September 26, 2020


Good morning folks

I trust this finds you all safe and sound and sane.
Here is the latest update from AQP, which will probably be hopelessly out of date, as soon as I press the “Publish” button!
Such is the rate of change around these parts right now. For this reason it will be a condensed (or evaporated? Definitely not Gold Top) version this week.

Shouldn’t take that long to sort out!

Anyroad, without further adieu, here is the blog for your perusal…

Lockdown latest.

Although my own stress levels went off the scale this week, my life is a doddle compared to that of El Presidente right now!

A lot has been kicking off in general, but the Cabinet Minister (Pedro Cateriano) who was sworn in on the 15th of July was then booted out by a “Vote of No-Confidence” by Congress, to be replaced by Walter Martos on the 8th of August. (Cateriano lasted less time than I did in my short stint at Sweater Shop, neither parties intend to go back!)

Cateriano out
Martos in… (He is not as short as the photo implies!(

Lockdown continues in La Ciudad Blanca, but the numbers of cases increase. 478,000 national cases at the time of press and over 21,000 deaths.
A nightime curfew is still in place (10pm-4am in Lima, 8pm-4am in AQP) and Sundays are a stay-at-home day.

There are rumours that we may be going back into a stricter lockdown situation (when I say “we”, I mean areas apart from here, AQP never left lockdown!) It is a balancing act with economic reactivation. These two are not comfortable bedfellows! Which will win? Watch this space…

The football league started up again this week, but seems to have been suspended straight away, possibly to do with crowds of fans outside the stadiums, it was always going to be touch-&-go. (Meanwhile, in Puno a football tournament was halted by the Bobbies, 12 teams were getting limbered up, no masks nor social distancing is a bit tricky when playing 5-a-side!)

Rumbled on a Sunday in Junin!

Sunday in the “Danger Zones” (of which AQP is included) means stay at home. The law is clear, yet every Monday in the news there are reports of big groups of folk getting caught out(side).

Lima folk can go out on Sunday, so many crowds headed for la Costa Verde, no masks/social distancing.
Is a pattern emerging here? (Masks are a contentious issue, but they are the law here).

I mentioned last week that I had seen a report that 800 women and children had gone missing during lockdown, this week I say another report stating that 800 women and 2200 children had been reported missing since January.
How is that possible?

In short, things are not too good right now!

However, (using the football as an example), where is the balance/tipping point?
Can we expect diehard Universitario fans to stay at home?
If people are allowed out on Sundays, should the beaches be a no-go zone?

I stopped reading the news for 4 months, but started again recently.
The press is an evil, manipulative, negative force at times, is it turning us all into curtain twitching snakes in the grass, are we all becoming “Outraged, of Tunbridge Wells“?

This damned virus is here and looks here to stay for a while. Life will (sadly) never go back to normal, but can we all stay in our houses, wearing facemasks until the end of time? The future has a lot of huge bloody question marks!

Trying to put a bit of positive spin on a gloomy start, it was my birthday last Monday! 48 and not out 🙂

Caffeine should last until the weekend!

The 3-part-plan.

The Big Move!

This has to go into 2 x bags each by the end of this month…

I started packing this week and realised why I have broken down this whole drama into 3 parts.
We have to shoehorn our lives into 2x23kg duffel bags, ambitious is an understatement.
One bag is already full of camping/climbing gubbins (never went climbing, went camping 3 times in 6 years!)
The other is half full and that is just my clown’s shoes.
Started selling stuff, then we will give stuff away, then I will burn it on the street.
Everything must go…

The road to Lima…

The Panamericana Highway stretches 19,000 miles from Prudhoe Bay up in the US of A down to Ushuaia, at the southernmost tip of Argentina, (I went there once, it is a top spot but a bloody long way, especially on a bus, on your own, with no books and no music, but that is another story!)

Apart from a roadless bit in the middle, the infamous “Darien Gap”, it stretches the length of the Americas.

Right now all I am interested in is the bit from AQP up to Lima, 678km as the crow flies and 1014km as the roadmaker’s measuring wheel spins. I have only done it by bus once, when the ill-fated Aero Continente brought us down here in 2004 for La Copa America, then let us down with the return ticket as they became grounded within the 24hrs we were here, never to fly again.


It doesn’t look far on a map, but it is about 18-20hrs on a bus and a mere 80mins in an aeroplane.

The problem is that there are no planes nor buses right now!

We will cross that bridge at the end of August.


If you could just open up this airport in September, that would be great!

Last week British Airways cancelled our tickets for the third time (curiously just the Heathrow to Manchester leg, it’s grim oop north), so I jumped in feet first and accepted a date change.

For 2 days everything looked like it might just work, then the now ex-Cabinet Minister declared “No flights until 2021” (but maybe humanitarian flights, possibly) leaving us with a dilemma. We couldn’t but another ticket until the BA flight was cancelled, but couldn’t really risk waiting until the original flight date in case humanitarian flights were cancelled in the meantime too! Not a case of money, just a case of will any flights actually fly this year!

Then BA cancelled the new flights on Thursday, so we booked quicksmart onto a one-way KLM humanitarian flight. I will not count my chickens until the glorious evening that we touch down at LBA.

Keeping fingers, toes and everything else crossed.

(Or, I may be still writing this nonsense in Lima at Christmastime…)


Sorry, sorry, sorry, no V-log this week. Time constraints, again. Apologies.

Red tape untangling!

I am not even going to start on this!

Moodswings Vs. Equinimity!

Lockdown has been a strange experience. At first it was almost like a novelty, nobody knew how long it would last nor the sheer implications of this damn virus. It was a balance between not panicking and yes panicking. We missed the great bogroll sales, but managed to survive. The emergency Wayfayrer meals have now all gone, as have all my Colman’s mixes stash, but we didn’t starve. We have basically managed with a once-weekly shop and the rest of the time, stay at home.

I am generally getting ever grumpier and cantankerous in my middle-age and therefore haven’t really missed contact with the public, but I have missed real-life conversations. I have only had two brief chats, one with a friend-of-Lina’s in the supermarket and another with the Huachiman at work. Zoom has both kept me sane (social) and driven me mad (work) but I am immensely grateful for both. I am lucky to have a job (he says having handed in his notice and soon-to-be-unemployed), many others were not so fortunate.

I like my job, I am no longer a teacher, more like a one-man-placement-call-centre. My work is very samey-samey, but it is not difficult. I miss teaching in a classroom, I miss human contact, but right now there is very little alternative.

Saturday night tea!

Working from home has been an experience. It still feels mad to be eating my brekkie and getting dressed 2 minutes before logging on. WFH or “Home Office”, as it is called here looks like it will be the new reality for many workers worldwide.

Pros – No commute time/expense. Almost impossible to be late. Wear what you like on the bottom half of your body (jeans/shorts/Rocky Horror Show get-up). More time with family. Eat/drink what you like anytime you like.
Cons – Always at work. No contact with colleagues (some may put that as a plus, I do miss my colleagues and students though).

The hardest thing for me (and probably more so for my two little ladies) in all this lockdown has been my moodswings!

On a good day it is ace, on a bad day it sucks!

Frustration breeds anger and when you cannot go out to vent your spleen, where does that anger go?

I am sure that many households are the same right now. I have lost count of stupid arguments we have all had.
Half of them started by something completely trivial. Things that blow out of all proportion and then have to be resolved in-house (literally!)

Most of the time things are triggered by external influences, have I ever mentioned my neighbours before?
I am generally blessed in this department! To be fair, they could be worse but they just seem to live in a different timezone altogether. (After complaining about the Nipper playing out on the roof one Saturday morning at 8am, they really made my blood boil and you know me…)

They just seem to make as much noise as physically possible between the hours of 10pm-2am, every day and appear to use a chainsaw to chop vegetables or heavy plant machinery in their kitchen! The music could be worse (not too much reggaeton, but I cannot take too much more of Celine Dion!)

I started meditating about a year ago, I am not some dizzy hippy, surrounded by incense searching for some astral plain in Zenland, I just listen to some woman called Tamara telling me to calm down on an app called “Calm”. It takes the edge off my radginess and sorts me out in a morning.

Calm down, calm down…

Peace and love 🙂

Deep breaths, crazy stress level times ahead…

All about the Bass.

Been practising like a madman. I heard that Mark King had his right thumb insured for £3million. I think all 8 fingers and both thumbs might be worth about 3 quid in my case!

This week, on my quest to learn music I discovered that that a G flat and an F sharp are actually the same but different!
” The direct enharmonic equivalent of Fsharp major is Gflat major, a key signature with six flats. Its relative minor is D-sharp minor (or enharmonically E-flat minor) and its parallel minor is Fsharp minor…” apparently :-/

I’ll get me coat…

I have no idea what this is either?!

Lockdown rooftop trotting.

It looks like the rooftop will be my city limits until we leave AQP in just 3 weeks time.

No records broken, but I am now rotating all my knackered trainers in the hope that collectively they will last until the end of the month.

Did Rob de Castella ever have to run on his rooftop?

BnB of the week.

And finally…

Around 8 years ago this weekend we crossed the line of the 2012 Mongol Rally, the original source of all this scribbled blog bobbins in the first place.

We were originally inspired by THIS, (watched it again last night, a classic!)

Which led us on to THIS.

Which ended up in THIS! Eternal thanks to Matthew P and all the 2012 MR teams 🙂

That is all for now folks.
Have yersens a mighty fine tiptop week.

Johnny & the girls

One thought on “Mercurial!

  1. Perfect blog as always. Love it. All the memes had me rolling laughing!
    And—I selfishly slightly hope your plane gets delayed–ok just kidding–or am I? 😉

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