Feliz dia del Padre!

Good morning folks
I trust this finds you in tiptop form and that you had a spectacular weekend.
Belated Happy Father’s Day to all you fathas and to all your fathas too!

I try to keep this blog as apolitical as possible. In World news we are bombarded daily by horrific reports of war, killing, violence and cruelty. This week saw the brutal murder of Jo Cox MP. The tragic, tragic murder of a good person, a mother of two, who loved her job and was one of a minority of politicians who really and truly wanted to make a difference in the World. Jo Cox was MP for Batley & Spen constituency, the next town to where we used to live in Morley, Leeds.
All week I have been trying (and failing) to make sense of such a senseless act. How can somebody take the life of somebody else. The world is sometimes a very cruel, dark and horrible place.
May her soul rest in peace.

Here is the weekly round-up of comings, goings and going-ons that have been happening around this barmy old town…

Dia del Padre.IMG_0381

Father’s Day is big here (not as big as Mother´s Day, but close).


It is not just limited to your own Old Man, but to everyone who is somebody´s Old Man.
At work there is only myself and a compañero (Don Ernesto) who are Dads, but my colleagues still laid on a cracking buffet in between classes (with homemade Tequeños!) Then we were taken out for a slap-up meal after work.IMG_0394
As I said to my Gaffer(s), it is one of the things that I like about working here. I´ve never had it elsewhere (although I wasn´t actually a Dad, when I worked elsewhere, but I´ve never seen such an effort made in other places). The company doesn’t have to do it, but they do and it is a nice touch!Today (Sunday) I was wished “Feliz Dia” by 3 of the checkout girls at the supermercado and 2 neighbours. It’s funny as I’ve only ever wished my Old Man a Happy Father’s Day. It is different here.fd
Valentina told me that my feet smelled the other day (she is very direct) and she kindly bought me some new aftershave for a pressie. My mother-in-law cooked up my favourite “Arroz-con-pollo” and also bought me some coffee (always a winner!) Then I wrote up/threw this blog together (guilt free, as it is Father’s Day). So all in all, it’s been a good day :-) DSC_0004The adventure may be over, but I have a new box of tricks! 

DH aftermath & Black dog syndrome. 

I came out of last weekends race ok, but then managed to do my back in whilst playing a game of chase with the Nipper on Tuesday morning!

Me and my glass back!
I don´t know if it is a result of my lankiness, or shocking posture over the years, but I have always had problems with my back.
When Lina used to work at Asda, we had cover through Leeds Hospital Fund/Simply Health, which meant for less than a tenner a month, I could go to see a Quiroquackter, who would crick-&-crack and sort it out. (I couldn´t afford it otherwise). Out here it is different, so I´ll just have to put up with it.
My old training partner Les used to tell the tale of “The curse of the Black Dog Marathon” (at a place called Bungay; deepest, darkest Norfolk/Suffolk).
Back in the day, it was more common to get your race t-shirt when you finished a race, but the Bungay folk used to send it out in advance.
Les had 3 Black Dog t-shirts, but had never actually made it to the start line (due to getting crocked before race day).
Now I am not superstitious, (I was, but it started to drive me nuts), but I don´t like getting goodies before a race.
The Desafio Huarochiri league folk have given out three vests! No pressure then.
Although I was a long way off fit (or well, with my exploding intestines, which finally sorted themselves out again after the race), I really, really enjoyed last Sundays jaunt. It was something new, different and exciting. And although I´m not very good at running up big hills at altitude, (I’m too clumsy/uncoordinated for the technical bits, my feet are too big for the really rocky bits and my centre of gravity is too high for the downhill bits), but despite my shortfalls in every department, I love it and I loved it!
I’ve recently got my enthusiasm back for running, the alarm goes off at 5am and I spring (slowly and creakily) out of my pit, to go training. For a long time I fell out of love with the game, it had become a chore, I just wanted training to be over and eventually (last year), I just gave it up.
Now I feel that I have a proper focus (and running helps sort my head out in this crazy madhouse). I love getting up high into the hills and there are hills here. Rocky, dusty and barren, but it beats dodging taxis in the street!
Roll on race 2 in Matucana in 3 weeks…

Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow…


(Image courtesy of midamericandharma.com)

If slow-walking in the middle of the pavement (either solo and walking in a non-straight/wiggly/unpredictable line or in a group of two or three, whilst occupying the entire pavement) ever becomes an Olympic sport, Peru will be an unbeatable force!
I notice this as (a) I now walk everywhere and (b) I walk quite fast.
I’ve noticed something new this week though and it makes me chuckle and puzzles me in equal amounts. it is more common in ladies, but I have seen blokes doing it too. I’ve only seen it whilst running (and I don’t know if I am the cause?!)
People will suddenly burst into a spontaneous sprint and then start walking (really slowly) again. This is sometimes repeated, to the point where I feel embarrassed and have to slow down/speed up/change route. There is no interaction, no banter, no eye contact.Answers on a postcard please…unlessimverymuchmistaken(Image courtesy of unlessimverymuchmistaken.com) 


My Spanish is poor, but I can get by. It is getting worse as (I am lazy and) I don’t really practice and at its worst when I am tired. I’ve had some late nights/early starts this week and was a bit knackered. At work most of the briefings/meetings are in Spanish and I get the gist.

batanga(Image courtesy of Batanga.com)

I knew that we were having some kind of drill midweek, but my boss mentioned a word that I knew was for “mermaid”, (it also doubles-up in meaning as “alarm”). Drills are never unannounced and as most students are invariably/always late, it adds to the confusion as they are often arriving as it is in full flow. It’s a serious business, it’s videotaped and people wear hi-viz waistcoats. This one was a bit different as it was a national earthquake drill. Walking outside to a all-round sound of sirens was more than a bit eerie. Coming from the UK, up until 2004 I had only ever felt one earthquake, whilst working nights at the Brewery. A 5.4 tremor shook the bottles on the bottling line, but that was a baby. There have been some huge quakes out here and hearing all the warning sirens going off did make me feel very small and vulnerable.
A sobering and scary moment. At least I now know which circle to stand in such an event.
(Never did see any mermaids though!)


Stop thinking, stop stressing.

meditation enthusiasts(Image courtesy of meditationenthusiasts.com)I admit that it’s been a tough transition moving out here (even after 18mths). It is my third time in Lima and all three times have been very different, but this has been the toughest.

When we came back in January 2015, I was ready to get back on the next Blightybound flight, (even to the point that I looked longingly skywards whenever I heard a plane). Lima has changed and so have I. I spent over 12mths fighting against the system and trying to work it all out. Then I spent 6mths in a rage, bubbling over and ranting about everything and anything.
To be honest, riding around on the Clunk didn’t really help my cause, as the traffic can drive even a sane man mad (and I was never really all that sane). The style of driving is idiotically kamikaze (at best). Near-misses are normal and accidents are frequent. It is a battle.
I decided to take a break from the roads for a while, to see if I calmed down a bit and I did.
However I was still constantly on the verge of going-off-on-one.
I thought I’d try something like meditation!viralnovelty(Image courtesy of viralnovelty.com)


Unfortunately I killed my I-pod a month back. A bottle leaked in my bag and I did everything wrong trying to save it (drying it with a hairdryer and trying to charge it were both top of the list of “What not to do”, which I found out, after I’d done them, oooops!) Nine of my music was backed up, always a mistake realised too late…
Lina’s old-iPhone (smashed by the Nipper) had just enough space to download a book, so I got a meditation book off Audible (freebie trial), but after 2 weeks it started to do my head in a bit. The bloke knew his onions (about meditation), but the chances of finding a quiet place in the noisiest city on Earth were slim and I gave it in as a bad job.
Then I stumbled across ”Jam Crack Podcast” by the funniest man in climbing, Niall Grimes.
Completely free off iTunes. He interviews top climbers like Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Catherine Destivelle and more. I was once interviewed/grilled by Niall Grimes myself, but that’s another story (and it would never make a podcast).jcp2Check it out here: http://www.niallgrimes.com/jam-crack-podcast/

I’ve also stopped trying to work it all out. Lima isn’t going to change, the traffic isn’t going to
suddenly disappear, punters aren’t suddenly going to start having manners and old blokes won’t suddenly stop pi$$ing and spitting in the street. In short, I don’t  think about it anymore and although it is a blinkered way to get through the day, it works for me!

Lima is a mad old place, but Peru is a place full of beauty. Everywhere has its problems and nowhere is Paradise. It’s vital to make the best of what you’ve got and It’s just a case of “Illegitimi non carborundum“.
New wheels? 

I am a sucker for a bargain. I don’t know what it is, but getting something for a good price (ebay bidding, sales, bargains, getting overpriced odd on a horse and second hand tat are all internal weaknesses of mine, but the nags are in the past and fleabay doesn’t exist out here, thankfully!)
On FB there is a second-hand garage sale for goods and goodies between ex-pats (a term I am still not comfortable with) in Lima. It is a funny old page, some punter think that they can flog something that they have had for donkey’s years for £1 less than they paid for it. Other things are way underpriced, but you have to move quicksmartly to get on!BIKE
I spotted a pushbike on there last weekend, so made enquiries and as I was first in the queue, I got first dibs. After making my way across town to Miraflores on Thursday morning I was me by a HUGE Dutchman called Bouwe. A decent bloke, he was heading out of town and flogging his steed. It was a no-brand put-together, the seat post was about a foot too short for me (and he was at least 10cm taller than me), it was a bit rusty, but I reckon that it should scrub up ok with a bit of elbow grease and TLC. I have a few mini-adventure daydreams on the back burner.
I’ve always had road bikes, so a MTB is a new experience for me (and with potholes that would make the Kazakhstan road authorities blush, a mountain bike is the best bet here!)Watch this space.


There are a small number of companies that I love and am completely loyal to and Alpkit.com is one of these. Brilliant kit at good prices, run by the friendliest and most down-to-Earth folk you could meet.“Born out of the passion for outdoor activity and not accepting the costs involved in getting technical clothing and equipment as superior as the best in our sacks. Four ordinary people trying to make some thing extraordinary. And why Alpkit.com™? it’s just a name… we go to the alps, we climb, we ride, we paddle, we swim, we run, we board, we visit our in laws.. we produce kit.. we didn’t want it to be complicated.”akAlpkit Big Shakeout 2012.
I do some occasional writing/scribbling/rambling for them: “Daring Deeds”tp
Check out their awesome gear too. Tell them I sent you :-)

And finally…

A superb Clunk video that I saw a while back.  Shot on Super 16mm film. This is a beauuuty!
“The Dirty Hands Preachers”.Here is a trailer, top soundtrack too :-)

Have yourself an awesome week.

Johnny, Lina & Valentina

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