August 15, 2020


Good morning folks

I trust this finds you fit, well and safe wherever you may be reading this claptrap.

Another week in quarantine (day 20?) and indeed the lockdown levels here have been stepped up.

A “Devta” length blog is not in prospect this week, maybe more of a pamphlet.
So, if you need 3mins of procrastination material, look no futher.

It is a very, very difficult time for everyone. My heart goes out to all those affected and my absolute admiration and respect for all Key Workers, especially all medical staff.

I will try to keep this as light as possible.

This is the Lockdown blog, a tu orden

Don Vizcarra.

I do prefer to keep this nonsense apolitical, but a special mention is perhaps needed for

Martin Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo

67th President of the Peruvian Republic.

Previously Governor of the Moquegua region, Minister of Trasport and Communications, Peruvian Ambassador to Canada, Vice President and “El Capitan” as of July 2018.

The man with a plan, currently running the show here in Peru.

Vizcarra took over from PPK (Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, not James Bond’s Pistol!)

PPK had fallen from grace in a corruption scandal, much like too many of his predecessors, so in effect Vizcarra became President by default.

(Like the time I had to replace an injured goalie during the BL 5-a-side tournament in 1996 and as the game went to extra time, I had to stay in goals, despite having officially retired from football at the age of 10, after letting in 10 goals for Levens C of E Primary School. I like watching footy, but I am crap at playing, anyway, I digress).

What I am getting to is this.

Would anybody really want to be in charge of a country right now?
(Donald Duck Trumpet is a different story!)

I am not going to blow smoke rings up his jacksie, but he has made some positive changes (Climate Change, Constituional Referendum and dissolution of Congress) and I think he is doing a Bloody good job right now. A President is never going to please all the punters, all the time, but his popularity (currently 52%) is pretty high.

He brought in the Quarantine on 15/03, then introduced a curfew, then extended it until 12/04 and this week introduced stricter rules.

On the following days, the following sexes (who are not classed as essential workers) can leave the house to buy essential items; food &/or medicine, (apparently pork scratchings are not classed as essential, but this may change).

Monday/Wednesday/Friday = Males.

Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday = Females.

Sunday = NOBODY.

Curfew: 6pm – 5am.

Masks are now required by law to be worn at all times outside the house.

We are trying to leave the house as little as possible. Since 16/03 I have left the house 5 times, Lina 4 times and the Nipper is leading the league tables with zero. However, there have been 55,000 people detained for breaking curfew rules so far!

No surfing on a Sunday!

Yesterday I went to Metro, my local supermarket famed for snail-paced service and huge queues, and it was an interesting experience!

Imagine 100+ blokes in a supermarket, 75% of whom appear to have never been in a supermarket in their lives before. Clueless chaos!

Stockswise, the supply chain seems to be recovering from earlier panic buying.


Not a lot of flour, no mince and less of most things than usual, but enough to survive on.

The thing that really boils my blood is the fact that so, so many folk here (from my one street facing window) completely ignore these rules.

Today is Ladies’ day and I must have seen a dozen blokes outside, strolling about. Yesterday, the same two women who go to the shop every 10mins, must have been about 6 times. A bloke stopped them and said “Ustedes son mujeres” and they got all uppity!

Sunday was “Nobody leaves the house” day, but I still saw plenty of folk wandering about.

“Does quarantine even work?” I hear some locals say. Well it definitely won’t work if people don’t do it, that is a fact.

This coming weekend is Easter (quite a big thing in a predominantly Catholic country) and most people usually do travel for the 4 day holiday, but the Government has just declared Thursday and Friday as “Everybody keep your ar$es at home” days. Let’s see if the population take notice and actually obey this rule!

From Wednesday night at 6pm, blokes cannot leave their houses until 5am on Monday.

The situation here is still not at a head but just up the road in neighbouring Ecuador, it is a vision of hell itself in the streets of Guayaquil. Do these dumbar$es want the same here?

Deep breaths…


Top Tips meets Work!

Is a free rein a good thing?

Next week, see if I still have a job…


Vivid, lucid, inexplicable…

I normally have dreams/nightmares that make little/no sense, but since we started this period of captivity, they have gone off the madness scale!

  • Back at the Little Chef. These persistent dreams did stop about 10 years ago, but are back. I left the place 30 years ago!
  • Working in a huge multi story café, on my own, with no pen nor paper to write down the 1000+ orders. I just kept on taking orders with no thought as to who was going to make everything!
  • Singing for some Glam Rock band on a World tour! (Just started reading Motley Crue book, could have been the trigger?)

What on earth do dreams mean? Answers on a postcard please…

It’s all about the Bass (Part 573).

Cheers for the pic, Dannyboy!

Next week.

Running up that hill, 35 years on…

On the 7th of April 1985, I ran my first ever fell race, the Kentmere Pike race, the junior race of the classic Kentmere Horseshoe round.

(“Fjall” is a Norsk term for hill or mountain, more commonly used in the Lake District. Like my beloved Rugby League, fellrunning is most popular in the Lakes, Pennines, Dales and the Peak District. I am such a bloody Northerner!)

It was a fundraiser for us, a group of young Scouts trying to raise some readies to buy climbing/camping gear to go on an expedition to the Scottish Highlands.

The year before we had run the Coniston 14 road race, on the back of zero training, but this time it was different. We had all trained specifically, but collectively had little idea of what to expect…

I rocked up on a cold, cold day, when the winter was still battling with the spring for supremacy, (winter was winning) and the rain pelted down relentlessy, running in my tracksuit and Reebok Royales, I might have well of worn roller skates for all the grip they gave, I stumbled the 3 miles uphill and slid most of the way down on my backside. I finished midfield, but was absolutely hooked!

Rock climbing is brilliant, but impossible in the wet. Walking in the hills is great, but is not as much fun when it is tanking down. Running in the fells is something one could do any day of the year, even in the Lakes!

Although obviously not doing a great deal of fellrunning right now, my daily flat rooftop trot is about 8000ft above bath water, and it is the sport that I daydream about more than any other. One day…

No more Golden!

There are times in life when you think that a thing will last forever.

  • 1990s: Good music, Leeds United being the best team in the World.
  • 2004: The limited savings (!) you take around the World.
  • 2007-2014: Monthly Brewery beer allowance.
  • Last Saturday: Golden Beer

In my semi-drunken giddiness last weekend, I drank the last of the new kid on the block “Golden”, thinking I would be able to swap the empties for full ones.

No hay nada” (There is nothing) was the woeful response from my Bodega.

Two bottles of Pilsen in the fridge!

When it’s gone, it’s gone! (Soon I predict).

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…

A typical night.

12:30am: “Ch-oppp, ch-oppp, ch-oppp, BANG, BANG, BANG, (sliding of a 10kg gas canister), BANG, BANG, BANG… (sound of saucepan being launched from 3ft away into sink)


3:30am – 5am: Singing. Doors slamming. (Who sings at 3am on a Tuesday during a Lockdown!)

6am: Other neighbour starts up his 18hr Disco. (Which I had tried to drift off to the land of slumber the night before).

Up to upping sticks and moving out here, I generally had pretty good luck with my “Vecinos”, (apart from the best forgotten Goodfellas incident in LS8 with neigbours Chairman Mao and Snoop Doggy Dog either side, back in the mists of time!)

Whether it is fate, karma or pure bad luck, I have been blighted with wrong ‘uns of late. Either noisy buggers or just plain ar$eholes.

Everybody is under pressure right now, it’s a fact.

Los Basureros” (Binmen) used to come around 10-11pm back in Lima.

Here (in a city which is spotlessly clean in the Plaza de Armas and then like an open landfill site two blocks away), they used to come before 5am, but punters would give you a gobful of slather if you dared put it out before 10pm!

Locals used to leave their bags out at night (which were then opened and ravaged by the Informal Recyclers) and the hard working Binmen would pick them up and take them away before sunrise.

Now, with the curfew, the bin truck has changed its route/routine and now actually comes quite near the house. They have two tunes, the current B-side is some kind of Calypso loop ditty. The problem is with the swirling wind round these parts, in these labyrinth streets, it sounds like it is just around the corner, but can take an hour or two before it briefly appears and disappears.

In these current Social Distancing times, it would make sense to leave the rubbish out  at a designated spot for the Basureros to pick up, so when I heard the Calyspo tune approaching, I put out the bag and darted back indoors.

I don’t really know anybody here, so I don’t really talk to any neighbours.

By the time I got back up to my floor, I was aware of a commotion behind me, to the point where Lina and the Nipper had both came out to see who was causing an almighty scandal!

I have a neighbour, let’s just say she looks like a toad who has been slapped around the back of the head by a large frying pan (a-la-Vic-&-Bob), with huge bulging eyes and a constant gormless gaup. Miss Arequipa 1952 was going absolutely ballistic about something, so I looked around for the cause and quickly realised it was me!

I couldn’t even get the gist of what was coming out of her foaming mouth, unintelligible rabid screeching, but Lina translated and told me she was not happy that I had not put the trash into the bin truck personally!

(Unbeknown to me, apparently the local council in their wisdom, in these recent times of Social Isolation, have just made a new rule that people have to queue up to put their rubbish into the truck themselves).

The temptation was there to give her a gobful back, but the ladies were present, so I surrendered and with a dozen other neighbours (who wander about all day) all swarming around the bin truck, I held my breath, queued up and slung my garbage into the back of the wagon.

What would Barry Crocker make of it all?

Moodswings, melodrama and Mozzer…

Possibly Cabin Fever, possibly lack of sleep, possibly a lot of things, but by the weekend my mood was starting to waver towards that of an unhinged madman.

Whilst there is nothing like a Worldwide Pandemic to put your own trivial little petty problems into perspective, frustration and the consequent anger are forces that I constantly battle with here (even prior to this current debacle).

I find it hard to let things lie, my tolerance for stupid people has fizzled out to zero, but unfortunately, in this time of lockdown it is the little ladies who get it in the neck, for which I publicly apologise. I am not myself right now

In the past I used to constantly think about the future, sometimes at the expense of the present. (They do say that the past has gone, we cannot control the future and the present is all that really exists, which I believe in up to a point).

Thanks to Sgt Stevens for the pic.

I love making plans, most of them are harebrained and unrealistic, but just of late I have had to stop making plans, or just drastically shorten the timescale ahead to a day-to-day/hour-to-hour existence.

Sunday was a hard day; mildly hungover (self inflicted), pathetically tired and frantically trying to magically rustle up some tucker from limited ingredients, that would vaguely perhaps resemble a meal.

Our house is on the 3rd floor, but in effect, due to the madhead construction, we have in effect 5 neighbours and it seemed that all 5 neighbours were all playing different music and all trying to outvolume each other, best summed up as a messy cacophony. Noise really, really does my head in.

I got out my phone, plugged it into the speakers and played the first song it gave me on Youtube, which happened to be this little ditty by MORRISSEY. (Melodramatic 3 minutes).

This quarantine period will last up to mid April, it may or may not be extended.

Whether we are allowed out or not is not the big question really.

Life itself for everybody on the planet is going to change (unless you live in North Korea, in which case you may not be aware of the current crisis, nor will you be reading my ramblings, but if you do and you are and you let me know, I will send you a Blue Peter badge, when I can get to the Post Office!)

Short, medium and long term. It is all going to be very different and the things we used to take for granted will all change.

But, we will all have to adapt the best we can and make the most of whatever situation we face and confront whatever predicament we have to confront. People have done it in the past. New opportunities may even arise. Let’s just keep positive!

On a lighter note, this week we have been mostly drawing, painting and eating Arepas!

Rooftop roaming and the mysterious case of zero friction!

The training (for what I am not quite sure) continues…

My flat roof is my hour of daily exercise. (Not every day. 500+ turns per trot are not helping my knackered knees).

No records beaten this week, think I peaked last Saturday.

It is a time for pondering and every time I am northbound, the partially-obscured peak of El Misti catches my attention.

It looks like the wet season is now abating (thank the stars), so Misti is not constantly in the clouds and as a mountain, it does look bloody perfect!

Will my hour of running on a flat roof be sufficient preparation for a 25 mile round trip up to 19,100ft? I doubt it, but one day, when the time comes, I will give it a go…

All my trainers (sneakers) are knackered, bar one pair and I am trying to make them last, so I chop and change them as much as I can.

On Monday I had just started running (or a parody of the word) and seemed to be going backwards from the start. I had to untangle the Nipper’s skipping rope twice and untangle her bike from the washing, but even so was getting nowhere and was slipping like a fool on the tiled bit.

After changing my shoes, it instantly seemed 100 times better and I gurned on for the remainder of the hour.

After finishing I noticed a mini oil slick on the floor, it had dribbled from an (almost) empty oil bottle I had capped one of the iron death spikes with. The heat had expanded the opening and that was the culprit (teamed up with my own stupidity).

The result: More Robin Cousins than Rob De Castella!

Top 5 at 5 (x 5).


  • 5: Chicken & Mushroom Pie.
  • 4: Meat & Potato Pie.
  • 3: Gregg’s Steak Bake.
  • 2: Steak Pie (A & K Lee Butchers, 49 York Road, next to Leeds Arms, Taddy).
  • 1: Cumberland Pie.

Barrow RL stars.

  • 5: Jimmy Lewthwaite.
  • 4: Frank Castle.
  • 3: Jamie Dallimore.
  • 2: Willie Horne.
  • 1: Darren Holt.

Draft Beers.

  • 5: Director’s Bitter.
  • 4: Guinness.
  • 3: Carling Premier.
  • 2: Sam Smith’s Ayingerbrau Pils.
  • 1: Sam Smith’s Stout.

(Lead) guitars.

  • 5: Gibson Les Paul.
  • 4: Rickenbacker 330.
  • 3: Gretsh Country Gent/Gretsch 6120.
  • 2: Gibson SG.
  • 1: Gibson Flying V.

Breakfast cereals.

And finally

If at first you don’t succeed, go for an almighty fail!

They do say that God likes a trier, he must love these jokers then!


(As a footnote I have a lot of respect for people who do practise Martial Arts. It requires a lot of discipline. I thought about it once or twice, but with my zero-coordination and the prospect of having my ar$e whupped every week kind of put me off).

Whilst BoJo is in Hospital, it would appear that Dominic Raab is the man in charge back home. The papers lead us to believe that he is a Black Belt in Karate. I reckon he started off like one of the above!

Have yersens an outstanding week.

Stay calm, stay strong, stay sane, stay at home, stay safe!


Johnny & the girls x

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