I trust you had a marvellously superb weekend and that this finds you in sterling form.Here is your weekly wrap-up of grumbling and nonsense from Chaos central. With house move #37 just over a week away, nerves are all getting a bit frayed, but a dawn raid onto the fells on Saturday morning calmed me down. A new feature this week too!
Last week I wasn’t sure if punters were talking about spuds, old men or the chap from the Vatican. It was indeed the latter!
If you close any (single) road in Lima you can expect (even more) chaos, but this was of another level.
Pope Francisco arrived at the airport midweek and did a whistle-stop tour of Lima, Puerto Maldonado (jungle) and Tujillo (‘oop north) and back to Lima to give mass to a crowd of over 1.3 million!
No dramas (apart from road closures and a flat tyre, hould have used Avon van tyres like we stuck on the Silver Streak. 10,000 miles without a flat).
Military choppers have filled the skies, which I foolishly tried to capture and was temporarily blinded shooting into the sun, you live and learn!
Move minus 11 days…
Surrounded by boxes and bedlam, this was one week when I was tapped for time to scribble my ramblings, but the blog must go on!
It will (or will not and if not I am in serious bother) all culminate in a veritable stressfest next Saturday. I am frantically tying to sort out logistics, but it is sometimes hard to get a concrete “si” or “no” out here. The big deal is a set of wheels to shift our junk!
(The lass whose flat we are renting is still there, in the middle of a massive move herself, we hope to be actually in there and living from the 1st, she hopes to be out by the 1st).
Years back I bought an old Transit van from a bloke who lived on the edge of a mountain in Halifax. He was 80-odd and took me for a terrifying test drive down black-ice coated lanes, I gave him the asking price of £999 on the spot
From there my brother and I (well he did and I watched) transformed it into a basic but homely campervan, kitting it out with beds, storage, a cooker, lights, curtains and insulation.”The Breadvan”, I loved that van.I was always quite popular when people were moving house and what I would have to have it here right now!
Will it all work out? Watch this space…
Last week I thought my left ankle metalwork was about to explode or that I would need my foot sawing off.
Complications with insurance and bad timing (house move) have made me take my typical “just ignore it” attitude and I tentatively started running on it again midweek.
If I strap/tape it up tight, I can run on it. Movement is limited and the strapping limits movement, so it’s not very pretty but I can hobble!
My main salvation in this madhouse is a Saturday morning sortie onto the local “cerros”. They are not much to look at, dusty barren slopes, often covered in trash/debris, but two miles from my doorstep I can get up into the hills and escape the madness of the city for a few hours. The project I have been working on for the last 2 years (The Doubtful Round) is a long horsehoe ridge route and that is where I find my peace here
For years and years and years I have often frowned at some training techniques and just relied on trying to destroy myself with miles and vertical feet climbed, shunning all type of strength/core work (bar some token Swiss Ball wobbling).
Now I (finally) realise that the folk who do this “proper” training are the ones who are actually training and not in a destructive “train as hard as possible-get crocked-premature comeback-up it too quickly-crocked again” cycle. (The only exception to this rule is for people like my old training partner, Steve B, who could run 100 miles-a-week for weeks on end, with his shoelaces tied together. I tried running 100 miles in a week, 5 times, I was shut down 5 times as an immediate result!)
Running fitness can be likened to filling a bucket full of lard, (or maybe beef dripping.) The problem is that the lard is hard to shovel into the bucket, it takes time and effort. The other problem is that the bucket has holes in, not a major problem if the lard is solid. However, once the lard warms up, it does tend to pour out of the holes in the bucket, so you have to work harder and harder just to maintain the level of lard in the bucket, but if you play it just right, you can keep the bucket at a reasonable level…
In a nutshell, I am just pleased to be running and will take the year as it comes. My big aim is the UT69 in July, anything else will be a bonus, as will the UT69 if I get there!
The big thing to look forward to and get excited about in the near future is an escape to the hills at the end of February. My mate Charlie has invited me for a training weekend up in yonder hills in 5 weeks time, proper big mountains, not like these diddy slag heaps in Lima!
I cannot wait
From Russia with Love to Massachusetts
Oh how I will my miss my neighbours,
“Hello, yes, it’s me again, turn that bloody racket down, now…”
Somebody upstairs plays really, really loud music, through disco speakers, all day from 6-7am onwards. It is normally the same track and it is always dire! (How is it that you never, ever hear anybody playing something decent at volume, in passing cars or above your head?)
I already had a blinding headache and wasn’t in the best of moods as it was, but by 10am I’d had enough.
I stormed upstairs and banged on the door, no answer, rang the bell, no answer.Heart pounding (I hate confrontation but sometimes it is the only way), I waited and nobody answered, so I went back downstairs and chuntered under my breath all morning!
Outfit sorted for next night out!
I’ve had to resort to playing John Barry soundtrack albums to calm me down and even found myself playing the Gibb Brothers’ finest tracks. I could stoop to their level, but I don’t have a nightclub sound system.
On Saturday I went to my first ever Baby Shower!
Our good friends, James and Erika are expecting their nipper in March and we all got together to celebrate.
I had planned a dry January, but when an ice-cold Cristal was put in my hand, it would have been rude to say no, I was a bit dehydrated from the hills in the morning, so I had a few and it was a brilliant afternoon/evening.
Living where we do, taxistas can be a fickle breed and pick and choose their rides.
For this reason we can’t always get a cab in the street, so taxi apps like Easytaxi and Taxibeat are super useful.
For some reason out here, Uber is not too popular, with drivers and punters alike. Drivers don’t know in advance where there rides are going to and their fares are generally more pricey.
However, we took the chance…
A diddy car turned up, a Chinese Fiat 500 copy, the driver was very quiet.
Our route home should havebeen a simple right turn, a right turn onto the Panamericana and home.
We were chatting away when I noticed that we were going uphill, which was the opposite of where we should have been going. I asked the driver and he said that “Waze” (GPS app) was taking him a better route. I let it lie, but we kept rising into the hills for some time. I asked again and was ignored!
“Here” he said!
“Hmm, no” I replied.
He has put in the wrong street and we were now three times as far away from home. He quoted a ridiculous price and I told him what the fare should have been and what we would pay (his idea and mine were different!)
So we headed homewards, but every time I told him where to go, he followed his “Waze” which took us wrong four times more. It is a well-known easy route, akin to driving three junctions up the M1 (but not as orderly). By this time he really had the monk on!I didn’t leave a tip, but getting an A-to-Z would be a good one…
I’m the bad guy?
A long story.
Due to relocation at work, I no longer walk, I take the “Combi”, which is a public transport double-edged-sword if ever there was one!
The infamous Combi is the smallest form of “informal” public transport here (barring the Minivan, which are like a tardis-in-reverse, I simply cannot fit in them).
Rumour has it that during Fujimori’s reign he struck up a deal and imported thousands of them. A combi is a sliding door 8-seater van, which has had its guts ripped out and 8 seats replaced with 13+ seats in the back, 3 in the front and a bench behind the front seats, with standing room for 6. If it is a low roof, as they often are, standing is not great as my back scrapes the ceiling and it is not possible to see where you are (nor when your stop comes up).
The fare is the only plus point; 1 sole (22 of the Queen’s pennies) for most medim-length journeys and it has been that price for donkey’s years.
The “chofer” driver (always a lunatic on a mission) has a partner in crime called a “Cobrador” whose job is to hand out of the door shouting destination references and trying to convince everybodya) To get on/in, even if they are going in the opposite direction.andb) To convince punters that there is room, even when it is ramjammed full!
Don’t get me wrong, it must be a hellishly stressful job, as punters treat the cobrador with utter contempt and never have any change, but in turn the majority of Cobradors give utter contempt back!
The worst ones are at night, YTS lads, cowboys the lot of ‘em.
I read “Black Hawk Down” a few years back (not that I am comparing Mogadishu to Lima) and one issue US forces faced was local bad boys chewing “Khat”, an alkaloid amphetamine/stimulant (a bit like snuff mixed with speed I guess!) It makes people very jumpy and unpredictable.
Back to Lima and by 10pm the bassbox is blaring, the blue lighting glows beneath the vehicle, and the driving becomes wayyy more reckless…
Another issue is that these poor beasts of burden (the combis) have been thrashed all day every day since they arrived here. Stop-start-stop-start-stop-start. Maintenance is unheard of and TLC is lacking somewhat
As a result, most of the fixtures and fittings are loose, so you hang one for youe dear life, but you’re not really hanging on to anything that is fixed to anything!
So, in 11 days time, when I am moving much further away from my work, providing my foot hasn’t dropped off, I’ll be dodging the pavement potholes and jogging home
My beloved Barrow!
A new feature this week!
I do realise that this blog is a bit of a mixed bag, so this part may be a bit niche, but if you are a fellow Shipbuilders fan, welcome
I never used to watch soap operas, but I always remember Audrey Roberts (Miss Popoff) talking to Alf, in Coronation Street that “Barrow-in-Furness was like going to the end of the Earth and then going twenty miles further!”
Now this is an unfair summary of the jewel of the Furness peninsula, once the main port/builder of ships and submarines, now the most concentrated hub of offshore windfarms. I’m maybe not selling it as a tourist destination, but it has a very special place in my heart for its rugby team. Barrow RLFC or Barrow Raiders.
My Grandad Cyril was a great man, a huge influence on me and sadly missed, he was a real character. I have very early childhood memories of going with him, my uncle, my cousins, a friend of my Grandad’s called Ken, and his lads into Ken’s Rover, a beautiful V8 (which must have cost a fortune to run. I was and still is in my top-three favourite cars, along with the Capri and obviously the K11 Micra, but I digress).
We would all bomb down to Barrow and meet in a pub which had the old “Asteroids” games, I’m getting nostalgic now. Anyway, after a few pints (the grown-ups, not us, I was only about 8yrs old at the time) we would head down to the ground.
My first-ever memory (captured in my school diary) was an 1980 cup match against St Helens, we lost, as we generally did, always!
Barrow did once win the Challenge Cup, the blue riband of Rugby League but since then have firmly been the underdogs, an emotional (generally down) rollercoaster, until recently!
New players and shedloads of optimism led the team to promotion. 2 wins in first 2 friendlies (Keighley nd Oldham). Onwards and upwards!
For me personally, there is no greater and more exciting game in the World to watch than Rugby League, I do know that I am probably in a minority there, but there you go
After two very tough weeks, riders and drivers finally arrived in Cordoba, Argentina.I was closely following the bikes, especially Yorkshire lad, Lyndon Poskitt.
(Pics courtesy of Lyndon Poskitt Racing)
Although, due to my own stupidity, I managed to miss the start, after waiting a lifetime to see it, one major consolation was this cap, from my awesome work colleague, Sophie
Doubly-exciting in that Arequipa is the dream I am hanging on to with work. Keeping my fingers and toes permanently crossed for a move down there next year, hopefully…
The fine folk at Alpkit.com
popped this video in their last newsletter. THIS video
shows one of the things I really miss about Blighty.
I love my local “cerros” but they are not quite the same as The Lakes
That’s all for now folks. Next week may be an Espresso blog, all depends on the move!Have an outstandingly awesome week
Cheers Johnny, Lina & the Nipper
p.s. Do any of you fine folk know anything about WordPress.org?
(Using version 4.9.2 and it is driving me nuts, crashing every two minutes…)