Good morning folks

I trust this finds you in grand form and that you had a splendid weekend.
A busy old week in Limalandia.
Here is the weekly blog for your Monday morning perusal…



Like or loathe football, unless you happen to live on the remote island of Anuta, it is quite hard to ignore the fact that something is going on right now, more so anywhere here in Peru!


Everything has been football-ised, every single product you can imagine, with players endorsing credit cards, tyres, department stores and donuts!

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“Las Blanquirrojas” (white and reds) have reached the World Cup for the first time in 36 years, with more drama than ever just to get there, so things were always going to be a bit mental here in Lima…

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Peru have been drawn in group C with France, Australia and Denmark, not an easy game in there.
Due to time differences, games here are all early (from 5am to 1pm), the first game of the cup for the Blanquirrojas was against Denmark on Saturday at 11am.

The press build up the players here into superheroes, El capitan, Paolo Guerrero was cleared to play after the infamous coca tea doping scandal and the populace were expecting nothing less than a win.


Lina was away on a course this weekend and as our telly doesn’t work, the plan was to go to the big screen in a local park (actually a big screen blocking off one of the roads, with a view from the park, partially obscured by trees). However the Wee One was on a go-slow and it was 11:30am by the time we got there with hoards of folk still running in the direction of the growing mob of noisy red and white shirts.

I won’t bore you with a kick-by-kick commentary, but there were lots of oooohs and ahhhhhs.

If games were won on enthusiasm and national pride, Peru would have already won the World cup final, but sadly games are won on goals and as Denmark got one and Peru didn’t, punters will always rue the missed penalty of Cueva and the fact that Paolo didn’t start, but it ain’t over yet. It is ALL to play for against France on Thursday.



35746866_10160571966620302_1326154861552599040_n(Thanks to Colin for the image, the gloves are off on Thursday…)


I mentioned last week that I had been involved in the filming of a commercial, but had had my lips bound and sealed to secrecy. (I wonder if Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt ever get lashed and spill the beans of their latest film to mates on a night out! Not that I am for one second comparing myself to Brad Pitt!)


In a nutshell, after the TAXI BRITANICO advert and storytelling performances, somehow I still had a job and somehow was chosen to take part in the latest ad.


It didn’t all go smoothly however…

There are 11 Britanico centres dotted around the city (soon to be added to with the branch in Arequipa, but that is another story/daydream!) I was told to be at work at 11am on Monday morning (two weeks ago). I was up early and killing time all morning, then my second bus broke down, I had to resort to a taxi, but still arrived by 10:45am.

It was eerily quiet at the San Borja branch, first day of a new cycle, but no sign of anything happening. I really had less than zero idea what the advert was about, so waited about.


The Prosegur (cash collection security company) boys arrived at the same time as me and as they are always with their fingers on the triggers when taking cash from reception to their armoured truck, I felt a little uneasy and more than a bit conspicuous!


The head of centre came out and asked if she could help me, when I explained I was there for the ad, she looked perplexed and said she would ring Marketing. At that moment I started panicking and in a cold sweat checked my email and realised I was at the wrong centre. The boss then confirmed my stupidity so I barged past the security guards avoiding getting shot and jumped into a taxi, which flew me down the Panamericana to Surco!

Still not knowing what to expect, I felt like some kind of Jennifer Lopez diva when I walked into the auditorium with about 100 people (cast and crew) staring, waiting for me!


Apologies done and we got started…

The storyline was that the teacher (yours truly) was teaching some popular Peruvian football songs/chants in English. Half the crowd were from the official supporters club (with drums and trumpets) and the others were volunteers, all were VERY excited, so we got them whipped up into a proper frenzy and began take after take. With my (limited) past experience, I knew it was going to be a long day, I don’t think the others realised and some had almost burnt themselves out by the afternoon.

The thing about a shoot is that there is (apparently) somebody in charge but they don’t always express what they want or are thinking, so it is a feeling of general confusion interspersed with a string of making constant changes and infinite re-takes. The final bit (which appeared first) lasts for 2 seconds in the advert and took over an hour to film. By 7pm we were done (in) and dusted.


Special thanks to Carmen and also the Marketing team.


Arriba PerĂº!!!



No comeback yet…

Last week I was limping with a dodgy knee and stooping with my crocked back, this week there was no running to report. I saw my Physio/magician Maro midweek and we shall see what happens this week.


I am starting to worry about the proximity of the UT69 race (5 weeks away) especially as I have shelled out for my entry and bus fare, Yorkshire habits die hard…


Looking beyond that I am aiming for the MUT (Marcahuasi Ultra Trail) in September and then EL MISTI SKY RACE in November. Only if I am fit enough and that is a big ask as El Misti is almost the same height as Kilimanjaro (5822m or 19101ft in old money), plus flights, so I am not going if I’m going to run a duffer…


Nipper’s day out!

The Wee One has been a bit off colour and out of sorts this week, but I had promised a trip to “Parque de Amistad” and I am a man of my word.

The city was in an a post-match gloom only matched by the dreariness of a typically greyer-then-grey winter afternoon. We needed a bit of a lift!

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After the obligatory facepainting (No. 1 customer) we went to the farm section, which is not really my thing, but there is not a lot of choice here in this concrete jungle.

35435048_10160571966130302_8640003705829064704_nRabbit selfie!

The Nipper wanted to ride a horse, but “Max” was on his break, so we fed a rabbit called Momo instead. Then we fed the cows, goats, ducks, geese, lambs, calves, alpacas and (resting) horses before heading home!

Spreading the good word!

I do love my job, absolutely hand on heart I can say it is the best job I have ever had. I have had other good jobs (well, one, at the British Library), some crappy jobs (Texas, Sweater Shop, Argos, Next, etc…) and some jobs which paid well but almost finished me (the Brewery, despite leaving and going back umpteen times).

This job is different. I am not the best teacher ever, not by a million miles, but for the opportunities I get and for my awesome boss and team I have, I love it!


On Friday I finished early to brave the traffic across town, much easier said than done.
As it was Father’s Day this weekend (BIG here), there was a buffet at work, but my taxi had arrived so it was a snatched sarnie and away…
Friday night is always bedlam and everybody in the city sticks to the same route, Javier-(deleted expletive)-Prado. So after 90mins+ to do 6 miles I was at the San Isidro branch to give a talk on typical UK sports.


I am proud to say that there are now another handful of enlightened students who know all about Black Pudding Throwing, Gurning, Coal Carrying, Cumberland Wrestling, Worm Charming, Rugby League and Fellrunning.

And I still have a job :-)


A neet oot I…

Britanico do look after their staff. It is not just the job (or the pay) it is the extras that make the difference, like taking out the Dads for a slap-up meal :-)


We were treated to a feed at a cracking place called Tanta, a very late tea. I got the last combi home at 12:30am.

A neet oot II…

Not just a lads night out and not fancy dress, but a works night out with some of the lasses.
Punctuality is not big here in Peru so it was refreshing for everybody to be there within 5mins of the agreed time!


After abusing the French Bar happy hour (although the happiness wasn’t being dished out by the grumpy staff), we headed on to a packed-out Molly’s bar, a scene of carnage after the early doors games. Molly’s have managed to achieve something quite unique in their really-does-feel-like-a-real-Irish-boozer, from there it was onto another happy hour Pilsen promo and finally home at ?am.

Sunday was a slow start…

Apple aaaaarggh.

Have you ever managed to lock yourself out of an apple account (iTunes or Apple Music)?

My advice is “don’t!”

It is a bloody nightmare. Especially if you originally set it all up on a phone you don’t have with an email you can’t access. It would be easier to hack into the Pentagon…

Johnny Cynic!

I do realise that at times these ramblings are not all positive!


This blog is just a round-up of weekly goings-on and my random thoughts.
Life here in Lima is (very) different. It took me a l-o-n-g time to (re)adapt and I am still not there.

My problem is that I sometimes don’t know when to let things go.
It can be a very, very frustrating place indeed, but you’re up against a monster if you start fighting back, it is a battle you can’t win.

We’re on the move again soon, house move #38 beckons, more chaos, but go on we must!

A Blighty trip in August is being counted down to…


Raiders round-up :-/

Not a good day at the office!

Playing away to Featherstone Rovers at Post Office Road is never easy. When I used to go to the games, I don’t ever remember seeing the mighty shipbuilders win there.


(1967 saw the close defeat by Fev in the Challenge Cup final, watched by 76000 fans!)


“Fev” is in deepest, darkest West Yorkshire, one road in and one road out. Very dedicated fans and a strong side. Tempted to not mention the score, but 52:4 is not good, not as bad as Rochdale’s humiliating 68:0 at London, but not good.

Here’s hoping for a better result against “Ally-fax” next week at home.

Onwards and upwards…


And finally…

Sometime during the long winter of 1993, a friend called Chris asked me and my mate Andy if we could play rugby for his Sheffield (Hoyland) team away at Grimethorpe. Chris was the driving force behind the Library team, only very slight in build, but the biggest cojones a 5ft tall stand-off could have!

Hoyland were (very) short of players. We couldn’t say no.


Watery winter sunshine in Leeds turned to driving rain on the M1, which turned into sleet by Barnsley and turned into a blizzard in Grimethorpe. Never has a name been so fitting for a place!


We were playing at the Grimethorpe Coliery, once one of the deepest pits in Britain, a place steeped in mining history and only months before the colliery was finally shut down, so tensions were high. Inside the colliery changing rooms it was like an oven, a stark contrast to the Siberian scene outside. Hoyland were a good outfit, but Grimethorpe were like a pack of deranged junkyard dogs and it was so cold that I dropped more passes than I caught, I could see but not feel my hands, it was just a game I wanted to end from the start. A scalding shower was followed by a swift (not very friendly) post-match pint before heading north, then we defrosted slowly on the one-lane snowbound M1 back ‘oop north, almost thawed out by Leeds.


I don’t remember the result, but I don’t think we won.
We vowed never to return, nor were we asked…

This VIDEO is a poignant scene from the excellent film, Brassed Off.


Concierto d’Orange Juice…

Have an outstanding week.

Johnny, Lina and the Nipper

35539440_10160571965840302_5501114586549452800_np.s. I give you the World’s most unsafe mode of transport, the “bicimoto”, a tempting punt???






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