Slippery sidewalks, sickness and sidestepping…


Good morning folks

Welcome to the Monday morning blog.

I try to keep this as apolitical as possible.
It has been 
a shocking week in the news, more deaths, tragedy and sheer horror.
Not a day goes by nowadays without some horrible, unthinkable atrocity, home or overseas.
Paris, Mancester, London: Innocent, defenceless people, going about their lives.
A bomb at a concert for kids, people moved down by a van…

My heart goes out to all those who lost friends, family, loved ones and to all those affected.

Further afield, endless/pointless/senseless wars rage on: Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq.
Civilian casualties, innocent people trapped in the fighting, a suicide bombing at a funeral…

When will it end? When will it end?


It sometimes seems pointless to write after such awful things have happened.
My observations, moans and ramblings seem insignificant, but we have to carry on. We have to.

The past, the present and the future.

I always tell my students “Think like a detective!”
When is the action happening?
(I don’t know what they think of me, probably that I am an incoherent buffoon!)

In Chinese Mandarin (I believe, but I may be wrong) there are no tenses as such.
I go shopping now, I go shopping yesterday, I go shopping tomorrow.

By the powers of facebook, I got in touch with a friend from Primary School this week. My old mate Clinton. We lost touch and I hadn’t seen or spoke to him in over 30 years!
I went to a very small school, (only 40 kids in total and only 6 in my year!) Most of us were into fishing, climbing, camping and razzing around on pushbikes. I used to ride 8 miles on my BMX laden with fishing gear, spend all day catching nothing and then ride home. We all went to Scouts, but it was a uniformless rag-tag bag of mercenaries! We generally did everything that was against Health & Safety, happy carefree days!

My mate Pete C. posted a graphic on his FB wall a while back “I wouldn’t change my kids for the World, but I would change the world for my kids!”

Now I admit, after a series of tantrums, when a lady said “What a cute little princess” the Nipper was, I said that she was going free to a good home. I was joking and I do feel bad (the lady didn’t see the joke and quickly moved away!)
However, I do worry about the future sometimes. It is a scary time.

Hold tight to your nearest and dearest, tell them you love them, live for now.
Love and communication is everything in life!

13 years to the day!

On the 4th of June 2004, I landed at Jorge Chavez (Lima International) airport for the first time.
After an unexpected (once-in-a-lifetime) upgrade, I was a little worse-for-wear, (do they actually want you to get drunk in First Class, or do other people know when to say “no“), but very relaxed after a long flight. (My mate Lloyd has never forgiven me for abandoning him in Cattle-Class, sorry amigo).

l7 l6 l5 l3 l2 l1

I expected to land in the middle of the Andes, surrounded by soaring peaks and llamas.
I obviously didn’t do my homework!


Slippery Sidewalks…

One thing I did expect when I arrived here was 365 days a year sunshine.
This is South America I thought! Tropical! Wrong, wrong, wrong…

winter winter 2

Franciso Pizarro arrived (leader of the Spanish Conquistadores) arrived in Lima on January 18th 1535. January is summer and the coast must have seemed like a Latin Marbella (minus the English bars), but 6 months later, after building the capital, the clouds will have swept in with a dreary grey cloak covering the city. Winter in Lima is a grim affair. Dank and grey, it never really rains (although it always looks like it is just about to) and it never really shines, it is just grey and damp.

invierno 3

In June 2004, a friend showed me a photo of a sunny beach. “Where is that” I asked. “Here, 2 months ago” they replied as I gazed into the fog!

Now if you ask 10 Limeños (Lima locals) whether they prefer summer or winter, 9.5 of them will say winter and I don’t know why? Give me sun and blue skies any day of the week, please!
True, in summer, it is sweaty as a Sumo’s jockstrap, in a sauna, not especially hot temperaturewise, but humid as. However, it beats the misery of 6mths of grey clouds for me.

I have never known a place with so many Engineers (and people studying Engineering), but it befuddles me as to why nobody can invent a material for pavements that isn’t as slippery as ice covered in Vaseline! Especially when damp/wet. In summer everybody hoses their pavements and in winter a very, very fine drizzle renders the concrete treacherous. Nothing grips on it.

Now new pavements are being built all the time, but it is always the same old slippery stuff.

Roll on summer…


When I was a youth, I generally had a cast-iron stomach. A skinful of beer followed by a stupidly hot curry (not big and not clever), but I was normally fine!


Nowadays here, I vary between having bad guts and trying to stay within 10 seconds of the/a khazi! I’m not sure why I haven’t really got used to it, but food here is not always served piping hot and the Hygiene rules and regulations beaten in to us at Little Chef, “Between 5-60 degrees Celsius is the danger zone”


I’ll spare the details, but generally I feel like I have been kicked in the guts and that my intestines are exploding. Nice!

Sickness-Part II.

The Wee One has been a bit off-colour of late, she’s a battler and she’s getting better, partly by offloading it onto me!


A pathetic cold developed into a full-blown lurgy, which went straight onto my chest, I feel/sound like an 80-a-day-Senior-Service merchant. Apart from bad guts, I have also been coughing up my lungs all week…



The Grand Plan was for an easy week of training, followed by a race on Sunday as a last bit of graft before the big race next weekend, (Ultra Trail 69: 50 mile race in the Andes).


The race in question this weekend was the Desafio Huarochiri #2, at San Andres de Tupicocha. A race I ran last year and did alright in.
The DH is a 3-race-league and I came in 1st V40 in the first race, so I was keen to do well in race #2.

However, this race starts at nearly 11000ft, which is why I wanted to run it, but also exactly why I decided to sidestep it through being crook!

It would have been ideal, but in my current shape it could have been a disaster.

That is why I’ve dodged it and I’m hoping/praying that I “get reet” by midweek, in time for next weekend. I’ve bought my bus tickets, paid my entry and I’m keen to run. It’s a risk, a huge risk really. It is an out-&-back course and if I find myself wanting/out of juice halfway round, I’m in bother. Wish me luck, I’ll need it!

utWill I have one of these, this time next week??? That is the question…


Foghorn Leghorn (el Gallo Claudio)!

I may have previously mentioned that Salamanca isn’t the most “tranquilo” of barrios…
- Building work going on 6-7 days a week, 12hrs a day, on 3 blocks of flats in my street.
- “La Bomba” the scary water pump that does a 24/7 ghost impersonation.
- The most sensitive car alarms known to man going off at all hours.
- “Castle Greyskull” gates installed in almost all the flats in my block, slammed from 5am-1am.
- The delightful neighbour who stars liquidising rocks/kryptonite at 5am every morning.
I could go on…

It did mean that I could shoehorn in some shuteye between 2-5am generally.
Not anymore…


(and 3:30m and 3:45am and all day…)
Now it doesn’t get light here until 6am and the new neighbour (rooster) obviously can’t tell the time.

Earplugs, a bobble hat, sandwiched between two pillows. A bonny sight!
Got my eye on some super-duper “Flare” DJ ear defenders, after being bullied/coaxed/cajoled by FB adverts…

 Adios Amiga!
I am very lucky to work with an awesome team of people. A close-knit and very friendly bunch.
One of our little group escaped the big “B” this week. Melissa has flown the nest (literally) to join the LATAM air team. She will be sadly missed, good luck amiga :-)

Shows and no-shows.

After announcing Noel Gallagher and his High-Flying-Pixies as a warm-up, U2 have now cancelled their Lima gig in October.
noelfrontMr. Gallagher was gutted.bonoBono just sulked on his bed.

Just saw a poster today for Depeche Mode in March 2018. Saw them in Leeds in 2014, but Lina was expecting with the Nipper and the Wee One started kicking up a fuss about the music, so we had to leave before the end. Could be tempted this time…


Krispy Kreme?

Have arrived in town and everybody is going nuts for them. What is the fuss about?
Not into doughnuts, but they are only doughnuts, surely?

Suits you Sir!

After a midweek sorte to the Salomon shop (looking for something else) my eye was caught by a giant glowing yellow shoe. Now as the crow flies the shop is only 5 miles away, but it took me 3.5hrs to get there and back, so I wasn’t going home empty-handed.
Trainers are my soft spot, especially bright ones, I am like a shoe magpie.
My mate Danny kindly had some awesome WALSH shoes shipped out for mountainous stuff and they are unbeatable, but I was curious about the Salomons. This brand has the market in a half-nelson here, complete domination.
1) They never have my size.
2) They are never on offer.So, when I found a half-price clown’s shoe, I snapped them up!

Any resemblance is purely coincidental ;-)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHORESYMAN!!!shoresymanHappy 50th Birthday to my mate Pete :-)

(Sorry for the typo amigo!)

Nipper time!
The big plus-side to not racing at the weekend was that I got to spend some time with the bairn.
(Sunday’s race would have meant a 4am lift and getting home at teatime, not ideal).
10 9 8 6 4
So, we went out and about :-)
v6 v3 v1

And finally…

A wee VIDEO (tune) to hopefully put a smile on your face on a Monday morning :-)
Have an outstandingly awesome week!
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper

p.s. Due to my Andes raid next weekend, next week the blog may be a part pre-hashed-before-the-event-lead-up, as I’ll be coming back on the overnight bus this time next Sunday…

One thought on “Slippery sidewalks, sickness and sidestepping…

  1. Louise

    Nice to hear you have got back in touch with your old pal, Clinton.

    Also, made me smile as I used the word befuddled too today (before reading your blog)!!

    Take care & hi to Lina & Valentina.

    Love Lou xx


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