Good morning folks
I trust you had a mighty fine weekend and that this finds you in finest fettle.
Blimey, it’s been quite a week!
After pressing the magic “publish” button last Sunday night, I jumped in a cab, took a contrived route across deepest, darkest Lima to the airport and jumped on a plane, indirectly back to Blighty. I would like to say it was plain sailing, but you know how it is.
Missing my two little ladies, a fortnight will fly though…
I love travelling, but flying has become a right royal pain in the ar$e in recent years.
Jorge Chavez airport (Lima) is never quiet, due to the fact that when local folk travel, they always take all their family to the airport to see them off/collect them.
I wouldn’t dream of waking Lina and the Nipper for a 2am airport run, so I was solo.
After clearing security, I bought a bottle of water (700% the price of normal water).
When I got to the gate I was told I couldn’t take it on board, so I had to glug it down, which meant I was bursting for the baño from the off. The trouble was I was penned in by a really surly woman and her partner, who couldn’t physically move, hold it in!
Arriving to Miami, I put $20 in the luggage cart machine, expecting $19 change and getting $15, i had to then take my bag 20yds around the corner and then check it in again. (I’d been to Miami once before and remembered it was HUGE!)
This was the start of a mini-saga.
I didn’t have much bra$$ for a meal so just killed time until my Philadelphia connection.
When I got to seat 21E, there was a lady sat there.
“Excuse me, is that your seat?” (If there ever was a daft question!)
She showed me her ticket, 21E.
Asking a nearby steward, there was a sea of confusion, me blocking the aisle and 15mins later I was dragged off and told that my flight was cancelled (the plane I’d just been on, which my bag was on) and I should have caught a Chicago flight. “We did try to contact you!” I was told.
I later found out that they had left a jumbled recorded message at Tadcaster!
So, I was rerouted to Heathrow (blocked in by two rather robust ladies, who got double dinner portions (due to a condition, possibly called being greedy!) Then on to Manchester.
My brother, Danny, picked me up at Manchester and we whizzed across the soggy Pennines, into Yorkshire and to TADCASTER!
My bag enjoyed an extended break in Philadelphia and arrived 3 days later!
Back in Blighty.
Things in madhouse Lima had been a bit manic of late (or rather, always) and I was amazed how quiet, calm and peaceful things were back home.
I settled back into this more leisurely rhythm and pace immediately, bliss doesn’t come close.
My folks spoiling me rotten plus peace & quiet.
The hardest thing of all for me in Lima is dealing with the constant noise, it never stops and if it’s noisy, you can’t sleep and if you can’t sleep, you’re ratty and if you’re ratty, you’re gonna have problems…
Despite having no clothes (bar what I was wearing) for 3 days, I had a mission to start.
When we came out to Peru we basically had to cram our lives into 2x23kg bags.
The Shed contains our former lives (minus 46kg). Added to which the fact that Lina and i are rubbish at chucking stuff out, the shed is something that one day I will have to go through. No time for that now however, it was just a frantic rustle through endless badly-packed boxes of tat! Did find a few gems though and they will be going back to Lima
All my work clothes back in Lima are falling to pieces, I look like a homeless bloke and although my gaffer never says anything, even I was starting to feel a bit scruffy. So, I’ve purchased clown’s feet shoes, Mr Tickle shirts and Robert Pershing Wadlow slacks!
I may be dreaming, but I’d really love to get out into the higher hills in Peru, so ice axe, crampons, harness and helmet slipped in the bag, as did a bigger tent than my tiny current crisp packet affair. First family camping trip planned at the end of August!
Getting everything out was the easy bit, the tricky bit is getting it all back in again, I have work to do…
I once upset a work colleague by saying that if I could pop a pill in Lima that would substitute my meals for the day, I’d pop it! Peruvians are very, very proud of their cuisine and rightly so.
It is good food, but I have missed Blighty’s fine culinary fares too. It has been a gratuitous ticking-off of a list of favourites:
Shepherd’s pie, pork pies, any kinds of pies, Corn beef hash, Sunday dinner, toast and more, all washed down with gallons and gallons of unrationed tea
(Saving Fish & Chips, Stew & Dumplings and Full English for this week. Never mind my bags being overweight!)
I really miss my family here and all my mates. The BIG knees-up is next weekend, so we had a Wetherby warm-up on Friday. Pints of Guinness, mmmm-mm-mmm.
My brother Dannyboy, Shoresyman, Starry, Norman and Campbed all joined in the tippling.
Mates I’ve not seen for the best part of almost 3 years, it was brilliant (and a World-first seeing Shoresy not drinking!)
Dannyboy treated me to some deep-fried Black Pudding too, bonus
Great to catch up with my ex-BL colleague and running friend, Angela, over a brew.
(Midland Bank is now a Costa Coffee!)
Running (especially for non-runners) can appear to be a dull subject, but I could have chatted for hours and hours. Good luck in your ultra-adventures amiga
My old school mate, Aly, was getting married on Saturday and I was chuffed to bits to be able to make her “Do”. Got a lift with my old BL boss and friend Sam and her sister, Chrissy.
It was ace to just talk, talk and talk and laugh, plus a bit of boogying too at one of my favourite old haunts, the Faversham. First class playlist music disco. Big congrats to Aly & Andy, yayyyy
Running it off…
Although I’m on the comeback trail, I can’t just go on a boozing and troughing holiday, so I’ve squeezed a bit of training in too. Traffic-free roads, fresh air and blue skies.
Still waiting for my “altitude training” benefits to kick-in
Even saw a bit of the World Champs Athletics. After completely missing London in 2012 (Mongol Rally) and Rio 2016 (working/no telly), I was still looking out for the likes of Coe and Ovett. Things have changed…
I do sometimes feel bad about the blog being named after something I no longer have (in Lima). The Red One (XR125) sadly had to go…
So, it was an emotional reunion with the mighty SuperClunk
My Dad swapped his old Triumph 3TA for a 1962 BSA Bantam, so it was good to take it for a spin, until we ran out of petrol 2 miles from home, and had to push it back on a balmy summer evening, in full gear :-/
A big treat on Sunday!
Went to see my Dad’s mate, Charlie, who has some beaut old bikes, including an off-road modified Royal Enfield Electra Bullet.
“Do you fancy a ride?”
He also had a cracking little MZ250 (two-stroke) as well. We spent a happy few hours talking Clunks
I’ve moved house 35 times, some have been mini-local-hops, others have been longer-distance. So where is “home”?
Obviously I live in Lima, the two little ladies are there and I will have to go back there on the 22nd. I really do love my job there and have some outstanding mates, but is it home?
I am desperately hoping that expansion plans to the city of Arequipa do materialise and also that I get picked. Will we stay in Peru forever? I don’t think so.
Kendal, Cumbria and the Lake District are where my roots are. I was born and brought up there, if I could live anywhere on the planet it would be there. However, realistically it is sadly unlikely, maybe one day…
Tadcaster is where my folks live and where we moved as a family in 1988. I went to school here, have had several jobs here and spent a chunk of my young adult life here. I had never realised nor appreciated what a great place it is (and you may laugh), but it is a top spot. A small town from where you can get into the sticks really quickly, and they do brew a decent drop of beer here too…
LEEDS however is the place that had the most unexpected emotional effect on me this week.
I went “into town” on Saturday afternoon, a sunny day with Leeds playing at home (first game of the season), I was expecting chaos, but it never came!
Traffic was light, got parked easily, sauntered down from the Playhouse car park. Where has Millgarth Cop Shop gone? All new John Lewis, all new shopping arcades, all new market area.
I felt like I had been out of town for a lifetime!
Walking across Vicar Lane into the Victoria Quarter arcade I suddenly felt very emotional, I don’t know where it came from, but I suddenly thought “What the (deleted expletive) are we doing in Lima when we have beautiful places like this, where we came from?”
I’m no architect, nor building-buff, but the Victoria Quarter is a bit special (even though all the shops are out of my price range). I wandered around town taking in the changes, the city has grown and changed. I really felt like I had come home!
Next on the two week drinking/eating/reminiscing tour, I’m heading up t’Lakes for a few days, seeing friends, family and fells. Hoping for a hobble around the Langdale Horsehoe hopefully.
Rain or shine, I don’t care
Then it’ll be a mad blur of packing, repacking and re-repacking, before next Saturday’s session and then time to head home, 4 stone heavier (bags and me!)
Running related, but not just for runners!
THIS VIDEO is why the Lakes draws me back, time after after time
Have an AWESOME week!
Johnny (in Blighty), Lina and the Nipper (holding the fort in Lima!)