Good morning folks
I trust you had a mighty fine weekend and that this finds you in finest form. A big THANK YOU to all who got in touch after last week. It was a really, really crap week and the blog made for grim reading.
Talk about night and day, what a difference a week makes! Onwards and upwards
House move #36…
Not until the New Year, but it IS happening! Big news and bloody brilliant news I was talking to Darwin Dave, when he was here about what bike I’d take if I ever rode around the World (dream on Johnnyboy!) Without hesitation (although the humble C90 Clunk did cross my mind) I said a Honda XR400. Gnarly enough for rough stuff and with a bit of poke for good roads. Nothing is perfect (not even a BMW GS!) Anything would always be a compromise.
We have been back in Peru for almost 3 years now and I have been ready for a move for about that time! Salamanca is ok, but the noise and the neighbours drive me loco.
Pros: Close to work (20mins walk)
Cons: Everything else! Including a fair trek for Lina and the Nipper to school.
Nowhere is perfect and renting here is really steep. You’re never going to find proper P&Q. Nor an amazing view… Get a new-ish place and everybody is drilling/banging all day (new flats come completely bare and the chosen tool for everything is a drill). Older places lack maintenance and I’ve had bother with one place in the past with untraceable water leaks… I’ve been looking and looking and come up with nowt. Then, out of the blue, one of Lina’s friends offered to rent her place to us, she is moving out of Lima (lucky thing), we looked at it and we’re taking it! So, in the New Year we’re moving to Miraflores (look at those flowers baby!) My old stomping ground from back in the day and normally WAY out of my price range, I didn’t even look there to be honest.
Pros: Better area, bigger house, balcony for BBQs
Cons: A right royal trek for me to work, (about the same for Lina). Price hike in rent!
Miraflores is the main place where tourists stay, with loads of bars, cafes, parks and next to the ocean. It is an old house, not too pretty outside but loads more space inside. Possibly the best of best news in quite some time! I may have a surprise farewell pressie for my neighbours.
Watch this space…
Census Sunday was the big day. The entire nation (33 million) housebound from 8am to 5pm. At a cost of 70 million soles (£16,392,481.47) to do and an entire days trading lost. Shops closed, streets deserted… 28 days later??? We got our knock on the door at 12:15pm. A very young lass who asked us 47 questions and left an hour later! Some of the questions were a bit peculiar (house materials, even though everybody in the building would have the same answers, she went through them all). I was elected as “Jefe de la casa” (Chief of the house! First time I’ve ever had any authority, ever). After getting “Censored” we got a sticker on our door, so the bairn spent the rest of the day sticking stickers on everything. It was surreal to see/hear the streets so quiet (VIDEO). There were a few punters milling around and a rogue Ice Cream trike did a roaring trade. Nobody was quite sure what would happen if one got caught in the street, there was talk of fines/arrests, then others said nothing would happen. One “belief” here is that if you don’t use something, it breaks. Or, if you use it too much, it breaks, so there is an invisible tipping point/fine line for any kind of machine. One of the neighbours has an old pre-war (WW1) Lada which he revs the proverbials off every single morning for about 15 minutes. As his car hadn’t been started for at least 8hrs, by 4pm he was out revving it to within an inch of its life and then left it running for an hour to speed off, dead-on-5pm!
News soon came in that not everybody had been counted, many punters had been missed, so it could all be a waste of time!
At 7:15pm the building was jolted by a minor “temblor” (4.7 on the Richter scale). I do have our “emergency rucksack” packed and ready and for a moment I looked at it and the door…
The clock had been ticking away and I had HEAPS of time, but it went right to the wire! I got dressed up in all my climbing gear on one of the hottest days of the year yet :-/
I had chopped, slashed and changed my presentation so many times that I didn’t really have a clue, so I put myself under pressure. Took me back to this grilling from the Grimester and Andy Kirkpatrick at the Alpkit Big Shakeout, back in 2011. I was sweating then too!
“The Great British Spirit of Adventure” was my hour long talk for Friday and I was well psyched. As I have another 3 showings, I can’t give the entire game away, but it was a mixed bag of old and new adventurist folk (from Walter Raleigh, Scott of the Antarctic to Ed March, Austin Vince, Leo Houlding and Ed Pratt, currently unicycling his way around the World).
A big bar of KMC was polished off by the crowd!
I also wanted to get the students to hopefully be inspired/motivated to actually get out there and do/try something new. One of my class told me afterwards that she was now going to try camping, so that made it all more than worthwhile for me.
My speech itself needs a bit of polishing for the second leg of the tour…
Neet away… Despite the Census, I had been promising Lina a night away for months and Saturday night it was. Things haven’t been easy since we moved out here, things haven’t been great for a while and things have been really bad for the last month. I have been a difficult old sod to deal with at times, so we needed a bit of time to talk and chill out, with the Nipper being babysitted, we did just that and cleared the air on everything. As I said, what a difference a week makes
Back running again, s-l-o-w-l-y… Been on some pretty strong tablets for my leg and they have worked, but turned my guts to treacle, I’ll spare you the details, but any outings have been short ones this week!
Blast from the past!
In a bag of old photos I found whilst back in Blighty, THIS took me right back Around 19 years of age, just about to leave home and with a head full of “daft music”. These were the happy, happy days of “Psychobilly”…
(Plus the happy days of Leeds United at their prime!) My mate from school, Jez, was an absolute mastermind at music, especially Indie/alternative and extra especially anything by The Smith’s. Sometime in September 1988(-ish) he played me a record by a band called “The Meteors”, who were playing at the old Duchess of York (in Leeds), so we went! I’d been to a lot of gigs at that time, but nothing quite like that night, it was madness.
Psychobilly is a crossover of rockabilly, rock and roll, punk and anything else thrown into the mixer. Hair was BIG! Flat-tops, quiffs and mohicans and although the atmosphere was charged, everybody was friendly, it was all a great laugh. Naturally, in my over-obsessive way I got well into it immediately, which probably wasn’t great timing for my academic career, I had just started my A-levels and went on to fail them in spectacular fashion, which screwed up a lot of things at the time, but looking back, everything happens for a reason! (Although, I definitely would go back in time and do that bit differently!)
I made some brilliant mates and travelled up and down the country in the back of various vans to see some big bands like The Cramps and The Stray Cats (at Leeds Uni, where I slipped on the way out in a pool of water in my Beetlecrushers, knocked myself out and almost swallowed my tongue, it was actually Jez who pulled my tongue back out!)
Then there were Weekend festivals at Pontin’s and Butlin’s and a multitude of other bands. My Taddy mate, Andy H and I went everywhere for gigs. Some stuff swung more towards the likes of Elvis, Gene Vincent, Johnny Burnette & Co. Other stuff swung in a completely different direction. Especially The Cramps… The CrampsStray Cats Guana Batz Demented are Go! Frantic Flintstones (Bassist Gaz Day, went on to play for Morrisey) The Quakes (more hairspray than Boots the Chemist!) The Juvies, Wakefield’s finest! I bought (& never quite mastered) that double bass and lugged it round umpteen house moves…) “Anybody seen my contact lens?”
Many, many concerts were at the old “Duchess of York” on Vicar Lane in Leeds. It was a legendary place, bands on 364 nights a year! It is now a Hugo Boss store Oasis, Coldplay, Blur, Muse, the Inspiral Carpets and many more played there. It was a huge loss to the music scene in Leeds when it went, it’s a Hugo Boss shop now The very best (and the last gig I saw at the Duchess) was the mighty KING KURT, these lads were another level of craziness and gigs were “messy”; flour, eggs, fish, rice pudding. They had a “Wheel of Misfortune” where some unlucky punter got strapped to a rotating wheel and fed “snakebite” via a bucket and tube. I went home absolutely, though a misunderstanding my mate and I got barred from the Duchess), then bumped into King Kurt themselves in a local curry house, it all got messier and hazier…
All of these memories spiralled from a recent class, when a mixed group of students were discussing an article from the book about grunge music. Students between 16-24 simply hadn’t heard of Kurt Cobain from Nirvana (who also played at the Duchess, back in the day). Nor had they heard of the Foo Fighters. I know that a lot of my music/film references in class are a bit old, but I was genuinely shocked that they hadn’t heard of Cobain or Dave Grohl. What do the youth of today listen to? (When I started to quiz them about concerts, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and One Direction were all mentioned as gigs they had been to). I could have cried! (Same line-up, different venue, £4!)
Anyroad, via the magic of Appletunes, I now have the heady days of King Kurt live back in my lugholes (ears!)
Wonder if they’ll ever tour Lima
I was tempted to drop this into my presentation, but resisted.
The ten most stupid ways to drive to Mongolia
Have an awesome week.
Cheers Johnny, Lina & the Nipper
p.s. Fancy Dress night next weekend!