Good morning folks

I trust this finds you in finest fettle and that you had a splendid weekend.
A lightning fast espresso wrap-up of the weeks event in the madhouse city.
83 writing assignments to correct before dawn, this may be a bit more concise than usual!

A busy week, no major dramas/disasters, not a lot of kip, the kindness of a friend-not-yet-met-in-real-life, helping out a stranger and a training pattern that resembles an erratic ECG.
Time-is-a-ticking and I’m not making much running progress, but “asi-es-es-asi…”

Home alone…

Lina is away on a residential study course, so it’s just the Nipper and myself.
You don’t need to guess who is in charge (ie, it’s not me).
The Bairn is at an interesting stage, she has become very vocal (and very bossy, towards me).
I don’t think she is especially badly behaved, no more than your average 2-3yr old, but she definitely knows what she wants and won’t take no for an answer!

Sunday was planned out from Saturday. I was told that it would include a train ride and ice cream. Demands had to be met.


There is a diddy miniature steam train about 4 miles away, a bus ride and a sweaty mile stroll.
With a wee one, getting out of the house is always the biggest challenge and despite getting up at crazy AM (and having been told what outfit would be worn), it was still 10:30am before we hit the road. Getting on the buses here is not the civilised “Stop-bus lowers-driver takes your fare- waits for you to sit down-away” you get in Blighty. It is a bit like a skydive in reverse. Jumping onto a moving target, holding bairn under one arm and pushchair under t’other.
We were a bit early for the first train, so killed some time with some new inkwork.
(I do worry for the future!)

IMG_0616Taking the “don’t move” very seriously indeed!


Steamed-up, all-aboard, two laps of a mini-circuit on the choo-choo and then lunch.


I wanted a day off cooking, and as the gaffer was away, we had a free-rein!
Pizza was (joint) first choice) but walking in a famous pizzeria was like boarding the Marie Celeste, nobody home, so chicken-in-a-basket it was, plus hat, plus ice cream, plus toy, plus balloon. It all felt a bit like Crackerjack and heavily overladen, we jumped on the homeward bound bus. All was going so well until we got off and the wind caught the balloon.

Chasing after a “globo” going faster than most traffic down the Panamericana resulted in an uncaptured balloon heading towards Ecuador and one long face.
In that moment I had failed as a father!


It could be a long week…



The Nipper has suddenly learnt that pedalling forward yields better results than backwards and there is no stopping her.



Training two/three times a day, I reckon we’ll need some new tyres soon!


Doubtful Rounding…

My elusive project “The Doubtful Round” almost yielded some new ground early Saturday morning, but I was foiled by four-legged-foes.

After last week I was keen to avoid unnecessary free-soloing and looking across to the crag I’d almost got stuck on last week, I saw that a direct line is not always the fastest!

There is an impressive peak on the skyline that I see every day, which looked attainable on Google Maps, and only a slight deviation off-route (off-piste). I had limited time, so couldn’t mess about too much. With nothing at all in my legs/the tank I slogged towards my new target, which meant skirting round the edge of “Pamplona Alta” a high-level shantytown, which I am always a bit wary of. I never really carry anything of value (and to look at, I must appear semi-homeless, but I am obviously not a local). Tiptoeing around at 6:30am could provoke an unexpected reaction and it would mean traversing a bit of loose, chossy ground to bag the summit.


I needn’t have worried as the canine welcome committee saw/smelt me, long before I saw them.
Beating a hasty retreat, I lumbered back up the way I came.

IMG_0583 IMG_0584

The route itself is puzzling me. I really don’t know if “it will go“.
I’m not fit enough yet and with the heat I don’t know if it would be physically possible to carry enough water. (It is like a sauna at 6am and the ground is so bad I wouldn’t fancy it in the dark).

IMG_0572Scratching my head a lot over this one!
Watch this space…

Kindness received :-)

A few weeks back I managed to screw up one part of a simple four-part operation, with disastrous results!

Mr. Bialetti, the matchless, peerless, unsurpassable coffee maker suffered a fatal injury.

Step One: Fill with water.

Step Two: Fill with coffee.

Step Three: Boil.

Step Four: Drink.


Getting ready for work, my brew was taking time I didn’t have spare and when I investigated, an internal meltdown had occurred. Water is an essential ingredient and apart from glowing hot on the outside, anything meltable inside had melted, namely the rubber washer, d’oh!


An ex-colleague and FB friend (who I had never physically met) offered to bring me the spare from Blighty and some other goodies, so now, thanks to Will, I am now caffeined-up again :-)

A good deed!

Up until last December I had been walking around with a big black over my head. Not good!

There is very much a “look-after-yourself” (and screw the rest) attitude here. Not always and not with people you know, but with a populace of 12 million, the majority of the great unwashed don’t give a monkeys, as they have their own problems (and are probably running late anyway).

Up until then I would have had my head down and walked past most situations.
I finish work at 9:30pm, and with a 7am class next day it’s a quick turnaround.
Trot home quicksmart, cheese sarnie, kip and up again.

In the yellowy half-light I could see a woman holding a wheelchair, stood stationery in the middle of the road, cars driving obliviously around her and pedestrians walking past, ignoring her.

As I got closer I could see the woman pushing the chair was an OAP and her ride was a-hundred-if-she-was-a-day. Why was she stood in the middle of a busy road at night?

The rug covering up the old(er) dear had become hopelessly wrapped around the diddy front wheel. No amount of frantic pushing/pulling was solving her predicament.
I told her to tilt the chair back and unravelled/untied the tangled mess, then pushed her back to the relative safety of the pavement.

Been a while since I’ve done a good turn. It is (too) easy to keep your head down and ignore everybody, but that’s hardly progress. Look out for each other ;-)

Ed Balls!

My body is slowly falling to pieces, especially my lower half, probably not helped by me thinking I am still twenty, fit and (cap)able.

Until last October I was chugging out the miles, at nothing more than pedestrian-pace, when I got ideas above and well beyond my station and decided to buy a pair of running spikes.
My legs obviously rejected this idea and I’ve been in a crocked-coming back from injury-crocked again cycle ever since!

I think it was also caused by buying two pairs of trainers at the same time. The last time I made this mistake (2001), my knee imploded on Otley Chevin one hour later. Too stingy to part with any brass for a Physio, I bought a “Swiss Ball”, one of those over-sized beach balls you see in a gym. It may have been sheer coincidence, but 30mins every morning for 6 weeks worked a treat!

I have lost count of how many of these I’ve bought from Argos, then gone on to give away, lose or burst, but they do work, in spite of being in the way in the house, all the time!

Unable to find one here for love nor money, I asked a gym receptionist (the closest I have gone to going in a gym) where they could be found.
The Centre of Lima” I was told. A heinous place I avoid at all costs.
So I despatched Lina (who was going anyway) to buy a 75cm ball.

She was successful in her search!

However, after half an hour pumping up the new ball with a magnificent looking piece of Chinese plastic, which imitated a bike pump, called a ”Double-Happiness” pump, the ball was still only half its advertised size, by which time I was too knackered to do any further exercise.

ballDespite a weeks worth of inflating, my 75cm ball is still the size of the smallest one here!

Next week I may get it up to full size and then the work will begin…


One word that most runners and cyclists will know intimately!

The facebook of exercise, but an honest one. It is not possible to cheat/fib about what you’ve done (unless you do it in a car, but then you’re cheating yourself!)

What is it?

A GPS app/programme that measures your run/pushbike ride, then scribbles a useful map and gives you an  array of stats about stats. It really is incredible (and free, the basic version anyway). You are suddenly presented with figures you have no idea what to do with, and the realisation that all of your runs/rides were actually much shorter/slower than you thought!

Not only that but it then shares your bundle of stats, to a group of people (following you, but not physically), so you can compare/compete. Simple and brilliant.

However, (like most things in this digital age that we live in) it does not compare to physical company, nor a coach shouting at you!

There is a paid option called “Strava Premium”, which I presume wakes you up at 5am and puts your shorts and shoes on and runs for you!

And finally…

If you’ve got 13 minutes spare, watch THIS!
An incredibly well-made and gripping account of an audacious adventure into the Cordillera Huayhuash (Touching the Void territory).
Not your average strap a GoPro to your pushbike film ;-)

Have yourself a week full of awesomeness!

Johnny, Lina & the Nipper








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