Good morning folks

I trust you had a mighty fine weekend and are no longer writing 2017 on everything (like me!) Here is the weekly wrap-up of Lima locura. X-rays, a move at work, and a 4am 7.3 quakeshaker down south. 26755067_10159912152795302_148285547_n It’s never tranquilo round these parts…


Adios Camacho, Hola Unife!

The company I work for (Britanico) have 11 centres round this fair city. Mine (Camacho) is an old house, a beautiful place with just 8 rooms. The problem is, that the competition (rearrange the letters in PANIC) has a HUGE centre next door and due to our location (opposite the University of Lima and on the main traffic artery in this madhouse, Av. Javier Prado) we find it hard to compete and as progress can be a cruel force, our little diddy house is being demolished, to make a SuperCamacho!

This won’t happen overnight, (18mths they reckon) so we’ve moved up the road to a temporary home, a university called UNIFE. 26905713_10159905759165302_1953549626_o It really is a TOP spot. Although it’s now a bit too far to walk (without arriving a sweaty mess), I can get a bus from my house to the door. The rooms are big and from a teacher’s point of view, everything is spot-on! I love it there, peaceful too. One of the best things is the view. 26854912_10159905759560302_168552862_o It looks straight up into the mountain route I’ve been working for the last 2 years, “The Doubtful Round” in its entirety. Although a phone camera will never do it justice, here are a few pics, trying (and largely failing) to catch the changing light… 26854730_10159905759750302_605643686_o By the time SuperCamacho opens, I’m dreaming (hoping) I’ll have been shipped to the city of Arequipa, wishing.

As Captain Sensible sang, “You’ve got to have a dream…” 26855039_10159905759220302_1424565236_o

“Why are you here?”

One of my work colleagues, who shall remain nameless, but for the sake of the story we shall call her Patty, often asks me “Why are you here?” question-mark-1751308_1280 I reply that I have classes, but she insists “No, why are you here?” (In Lima, in Peru, not just at work in between classes).

To this question, I have no answer. It is a bloody good question and most days I really do not know.

Answers on a postcard please…


My neighbours and their parties! (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week). noise It wouldn’t be so bad, but the clown/crook/cowboy who built this building has somehow used materials that defy the laws of acoustics…

After Lina had been round and asked them to turn down the nightclub, (which was completely ignored) I went to bed and could hear “tap-tap-tap-tap-tap (repeat x 100000)” above me, which was strange as the party was next door!

I’d always cursed our upstairs neighbours as it sounds like they are always moving heavy furniture, dropping what sound like an infinite number of ball bearings and slamming doors. (It is them who constantly row, I recognise the voices).

This means that MC Hammer and the Driller Killer could be on a different floor (the duo who seem to be drilling/hammering all day-every day) or on this floor? Noise _1 Who knows? Who cares?

We only have until the 31st to endure this shower of sh!##


After waiting a lifetime, getting my dates wrong and missing the start, I have been following the Dakar rally online vicariously!

It sounds harder than nails this year, sand, sand and more sand. It hopped the border into Bolivia this week and heads southwards en-route to Argentina. 26221169_10155411016364353_4824666015654578649_o 18922156_1182861721847872_766176251936878126_n Lyndon Poskitt is the man to follow. Some epics pics on his FB page and also Instagram, if you’re an Instagram person…


Adventure(r) of the week…

My closest thing to an adventure was going to the spice market in Surquillo, so I have to choose somebody else for this title. 26853387_10159910126725302_156579848_o It goes hands down to my mate, Lloyd. We both arrived here together as volunteers in June 2004 and he has been here for most of that time (and he is somehow a lot more sane than me!) 26239659_739956322871384_6676301177521124166_n We went for dinner on Friday and he told me of his big outing down south. Bus down to Cañete, a taxi up into the mountains and riding back via Lunahuana. Escaping the Lima chaos for blue skies and fresh air. Powered by bananas and Ceviche (a local seafood dish) he flew up and down yonder hills. Good on yer mate :-) 26805213_740547272812289_4239935563683849832_n

Little Chef!

My first ever full-time job back in 1987 was as a GCSA (General Catering Sales Assistant/dogsbody) at Bramham Crossroads Little Chef. The work was dire but the people were ace, every day was a laugh and it was good pocket money, albeit hard-earned. (I managed to save up a grand one summer and then blew it all on fancy shirts!) img007 Due to things not going quite to plan at school, I ended up staying there a bit longer than planned, but when I finally escaped (in 1992) I found myself having recurring dreams about the place, about 3-4 times a week, for no apparent reason. These continued for a good 10 years… I used to drive/ride past the place most days, until one morning I saw the deserted shell was burnt out, (squatters had taken over the place after it shut down, they must have eaten well!) The dreams stopped! 26804046_10159910128215302_1805463033_n Until this week.

Something must have stirred in my unconscious. I was back there again, but this time alone and with a full restaurant and trying to cook a dozen “Early Starters”, take orders, wash-up, make drinks, clear tables, seat-&-greet and being a cashier as well! It was bedlam.

Just what do dreams mean???


My mate Charlie.

Lima is a madhouse (I may have mentioned that before). Distances are short, but distances are meaningless when the traffic monster is out, as it always is… trafico_450_339 My mate Charlie (the man behind the UT69 race, along with another cool guy called Luke) was down from the mountains and I was keen to meet up. My schedule was rammed, so was his, but we squeezed in a rendezvous with bairns at a local park, reached after a 1hr cab ride (for 8km/5 miles in old money). Charlie is a remarkable guy. He sold up in the UK and headed to the mountains in Huaraz (Touching the Void territory) where he proceeded to build a hotel with his bare hands (coming from banking, rather than a building background, this shows his versatility!) He has built an amazing lodge up in a very, very beautiful neck-o-the-woods. 25152186_1980220312195186_3865036957571458193_n 1005336_1409251862625370_110990765_n 995150_1400391460178077_1824750458_n We chewed the fat and shot the $h!t Comparing running seasons, Charlie ran the Andes Race, El Misti sky marathon, Maraton des Sables, UTCB and more, which put my 2.5 lame efforts/races into perspective! 26853774_10155930602785011_1320988791_o 26803488_10155930600995011_914208912_n I always go on at my students about putting their phones down, it is an international epidemic. It was really great to meet up with a mate in person. I miss my mates and my family more than I can say, but I am very lucky to have a handful of brilliant amigos here :-)


Papá or Papa?

In Spanish there is a small accent above some letters which is where you put the STRESS on the word. As I never learnt Spanish properly, I always miss this, but it has some dramatic effects…

Three very similar but different words for example: The potato = La papa (or la patata) 26943476_10159912900405302_1530298231_n   The Pope = El Papa. 26855874_10159912883240302_1372907425_n 5vQxvabkDHrT The daddy = El papa. PROD-Giant-Haystacks-and-Big-Daddy I am not sure who is arriving in Lima this week, is it Francisco, Keith Lemon or a World of Sport Wrestling blast-from-the-past?

26913511_10159912883235302_1489504039_n The crooked construction company, Odebrecht, who have been in the news a lot of late, along with almost all past-&-present presidents, “gave” a statue to Alan Garcia. diminutive copy of “Christ the Redeemer” from Rio. A short-circuit this weekend left the statue charred.

If it is indeed the chap from the Vatican, it is impeccable timing!



Running is something I have done almost all my life. Apart from brief interludes (generally unsuccessfully) into other sports, it has been the one thing I’ve always gone back to, with varied degrees of accomplishment. If I had been crap all along I’d probably have given it up and tried something else, unsuccessfully probably…)

I love the science of training, how the body adapts to effort and planning to get fitter/faster/stronger, normally in 6 week blocks:

6 weeks – Base fitness.

6 weeks – To get race fit.

6 weeks – to get faster.

These are ideally supposed to be 6 week blocks without interruptions/days off, but this last 2 years I have rarely got in 6 days training without injury/illness/incident. It is mega frustrating. The other complication is that as one gets older, you encounter “the law of diminishing returns” in that you need to train harder just to maintain fitness and is hindered by a need for longer periods of recovery, necessary to avoid injury. It’s a very vicious cycle.

Most injury hiccups I have had, I’ve been able to get treated, shake off or train through, but a ghost of old has come back to haunt me… leg I was experiencing a lot of pain in my left ankle, the ankle I broke in 1993. (Long story involving a lad’s holiday to Tenerife, champagne sangria. a wall, bad insurance, an ambulance from the runway to the hospital, an operation, a blood clot and 4 months off work). It had been grief-free for almost 25 years, until now…26855032_10159910200830302_795749903_o My Physio, Super Maro, sent me straight for x-rays, which I had on Monday morning, (good work Suiza Lab), but that is where a can of worms was well and truly opened…

- The old/original x-ray from 1993 has been destroyed, I have no copy and nothing to compare it to.

– The injury is classed as “pre-existing”, so my insurance company (it is all private health here) won’t touch me.

– Although I’ve never received a penny in recognition, I’ve not had a day off sick (despite dragging myself in in some sorry states) since 21st August 1994 (8547 days), a pointless figure I know.

– We are moving house in 2 weeks.

-Running is the only thing that keeps me sane here!!!

General recommendation is to have the plate removed, but having read/driven myself round the bend reading every piece of material on this topic, I am not completely 100% sure. 26829721_10159910200060302_193193641_o The question is, has the 4th pin down moved, or was it always there? I am living in dreamland a bit, hoping that I will wake up and the pain will have magically disappeared. To be honest it is the first time I have seriously thought about jacking the sport in. I’ve fallen in and out and in and out of love with running many times, but if I am just going to be banging my head against a wall, just to get barely fit to be uncompetitive, is it worth it?
Shall I just chop my foot off and take up hopping?

20901345_1463216777132355_5386531318029348636_o I’ve got an entry for the UT69 in July, so I am holding on to every hope that I may get there. Watch this space…

And finally…

One sport I have always loved (reading about, watching films on and occasionally trying) is climbing (and mountaineering).

My “bad husband funnel of persuasion” convinced Lina that it was a good sport to try and she became really good at it, really quick! I can maybe reach the holds with my Mr. Tickle arms, but she has the power-to-weight ratio nailed, along with flexibility, agility and tenacity! climb We had some great trips to Kalymnos, Sardinia and Spain.

Mainly “sport climbing” (when a route has pre-placed “bolts” which one clips into. It is generally safe and if you fall above a bolt, you will only fall twice the distance + rope stretch, but you shouldn’t fall to your death, unless it is before the first bolt, but I digress…)


One guy at the absolute top of his game is Alex Honnold, a game with very few players as it is called “free-soloing”, which involves no ropes, no protection and just the stickiness of his boots and the strength of his fingers to keep him alive, quite simply there is no margin at all for error. If he falls, he will probably die!


However, he isn’t a kamikaze, gung-ho type, nor is he some musclebound Adonis. To look at, he is just a normal guy (who lives in a van), but put him on rock and magic happens!


This particular 2500ft climb, called “El Sendero Luminoso” in Mexico normally takes a pair with ropes about 2 days to scale. Honnold flew up it in 3 hours!

alex-honnold-free-solo-rostrum-yosemite.adapt.1900.1 alex-honnold-el-sendero-luminoso-you-tube alex-honnold-climbing-mexico_fe


“El Sendero Luminoso” (2014) 2500ft, 5.12 (E5 6B OR 7A+)

I defy you watch this VIDEO without getting sweaty palms :-)
Don’t try this at home, especially if you live in El Potrero Chico, Mexico!

Have an outstandingly awesome week!

Cheers Johnny, Lina & the Nipper

p.s. I have been like a bear with a very, very sore head this week (partly through this stupid “sinusitis” which has also rendered me stone deaf, and mainly because of my ankle. If I have been short with you, I apologise. I just need a weekend away in the mountains, that’s all. mtn3

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