Good morning folks
I trust this finds you in splendid form and that you had a mighty fine weekend.
Coming up to the end of my two week jollies in sunny Tadcaster.
It has been a brilliant trip, emotional at times but brilliant fun.
Apart from taking tea intravenously and guzzling as many types of Blighty tucker as I can, this week I hopped the border into my native Cumbria, up t’Lakes and then back to Yorkshire for an almighty York session and I’m currently scratching my head about just how I’ll actually get all my junk/tat/gear back!
“2 x 23 kilos, 2 x 23 kilos…” is a mantra that has been going round and round and round my head, to the point of complete distraction, pretty much ever since I booked my tickets…
In the space of 12 months in 2013-2014 we moved house three times (and the Nipper appeared too!) Each house move was increasingly chaotic and when we left for Peru in New Year 2015, we packed all we could into 2x23kg bags (for the three of us). The rest was shoehorned into a shed.
It didn’t take me long to realise that I simply couldn’t get clothes/shoes my size out there, however as the local postal service simply doesn’t work, I couldn’t replace my tatty clobber, until now!
So, resplendent with new shoes, slacks and shirts, bits&bats for the two little ladies and as many other things that i know I can’t get out in Limaland, I now face the task of condensing that all into two bags, there’s going to be some headscratching, repacking and bother at the airport!
I will be happy if me and my bags all get back to Peru intact!
Sadly, the Ukulele didn’t make the cut
One trip i had been promising myself since way back when was a quick dash across to Cumbria.
I squeezed this in on Monday and Tuesday. Monday was spent visiting friends and family.
On Tuesday running and shopping was planned!
I buzzed over the A65, a road I know intimately to Sandside, a place where I spent a huge chunk of my childhood (my Grandad and my Mum’s family came from there) and now is the home of one of my two favourite shops, ROCK + RUN.
Rock+Run began life in 1983, the brainchild of Andy Hyslop, but it is not just a shop, it is the contributions that they have made to the running, climbing and mountaineering community in the UK that makes them stand out. In a world where the likes of Go Outdoors seem to be taking over, Rock+Run stand by their roots.
“Specialist Equipment for Mountain Enthusiasts”
I popped (with blinkers firmly in place) in to see Greg and the team for a cuppa. It was great to catch up.
(Great Clothes was the World’s biggest clothes shop in Leeds, which has now been replaced by Go Outdoors, which is exactly what I felt like doing as soon as I walked in!)
Had some dinner at my Uncle Michael’s house and chatted about travel and rugby. (They are the most well-travelled people I know). Then on to Kendal see my mountaineering guru, Ray, the man who taught me all about the mountains and wild places, when I were a lad.
I was staying overnight at the Achille Ratti hut in Great Langdale, where I was made to really feel at home by the (Old) Spice Girls. ” Come in, sit down, have some Hot Pot!”
Absolutely hilarious women, who got even funnier as the wine flowed! It took all my willpower to turn down the vino, a 5am start for the Langdale Horseshoe beckoned!
I think this was the last competitive fell race I ran in 2009 (although I’d jeffed my back in, so i wasn’t very competitive). A legendary runner from deepest, darkest Holmfirth still holds the record (1 hour and 55 minutes for 21.1km/1450m (12.5 miles/4600ft in old money) from 1977!
Tuesday dawned fresh and wet, with clag on all the tops. I was glad for a bit of rain, the first time I’ve got my feet wet in 3 years! Andy Styan’s record was never in danger as I jogged round the fells, stopping for photos and drinking in the atmosphere, a far cry from my local stomping ground of “los cerros de La Molina”. I was up in the clouds for the middle bit and even got my compass out at one point. I wouldn’t say i was lost, but I just wasn’t sure where I was! A ripe old wind was gusting in from the north, driving rain, 10 yards visibility and I was loving every minute! Didn’t see a single soul until my final freefall descent off Pike O’Blisco. The benefit of a dawn raid
By lunchtime I was in Ambleside and was keen to see the brand new ALPKIT store.
Alpkit is a brand I am very passionate about, they have helped me a lot and now have an ever expanding amazing range of top-notch gear! They began as a web retailer, selling online and now also have two shops; Hathersage (Peak District) and Ambleside, in the heart of the Lake District.
The shop looks amazing. I had a good chinwag with the lads and then ambled homewards, via Wilf’s cafe (Staveley)
and with blinkers firmly on managed to buy just a pair of socks at Pete Bland’s.
Back to Yorkshire.
After a flying trip northwestwards, it was back across the Pennines to Taddy.
A busy week of drinking tea, visiting mates and training. Even squeezed in my first track session in about 10 years, it wasn’t pretty and also had a grunt/groan/gurn around my local “Tad Ten” route.
It has been amazing to run on traffic-free roads and springy grass, bliss!
It was a week where my failing memory failed me twice, first when forgetting my wallet when buying petrol (left car/keys and walked home for some bra$$) and then completely forgot a dentist appointment, it’s my age :-/
Managed to see as many mates as possible, but sadly not everybody. Next August!
One of each with everything!
I had a mental ticklist of tasty tucker that I wanted to eat, purely indulgent fantasy food.
Obviously fish&chips was well up that list, but I resisted a week before giving in.
Took my brother, Danny, to the best chippy in town, the Wetherby Whaler
A pound of succulent haddock, chips, mushy peas, curry sauce, bread&butter washed down with Yorkshire Tea. I’m not normally that mad about food, it is a fuel, but these last two weeks I have changed into a hungry monster. It won’t be just my bulging bags that will be overweight!
York Vs. Leeds…
I worked at the British Library for ten happy years, in two stints between 1992 and 2004.
I absolutely love my job now at Britanico, but the BL was a very, very close second, mainly die to the social side, I had a great bunch of mates there and it felt somewhere between primary school and Youth Club! Sports facilities and a subsidised bar, I sometimes wonder why I ever left! First class people and although you’d never be a millionaire as a Civil Servant, it had loads of perks.
Nowadays some of us have moved on and some have stayed, but we do still meet up to drink and talk nonsense. This was a session I had been eagerly awaiting ever since my leaving do in 2014!
We have an ongoing argument about which city is better; York or Leeds. Completely pointless, but entertaining nonetheless. York won the day on Saturday. A 3pm kick-off and a pub crawl around the City Walls was thwarted by almost everybody’s failings with public transport, a conspiracy stymied the Walls, so we just stumbled around local boozers, it was ace. A highlight of my trip to see old mates again and reminisce, take the mickey out of each other and talk rubbish.
The last bus came way too quickly and the luxury Coastliner (with Wi-fi!) dropped me off yards from my door. Good times
Needless to say, Sunday was an uphill struggle!
Sunday night was another highlight. Despite having no idea how I’d shoehorn everything into my bags and a hangover that was threatening to kill me, it was a good Do.
My sister and her family came round for tea and my Mum put on an amazing meal, which was so delicious that i completely forgot to take any photos :-/
It was great to see Lou and her family. I was however a bit hoarse from the previous night.
Apart from new work clobber, pressies for the ladies and a few other bits&bats, I am also attempting to take some Blighty foodstuffs back into sunny Salamanca.
A crate of Yorkshire Tea and a tanker of HP sauce. If they are snaffled by US Customs I will NOT be best chuffed. Watch this space…
It has been great being back at my folk’s place, they really have spoilt me rotten, but another bonus has been to see all the pooches; Molly, Bella and Lola.
Molly is a Chocolate Labrador and this short VIDEO sums up here attitude towards food!
Next week the blog will be back in Lima, if not I’ve been held up by Customs and arrested as an international food trafficker in Chicago or Texas. Bail is set at 10 pence…
I am not overly giddy about returning to the madhouse that is Lima, I do know that I will be straight back into the moshpit, I do know that the traffic will be bonkers and I do know that 12 million local punters will be honking their horns, setting off car alarms and trying to all get to the same place at the same time (late) but I do know that two little ladies will (hopefully) be happy to see me back again, because i can’t wait to see them!
Next year all three of us will be back here for a slightly longer holiday
Thanks Blighty, it’s been awesome.
That’s all for now folks!
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper