October 28, 2020

Going home…

Good morning folks

I trust this finds you, your loved one and your lovers safe, fit, well and feeling chipper!
It has been a mixed bag here.
Some difficult decisions to make/take.

Lockdown latest.

Peru is now 6th in the World Covid-19 Top 10. Not a top 10 you want to be in.
Despite having one of the longest lockdowns in the World, cases are still rising.
(Some reasons discussed in this article HERE).
President Vizcarra has done all he can, he really has.

Lima is starting to open up a bit, as from the start of July.
Shopping centres have opened, exercise is permitted and kids are allowed out (with time/distance restrictions).
Restaurants are soon to open.
As of next Sunday people can go out for the first time since March.
There is still a night curfew from 10pm-4am.

However, down here in Arequipa, we have just had our lockdown extended until the end of July.
No outdoor exercise and kids have to stay indoors.
Nightly curfew from 8pm-4am and all day Sunday.
AQP is the second biggest city in Peru.
It is a bit like opening up London and ordering everyone in Birmingham to stay indoors!

“Quit yer trifling boy!” you may cry. There are folk a whole lot worse off. That is true.
I just worry a bit for the mental wellbeing of all the youngsters being kept indoors for 4mths+
(I was probably halfway to barking mad before all this, so I am not too worried about myself!)

As Mark Renton said, “It’s a $h!te state of affairs to be in“, but we all just have to get on with things the best we can!

Stay calm, stay positive, stay safe, stay sane becomes a daily mantra, to be honest, it’s the only way forward!

Superclunk.com V-log episode 5…

Taking a surf ride straight into oblivion, here is a 3 minute slice of our life caught on video in the form of a SUPERCLUNK.COM V-LOG!

We never really have much time to patch this all together, so it is generally a one-shot take.
The song turned into an unintentional instrumental, we need to work on lyrics!
Here it is…

Going home.

Joe Simpson : You gotta make decisionsYou gotta keep making decisions, even if they’re wrong decisionsyou know. If you don’t make decisionsyou‘re stuffed.

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson was always one of my favourite climbing books. It is a well known story and if you have never read it or seen the film, do so at your earliest convenience! It was in fact my original inspiration for coming to Peru, but I never did quite make it to the Cordillera Huayhuash. After all, I am the King of unfulfilled plans and unachieved daydreams!

Siula Grande (at center 20,814 ft or 6344 m) was the subject of the gripping 2003 British docudrama “Touching the Void.” In 1985, climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates scaled the treacherous West Face of Siula Grande, but after Joe broke his leg, their descent became one of the most amazing survival stories in mountaineering history. The 2003 movie is based upon Joe Simpson’s harrowing book, “Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival.” At front left (south) of Siula Grande is Nevado Sarapo (6127 m). Day 5 of 9 days trekking around the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Andes Mountains, Peru, South America.

This whole Covid-19 situation has changed the World and the world of almost everybody on the planet. It has jammed a spanner in many works. Short term, we are cooped up in our houses here in AQP like battery hens, medium and long term there is a huge question mark over the future.

I used to use “timelines” to explain sequences of events when I used to be a teacher-in-a-classroom.
The past, present and future.
The past was an old friend who suddenly disappeared with very little warning. The present is a very short term mix of bewilderment, blessed naivety and confusion. The future is a huge step into the unknown, which will probably have very little resemblance to the past, but as a friend said to me recently, “We have to adapt to the new reality otherwise we will be very miserable indeed!”

There are pros and cons for everything in life and right now, unless you move to Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Salomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu or Vanuatu and I don’t think they’ll be welcoming folk just now.

We had to make a difficult decision, taking into account the Nipper’s education, health services, work and a bunch of other stuff and have decided to head back to Blighty.

Mixed emotions!

It will be ace to see my family and friends again. Not to have to ration my teabags and to have unlimited access to pies!

It will not be ace leaving my group of mates here, leaving a really good job, flogging/giving away/burning most of our worldly goods and leaving a cracking little flat then organising the logistics of shoehorning the contents of a house into 2 x 2 x 23kg bags and getting them and ourselves half way around the world!

Work was the hardest factor to decide on. I have a great job here, with amazing people, decent bra$$, very good benefits and for once in my life I am actually doing a job I like and that I am not bad at, (I am definitely not the best teacher in the World, but I am proud of a cross section of Peru who know all about Rugby League, pies, the difference between bitter, lager and stout and who talk with a Cumbrian/Yorkshire accent!)
Britanico have been brilliant to work for and have treated me well.
Only a man of unsound mind would leave such a job, surely?

The kick-in-the-pants is that I really, really did believe that the move down here to La Ciudad Blanca was the big move.
We had so many plans and I had put so much hope into the (ad)venture.
Things will get better, one day, but we just cannot wait around that long. It is complicated, isn’t it always!

A difficult decision, with a lot of questions I simply cannot answer.
If you ask me what I am going to do for a job back home, I have no idea.

The UK is hardly unaffected by this whole situation. The whole world is just about to nosedive into a recession.
Not a good time to move jobs, let alone continents.
Handing in my notice before the borders are even opened up was a massive risk in itself.
Bigger the risk, bigger the reward. But the higher the climb the harder the fall” said somebody once.
The fact of the matter is that we have to do something, it all worked out ok for Joe Simpson!

Keeping our fingers and toes crossed…


It has been a busy old week in the world of Footy.
Liverpool won the title, first time in 30 years. I am quite chuffed for them, my brother and my Mum both support LFC , if they hadn’t won the title it would have been an injustice.

It will be 30 years for SuperLeeds too, an omen?

SuperLeeds won and went top, can we hang on???

Perhaps even bigger news is the promotion of Barrow AFC!

The story of The Bluebirds is a long one (but I will condense it!)

1972, the year I was born, was the year Barrow AFC were relegated from the Football League.

Barrow could never be described as a glamourous place. A coastal town, at the very end of a long peninsula, 45 minutes along the A590 (I actually helped build part of this road!)
A l-o-n-g drive from Junction 36 of the M6. The longest cul-de-sac in the country.
Audrey Roberts once complained that long-suffering husband/councillor Alf, had taken her to Barrow-in-Furness, “It was like driving to the end of the World, and then 20 miles further!

On my trips to see the mighty Shipbuilders, I never managed the 100 miles trip from Leeds in under 3 hours!
In a nutshell, it is a long way from anywhere and on the road to nowhere…

This probably didn’t help the club back in 1972 when they were voted out of the league. They were not even bottom of the table. It was all wrong.

Vickers (now BAE Systems) used to be the main employer of this fair town, but as demand for nuclear submarines dropped off, unemployment rose. It is still one of the biggest shipbuilding ports in the country and maybe if the trend for Cruisers docking here en-route to the nearby Lake District continues and the Waterfront development was ever reinitiated, who knows!

In the meantime, football fans (when crowds are allowed back) will be able to enjoy the delights of the town next season!

Well done the Bluebirds, hopefully a bit of luck might rub off on Barrow RLFC too 🙂

Macca’s Snacks…

Will be back next week, in the meantime check out this brace of Bobbydazzler Growlers!

“Is he your friend?”

Next week!


Two things that I never used to get, which I get all the time now are migraines and insomnia.
Both are ace, NOT!

I get up early, so I (try to) go to my pit early, but every night, without fail, I get awoken at 1am by a noise, normally my clumsyar$e noisy neighbours cooking (who on earth cooks at 1am midweek, during a lockdown!?)\
BANG-CRASH-WALLOP and I am wide awake for about 2-3hrs listening to the barking cacophony of the rooftop hounds of the Baskervilles. My mind absolutely racing with thoughts (most of them of sheer panic) of how the hell we are going to get the contents of our flat into 6 duffel bags and onto a plane!

I am a part-timer, but I do have friends who properly suffer from these afflictions on a permanent basis, they have my full sympathy.

Good job (for everybody around me) that I snort coffee by the gallon!


The Chicken King!

My daily routine starts when the alarm goes off at 5:45am. The lockdown has meant that it is generally quieter on a morning, but as in Lima, in AQP you are never the first one up nor the last to bed. Retiring vampires, howling dogs and THE CHICKEN KING are already out and about…

The closure of many markets has forced many market traders to go mobile in taxis, Ticos, trikes, trucks and a mobile disco that THE CHICKEN KING has commandeered. I have never managed to catch it on film, I am usually working but it is something like this…

COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOOO!!!” (set to a Eurobeat backbeat).
Ladies, housewives, come and see my delicious chicken, tasty chicken, prestigious chicken, tender chicken, superrrrrrrrr tasty chicken” (with emphasis on every syllable of every word)”
This monologue continues for about 5mins and finishes off with a clucking chicken rapping to a house track.

Not bought any yet myself.

Not the Chicken King!

Rooftop trotting.

Tuesday was a milestone, 100 days of lockdown.

The roof has been my mental saviour. I really do question how much running/fitness value it holds, especially when we do get let out (one day), as I will struggle to run more then 3-4miles in an hour and more than 12yds in a straight line!

However, it is a good bit of fresh air and sets me up for a day chained to a laptop.

As the lockdown has been stretched until the end of July, I really doubt now that I will be able to get fit enough for my “Grand Plan” that I had been dreaming/cooking up. Maybe if something had never been attempted/done there is a good reason for it! Switching focus to other things…

As and when races do start up again one day, I’ll hunt for 3 mile races with very short shuttle runs at around 20 minute miling pace, on very flat courses!

Raiders round-up!

No news from Craven Park, but the SuperLeague is starting up on the 2nd of August!

Get me a Plumber!

Tradesmen (qualified people who know their onions because they have learned, trained and honed their skills) such as Plumbers are useful folk to know!

D-I-Y is good up to a point, but not if you are a hamfisted numpty like me.

I go up on the roof 5 mornings a week to run and every night to gaze at the stars, the city and ponder.
One Sunday the bairn and I made a giant spider’s web (seemed like a good idea at the time) from no less than five rolls of PTFE tape that I had accumulated in my makeshift toolbox. Plumbers never seem to have any materials nor tools here, so you have to get stocks in beforehand, hence my PTFE surplus.

About a week later and on the very first day of Lockdown (March 16th) I noticed that the tiles were wet and apparently dripping from an unattached hose, I traced the leak to a tiny pinprick hole in a joint on the solar panel and instantly forgot about it until the next morning when the puddle got bigger and bigger, so I put a bucket under it and watched as the filling time got less and less, so I tried to tape it up with the last of my insulation tape. My meddling only made it worse, so I did a further botch job with plasticine and Blu-Tack, it got even worse and after 2 months of a drip which turned into a pour into a flood, the landlady finally got a plumber in.

I hid downstairs and listened to his confused exclamations about who had tried to patch up the leak! It is now fixed.

It’s all about the bass (part 571)…

I’ve been practising the bass like a madman this last month, ironically before I put the whole rig up for sale 🙁

I did a lot of flogging tat on Fleabay years back and it can be a right royal pain in the ar$e with virtual tyrekickers, as they are.
It is equally as bad here on OLX and Mercado Libre, with zillons of messages using consisting of two words “Ultimo precio” (basically what is your lowest possible price, which is never accompanied by a “?” and often abbreviated to just “Ultimo”.
Punters, chancers and wise guys who generally have no intention of buying, manners or punctuation).

The bass I am not too attached to, but the bass amp was part of my notorious “Can’t -afford-save-up-buy-use-for-a-short-time-flog-for-a-loss” cycle. I paid a fair chunk of bra$$ for it and would love to take it back to Blighty, but the complications of moving put it teetering on the brink of a Is-it-worth-the-hassle-cost cliff.

Fingers crossed that the first person to knock on the door will pay the full whack and be a contented customer, (how does one sell in a lockdown?)

So, if you fancy a bargain Eagle 4-string bass and an almost new Fender Rumble 40 amp, please give me a nod!

(Not sure if Mister JayKay was too chuffed at the very end, but the bass was outstanding!)

And finally…

I am not much of a whizz with technology, I can just about get by and do consider myself a semi-luddite.

I don’t go round smashing up machines, but there are 2 laptops in this house that have been so, so close to being launched out of a 3rd floor window…

One does stumble across stuff on Youtube that one would never ever stumble across by chance in Crash/Red Rhino/Jumbo.

Jumbo Records in Leeds used to have a listening booth and it felt like being a royal VIP to sit in there listening to vinyl.

Do record shops even exist these days? I will sound as old (as I am old), but would the modern youth take the same pleasure in flicking through vinyl albums when any track is just a few clicks away?

I remember when my brother Danny got an i-pod, I thought he was a blooming magician!
(I even had a first generation model that I managed to wipe clean and then after posting it to New Zealand, got it back reloaded with tunes then it got nicked from a cafe in Miraflores, bugger…)

I bought 3 Beastie Boys CDs off Amazon last year and felt like I was going back in time!

I have no idea how I stumbled across this beauuuty of a song, but apparently the guy is Angelina Jolie’s uncle and it is a cool video, so here goes…

That’s all for now folks.
Look after yersens out there.
Stay safe and stay awesome!

Johnny and the girls x

8 thoughts on “Going home…

    1. Hey there Aly
      We make it up on the spot and only ever have about 10mins to do it all.
      We do love gravy!
      Hope you are both well. Looking forward to seeing yous in the autumn 🙂

  1. I love those vlogs. They are dang cute!!!
    Great blog. Great words in it all.
    I loled when you said worried abt other people’s mental health but you were already crazy anyways. 😂
    Thanks for sharing w us. Can’t wait to see ya and wish y’all well!

    1. Hola amiga!

      Thanks a million.
      Not an easy decision nor blog to write, but we just have to make the most of what we have!
      The v-log is always a mad, mad rush.
      If we actually planned it and had more than 10mins to finish it, it might even make some sense 🙂
      Stay safe, stay awesome!

  2. You’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge. You’ve got this my friend, the (new) world awaits!
    Love the Vlog as always 🥰

    1. Thanks Hermano.
      The V-log is the best fun part of the week.
      Blind leading the blind, redefining impro.
      Maybe just a next generation version of the old Top Tips!
      Hope you are all in tiptop form.
      Big hug to you all 🙂

  3. Don’t worry about a thing. You being an expert roadbuilder, you can expect years of gainful employment creating the new infrastructure to be paid for by Boris’s latest vote-winning spending spree. And don’t worry about finding races to suit you – they’re exactly what I’m looking for too.

    1. Grazie Amico!
      My CV is already about 6″ thick, I’ll do anything, so it may hopefully be expanding into a new volume soon.
      My knees are crying out for courses with less twists and turns.
      Hope to see you (at a socially responsible distance) in my home town some time in the autumn.
      Fingers crossed!

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