It’s coming home, it’s coming home…


Good morning folks

I trust you had a mighty fine weekend.
Whether you like football, or not, this World Cup is a bit hard to ignore, due to recent results, shocks and surprises!



Ing-er-land have made it to the Semi-Finals and the Salamanca Supporters Branch (numbering 2 and a half) are getting rather giddy for the midweek match…


Football aside, there were other sporting achievements going on this week too (not by me).


Teacher’s day at work and a big knees-up.


Horseriding, facepainting, goatfeeding and pizza-eating.

Plus the complete inability to find anything at all after the move, similar noise levels but balanced out by a mere 20min commute to work ;-)

IMG_20180704_223020150 IMG_20180708_024909697Before and after pics of the lounge!


All this and more in the Monday morning blog…

Three Lions on my shirt…

For a long time I fell out with football!


The phrase about not mixing business with pleasure rings true for me.

What happened was, back in 1997, I started working part-time for Ladbroke’s.
(I had previously worked for William Hill’s, in the tiny Taddy branch).
In one of the busiest bookies in Yorkshire (Leeds Market), working as a cashier had a real buzz about it. Watching racing, banter with punters, a friendly team and a great boss (a Bradfordian called Tony, an absolute mathematical genius and fanatical racing pigeon fan!)

There was an offer to work at Elland Road, home of the mighty Leeds United (more so in that time). Getting paid to take a few bets and then a free ticket for the match was a huge draw. I lived in Leeds 8 at the time and the 90′s were decadent days. Happy times!

Where it went wrong was when I got ideas above my station and went down the management road…


Going on the Management Training Scheme (a grand name for a non-existent training course)I had to leave my job at First Direct (first time round, which was a great number with awesome people). I suddenly found myself working silly hours in the bookies and even more time at Elland Road. The big difference was that as a gaffer, you got to see less of the racing and football and got more and more/all of the stress, hassle and aggro. It all came to a head when I had to leave York Races early one meeting for a midweek match against Arsenal. Everything that could go wrong did do, I saw none of the game and I got home at 2am. It was petty on my part, but I’d had enough of the job and everything.  I left soon after…

Rugby (league) is my No.1 sport, but sadly this game will never be as popular as it deserves.


Football is the most popular sport in the World, it brings the people together and of all the World Cups I have seen, this is one of the most exciting yet!


Peru made it to Russia, their first Copa Mundial in 36 years, but sadly didn’t pass the groups stages.


All eyes now are on ENGLAND!!!

World Cup - Quarter Final - Sweden vs England

I won’t go into any kind of analysis, I am no amateur pundit, but if midweek penalties against Colombia were tense, that was nothing compared to Saturday against Sweden!


One huge difference I have noticed between Peru and Inglaterra is the press and their coverage of respective national sides. (I am out of touch now, I admit).
The Peruvian press are still waxing lyrical about their performances in Россия and looking ahead to the future. They build all the teams up and up and up!
How many years did the British press slag off England? Their were some doldrum-ic years and for a long time there were also too many egos in the side overshadowing the game.
The press have an incredible stranglehold over any populace (don’t get me going on that rant either!)


The team now are bloody good and for me personally, Gareth Southgate is an outstanding manager (and candidate for nicest bloke in the World ever apparently!)


Is it coming home?
Can England do it?
Regardless of what happens on Wednesday, I for one am so proud of my team.
An old schoolfriend who lives in Australia said to me that it is a time that she wished she was back in England. I cannot imagine the atmosphere back home!


Wednesday kick-off is at 1pm local time, I have a class at 2:15pm. I may be a bit distracted…

(SP)RUSSIA-MOSCOW-2018 WORLD CUP-ROUND OF 16-ENGLAND VS COLOMBIAPic of the week: What must have been going through Gareth Southgate’s mind at this moment (penalties Vs. Colombia)…


(There is also the small matter of consequences if England do go all the way. I was tricked into agreeing to something I shouldn’t have let my big mouth agree to. If England do a repeat of 1966, I have promised to streak around the football pitch at work and I am a man of my word.
No pressure lads…)


“The Round”

A quick explanation is necessary of what became an obsession for me in 2009.
“The Bob Graham Round”


Quiet simply a traverse of 42 of the highest summits in the Lake District. Starting and finishing at the Moot Hall in Keswick, this 66-72 mile route (depending on which “lines” you take) with 28,500ft of ascent/descent. It is not a race, there is no marked route, you just set off and get back to the start/finish in under 24 hours (or not).

If you do, you join the exclusive Bob Graham Round club. There are no prizes, just a handshake and a certificate. To date around 2000 people have completed this challenge, some fast some slow, some in winter, all under 24 hours.


(There are also two other long UK “rounds”; The Ramsay Round in Scotland and the Paddy Buckley Round in Wales).


Until this weekend, local Borrowdale legend, Billy Bland held the speedy record of 13hrs 53mins. This has stood since 1982, many top athletes have tried to beat his time, but none have come close. Billy still holds the records for the Borrowdale and Wasdale races now. He was one of the best of the best fellrunners of the 70′s/80′s.


Awesomeness in the fells I.

One man who has set the mountains alight in recent years is a 30yrs old Catalonian by the name of Kilian Jornet Burgada, currently residing in Norway and simply known as Kilian.


Apart from being the six-time winner of the Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc and holding the fastest known time for the ascent and descent of the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali and Everest, he is also a four-time gold medal World champion Ski-mountaineer. There is no room to list all his feats here, but this weekend he beat Uncle Billy’s Bob Graham Round record, with an outstanding new record time of 12hrs 52mins, gulp!

harryFlying through Honister Pass with my P&B clubmate, Harry Holmes.
(Pic courtesy of Graham Pilling)

I think it may be another 36 years before anybody comes close to that…

img_odotras_20180708-230559_imagenes_lv_otras_fuentes_jornett-kXPG-U45775568059SgC-992x558@LaVanguardia-WebTwo fellrunning legends!

More details HERE.

Awesomeness in the fells II.

There is a 51 year old farmer in Yorkshire, probably milking her cows right now, called Nicky Spinks.


Like Kilian, Nicky has been setting the fells alight with her awe-inspiring long distance running achievements, but the two are very different people.
In 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy in 2012.

What she has achieved in the last two years alone is almost unthinkable!

Last summer she ran a DOUBLE Bob Graham Round, in under 48 hours. (132 miles and double the height of Everest, from sea level!) Only two people have ever done this and she is the fastest to do so.
Last weekend she did something even more incredible, a double Ramsay Round. One round is 58 miles with 28,500ft of climbing, she did it twice, back-to-back!


Now it is easy to become buried in stats/miles/feet here, but only 114 people have ever done ONE Ramsay Round. It is a very hard, technical and logistically difficult route in a very remote location. Months/years of training can be undone instantly by bad weather/navigational errors.

Nicky was on her feet for 55hrs and 56mins. I take my hat off to her!

More details HERE.


Teacher’s Day!

July the 6th is Teacher’s Day in Peru, it is widely celebrated (by teachers, or “Maestro” as we are sometimes called) and rightly so :-)


I love my job, it is probably the main thing that keeps me here in Peru. It is a good company to work for, I have an awesome boss and brilliant colleagues. Above all, I enjoy the work too!
(And I can’t say that for all of the other 263 jobs on my CV!)


I jokingly hinted to students that presents/cash would improve their chances of passing the cycle, I did reaffirm that it was a joke, but my 4pm class surprised me with my first ever present!
To anybody else, it was a piece of paper, but this piece of paper means a lot to me!


On Saturday night we were treated to a slap-up meal and fiesta at the swanky Swissotel (don’t mention Coca Tea!)

IMG-20180708-WA0000 IMG_20180708_013727843 36865672_1716850675016697_2962013097490907136_o 36830445_1716853551683076_6640097350322749440_o 36776569_10156306921848503_1973640414288150528_n

It was a flashy dress-up do, free drinks generally spell trouble, but I stuck to beer and avoided any scandal! “Hora Loca” (crazy hour) is always an eye-opener.

IMG_20180708_013727843 IMG_20180708_025358429A 3am finish and a l-o-n-g day on Sunday…

Out of time!

A catalogue of mini-disasters, mystery illnesses and the ever-present pressure of time have all impeded my preparation for the UT69/LMT race in two weeks time.


Since the Lima marathon, I have had one problem after another; breathing issues, back injury recurrence and more.

I thought I was maybe just being soft, so I dragged myself back into training this week, it was very short-lived as my calf went “POP” after just  3 runs. Not a showstopper, but definitely closing a tiny window of time that I had. It’s game over sadly.


A re-think is going on with the calendar. Maybe I can salvage something of a shocking season with a run up/down El Misti in November, not coughing up my entry fee just yet though…


Nipper’s arvo out…

Saturday was a flurry of horseriding, facepainting, animalfeeding and pizzascoffing :-)
Parque de Amistad being our regular haunt. A good day out was had by all!

20180707_154537 20180707_154531 20180707_154011 20180707_153332 20180707_153645 20180707_153044 20180707_151813

Raiders round-up…

It has been a tense week for the Shipbuilders!


After last weeks revelations of HUGE financial problems, Steve Neale replaced David Sharpe as director of the club. There are some touch back-office challenges to face and on the pitch, the Raiders were just outshone by Dewsbury Rams 22:20, bugger :-(

Another tough game against Toulouse Olympique next week. There are no soft games in this league! Onwards and upwards…


And finally…

It had to be football related this week.


I could have gone for THIS.

Alternatively, the Nipper’s current favourite, THIS.

In the end, it had to be THIS :-)
It’s coming home, it’s coming home…

That’s all for now folks.

Have a mighty fine week. Fingers and toes crossed on Wednesday!

Johnny, Lina and the Nipper

fifa-round-16-england-colombia-1 p06d5wrt

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