Good morning folks
I trust this finds you fighting fit, safe and sane.
This thrown together, jumbled blog nonsense comes to you live from the city of Lima.
Salamanca to be exact, which means that somehow we have managed to pass steps 1 and 2 of our 3-part plan to get back to Blighty. Something that a week ago, I really had serious doubts about. I am not counting my chickens nor cantando la victoria just yet, but I now feel a bit more confident that we might just make it!
(Finished my teabags and vinegar, so I really hope so).
House move No.42 and I swear one of the last for some time if I get my way!
Our plan consisted of
1 – Emptying the house. ✔️
2 – Getting to Lima. ✔️
3 – Getting back to Blighty. (Not yet…)
We can now tick off parts 1 and 2, part 3 is hopefully happening next week, keeping everything crossed…
It has been a mad old week in the news.
The Government has extended the State of Emergency for another 30 days and health measures (facemasks, social distancing, etc…) for another 90 days. Children under 14 are not allowed outside.
All these rules were already in place in Locked down AQP, but it is a backwards step for other regions who did have a bit more freedom up to this moment.
28,788 deaths and 648,000 cases (if you believe the figures).
A clinical trial for a potential vaccine at a local university had 3000 places for volunteers which were gone in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
The powers that be released three 30-second videos this week; various scenarios including a bloke tippling with his mates on a street corner, a lad playing football and a family visit. All of which were completely innocent and innocuous activities pre-March 16th 2020.
The videos all terminate in a hospital bed shot and the phrase “El COVID no mata solo. No seamos cómplices” (Covid doesn’t kill by itself, let’s not be accomplices). People say they are tired of this virus but unfortunately this virus is not yet tired of infecting people.
One has to wonder where it really did come from?
Was it really just some punter eating a bat in China or was it manufactured? Conspiracy theories abound.
Will we ever know?
It has thrown a spanner in a lot of works for a lot of people, that is for sure!
The press always use fear as their power and also now seem to be encouraging an informer culture.
Everyone has their own views and ideas, but from a completely neutral view. Let’s look at 3 scenarios here:
- A small (maximum 3) group of mates meeting up, socially distanced.
- A group of 12 people, in a party, indoors, with music, until 7am.
- A clandestine disco/bar/nightclub, full of 100 punters, no social distancing.
Now, to one person, all might be as bad as each other.
To another, some/all may be acceptable.
In the eyes of the law, they are all illegal right now.
The press always have control of part of the populace and right now they seem to be inciting a real snitch/informer culture right now with a “Grass up your neighbours hotline“.
Is this a good thing? Is this a bad thing? Who knows!
The hardest part of all this carry-on is the lack of social contact. (From a purely selfish point of view) I am probably not going to be able to see hardly any of my mates before I go. I don’t have many friends here, but I do have some solid good mates. However, the law is the law…
Part 1 – Super Saturday and the mad week.
I have moved house 42 times (I was curious a few years back and counted). It is a right royal pain in the ar$e.
I should be a black belt world champion at moving, but it always just seems to be the most chaotic, last-minute rushed stressfest ever, increasingly so each time. This has been the hardest yet.
I don’t know, maybe other folk are just more organised, but we ended up still packing at midnight, with a 3am alarm staring us in the face!
Super Saturday (last week) started early, it was a case of shifting the big stuff and on a wave of caffeine and adrenaline, we got shot of a lot of our gubbins, one other person left it until6:30am Friday to pick up the washing machine, cooker and mattress, but it still left us with way more gear than we wanted to lug up to Lima.
After giving up most of my wardrobe and shoes, I was left with 2 identical duffel bags, one with climbing/camping gear the other with what was left of my wardrobe. We found a delivery company who would transport most of our stuff but due to a last minute mix-up I was left in Lima with the clothes I had slept in since Friday and a bag containing ice axe, helmet, crampons, 2 tents, 3 camping stoves and 3 karrimats. None of which really fitted me well as work attire on Monday morning, unless I had been giving a demonstration in winter mountaineering, which I wasn’t so I had to tilt the Zoom camera right back for my last morning at work to just show my head from the moustache up!)
House Move No. 42 is now done, I promised the girls that I will definitely stop this gypsy lifestyle before reaching the half century. Now we just have to shoehorn what we can into our bags and flog/give away/burn the rest!
Lockdown rooftop trotting comes to an end.
After 165 and almost 400 miles (about 64,000 about-turns if my maths is correct), the Lockdown Rooftop trot has come to an end.
It started as a harebrained idea and turned into my daily salvation, which kept me sane as much as it knackered my knees.
15 paces each way at 7am for an hour every morning was my mantra. Sometimes with tunes, sometimes to the sound of howling dogs, always to the smell of somebody cooking garlic, sometimes blasted by a neighbour drowning themselves in Lynx/Axe, sometimes to the fragrance of burning trash, always with the backdrop of Chachani, Misti and Picchu Picchu, mocking me for running on a flat roof!
The move to AQP was fuelled by a GRAN PLAN to link up all 3 summits, this had been my target for October.
As far as I am aware it has never been done, nor do I know if it can be done, the potential logistics are that of nightmares, but I looked at a map, fettled an imaginary route line and figured with 2 water drops it could maybe be done in under 24 hours.
Ambitious? Audacious? impossible?
I will never know. Some daydreams are best left unfulfilled.
For now however, I wonder if I will ever be able to run in a straight line for more than 12 yards ever again!
“The most difficult decision of my life” is a quote (of my own) which has been as overused recent;y as the ar$ehole-airlines-resisiting-giving-a-refund-phrase, “These are difficult times for us all“. It was a bloody hard choice to make, but as Joe Simpson said whilst crawling down Siula Grande with a broken leg, “You have to keep making decisions, even if they are the wrong decisions“.
We decided about 3 months ago that we were going to head back home. As I have mentioned (many times), it was probably the most difficult decision of my life. Arequipa was a dream 15 years in the making.
I first went to La Ciudad Blanca to watch La Copa America in 2004 and was really impressed with the city. It seemed very different to Lima, (but maybe on a boozy football trip you maybe do see everything with hazy, rose-tinted spectacles!) The stadium where we watched Brasil humiliate Costa Rica and the dirty Sunday-league-esque battle between Chile and Paraguay is only a stone’s throw away from our flat.
The surrounding trio of volcanoes; Picchu Picchu, Chachani and El Misti were what really caught my eye and attention…
I didn’t return to La Ciudad Blanca until the 2018 El Misti race, when I only had a flying weekend to take in the city, but it pricked my attention again, plus the fact that Britanico were planning to open a brand new centre in town, the first outside of Lima, for which I had made sure my name was on the list for.
As the work move came closer, we had a family weekend down there and were sold by it. The BIG move itself happened in September 2019, this was a big move for all of us as we knew nobody nor had any family there, we were going solo but all felt up for it. After a few months on my own (with some contrasting, extremely black personal times) the ladies moved down at the end of February, just in time for 2 weeks of normal life before lockdown shut up the shop(s) overnight on the 16th of March.
It is not a moan, there are people a whole lot worse off (i,e. Dead or bankrupt), but we had so many plans for Arequipa.
Jonathan Reuben Parsons – Daydreaming World Champion 2020.
Parts 1 and 3 were hinged pretty shoddily onto part 2. I had been given the word that a “Salvoconducto” could be tricky to obtain after August so all our plans were shunted forward a week. If not, we could have got stuck in AQP with no means of escape and potentially no flights until 2021. That could have been a problem as our lease expired on 31/08 as did my job!
So, with the help of my mate Francis at the British Consulate we procured a “Salvoconducto”, in effect a travel permit allowing overland transport. We all had to get the Covid tests for this (although strangely, the drivers not) for it then to go to the Ministry of Transport and back to the Embassy and then to the driver. If any of us had popped up positive in our tests we would have been properly scuppered!
As luck would have it the tests came back clean, so we got the Salvoconducto process rolling.
An 11th hour phone call from the driver asking to bring extra passengers was turned down (only those on the Salvoconducto shall pass the checkpoints, once the ink has dried it cannot be changed).
I won’t bore you with the details of landslides, roadblocks and clap-cold chicken & chips at the Nazca lines, but in a nutshell we set off at 5am and got to Limalandia at 9:30pm.
I present you with 1000km from a bus window…
The hardest part of all this process was the decision to leave Britanico.
I first did my TEFL course to teach young ‘uns at the Orphanage in 2004, and enjoyed teaching, so I cut short a round the World trip to come back to Peru to try and forge a living as a kind-of-English teacher, juggling about 5 jobs and just surviving.
Back in Blighty I used my last wage at the Brewery to get some teaching qualifications (CELTA) and came back to Peru and landed a proper plum job at Britanico. It is a great organisation to work for and it has given me many opportunities that I would never have had otherwise (Storytelling, acting, adverts…)
The best job I have ever had and very likely the best job I ever will have. Only a complete buffoon would leave a job like this, surely?
Too many people to thank here, you know who you are, muchisimas gracias 🙂
From old Camacho to Unife to new Camacho to Arequipa and now UB40, into the Wilderness!
I really have zero idea what I will do back in Blighty.
Little Chef-John Smith’s-BL-First Direct-Ladbroke’s-BL-Peru-Peru-Skanska-Gaz de France-i-to-i-John Smith’s-Alpkit-John Smith’s-Suma-John Smith’s-Leeds Climbing Wall-John Smith’s-Peru-?
(Not including Sweater Shop, Texas Homecare, Next (twice), Argos (twice), Wetherby Racecourse, Pontycarlo Racecourse, Elland Road and a multitude of other bit-part numbers).
I leave the big B with a lot of memories…
Watch this space…
Here is your refund Sir, not.
- LATAM still haven’t coughed up.
- My “credit note” from KLM seems to have dropped off the system and disappeared into the ether.
- BA promised a refund 6 weeks back, I made the mistake of believing them and slackness on my part has resulted in my UK bank account going into meltdown.
That is why we are seriously hoping that Air Europa do deliver us as far as Madrid next week, because if they don’t there are not many more brass buttons to pay for 3 more tickets, with another airline who will most probably keep our money until the end of time!
All about the bass.
An emotional week!
Practice time dwindled and playing quality went downhill at a rate of knots.
This was my first ever new bass + new (combo) amp combo, after 3 previous cheap, old and knackered bass + amp combos.
(Including that bloody useless 5-string which weighed the equivalent of a small family car!)
A good friend in Lima had offered to buy both off me, so it did give me more time in AQP and avoided getting wound up by tyre-kicking-to$$pots in AQP. The goods were delivered yesterday, so for now I am bass-free.
However, I did succumb to the temptation of a ridiculous offer with a subscription to Scott’s Bass Lessons, so a new axe could be on the cards soon 😉
Next Monday, will we be getting on a plane?
Everything crossed, watch this space…
Beavis and Butthead and the Reverend…
That is all for now folks, I need to magically condense my life into two 23kg duffel bags.
Please keep your bits crossed for us for one more week!
Stay safe, stay sane, stay strong, stay awesome!
Johnny & the girls
p.s. Anybody want some size 13 brogues, 40″L jackets or 32″L kegs?