Gabba Gabba Hey, Conference time, “Here’s what you could have won”, Operation Clunk-re-build “Hair Vs. Beard”, Challenge Cup and 2016 Dakar (Peru/Chile stages) cancelled…

Good morning Folks

I trust you had a mighty fine weekend.
Quick round-up of the weeks events in the city of Ceviche & Cristal…

Gabba Gabba Hey
In the late 80s & early 90s I tried my hand (briefly) at ticket touting.
Every gig we went to seemed to have a load of shifty looking blokes chanting “Buy any spare tickets. Any spare tickets?”
Whenever you asked “How much?” their shiftiness seemed to become even shiftier, which puzzled me. If you’re buying/selling something, a price is always involved. You don’t go to Asda & get a cagey response when you ask how much bananas are per pound (or per Kilo. RIP the Metric Martyr).
Gigs were always advertised well in advance, so surely it was just a simple case of picking & choosing bands that you “knew” would sell out, buying as many tickets as possible & then rubbing your hands, whilst counting the readies?
What could go wrong???
Of course, like most of my hairbrained/halfcooked ideas, it invariably ended up costing me money or hassle. Gigs that you were convinced would sell out (got my fingers burnt by House of Love), didn’t & the regular touts don’t always take kindly to 16yr olds “stealing their turf” (& even though my Little Chef wages normally only stretched to around half a dozen tickets, they always got a bit tetchy about this, so it was a short-lived scheme!)
The Ramones did sell out on their “Brain Drain” tour; they had to & rightly so.
The loudest & sweatiest gig I’ve ever been to. The Ramones were a bit special…

So what on Earth does this have to do with Lima 2015? Well, this week it seems that Ramones fever has hit town. T-shirts, hoodies & even a car sticker!
Much as I am tempted to ask these people to name but one Ramones track, (or even if they can remember the four names on their t-shirt), I don’t.
I remember suddenly seeing a he influx of Ramones t-shirts in the UK; I think Primark had started flogging them.
Johnny, Joey, Dee-Dee & Marky. Hey-ho, let’s go!

Britanico 20th Convention

Normally one would consider conferences & conferences anorak material. At the British Library I used to sometimes get sent to work in Conference Records, which was a long way from exciting, but after the 20th Britanico Convention, I have firmly changed my mind!
Held at the swanky Marriot Hotel in Miraflores, it was a rather grand affair, with all manner of British realia including Paddington Bear, A Queen’s Guard, Sherlock Holmes & a red phone box!
Guest speakers from all areas of Language Teaching & Britanico teachers who had volunteered to do presentations too. It was great to catch up with mates from other centres & also an ex-boss of mine who I hadn’t seen for 10 years. Good to see you Sandra :-)
I watched 5 very different presentations & took away lots of top teaching tips. I even said that I might have a go myself next year!
Good coffee on tap& some decent tucker too.
It was all going so well until…

“Come and have a look at what you could have won”

One of my colleagues had asked me earlier if I’d entered the raffle.
I’m not an especially competitive person & the Lottery/Tinka/Pools don’t interest me, but there is some kind of lure (for me) towards a raffle!
A Chef’s Grill, bottle of Scotch or some kind of Tombola prize are the ones that I get giddy about. So, I ran to enter the raffle sponsored by Pearson Publishing, (who had kindly given everybody a free book already).
The prize was a HUGE stack/parcel/box of books, all good stuff. I entered the draw & wandered off to the next presentation (which was full, as I’d been too busy gassing, a pattern that was emerging throughout the day.
Leaving the Talk, I was busy talking about football (which I know very, very little about) with two friends, James & Alvaro, who know more about football than anybody else I know. James would make a perfect replacement for the likes of Shearer or Lineker & Alvaro would be the absolute King of the Pub Quiz, this guy has the most amazing memory of all time, (another quality I am lacking in!)
Three colleagues came running towards me, “Johnny, Johnny, you’ve won the raffle!” I thought at first it was a wind-up, and they were playing on the fact that I had been so excited about entering, but they weren’t, so I legged it through the sizeable crowd watching the draw, just in time to see another ticket being pulled out of the rotating barrel.
“But I’ve won, I’ve won” I protested.
“Sorry, we called your name three times & tried calling you, but you didn’t answer”, I checked my phone & saw the 3 missed calls, which I hadn’t heard, as my phone was in silent mode, as I’d been in a Presentation!
He wouldn’t budge, I considered bursting into tears, but realised that with around 600 colleagues present, I didn’t want to be remembered as the Northerner who cried at the raffle! So with bottom lip touching the floor, I walked away. The man drawing the raffle came up to me with a 6” thick Thesaurus/dictionary, as a consolation prize (which he didn’t have to), so I was able to look up alterative words for bitter & new collocations for “Sick as a parrot”. A lesson learned…
Raffle aside, it was a top day out.

Operation Clunk re-build…

The Clunk has been unwell of late, I had suspected various problems, but without taking it all to bits, it wasn’t possible to make a proper diagnosis.
So last weekend, with the help of my amigo, Jimmy, we started the job.
Jimmy is an experienced moto mechanic who I became friends with about 6wks ago. He works 6 days a week, so any freelance jobs have to be on a Sunday.
We arranged to meet at “El Mercado de Frutas” at 10am.
Now this is one of the biggest markets in Lima & bustling, even on a Sunday morning.
Danger levels? High to very high!
I parked up at the wrong side of the market & waited. Either my old Nokia or my hearing is on its way out, as whenever I call Jimmy, I can barely make out a word, but I gathered I was in the wrong place. A large Policia presence checking out everybody & their vehicles & documents made me decide to lock up the Clunk & just hope against hope that it would be there when I came back. I cut through the market, where I saw more bananas than I ever imagined existed in the world, being carried by incredibly small, but incredibly strong (& fierce looking) barrow boys.
I met Jimmy, who told me that we needed to go to a market in the centre of Lima, to buy some bits. The other market was even bigger & busier. No bananas, more like a gigantic Car Boot Sale, selling everything & anything.
The day had started fairly cool, so in the pressure cooker climate of central Lima I was sweating cobs. Riding two-up (Jimmy without a helmet) through great swathes of punters took some concentrating.

There was a road, but it was blocked by a tunnel of people & felt like a hill stage, in the Tour de France, apart from being on the flat, at sea level, through a market, in the middle of Lima. We got our bits & bats & headed home.
Taking the (by this time) red-hot engine to bits was fun, especially as time was now ticking & as we were working outside, we were seriously against the clock.
The engine head came off (that sounds worse than it was, it was an intentional move) & looked bad. Off came the barrel to reveal a badly scorched piston, rings that you could pass a bus through (piston rings are designed to form a snug seal, these were a long way out) & a barrel that would need re-boring.
The clutch was on its way out too, (probably after trying to ride two-up through Chaos Central earlier in the day!)
It would need taking away, so Jimmy stashed the important (knackered) parts in his bag & we made a plan for the next Sunday.
The poor Clunk looked a sorry sight stripped down to the bone in the corner of the garage. It would be back to its former glory soon (hopefully).
Watch this space…

2016 Dakar Rally (Peru & Chile stages) cancelled

Just one day after last weeks predictions for the 2016 El Niño potentially causing problems here in Peru, I heard the sad news that Peru (& neighbouring Chile) have decided to withdraw from the 2016 Rally.
Gutted doesn’t even come close. Pretty much all my life I’ve wanted to see the rally & it should have been starting here in Lima, ideal!
However, it’s not to be & there are reasons that it’s not happening.
(Although I’m not 100% sure what these are!)
It looks like it may now be starting (or finishing) in Bolivia, which under normal circumstances would make a good adventure, but as my time off work is fixed/limited, it may not be feasible/possible. I’m still living in hope.
If it starts in Bolivia, I maybe, maybe possibly get there.
If not, I’ve got another little adventure up my sleeve. Waiting to see the route confirmation. We’ll see…

August 2015 Hair Vs Beard contest.

As predicted & expected, I lost the latest Hair Vs. Beard contest, beaten again by the Nipper’s flowing locks into 2nd place. I’ve got work to do.

2015 Challenge Cup

Leeds were convincing winners of the Rugby League Challenge Cup, against an unlucky Hull KR. My mate Kempez had an awesome photo of him touching the cup, with Sir Kevin looking very surprised!
Exactly 60 years on from Barrow lifting the cup when they defeated local rivals, Workington. A very, very tenuous link, but I had to relive the former glory of my beloved club somehow. Willie Horne’s face is a picture :-)
Like a decent pint of bitter, I do miss the Rugby (League).

That’s all for now folks.
Have an awesome week.

Johnny, Lina & the Nipper


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