Lifesaver, Lost and found II, frustrated runner, unfortunate mispronunciation, overobsession and Halloween/Dia de la Cancion Criolla…


Good morning folks

I trust you had thee most splendid Halloween weekend.
Here is the weekly round-up from the World capital of howling hounds & horn-honking…


A big MUCHAS GRACIAS to my good mate Matthew who saved me from a very serious predicament; running out of teabags!
Levels were getting seriously low, but my amigo brought me a HUGE bag from Blighty.
460 sweet, sweet pyramids of PG’s finest.

(No paper wrappers neither, 3 seconds saved on every brew!)
Cheers mate, I owe you :-)

Lost & found II

After previously losing & finding my bankcard & ID (not a good idea), I managed to lose my wallet.
Luckily no cards, but a bit of a bugger as it had my get-out-of-jail emergency stash. (Not quite, in fact nowhere near £200).

On Tuesday I lost my phone. No battery so I couldn’t ring it.
I’ve never, ever lost a phone so I was a bit gutted.

On Wednesday I was trying to leave the house with the Nipper to go shopping, but couldn’t find my keys.
A big bunch of jailor’s keys, which basically if I lose, I am stuffed!
They weren’t on their hook.
They weren’t in the door.
I had to go shopping & cook before the Wee One had her afternoon doss,
I was under pressure.
After turning the flat upside down, I checked the bairn’s pram.
In the little back pocket I found the phone, the keys & the wallet.

Either the little one was putting them in a safe place (a stash for if she decided to ever run away, which I did several times as a nipper),
or she is turning into a magpie!

Frustrated runner :-/

Running is a funny old game.
I was always worse than terrible at footy & apart from a brief interlude into the wonderful up-&-under world of Rugby League, my general sporting pursuits have been limited to running.

Ever since an early age I discovered that if you put the graft in, you get results (or crocked).
For somebody like me with mild OCD, this is good (& bad).
When things are going well, you can simply train yourself into the ground & get results.
There are no shortcuts just graft, quality work & miles & miles & miles.

The problem is that as one gets older, the law of diminishing returns takes over. It’s labour intensive.
One needs to train harder, just to maintain a level of fitness.
To improve, you need to train even harder.
You need the rest to recover, but feel that rest is bad.
Like a bottle of left-open pop, the fizz soon disappears.
(Unless you’re taking drugs like EPO, just say No kids!)
Recovery has a big say in all this.
Your body takes longer to recover between training & getting crocked is a much higher probability.
It is in fact the rest that makes you improve (& prevents injury).


Runners are basically one of three types:
- Just coming back from injury.
– Just about to get injured.
– Injured!

An injured runner is bad company to be/have around.
Every day lost feels like a week in training that will need to be gruellingly clawed back.
Sometimes a showstopper injury is better than a “niggle“.
If you can’t run, you won’t injure it further, if you can run, you’re always tempted “just to try it out….”

If I have a goal, I can frame myself and go out there & generally run my sorry a$$ into the ground.
Motivation is not a problem. The bigger the goal, the better. Especially if there is a chance that I may fail.
When I have nothing lined up, (like now & with so much else going on here) I start drifting a bit.
In Blighty, I can quite happily (very happily in fact) take myself out into the hills, on t’moors or just any old muddy trail. Anywhere where it’s away from the tarmac.
Pig in muck, happy as!

Here it’s different. It’s a concrete jungle. There is no off-road in Lima. Tarmac is king & tarmac is not great for your knees.
Training of late has been on the “less” side of “more or less”.
I’ve been struck down with breathing problems over the last month & finally went to see a Quack, who gave me a prescription that would make Bez blush.
Asthma” he said.
I have to go back tomorrow for x-rays & tomography.
My nose is as bent as a nine-bob-note, thanks to a Halifax Post Office RL winger, but I’m not sure else they’re going to find?!
Thinking about plans for next year, need a new goal.
Watch this space…


As a self-confessed OCD merchant, I’m not sure I am really qualified to talk about this?

A (Peruvian) student once told me that Peruvians are overobsessed with food.
I said that it wasn’t really possible to be over-obsessed, as obsession is an extreme. He said “You’ll see…”

When I lived here the first time (as a volunteer) I lived with an amazing family, who treated me as one of their own & cooked me some of the most amazing food.

The second time I lived here, I lived on my own & I had nae bra$$ so I lived on a bare bones budget: 5 bread buns, 5 bananas, supernoodles & coffee.
Less than a quid a day, times were ‘ard, but I survived.

When I first left home at the age of 20, I suddenly realised that the fridge wasn’t always full & that nice food wasn’t cheap!
I lived in Leeds 8 at the famous Lambton Towers.
I sussed that by spending less on food, I had more money for going out.
So Farmfoods & Kwik Save were my regular haunts.
Frozen lasagne (of what meat I’m not sure) & dustbin lid sized pizzas for a Friday treat.
I ate a lot of e-numbers & it sent me a little hyperactive!

In my 7 years at the Brewery, on days I had jam sarnies every single shift & it never bothered me.
I could very happily live on coffee, bananas, jam, & cheese sarnies (plus tea, obviously).
Not sure how long I’d live, but life would be easier!

I had an article in a textbook at work which was titled “Food: Pleasure or fuel?”
For me, food is a fuel. If I could pop a pill with all my food for the day, I’d be happy.
In Peru ready meals do not exist (& this is not a bad thing, but by ‘eck do I miss them!)
Everything needs to be cooked from scratch.
This takes time, especially when you’re a duff chef like me.
Every morning I hear the woman above banging on her chopping board at 5:30am, as she fills the building full of the smell of garlic & onions.
Cooking at that time, get a pot-noodle or make a sarnie I always think…

I’ve tried recreating some of my limited staple dishes here, but just can’t get the ingredients, so they always turn out bland.
Peru & Peruvians take a lot of pride in their cuisine & rightly so.
It is very tasty & creative tucker.
There are more national dishes than days of the year .
(99% of them come with rice & often, with spuds too. Awesome for carbo-loaders, not too good for dieters!
Salt is another key player).
Every region has its own cuisine, with “Ceviche” being No.1 national dish.
Raw white fish marinated with lime, chilli & onions (& nothing like sushi before you say it!) Served cold with on a hot summer day, especially at the beach, with a cerveza. If a Peruvian says they don’t like ceviche, they get some mistrusting looks (& I have met people who don’t like it). It is good, it is really good!

Not all Latin American countries are the same (but I’m digging a big enough hole for myself here already, so I won’t name names/make any further enemies!)
People here do ask me about English cuisine & I enthuse about fish & chips, stew & dumplings, meat & tatty pies & so many other delicious offerings, but folk don’t sound/look impressed.
Several times in classes students have raised their hand in class & asked me a question/made a statement, which is nothing at all to do with the topic we’re covering, but invariably about food.
In an exam a student pup up his hand & asked “Profe, do you like olluquito? I do, I love it, it’s my favourite…”
People will always talk about food, even after finishing a huge meal.
You could start a conversation about food with anyone, anywhere.
People will ask you every day what you had for lunch & what you’re having for tea.

A sandwich most definitely just won’t do!
It has to be a sit-down plateful affair & every single business I have worked in gives at least an hour for lunch to employees.
Nobody, but nobody would dream of skipping lunch.

A huge importance is placed on “sabor” (taste).
It is a good thing & I’m not criticising it, but it is one cultural difference that has taken me a while to get used to.
Next week: Infamous food mispronunciation disasters…


Unfortunate mispronunciation…

After about 30 years of not owning/using a comb, I’ve decided to smarten up my act. I made the decision to buy a comb.
There are 2 very similar words, for 2 very different things:
Spanish for comb: Peine
Spanish for a man’s private part: Pene
It is the most subtle of subtle pronunciation differences.
If the combs had been on display, it wouldn’t have been a problem.
No prizes for guessing which I asked for :-/

Halloween/Dia de la Cancion Criolle…

Halloween needs no introductions.
Trick or treating, pumpkins & scary fancy dress.
Here it shares the day with “El dia de la Cancion Criolla”
Established in 1944 by President Manuel Prado Ugarteche, the day honours a style of Peruvian music that dates back to the Afro-Peruvian music of the colonial period. 
Canción criolla exists in various forms, including the popular marinera (the national dance of Peru).
Not forgetting the highly entertaining/dangerous spectacle that is the famous “Alcatraz!”
Music & dancing are very important here, especially on this particular day.

Lina took the Wee One out to collect sweets in the arvo.

(The Nipper shouted “Papa!” when he saw Ironman, think I must look well protected whenever I go out on the Clunk!)

In the evening I got dressed/made-up too, forgetting that I’d need to take the bairn out for her nightly walk.
Somehow, she went off to the land of nod, in spite of the tremendous racket(s) going on.
As the 31st fell on a Saturday, payday & a Bank Holiday (on a Sunday, my one day off; loads of use), there were a million parties going off all over the city & here they start late! There were about 3 huge (very local) parties (& a concert) all competing for who could be the loudest.
Victor Meldrew was grumbling around 1am.

Never in my life have I heard such volume.
Would’ve been easier sleeping in the Dartford Tunnel at rush hour!
One bash was still going strong at 5am.
Then the hounds started howling at dawn…

If they ever ban coffee, I will be moving to the moon!

 Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad’s birthday.
He is the man who has inspired & helped me more than anybody I know (& I know some very inspiring people).
If I ever become half the man he is, I’ll be more than happy :-)

That’s all for now folks!!!

Have yersen an awesome week.

Johnny, Lina & the Nipper


2 thoughts on “Lifesaver, Lost and found II, frustrated runner, unfortunate mispronunciation, overobsession and Halloween/Dia de la Cancion Criolla…

  1. Travis

    Brilliant laugh this episode, great work. Keep brushing your hair with the right comb and everything will work out fine – just check the back of the stroller before you announce that you’ve misplaced it

  2. Johnny Bravo Post author

    Gracias Hermano.
    I’ll be extra careful what I ask for from now on ;-)
    I tell all my students that with practice, their English WILL improve.
    My Spanish meanwhile, is going in the opposite direction…
    Hasta la proxima!


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