The secret Scotsman’s Other Ball…


Good morning folks

I trust you are fine and dandy and had a superb weekend.

Welcome to the Monday morning blog. A weekly collection of observations from the madness of the Wild West, of Lima. Never, ever meant as criticism, just my own daft thoughts, nothing more…

This blog is…


a) A load of old cobblers.


b) Read by one reader in Cleckhuddersfax.


c) You tell me!

Due to an irreversible technical admin slip-up on my part, I really have no idea whether this bobbins is read by anybody, nobody or maybe up to a dozen people?

With the click of a few magic buttons I used to be able to see how many people read it, which weeks were weak/wonderful/waste-of-time, and where you amazing reader(s) were from, now that was magic, but I did something technical (never a good move on my part) and now I can’t do that anymore!

I really do enjoy writing this, although I am still struggling with a Mac and the sheer obtuseness of WordPress (which to be fair, is free). It takes about 4hrs every Sunday night, I could have probably learnt Kawishana/Kaixana fluently in that time.


I apologise that at times it is a bit ranty and at other times sheer sullen dourness, but I really do try to put a positive spin on things, which can be testing some weeks!

Most instalments are a similar type of mishmashhotchpotch recipe.

IF there everwas anything you like/don’t like/hate about it please DO let me know.
Either in the comments section, on FB, via FB messenger or to my email:

If I don’t hear from my sole reader in Scratchy Bottom, Dorset, it will churn on regardless, as
The ramblings of a man on the edge of… (answers on a postcard please!)

Quit yer hollerin’!


Whenever I am sat in a snarled-up, gnarly traffic jam in a taxi, I inevitably/subconsciously ask the Taxista just how they keep calm within the surrounding madness, (providing they are not a radge themselves). I have never, ever asked what time they started nor if they have been busy, as I smalltalkedly may do in the UK. The general response is that Lima trafico is just too big-a-monster to tackle. The monster would win every time if you tried to fight it.


Lately I have become way too much of a radge for my own liking.

Nowadays I have a temper/anger that I never, ever had before. (Part of me wishes I could have summoned up this rage during my rugby days, as although I was generally fit, I always lacked aggression in the game).

Most/all of this current radginess is borne of frustration, sheer bloody frustration and the non-acceptance of mediocrity. I just wish I had a better way to channel it and use it in a better way than constant bickering with local village idiots!


I have been accused of being “Too British” on more than one occasion. Probably true!

I don’t expect anybody to doff their caps towards me, or insist “No, after you“, nor do I ever expect any special treatment, quite the opposite, I’m a legal alien as Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner said. I’m a guest here, no more. Treat me as anybody else, with the respect/contempt that I deserve…

I’ve only ever seen one fight here, two drunkard blokes grappling in a ropey corner of town. It went into slapstick mode when one malapert sparrer underhandedly removed his adversary’s slip-on moccasin and started spanking his opponent, who then ran off, in the style of Wee Willie Winkie…


Every day I do see minor spats (mainly drivers) on the road when punters lose their rag/see red and thence begins the usual exchange:

Angry bloke A: “Bestia!” (You beast!)
Responding bloke B: “Carajo” (Flipping heck)
Angry bloke B: “Bestia, carajo”: (You beast, flipping heck!)
(This is normally the end of the argument, as both realise that they are going to be stuck in the same traffic jam together for the rest of the day).


Occasionally the word for Wednesday “miercoles” may be exchanged too, as it sounds not-very-similar to the word for “poo”, this is sometimes used on days that are not even midweek either.


I was having my usual completely pointless daily argument with a bus driver/conductor midweek (it was in fact miercoles, but only in the sense of the name of the day), he had lied to me about his destination and then suddenly announced “Ultimo” (last stop) stranding me with no bra$$ partway home, which ended in me swearing at him like a sweary sailor type, (and I never used to curse ’til I came to Lima), the bus driver/conductor obviously didn’t understand a word of what I was shouting at him and I suddenly thought.

This is stupid!


(I am stupid for letting things like this wind me up. A hot-aired argument this time could have far more serious consequences the next time. It was time to grow up!)

So, from now on I am going to count to three, take a deep breath and smile :-)

(Let’s see how long this lasts!)

It is temerarious and generally foolhardy to compare one country directly with another, but if I made a perfunctory enumeration of things I like/dislike here, it would possibly look something like this.

- Brilliant job.
- A very small, but amazing bunch of mates and colleagues.
- Not bad weather (6mths of soggy greyness in winter/6mths of sunshine, never quite cold enough for a jumper and warm enough for shorts/t-shirt for running all year round).
- Cost of living A: (Transport, eating out, general food/utilities prices are on the whole affordable).

lads2 lads

- Noise (incessant).
- Traffic (incessant).
- Corruption (incessant).
- Red Tape (part of life).
- General/total inconsideration for anybody/everybody else (incessant).
- Cost of living B: (Milk and second-hand cars are way more pricey here, so I have cut down on the first and cut out the second, I miss you ebay).



(Plus, some other personal factors, one being me being too lanky/skinny to get any clothes that fit me here, but that can’t be reckoned into this equation feasibly.
I miss my mates/family more than I can say, but homesickness is a part of life for anybody who ups-and-offs to another place, it is part of the deal.
I do also find it very hard to take in the HUGE disparity in wealth between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Even though I witness this every day, it doesn’t get any less heartbreaking to see the abject misery and endless toil that the poor face here on a daily/permanent basis.

However, I really do consider myself very, very fortunate at times, especially in my job.
My work is what keeps me (semi) sane here :-)




You shall go to The Ball!


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love my job.
Not since the heady days of the British Library (which never felt like work, more like Youth Club), have I been so happy in a job. I’ve had a LOT of jobs, some good, some bad and some downright diabolical.

Britianico is the best place I have worked.

Not just because I love teaching (and my students are generally a good bunch), but because of the other opportunities it gives/brings: Acting, storytelling, presentations and Fiestas (!)

I got an email two weeks back inviting me to the Caledonian Ball!


Lima feels a million miles away from Glencoe!


Now I was born and brought up in Cumbria, just the other side of the wall/border. We had Border TV, with gems such as “Take the High Road” and whilst the rest of England was enjoying Man. U Vs. Liverpool, we would be treated to East Fife Vs. Forfar. The best thing about Border telly was Uncle John’s birthday greetings with Fearless Fred from the firefighting force of the Firth of Forth (too lengthy to explain here). The NW Highlands of bonny Scotland is one of my favourite places in the whole World. I do like Scotland.

I had heard about this highly esteemed ticket-only kilted knees-up, but the tickets were always a bit steep for my adopted Yorkshire tendencies.

The email said it was a freebie! Where do I sign?



It was held on Saturday at the swanky/controversial Swissotel (scene of “Coca-tea-gate“)

Paolo-Guerrero-da-positivo-a-cocaina-se-perdera-el-Mundial cocatea

and was a mad mix of bagpipes, haggis worshipping, raffle tickets and Highland Flings.

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Miraculously it was a sober night (for me, in a minority of one). These kind of events always have free-flowing vino, whisky and spirits, but no beer :-/ (Which is a mystery to me, I guess it is to keep lowlifes lager louts like me in check!)

I don’t touch spirits at all these days and there were too many high-flying gaffers from work for me to risk a wine incident. The food however was bloody amazing!

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Scotch broth (what else), followed by haggis, neeps and tatties, followed by salmon, followed by pudding, followed by coffee, followed by going to bed full-to-bursting, followed by a Sunday of not eating much at all!


There was a raffle with a star prize of a (return) BA flight to the Old Smoke, plus lavish runner-up prizes. The sponsors of the event were a charity, who sounded like they do some good work.
It was a surprise when the aforementioned charity lady squealed with delight at winning 3rd prize, but the general applause was somewhat muted when her husband won the flight!                42371177_331425444089278_1719012354726821888_n

A top night with good friends, cheers to the big B :-)

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(I had spent Sunday’s ice cream money on a second ticket! Took some explaining to the Nipper).



Political snub!


Next week!

Spirit of Adventure part III…




Next week.

“No Nintendo!”


When I first came out to Peru, I naively thought/imagined that as everybody spoke Spanish, I would be surrounded by/immersed in the lingo and I would just learn it by magic or osmosis.

How wrong was I…

My vocab was limited: “Hola, adios, una cerveza, la cuenta, donde esta el baño?” was my exhaustive list. I didn’t suddenly learn in a miraculous fashion, it was just a very confusing time, for 3mths I genuinely had no idea what was going on day-to-day. It got me in some bother.

After 6mths, I started to understand and then one day, in a meeting at work with my speedyspeaking Columbian boss, a lightbulb appeared, I finally got it!

Nowadays, I get most of what is said to me, but it is a one-way transaction. There are many-a-day when I feel like Dr. Pepper must have felt!
My pronunciation (especially the dreaded “R” sound) lets me down, in spite of trying my best.
I had a taxi driver today who appeared to speak less Spanish than me, as he simply didn’t understand anything I said at all! It was a long and uncomfortable ride…

Poles apart…

I am a stubborn man!

Maybe not outright stubborn, i just resist certain things, for no real reason, then sell-out!

Digital cameras – (“The devil’s work”), paid £300 for a 5mp Canon Ixus (which lasted less than 6mths) and sold out completely to the wonderful world of film-free photography.


“Racevests” – (the ultra-overpriced skimpy-bare-bones-of-a-rucksack which basically enables you to carry a bit of water, a phone and some chewy bars) . I used to live by the rule “If it don’t fit in a bumbag, it ain’t going!”
I then found an Inov-8 vest half price on fleabay, now I have three. I can only ever use one at a time.


Fellshoes – Any fellrunning shoe apart from Walsh PBs was not to be trusted.
I sold my soul, both kidneys and my spleen for a pair of Inov-8s and now I have a chequered Chinese laundry bag full of sweet-smelling sneakers. (That last sentence is a lie, they stink. The Nipper got some shoes from a shop called “Bubblegummers” whose footwear smells of chewing gum, seemingly forever. When will they start stocking UK size 13s?)


The latest Johnny-sell-out, which I am not too comfortable with, but I am, is…

Poles - (walking sticks, but mega-light ones which fold up into a diddy Z-shape).


I did loads and loads of walking, backpacking and mountaineering when I was a bairn, but had a few years off during my late-teens and when I got back on the hills again, everybody was using “ski-poles” (without skis or snow!)
“A fad, a gimmick, it’ll never last” I scotched to myself.

Then, in the Lakeland 100, which was my first ever venture into the ridiculously extravagantly expensive hi-tech gear world of ultra-running gear, I ran with a bloke who pretty much skinned my shins with the pointy tips of his pointy sticks. They appeared to really make a difference to him (but didn’t really help me!)

Nay, nay and thrice nay!

I resisted and resisted, but with this big uphill haul that will be the El Misti Skyrace in just 8wks, with knackered knees and a dodgy back, when I spotted a pair in the temptation haven that this the weekly Rock+Run mail-out, I snapped them up!

First time out wasn’t too successful due to me being a complete donkey (RTFM, is the moral of that first story), second outing wasn’t an outing, as a very good running friend and my Bob Graham Round partner, who shall remain nameless (let’s call him Glen), called me:
“A Nordic Wa*ker” (and it wasn’t a walker)! I know exactly where he was coming from :-)

However, out here in the barren rock slag-heap/wastes of the cerros, they are “sin precio“.
Apart from fighting off fierce pooches at close-quarters (last week) they are bloody brilliant for the uphill bits and also the downhill bits too. Watch this space!

p.s. Phones - Still not convinced, I would like everybody to go back to Nokias please!

Running to stand still?

Not a great week runningwise, too much on and too little planning.
A midweek trip to see my Physio/magician/saviour SuperMaro will hopefully keep my knee happy for a while.

Spotted this race, worth a trip for the t-shirt?



Raiders round-up.

Barrow are safe!
The Shipbuilders secured an away win against (former Challenge Cup winners) Sheffield Eagles, winning 24:22 (we’re gonna score 2 more than you!)


They were in fact safe last week, but are definitely safe now. This year has not been the year of away wins, so we’ll savour this one :-)
Final game next week, away against the Flatcappers at Featherstone Rovers.


Onwards and upwards!!!

And finally…

I might have posted this before, my memory fails me at times.
This is a brilliant tune and beautifully made video too.
(Shoud definitely have been a Bond soundtrack)
I will leave you with THIS.
Think I may be going soft. Thank you Utku Kurt!

That’s all for now folks.
Have an outstandingly awesome week.

Johnny, Lina and the Nipper



p.s. i spy with my little eye, a Royal Mail bag???


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