August 15, 2020

Macca’s Snacks!!!

Good morning folks

I trust this finds you mighty fine, safe and sane.

Here is the weekly round-up of claptrap that I call the blog.

Another week in lockdown, so not a lot happening in real life but in the mysterious zone that is my brainbox, the nonsense never stops.

Endless technical problems this week, I fear I have aged somewhat.

A BRAND NEW feature this week, from a Special Guest. “Macca’s Snacks”.

So, without any further adieu, here is the blog, a tu orden…

This is 1990 you know!

A couple of (both) loyal readers have mentioned about trying a Vlog! (Is that pronounced Veelog or vlog?)
Technology and myself are not comfortable bedfellows, but after thinking about it, it might be worth a try/trial.
Maybe as soon as next week!

Watch this space…

Lockdown latest.

I’ve stopped reading the news, so any news here is either second hand or made up! The Lockdown still appears to be on (until mid-May), but from my diddy flat window I see punters wandering about maskless, our neighbours seem to have visitors round and a score of folk come round in pick-up trucks, trikes and Ticos flogging fruit, veg, eggs and chicken from their car boots every 2 minutes.

I’ve said in the past that I actually like the lockdown (i.e, not having to go out of the house). It is true to a point. The only problem with not watching the news is that most context is removed and you find yourself wondering what the handbag-kettle-partridge is going on!

Thank the stars for the rooftop, without that patch of mismatched tilework I would have gone honey-nut-loops by now.

I like my (self-imposed) hour of exercise per day (bar Sunday, for Sunday is a hangover/tippling day), I like playing with the Nipper on the roof, I like the views from up  top, I appreciate the fresh air that right now is a luxury…

At a time when we (in theory) have so much time, time should not be a worry. I stopped wearing a watch at the start of this mess, so I rarely know what day it is.

However, there are times when time is an issue.

We do have a rough routine, more for the sake of the bairn.

Get up, (don’t) go to work, (don’t) go home, go to bed.

Brekkie at 7.30am, dinner at 1.30pm, tea at 6.30pm, Nipper bedtime by 7.30pm.

Despite doing practically bugger all, all day, every day, by 9pm I am $hagged out.
No sign of any work until June, so if/when I do go back to work in some way/shape/form, it’s going to be a bloody shock to the system.

The Nipper said that the Coronavirus makes her sad, we can’t get any library books from work and she keeps saying she wants to go to England to see Molly (my parent’s dog), eat pies and go shopping in Leeds.

It is kind of hard for a 6yr old to grasp the concept of a Worldwide pandemic, but she knows that there is a “bicho” outside the building and that is why she can’t go out. She never wants much but did say this week that when the Coronavirus is over maybe we could go and buy some new grips for her scooter, (as the old ones were chewed by a dog once!)

We both agreed that we would love a pizza too…

Home schooling!

This is something that everyone with bairns is learning about right now!

This week we have been mostly painting, doing scooter tricks, cooking, giving shows and making educational videos! (Next week).

Raiders round-up…

With the news that Rugby League will be receiving some bra$$ to keep it afloat, we’re just hoping that the mighty Shipbuilders will be getting a few bob (please!)

The Nipper surprised me midweek by appearing in her Raiders top, (the next day she was wearing a lifejacket!)


All the way through school, I was just ever so slightly ahead of the technology wave, not really a wave that you really wanted to be ahead of to be honest!

I remember huge BBC computers which required a huge list of strange words in a particular order, to produce something that was often underwhelming.

That was if you didn’t get the dreaded “Syntax Error” message.


20 GOTO 10


Was a staple favourite of most lads, much less opportunity for failure.

 I don’t remember using computers much between school and my first “proper” job at the British Library. There I had to learn a load of new (but thankfully simple) systems like Polka and UCB.

THEN (sometime during the 90’s, exactly when I can’t remember, it was a pretty hedonistic time, technology seemed to still be in its infancy) along came the internet and e-mail. At first the internet (compared to nowadays) was pretty empty and e-mail was seen as something pretty amazing. I distinctly remember a colleague saying “You should get into this technology lark, a young lad like you!” (Advice which of course, I completely ignored).

Mobile phones went from being huge, really expensive and generally crap, to being more affordable, smaller and very basic, then starting growing to what they are nowadays, a mini-laptop in your hand/sticking out of your sky rocket).

I’ve never really been into technology in a big way, it is useful and mega convenient, but it is good to escape it now and again. (If I could print this out on a rolling press and distribute as a kind-of fanzine pamphlet, I’d be happy, bit tricky right now, from here, in lockdown!)

As a result, I’ve never had a brand new laptop (and only ever one brand new phone, although I did have a pager once, that is another story), being content with hand-me-downs, good enough to get by, even though it is a fiddle to write this blog gobbledygook on two machines, which this week has been painful for the computers and myself.

The current situation has made us appreciate just how much technology has advanced. Communication is instant and easy. I’m not here to blow smoke rings up Bill Gate’s backside, but if this whole rigmarole-carry-on had occurred 20-30 years ago, things would have been very different.

Workwise, I have been caught on the hop and bitten on the backside!

One thing I loved about my job was that it took place at a place called work.

I had all the materials and resources necessary to do everything at work, although I could do some bits-&-bats at home if needed. Everything I needed was at work.

However (and it is a bloody HUGE however), that has all changed now.

(As it has for most people on the planet). WFH is the new love-it-or-hate-it acronym of the moment. A surprising fact is that many computer-based jobs can be done from home. (I did once work from home before but found that you feel like you are always at work. Swings and roundabouts). It is hard to envisage the future, short and long term, but many jobs may remain WFH.

Just like this!

I am a teacher and here in Peru it looks like classes at schools, universities and institutes will not be going back to the classroom this year, a daunting prospect.

If we cannot go back into the classroom, the only other option is online.

Online language classes (by the likes of Open English et al) have been about for a fair old while. Again, swings and roundabouts.

Pro – Classes at a flexible time that suits the student, at any pace with a computer/internet connection.

Con – Physical interraction with real people is a bit tricky.

Britanico are going online and it is a massive transition, for everybody.

With the help of ZOOM (hopefully minus the Zoombombers) it is possible to teach classes online, if…

you have the right spec of equipment.

I’ve got a tiring Macbook and an ageing Lenovo laptop.

The Macbook won’t go any higher than version 10.6.8 (I need minimum 10.7)

The laptop has a defective microphone.

Neither has space for the e-books I need to download.

Plus, my internet (hired off my landlady) would make a tortoise on valium blush with its slowness.

Now is not a great time to be buying a new laptop.

The only shops open here (in AQP) are supermarkets, their laptops are long gone. Online there are few options, but there seems to be nothing between an Etch-a-Sketch and something from the Pentagon Mainframe!

Cheap (and nasty) or extortionate (and way-out-of-my-budget).

Lina always accuses me of being stuck in the 1970’s (fashion sense, musical taste and concepts of pricing), so splashing out on a new laptop right now is a scary prospect!

There are 3 main internet providers; Entel, Movistar and Claro.

Movistar training!

Entel cold-called us last week, to offer us home internet and then tell us that there is no service here.

Movistar are the worst company in the entire world. Had an absolute nightmare with this bunch of lying crooks a few years back. Never again.

Claro are not much better, but our only option.

There is a possibility that we (teachers) may be able to physcially go back into the centre(s) one day to give classes online from there. Problem solved!

Not approved by the government yet, but my main hope.

Otherwise, you may see this ad on fleabay.

For sale: Kidneys (pair of), one previous owner, in good condition, price negotiable…

Track of the week!

The Bluetones -If….

Top 5 at 5…

Leeds United strips.

5- 1977/81

4- 1986/88 BURTON

3- 2015/16

2- 1992/3 Admiral

1- 1990/91 TOP MAN

Climbing films.

5- Touching the Void.

4- E11.

3-Asgard Jamming.

2- K2.

1- Asgard Project/Ulvetanna/Last Great Climb. The outstanding Al Lee trilogy that was my bad-husband-funnel-of-persuasion-catalyst that got Lina into climbing. Trailer HERE.

Scottish food.

5- Cullan Skink.

4- Lorne Sausage

3- Scotch Egg

2- Scotch pie.

1- Haggis.

Val Kilmer films.

5- Heat (Chris Shiherlis)

4- Knight Rider (voice of KITT: 2008-9)

3- Top Gun (Iceman Kazansky)

2- True Romance (Elvis. Clarence, I like you, always have, always will). CLIP HERE.

1- The Doors (Jim Morrison) Beating Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, John Travolta, Richard Gere, Bono, Ian Astbury and Michael Hutchence to the role and singing all the songs.

Skitzo Stagediving and Ponky Brooster’s lucky escape!

Next week.

Andy Farrell Syndrome.

Next week.

RIP Trevor Cherry.

After the recent loss of a Leeds legend, Norman Hunter, it was saddening to hear the news about Trevor Cherry. Leeds and England captain, 27 international caps and 399 appearances for Leeds. RIP Trevor Cherry.


If you had mentioned the word ZOOM to me in March, you would have seen my confused face, but now, just 2 months on the World is running on it.

Technical conspiracy theorists say that it is evil and will steal your banking details, personal photos, your soul and your crisps, when you are not watching, but I’ll risk it for a biscuit.

Yoghurt pots became phones became faxes became Skype became Facetime became Whatsapp became Zoom!

Two absolute highlights of my week are the Saturday night Zoom session with JB & JD, then the 1pm Sunday Lunch Zoom session with the Hardback Boys.

I use the word “session” as beer is involved in both. (Drink responsibly folks, you really don’t want to run out right now, so always buy a bit more than you plan to drink, in case you get thirsty!)

If I ever return to being a teacher again, it looks like I will be using Zoom as a platform. Last week (apart from drinking online) I had countless Zoom sessions.

If this is the future, I’d better shape up!

All good, until I got a message from Entel (phone provider) saying I had used up all my “unlimited” allowance this month. 28gb, gone.

So, it is a good job I have no classes and that we can’t go out as I have to wait until I get my new data to have a phone that works again!

Bank Job!

The last day of the month is never a good day to do anything here, (especially if this day is the day before a Bank Holiday, which this one is. May the 1st is Labour Day and here it is taken on the day it falls, so if it is a Sunday, tough cookies! As this Bank Holiday is during the lockdown, I don’t think it will have as much impact).

Britanico are very good at paying us, and normally the patron saint of Payroll, San Felix, sends us an email a few days before the end of the month.

The last day of the month is payday for most punters here, so shops, banks and everywhere is rammed.

I asked my landlady if she preferred the rent in cash, or paid into her account (subject to a criminal Bank fee, different banks charge for inter-bank transfers, who is wearing the balaclava here!)

Please say transfer, please say transfer, I thought/hoped/wished for.

Cash please!


So, I went to my local supermarket to go to the ATM, for which one has to queue with the shoppers. A queue which would have stretched to the Chilean border, had folk been observing the 2m rule. 40 minutes later, I was in and instantly suspicious to see no people waiting for the BCP cashpoint, then I saw this.

So, I had to hotfoot it up to Mariscal Castillo, well off my beaten track/miniature world of late. It felt like this SCENE from 28 Weeks Later.

Road blocks, army on the streets and very few people about.

Bearing in mind my resident ID had expired on Monday and even though Imigraciones are excusing this until end of lockdown, all I needed was an overzealous copper and I was in bother. As expected there was a monster queue at the bank, so after queuing again, I got my Nelsons and legged it home, collaring some weekend liquid refreshment on the way! (RRPs seem to have little connection to actual prices, but beggars can’t be choosers!)

The Great British Spirit of Adventure!

Next week!

Rooftop trotting.

Literally going nowhere, like a big treadmill, but possibly the only thing keeping me sane right now! Every day I thank my lucky stars for renting a gaff with a bit of roof.

No records broken and my knees are shot to pieces, but I keep shuffling away.

It is a selfish thing (as indeed is any sport) but it gives me an hour of thinking time. Pondering, mulling over, stewing, bubbling, a medley of emotions.

I never, ever used to listen to music whilst running (apart from the one time I lugged a monster Walkman, won at Filey Cliff Race, my first race win and first ever prize, on a run for the cassette tape to bounce/distort and the batteries to run out after 20 minutes, it was a crappy recording of the Hit Parade recorded next to a speaker, showing my age, we have moved on a bit technologically nowadays!)

Will the 4 mile barrier ever be broken, was once 200m off it. Watch this space…

The Hills have eyes…

And so do I!

Some sneaky bugger was climbing El Misti last Saturday night. Whilst training I am towered over and sneered at by the triple crown of volcanoes; Chachani, El Misti and Picchu Picchu. Misti is in the middle, about 20km and 2201 vertical metres from my roof to the summit.

I go up on the roof every night without fail. To gaze at the stars, look around the cityscape, listen to the incessant chorus of dogs howling, barking and yelping and ponder on life, (jumping off has occurred to me on more than one occasion, but there are a mass of telephone cables blocking the way, like a giant spider’s web!)

Despite the inky blackness, on a clear night it is possible to make out the cone-shape of Misti and it was blatantly clear to see a strong light just below the snowline (about 200m from the top). An audacious ascent, but I doubt the Busies would be hotfooting it up the slopes to nab the cheeky climber!

Even more insolent were the two cyclists who met up outside my flat for a 2hr+ pedal on Saturday morning.

Now I have nothing against anybody doing exercise, quite the opposite, but rules are rules* and we are supposed to be staying at home (and socially isolating). The Nipper hasn’t left the house in 7 weeks and these 2 numbnuts go off for a blatant bike ride.

(* I’m all for a bit of anarchy and many rules, norms and laws are just pointless, but after 40-odd days cooped up in our houses and the economy shot to pieces, if we are still no further on with this bloody virus, is it not all in vain!)

It’s all about the Bass – Butter Nutters!

In a nutshell, I was practising playing guitar and the Nipper said she wanted to start a band, here is the debut single.

NEW FEATURE: “Macca’s Snacks” – Beer and sundries review…

My good mate, ex-BL colleague and Family Fortunes superstar has taken up a Guest DJ spot to bring a snacktastic wealth of culinary and tippling flavour to the blog. Macca’s Snacks will get your mouth watering!

First up (and a native of Peru) the humble but extremely versatile potato!

First of all make sure you have enough potatoes in your cupboards. An essential part of your diet. Full of vitamins and minerals and fibre. Teriffic spuds  !!

I eat them with either curry or cottage cheese. Essential as I say. Magic in my opinion !
Nice with cottage cheese and salad. 
Or my favourite, with curry.

Add a bit of salad and away you go!
Sustenance fit for a king. 
Bob’s your uncle and away you go. Good honest fayre!
Of course potatoes and curry are a main course so onto snacks !

Crisps and chocolate washed down with a lovely real ale really is the business. Keeping me happy and sustained until tea time.

Today’s choices  are ;
Chipsticks, chocolate chip cookies and St Austell ‘Proper Job’ real ale.

Tasty Chipsticks (made from lovely spuds).

Nice smashing chocolatey bits. Magic!
Just the one, but they are moreish!

Today’s beer is a smashing proper real ale.  It’s called St. Austell ‘Proper Job’. A strong powerfully hopped golden ale. 5.5%. Tasty with a malty finish. A damn fine ale !!


Enjoy your tucker 🙂

And finally…

Is it possible to connect a meat festival, the Human League, Idi Amin, aliens and Alan Ladd into a 30 minute documentary?

Watch THIS!

Have an awesome week!

Stay calm, stay safe, stay sane, stay strong, stay awesome, stay at home!

Johnny & the girls x

I miss my mates and I miss sessions like this one!

2 thoughts on “Macca’s Snacks!!!

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