To yonder montañas…


Good morning folks

I trust this finds you in mighty fine form.
This week the blog is a much shortened version, I am out of town and will have no internet, so this minutiae is actually (sneakily) being written midweek. If the World ends before Monday morning, it was nice knowing you! If the World doesn’t end (and I do hope it doesn’t), normal business will be resumed next week.

(If the mailing list notification actually works, you may even be reading this early).

So here is the Monday morning blog (from last Thursday!)




A sign of getting old?
Sentimentality for bygone days?
A wistful desire to revisit the past?


If you start reading about stuff on the internet (which is obviously all true), you start finding out all manner of stuff:
“For many years, those experiencing extreme nostalgia were diagnosed as depressed. Indulging in memories of the past was seen as a sign of homesickness and refusal to enjoy the present. It was seen as lack of commitment to the future and a burdening attachment to the past.”


“Nostalgia, most truly and most meaningfully, is the emotional experience—always momentary, always fragile—of having what you lost or never had, of seeing what you missed seeing, of meeting the people you missed knowing, of sipping coffee in the storied cafés that are now hot-yoga studios.”

Bloody ‘ell, that’s all a bit heavy for a Monday morning.


What partly stirred it for me in a major way recently was actually the football (World Cup) and a whole shedload of memories back to the crazy-ar$e endless summer days of “Euro 96″, which myself a and a lot of mates agree were the absolute “session heydays” (alcohol had to be a part of it). I still remember that Saturday (outside the Dry Dock) and the Tuesday night (in the Dry Dock) when Sophie Raworth spilled a full pint of Guinness down my shirt, (to be fair she had just bought a drink and turned round just as England scored another goal and the whole pub erupted, it wasn’t her fault!) They were Halcyon days. I will see my mates in less than a month and we may try to recreate those moments again, but we are all (quite a bit, 22yrs to be exact, older and possibly a bit wiser nowadays. I can’t wait to try anyway!)


However, it wasn’t just that that brought out the rose-tinted spectacles, it was a flash of news I saw somewhere that “Hello Nasty” by the Beastie Boys was 20 years old.


20 years old!

That is older than most of my students (and some of my colleagues!)

I loved (and still do love) the Beastie Boys, they were in a musical sense, unique.
The music, the videos and the attitude. “Ill Communication” is one of my all-time favourite albums.

My big regret (which is a by-product of nostalgia) is that I never saw them. I almost saw them, just like I almost met Ewan McGregor, or almost met Miss Peru in a gay club (long story, some other time) or almost won the 1988 Torver Sports fell race (beaten in a sprint finish by the Grasmere champion!)

What-ifs and if-onlys…

At the time, you sometimes (always) take things for granted. Until they’re/they’ve gone…
- That you’ll always go out every weekend with your mates.
– That a pint of Guinness will always be £2 (showing my age!)
– That music will always be as amazing as it is in that moment.
– That the bands you love will keep playing and touring and making brilliant music.

Sadly Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died in 2012 and the band stopped playing out of respect.

Choose Life!

I love films and although we don’t have a telly these days and never get to the Flicks, I could watch a good film over and over and over.
At work, we often talk about films in classes, but it sometimes depresses me that the youth of today are not interested in the classics (or at least what I call a classic, purely subjective of course), but would rather watch some series that everybody else is watching on Netflix, to the point where I can reel-off 10 films that 95% of my students have never heard of, let alone watched.

“What is your favourite film?” is a well-worn question in class.
“Fast and Furious” is the invariably predictable, perpetual answer.
Fast and ####### Furious? I only saw it once, a badly-dubbed version on a bumpy bus trip.
It was absolute bobbins (for me personally, I’ll get off my soapbox now, I need some kip or coffee, possibly both).

But, why should/would an 18yr old in 2018 have the same film taste as a picky 45 year old, living and dreaming in the past? For sure, the very same 18yr old may have similar pangs of nostalgia about Justin Beaver, Caned West or One Direction in 2040.

What will people be watching and listening to then, I wonder (dread to think more like!)

To put a positive spin at the end of this rant, here is the single that peaked at No.5 in the Hit Parade in 1998, it’s “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys. RIP Adam Yauch MCA (AKA Nathanial Hörnblowér). Just like Madness, their videos were as awesome as their songs :-)

Watch THIS!


Fiestas Patrias warm-up…

I first arived in Peru in eary June 2004. It was a very special time.


Everything was new; being in a new and very different country, a different culture, a language that I naively assumed I would just “pick up” (via osmosis or something!) Teaching too was a whole new job and a very steep learning curve for me. Originally I was due to go straight to the Amazon, but the project fell through so in the meantime I was working in an orphanage, which I loved. As my Español wasn´t too great, there were often communication breakdowns. Coupled with the fact that other teachers didn’t like to say no (when the answer was “no”) or say yes (when the answer was definitely “yes!”

Not so much lying/fibbing, as not wanting to be the person who said no/yes.
Subsequently, if we were told classes were cancelled and didn´t go, there would be war on the next day (“Where were you?!”) or more commonly, we would turn up for classes, to be told they were cancelled, and whe we asked the next day, we were generally laughed at and asked “Weren´t you told?!”

It would have made a good sequel to “Lost in translation” at times…


Often we would go to classes to find the students missing.
“Marching practice!” we would be told.
“Marching practice! For what” (was a question we didn´t ask, but often wondered).

Fiestas Patrias (28th & 29th July) is the Peruvian Independence day(s)
The 28th is a celebration of independence from España.

The 29th of July is a show of military power (not quite on teh scale of North Korea or Russia) and also a show for the Police (makes a change from waving batons at traffic lights!)

Image result for 29 de julio militar desfile


So, back to my youngsters and their marching.
One day we arrived to be informed that “today” was the BIG DAY.
We all piled on to a really ancient bus and headed across town to an unknown district (somewhere the other side of the centre). There were hundreds of people, it was a mass of noise and chaos, nobody seemed to know what was going on, so we waited (and waited).


Suddenly, we were called!


The months and months of practice were about to be shown to the World.
The bairns were all dressed up, as nuns, as one monk or in their best tracksuits.
On the count of “3″ we set off, to be halted less than 100 metres down the road!

That was it, marching over for another year…


Some things are just impossible to explain!


To the mountains.

The main/sole reason for this abridged blog is that at the time I normally scribble down my inane thoughts and ramblings, I will be on a Limabound bus, heading back from the UT69/LMT race (as a helper, not as a racer sadly!) Up to Yungay!


So, most of this gubbins is pre-recorded this week. There is no internet ‘oop yonder.

More details next week.
For now, here are a few pics from my first ever trip up there, back in 2004.

164319_10150380996345302_1464037_n 69 163715_10150380996115302_1574770_n 163245_10150380996185302_5643752_n 163112_10150380996280302_7164742_n

Jog on…

Well, I started training again this week, which was something!

Race plans have been hung, drawn and quartered too many times already this year.
I have decided to scrap everything pre-November, in a futile bid to get some fitness back.
The MUT has sadly been given the chop. One day…

Which leaves me with Plan A: El Misti (Misti Sky Race)?



Plan B: Marcona Wind Trail?


Plan C: Vertical Wanka! (Worth it for the t-shirt!)


Pros, cons and logistical impossibilities galore for each one.
Why can’t there just be a leg of the West Yorkshire XC league in Lima and then I’ll be done with it!

More ramblings on this topic depending if my legs fall off, or not…



Raiders round-up.

The mighty Shipbuilders have been having a tough time of it all of late (most of the season to be honest!) It was never going to be an easy step-up to a stronger league, but they can sometimes hold their own, especially at home.


This week it’s Sheffield Eagles away.
Let’s see what happens…

And finally…

To leave you with a smile on your face, here is my ALL-TIME favourite YouTube video. I apologise, I have shared this before, but THIS is timeless!

I have no idea what went on before nor after this was filmed, but the sheer joy of a successful wheel change is completely evident. A simple process that I have cocked-up myself, so doing it right is always a bonus!

Have an awesome week.

Johnny, Lina and the Nipper


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