To the hills…

Good morning folks

I trust this finds you in mighty fine Bank Holiday form (Monday in Blighty and Tuesday here).
If there ever was an example of a last minute/under the cosh/thrown together/hot off the press, here it is!

The main event of the week has been the weekend just gone, so although this may be shorter than usual, the effort was high! Hopefully the pics will make up for it  :-)

Here is the weekly round-up from the city of chaos…


At work we have a monthly cake session for the birthday folk. My birthday was weeks back and I had forgotten about it, but it was nice to share the moment with my awesome colleague, Mamita Patty :-)

B1 B2

Are you talking to me?


When I worked nghts at the Brewery, every shift when I dragged myself through the gates, there would be one of the truck drivers in the Smoke Hut. He always looked and said something (which I never quite caught), so I would generally say hello and ask what he had said. At this point he generally got angry and then I realised that he was talking to somebody else, via the wonders of bluetooth!
Nightshifts used to destroy me completely, so my (terrible at the best of times) memory would never quite remember not to talk to me, (yet he used to do the same thing every night!)
On one of my run routes, I have about 20 minutes of hellish running to get to the foot of the montañas. Then it´s a quick 20 minutes uphill, where the noise, traffic and pedestrian chaos gradually disperses, turn around at the summit and plunge back into the melee…
Running normally is something that relaxes me, but due to the urban bedlam it is an all-out assault on the senses, so it isn´t usually a stress-free experience, you really have to concentrate and anticipate every second, when in the streets.
I´ve noticed recently that people shout, or speak, or make (flip) comments and rather than start a confrontation (which would go nowhere) I just ignore it, but then I wondered WHAT are these people saying?
As my Español is not great and my hearing is (generally through one ear) poor too, I have to read people´s lips and then I realise that they must be talking to somebody else. People here shout on their mobiles as if they have to be heard 100m away, so through a crappy bluetooth headset, this is doubled!
The ones who actually are talking to/at me, are normally making a comment about not being wrapped up. I never feel cold, even in shorts and vest. It is winter and it is damp, but it is normally around 18°C. It isn´t cold, but I guess for people here, it maybe is. Maybe I´m rock-hard and maybe they´re just soft! (Joking, but people moan about the cold here, much more than in the frozen wastes óop north in gritty Yorkshire!)
The others are generally just “Loquitos” (mad as a big box of frogs), who knows what they are telling me!
Haircut Sir!h11

Facebook is a useful thing for people who have shocking memories (like me).
Not only does it remind you of upcoming and imminent birthdays, but also what you posted on that day every year since you opened your account. I´ve had mine 9yrs, so there is a lot of dribble on there, but sometimes something interesting pops up!h12
3 years ago, on August Bank Holiday Monday, I shaved all my hair off, not just a grade I, down to the wood. Lina did a grand job and we raised almost 800 quid for Martin House, which was overwhelming, as it was a campaign that I had only started about 3 weeks previously. The generosity of people can be an incredible thing.
Why shave my hair off?h13
Because I love having long, scruffy hair and it had taken me yonks to grow it.
Running is my hobby, so it wouldn´t be fair game to ask people to sponsor me to run!
All charities are special, for individual/personal reasons, but Martin House is a very special place for us and (along with the Mongol Rally fundraising), it is a place that we are proud to be associated with.h14
The aftermath was interesting. Obviously from looking like a wooly sheep, I suddenly looked like somebody very different and on my first day back at work, there were lads who I had known for years, who didn´t recognise me! I could have got away with murder.

Top Tips video, right here:

Upholding my tradition of a lifetime of dodgy haircuts…h1
To the hills…
This weekend was one of my rare weekends off.
I teach Juniors (11-15yrs old) on a Saturday, but get every 8th Saturday off.
(I won’t get my next 8th Saturday off, but I won’t go into that whinge here!)
Through some new friends I’ve made through recent races, I managed to get away on a day out in the mountains. Not running, just “trekking” as it is called here . (Rambling/walking/hiking/yomping, take your pick!)
I used to be in the Leeds Mountaineering Club years back and generally loved it.
A really good mix of people; walkers, mountaineers, climbers, runners and a few tipplers too!
It is an interesting dynamic, as you have a proper fruit cocktail of punters and temperaments.
Karina, Dick and some other new mates belong to a club called “Club de Montañismo Camycam”, a grand title for the oldest and most established club in Peru. An active bunch and a very experienced bunch. I do 99.9% of all mountain stuff on my own, so it was nice to have company for a change :-) itw
The hills (and they are BIG hills) are only about 100km away from my house, but in Lima you’re talking a 3-4-5hr drive. Five of us met up and caught a “Colectivo”, a shared cab going to one place. In our case, a brand new Kia Soul driven by a young lad who looked about 15.
I always get a bit suspicious when a Taxista quotes a low price. This was a bargain.
Traffic was even more hellish than usual, compounded by a concert by “Daddy Yankee” at the Estadio Monumental, where the police had put gates up across the Carretera Central (the central highway). I heard a hushed conversation between our Junior Taxista where he said “Don’t tell Uncle Pepe I’ve borrowed his car!”
This lad was such a reckless driver and a cowboy that he must have needed to modify the floor to fit his spurs. At one point we cut through a shopping centre, going in the opposite direction, just to miss some lights on red. Amazingly we made it to Chosica in record time (and alive), to catch a bus to San Mateo, a 2hr lumber up the road. Arriving in time for a bit of tucker, a meet-up with fellow trekkers and an early night, where a hundred thousand trucks rumbled up the road and I woke up feeling like I’d been ironed, weighed down by half a dozen alpaca sheets!
A tiny, wee minivan piloted by a man who was a hundred years old if he was a day, took us further up the road and by 7am we were on the trail…
The mission was to get to Laguna Quimacocha, nestling between some very high mountains, at 4750m (15584ft in old money). Not before we had paid the Old Dear who must have been “Guardian of the trail”. She sprinted from her hut, jumped a frozen stream and demanded 2 Soles (40p) off us all. It was a bit of a bracing start, and good to get into the sun by 8am, as it slowly, tantalisingly made it’s way down the valley to meet us.
We had 3 “guides”: Chogo leading the fast group, Karina in the middle and Maria leading up the rear. We were soon strung out like the washing, with one or two hit badly by “Soroche” (altitude sickness, which takes the form of a blinding headache, breathlessness, nausea or dramatic vomiting, or all three!)
My Spanish is lacking, a lot. Especially when I’m trying to talk about something where I have zero vocab (and sadly not all Spanish words are just the same as their English counterparts, finished with an -a, or an -o). It is frustrating. Thanks to everyone for their patience with me.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
By 11am, after a long valley stroll, a sharp climb, a yomp across a frozen bog and one last haul skywards, we arrived at Laguna Quimacocha, and it was more than worth the effort, it was an incredibly beautiful and serene place. Not a single sound, and here in Lima, that is priceless.
As we were the first to arrive, everybody promptly dozed off in the sun.
After some SuperDuperNoodles, we made our way back down and 5 hours later (after stopping for a slap-up meal), Interpid Alex battled the heinous traffic and dropped me and the others off back in the big, bad city.
All in all, a TOP weekend :-)

Animal magic is the name of the day this week :-)


Have an outstandingly superb week.


Johnny, Lina & the Nipper

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