Tag: rohan


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…

Bluelist party on the 23rd of November.

My friends visiting me, on my 40th birthday.

A few of my friends, are organising an early evening party for me, on Monday the 23rd of November to celebrate the completion of my bluelist (completing literally thousands of must do before you die activities, and visiting dozens of countries along the way).

When I set off for a trip, I put on the paracord with a whistle and torch around my neck, adorn myself with my Rohan trousers and floppy hat, pick up my rucksack, and off I go. It sort of gets me in the adventure mood.

When I come back, I have a similar ritual. I have a bath, and then go to a nice pub and put my mind back into domestic thinking and the like.

Ill be doing the 2nd one, on the 23rd and your all invited (apart from the section involving the bath !), from about 4pm.

If your one of my friends,  you’ll probably hear from me soon, with an invite, but if you fancy coming anyway, send me an email/call etc, would be great to see a few of you there (its an early evening drink, wont go on all night, but it will be the end of a 6 year project for me, and would be great to polish it off, with a few laughs and drinks).

A venue hasnt been selected yet, but it will be in the center of Chester. Hope to see you there.


Fathers Day.


Fathers day, has always been a bit of a non event for me. I don’t have any children, and my father died when I was 13.  It was typified by this window scene at the Rohan shop, showing some sort of “Dad” opening his presents.

The worrying thing was, I own all the clothes that the dummy is wearing, and it took me one step closer to the belief that I am becoming my own father (the first clue, was the size of my sideburns).

Well, this year was different. An old friend from From years ago (Mathew Bridges, we worked together at Corning) invited me over for Sunday dinner, with his 2 lovely daughters.

Food was excellent, company interesting and informative (even his 5 year old daughter had something to bring to the conversation).

His older daughter was charming, and once again severely threatened my long held belief that “young person” is another way of saying “idiot”.  She definitely wasn’t.

Its been just about the best Fathers day, that I can remember, and I would like to say thanks to Matt and his family, for inviting me.

My “Official” birthday in Liverpool.

The Liverbuilding, an international symbol of Liverpool.

Most people who live in Chester, have been to Liverpool dozens and dozens of times. I think the reason for this, is that Chester is a relatively small City (in reality, its more of a town, but whats in a name) and when people need to go shopping for elaborate things, they head for the nearest big city.

I grew up in Manchester (I lived 4 miles out of town). There was never any need to visit Liverpool, as everything that we needed was in Manchester city center. To date, I have only made 2 Major trips  Liverpool.

1. To get a passport more than 10 years ago (needed it at short notice, had to go down in person).

2. Spent the day exploring,  seeing the cavern, traveling in an amphibious vehicle etc (read about Liverpool 1 and Liverpool 2).

In addition to this, I have been on a couple of nights out there, and I spent a Sunday afternoon, having a few drinks with my old friend Mike Delafield, who now lives there.

It was the latter trips that inspired me to celebrate my birthday there.

Queen Victoria's statue in Liverpool.

In times gone by, we used to all go out for drinks around Chester “exploring” different pubs, that I’d never been in. Problem is, Ive lived in Chester for 8 years now, Ive been in every pub, and although a trip to the pub on a Sunny day is always fun, there is no really mystery or adventure to it.

I decided that I would go to Liverpool.  I don’t know hardly any of the pubs there, but I had Sean, Mike, Ralph and Aud, to act as guides. I also had some cultural assistance, from my old friend Matt Bridges (a scouser himself) who he advised me on the best way to interact with the indigenous population of Merseyside.

A scouting party of Dan, Sean and I head into Liverpool on the 11:45 train. A mixture of tiredness, recovery from Alcohol and hunger, made for an unlikely group of pub-crawlers.

As we get off the train, Sean shows us this statue of Queen Victoria on the corner of Lord and Castle street. Apparently, its well known by the locals, that when viewed from a certain angle, the sceptre that the queen is holding, appears to give her an appendage, which wouldn’t occur naturally on the female body :).

Luckily, Victoria isn’t around anymore, so nobody got beheaded or anything. As we wandered through the City, a guy was talking on a mobile. Nothing unusual in that, but he was talking so loud, that he could be heard clearly 150 metres away, and one wondered, if he actually needed a phone at all.

The Adelphi hotel. Regal entrance, and earthy bar downstairs.

Sean promised us an experience of cultural contradiction.

As we arrived at the Adelphi hotel, we walked through the main doors. Rooms in the Hotel, can cost up to £400 a night, and its very elegant inside.

I wondered which one of my organs I would need to sell, in order to buy a round of drinks there. I needn’t have worried, as we turned to the left and walked down some stairs, we found ourselves in a bar called Fridays. It has the feel of the working men’s club in Get Carter and pints of lager are only £1.50.

It looked a bit rough, but bellow the surface, people were just relaxing, and considering where I grew up, I always have time for that sort of earthiness. The toilet (the first of 2 interesting one’s that day) was like something you’d expect to find in a prison.

The Philharmonic, one of the most famous pubs in the country.

After leaving here, Sean, full of apologies (completely un-needed) wishes to redeem himself by taking us somewhere up market. We head up the hill, towards a pub called the Philharmonic, which had been recommended by several people. It used to be a Gentleman’s club and is a grade 1 listed building. The Gents toilets are also listed, said to be the only graded listed toilets in the country, due to their grandiose styling.

We sat towards the back of the building, in one of the themed music rooms. Mike appeared a few minutes later, followed by Bret (who to his credit, had worked the previous night, and still made it out) then Ralph and Aud.

One annoying thing, ill remember for next time, is to check all relevant mobile numbers are up to date. Jon  (who I first met on a survival course. desert survival 1 , desert survival 2)  had travelled all the way from London by motorbike, he had my old number, I had his, and he had turned up at the original pub, after we had left. Luckily, an email from his Blackberry to my IPhone and we were back in action.

Couple of hours catching up, the time flew by. We had arranged to leave at 5pm, but were having such a good time, decided to stay (Dan and Sean had to leave, as they had prior engagements).

I hadnt eaten all day. We headed around the corner and found a cafe serving folded Pizza’s for £3 (you just dont get value like that in Chester).

Down the hill back towards town, we pop into a pub called (puzzlingly !) the fly in the loaf.

Ralph does an impromptu impersonation of me, using my coat and phone.

Everyone is pretty drunk now, and the evening descends into mayhem. I demonstrate how my Rohan jacket can pack down small into a pillow and various silliness.

There were too many funny and interesting things to go into here, but suffice to say, old days at Corning, fellow travellers on our trip to Jordan and conversations about the desert survival course in 2005 were mentioned.

One person that seemed to really enjoy it was Brett. I always feel lucky and proud, when my friends meet each other. Its great to see a room full of really kind, interesting and fun people, all hitting it off.

My lasting memory of the “do” will be Ralph, who donned my coat and phone, and did a non flattering impersonation of me.

Id like to thank everyone that came, it was a fantastic day. Like I’ve said before, when times get hard, you realise that its the simple things in life that bring you pleasure. In this case, the company of some amazing people who I’m proud to call my friends.