trailer, with Pepper Pots (which interestingly, is my mum’s name (I mean the surname, is her family name. Her first name, is Vera, and she is really nice. I’d be embarrassed if she was called Pepper !)) throwing the helmet out of the plane, never actually happens in the film.
The action and effects were everything I expected. They had opted for a few big action scenes, which left a lot of the film free for character development and plot twists (its just a shame, that they didn’t actually use it for this purpose, as far as I could see 🙂
My main disappointment, was with the continuity. In the first film, as he escapes from the cave, he turns to his dying friend, and says come on, well get out of here, and you can be with your family. He replies, my family are dead. Ill be with them soon, and you realise that he had never intended to leave the cave. With his dying words, you hear him say, don’t wast your life Stark. A billionaire arms dealer, he returns home and vows to change.
He does change for the duration of that film, but in the 2nd one, he’s back to his old ways.
Other silliness is the love interest with PP, the fallout with his best friend, and dealing with his illness. All handled with enough Ham and Cheese to provide Britain’s workforce with lunchtime nutrition for a year.
The ending is pretty cool and the audacious scene, where he builds a particle accelerator from heating pipes and creates a new element, almost makes up for the pointless congressional hearing scene at the beginning.
I’ve always been a real fan of the Iron Man franchise. Its not like a normal superhero series. He hasn’t been bitten by a spider, or escaped from a doomed planet, he’s just an engineer, however gifted, who builds a machine that can protect the innocent and fight tyranny (or that’s what the original comic book was about).
One scene in the first film, really connects with me. A fictional group of villagers are being held at gunpoint in Afghanistan. How many times in real life, have you switched on the tv, and seen something terrible happening on the other side of the world. If your like me, you felt stricken, hoped that things turned out okay, but inside you knew that you were powerless and that probably things would end badly.
What if you could get into your suit, fly there and make things right. There wasn’t a single scene in the second film like that.
It was my 2nd trip to the Cinema that week. On Tuesday, I finally got around to watching Be Kind Rewind at the Little Theatre, with the Chester Film Society. I have been on their mailing list or nearly 4 years, but finally got around to going.
I was really impressed. Like everything that the traditionalist’s do here in Chester (including the sponsored walk), it was done properly, and organised with military precision. They even had a small bar, so Glenn and I had a drink, then went upstairs to watch the film.
They had a really smart setup, with a large screen, good audio and the film on DVD. One thing I did like, was a short film, shown before the main film. It used to always be this way when I was growing up, and encouraged many young directors. We realised at this point, that it was the last film of the season, and they actually conducted an AGM before the main film.
Glenn and I (who aren’t members, it must be said) had a quick look at the budget, and listened intently to the plan for next year, the fact that the Olympics has wreaked havoc on grants from the arts council, and other important matters. The main point I wanted to raise, was that Carling, in their bar, was only £1.40 a pint, and that I would like the price to be held into next season. I couldn’t find the confidence to actually say that, so I’ll just have to hope.
It wasn’t the best film, I have ever seen, but it was enjoyable. The main thing I remember of the experience , was how enlightening it was to sit and watch a film, with about 80 other people who had all come out that evening just to watch the film. There was no talking, mobiles popcorn or any of that rubbish.
I’ll be going back, I really enjoyed it.
Times are getting tough. I’ve got a month or 2, and then my present arrangement with the Building Society comes to an end. The problem is, there seems to be no real movement in the IT Market in the North. Obviously, if your looking for a really good engineer, who will work for Peanuts, give me a shout.
Recently though, I have been looking at alternatives (The London contracting market is booming). Another alternative, is moving out of the IT field altogether (at present, a minimum wage job, could save my house.) I’ve been over to the Frog, where they have been showing me how to work the bar in case a job like that comes along. The problem is, there are loads of unemployed people with years of bar work experience, so I’m not hopeful.
I decided to look at other jobs and opportunities. Strictly speaking, I’m a technologist, but at heart I’m an engineer and I love building and making things. To the rescue, my friend Glenn, runs a Pine Furniture import business. Glenn is no stranger to coming to the rescue, you may remember he recently provided Football “technical support” to a local pub (you can read about it here).
The basic idea is that I would spend 2 days with them, and I would learn a bit about restoring furniture and help out with some of the beautiful pine cupboards and things that they have there (and like a proper apprentice, I would earn my keep by helping to unload wagons, emptying bins etc).
I was introduced to a lad called Matty, who I would be working with. He showed me how to polish the waxed door of a Wardrobe. Later, I spent some time sanding down a large dresser. It took me ages.
The Wardrobe on our left, in the picture above, is something that Matty restored (with a bit of help from me). It really was a beautiful piece of furniture. Its hard to see from the picture, but up close it was stunning.
I also met one of the co-founders of Antique Pine Imports, Rob. I was a little concerned at first, as Rob seemed to frown quite a lot. Had he taken a dislike to me ?. The reality, is these guys are master craftsmen. He was watching everything, checking every detail.
On reflection, if I’m in a server room, I act much the same, I’ve just never noticed it about myself.
I was fascinated to see Rob working on a Wardrobe. It had been sold, delivered, but for some reason couldn’t fit into the customers home. Rob completely re-engineered it, so it could be separated into 2 pieces and put back together.
While working I got to listen to Radio 1. Ive never really liked Radio anyway, but Ive decided that Radio 1 isnt for me.
Okay, so after my experiences, am I going to move into Cabinet Making ?.
It was very physically demanding compared to the sort of stuff I normally do (some of you will laugh and criticise, but I’m just being honest).
Its also a very specialist job. It must take years and even decades to become expert at the profession and although nobody said it, I think you must need a real love and understanding of wood to succeed.
Although its roots are in traditional craftsmanship, API makes extensive use of technology and modern methods in its working practices. As Glenn put it, its 2010 and were a progressive company.
I had a really good time, and I met some ace people. I’d like to Thank Matty, Rob and Glenn for sharing their time and knowledge with me, it was much appreciated and a lot of fun. The next time I’m in the Commercial and I see an old piece of furniture, I’ll look at it in a completely new light.
Journalism in the UK, is covered by the laws of Liable and from an ethics point of view the press complaints authority.
Here at johnsunter.com we have only 2 rules:
1. We don’t talk spin or bs, its the real deal or nothing (if it wasn’t, it would be a bit silly having a subtitle of the adventures of an ordinary person.
2. When were wrong, we say were wrong.
In this case, rule number 2 applies.
I had previously said that Matt Smith would make a terrible Dr Who and that he was too young (You can read my full comments here).
I watched him in the new role the other evening, and I have to say that I was completely mistaken. David Tennant’s shoes were always going to be hard to fill, but Matt really made the part his own, genuinely pulled off the 900 year old thing and added new energy to the program.
I don’t like the opening music, and I’m not keen on the new logo, but Amy Pond makes a convincing assistant. I also enjoyed the future highlights section at the end of the show. If it delivers on that, it will easily be the best series of Dr Who since 2004.
I dont imagine that Matt Smith visits this blog, but if you are/do, I would like to personally apologise for my previous comments. Dr Who, is one of the few really good things on TV and you make an excelent Dr.
A couple of random events happened to create this picture.
My friend Dan was criticising a TV program, and commented that he would rather watch mega-structures.
I had the house to myself, I was channel surfing, I saw mega-structures on the listing and started watching it. This week it was about the Petronus Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
I became fascinated with the Towers and Kuala Lumpur, and added them to my bluelist.
A year later I was standing in Kuala Lumpur. I wandered around for ages to find the right spot to take the picture.
I needed someone to take it for me. I waited for 30 minutes, until some young girls came by. They didn’t speak a word of English, and it took 7 goes (even with a simple digital camera) to setup the shot.
This is a photo taken in Tiananmen Square.
The chap in this picture, had travelled by bus for 4 days, to visit the final resting place of Mao Zedong, or Chairman Mao as he is known better, in the west.
He asked to be photographed with me, because quite simply, he had never met anyone, before that moment, who wasn’t Chinese !.
As I joked at the time, if I’d known the picture would have such significance to him, I would have lost some weight in advance of it 🙂
He and his wife had an old style film Camera, which his wife used to take their picture. The photo above, is actually her 2nd attempt with my camera. This is the first. She mistook the lens as a viewfinder, and photographed her own face !.
In the 8 things I hate section of this website, I am critical of Liam Gallagher. As I put it, we are all ambassador’s for something, and as a fellow and proud Mancunian, he offends me. Whenever I travel, I try to remember this, (I mean, that Im an ambassador for my country. I don’t go around apologizing to strangers for Liam Gallagher’s existence!).
It goes the other way too. If someone if visiting YOUR country, then they are a guest, and you should act as an Ambassador for your country, at home as well.
What has this got to do with anything. Well the pictures above, would have been impossible to take, without the friendly assistance of passers by.
In the last couple of days, here in Chester, on several occasions, I have seen a wife or husband posing for a photo while the other takes it.
I pause to watch what happens, and see dozens of local people just walk past them. I walk over, and ask they if they would like a picture together. I have done this all over the world, they never decline. Its what they wanted all along, they just didn’t like to ask.
The next time you see a group of tourists/foreigners, whatever you want to call them, capitulating around something with a camera, why not offer to take the picture. Even if they don’t need your help, they will be delighted that you offered your time to help them.
I’m organising my birthday for the afternoon/evening of the 8th of May. If you fancy coming, put it in your diary.
I’ve been doing all sorts of interesting things lately. As well as my daily study on networking and virtualization, I’ve branched out into other things. Amazing though it sounds, in the last few days, I have designed flyer’s for local bands, repaired a washing machine, painted a room, rebuilt a laptop, and delivered furniture. If you live nearby and there’s an odd job you want doing, then give me a shout.
Dan has Finally moved to Nantwich (I’m off to see him tomorrow) and my lodgers leave in 11 days.
While I’ve been experimenting with technology, Ive found that windows 7 is absolutely fab on net-books. I had always believed that windows XP was the weapon of choice for that kind of platform, but if you have a net-book, and want to get loads of new useful features, and see it run a lot faster (basically, all the stuff that Vista promised, and didn’t deliver on) then I would definitely recommend it. There is a brill video, about how to install it from USB here.
Adventure wise, I went over to Prestatyn the other day. It was great to walk along the beach in the sunshine. There are still loads of hills to climb in my life at the moment (much like everyone else’s I imagine) and its nice occasionally to just get away.
Next weekend is the National Outdoor Show. Loads of friends I’ve met adventuring and companies I’ve used, are going to be there. Its run over 3 days, if you get some time, pop over to the NEC and see what you can find.
Why do they do this. I mean if it really MUST remain locked at all times, why not just take the doors off, and build a wall there !!!???.
Congratulations to my friend Matt Bridges. After earning/obtaining/winning 3 degree’s previously, he has finally decided on his 4th, to wear the funny hat, and accept his 4th degree formally.
On a more serious note, the plight my old friend Oliver Richardson, and his wife Jess. Some of you will remember that I met him at IBM, and travelled to their wedding in Las Vegas . They moved to the US some years ago, and recently went to Mexico and adopted a little boy called Hugo.
Jess has been out there with the baby continuously for several months, in the murder capital of Mexico. It was actualy featured on US TV, you can see it here.
I completely re-wrote the site, about a year ago, with the help of Henrik, and its much easier to update now. It still takes quite a lot of work, to sit down, prepare articles, format pictures and stuff like that (obviously I am able to save the time that other people would use checking spelling etc 🙂
A couple of people , make it a genuine pleasure to write this site. You know who you are, but one in particular, is Jon Mallet, who I met on a desert survival course a couple of years ago (he’s pictured above, on the lower left of the picture. You can read about the trip, here and here.)
We have been friends ever since, and he has twice driven all the way from London, to attend my birthday.
Anyway, its his birthday on the 9th of March, and I just wanted to say happy birthday, and thanks for being a mate.
Well, I’m back in the UK and the Bluelist, which has occupied the last six years of my life is completed.
Ill be completing the usual set of pages, as I have for all my other destinations, in the next couple of days, but in the meantime, here’s a picture of my in front of table mountain, taken from Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid campaigners were imprisoned.
There were some brilliant people on the trip (which was once again organised by the Adventure Company), including our amazing guide Charl, a true South African in every sense of the word.
There were also, 3 pretty excellent couples from Australia, England and Scotland, 2 thirty-something singletons, 2 pretty cool blokes, and a cockney girl called Julie.
Ill be witting loads of stuff about the trip, in the next few days, but one thing I would like to say, is how much the media miss-represents South Africa and especially Capetown.
It wasn’t anything like as dangerous as everyone had been saying, and sensible UK precautions, were all that was needed to enable a trip out in the evening (during my visit to New York, there were many more places where I felt uncomfortable, than I did in Capetown).
As I stated before, the trip was inspired by one of Wilbur Smiths books, and as our guide was also a fan of his work, I got to see loads of locations, which inspired scenes from his book.
Will get going now, but near and far, the search for adventure continues…