Archive for the 'Celebrations' Category

For the avoidance of doubt

Posted by on April 23rd 2017 in Celebrations

Happy St. George's Day!

Nobody expects the Spanish Indecision!

Posted by on December 22nd 2016 in Celebrations

I've been known to enjoy an occasional glass of cheap Chilean Merlot, but this 1.5 litre bottle of raffle-won posh Iberian pop is way out of my league.

I don't know whether to store it, donate it, drink it, cook with it or fight with it:

 

5000:1 long shot

Posted by on May 4th 2016 in Celebrations

Leicester.

Famous for football, rugby, snooker and, by the looks of it, hoopla:

AFAIK, history does not say whether he ever did manage to hoop the crown over the top of the cathedral spire.

Flagging

Posted by on April 23rd 2016 in Celebrations

st_george_flag-copy.jpg

Shameless partial re-post from 2008.

Bumps

Well, it's been a while. There's not been much to blog about - no epic days on the hill, no gear-testing, no firm plans for much in the way of outdoorsy-stuff.

Our bonfire party went well on Saturday. I would have taken pics but due to the lower-than-usual turnout of responsible adults I was stuck on firework-ignition and bonfire-stoking all night so the camera stayed unused. Our over-the-road neighbours donated a huge pile of privet from their garden-clearance, it lasted a good five hours and the fire-pit is still aglow two days later.

The cardiac rehab folk at Glenfield Hospital are on the ball - we've already been to an introductory lecture about CHD and I have a couple of appointments coming up: one to arrange a suitable physio regime (although they seem to think that my current levels of exercise and exertion are above and beyond what their usual patients are expected to achieve) and there's a follow-up with the cardiac consultant booked for the start of 2014. Indeed, they've been chasing me on the phone to make sure that I'm going to attend. It's a slick system, they're real pros and they treat me as a human being.

Sadly, the same can't be said of the staff of the Booking Centre staff Leicester Royal Infirmary where they're desperately avoiding having to fix my arse after they wrecked it back in January 2012, and where I'm just a number to be juggled to make their stats look acceptable, not a person who they've made virtually unfit for employment.

I saw a brilliant Functional Bowel Service Specialist Practitioner (SP) back on 20th June, she taught me how to exercise specific muscles and insisted on a follow-up appointment no more than two weeks later because if I wasn't doing the exercises correctly I'd be doing more harm than good. Before I left the consultation we'd arranged for the follow-up to be on the 4th of July, and she'd made the appropriate entry in her diary.

Just two days before I was due to go in, the Booking Centre staff phoned me to bump my appointment to 5th August, and lied to me about the reason why. My protestations and explanations of the medical need went unheeded, and when I explained the situation to the SP in August she was livid when she found that I'd been told that she'd not be on site on 4th July - she showed me her diary which clearly indicated that she'd been on duty on 4th July and that some lying sod at the Booking Centre had told her that I'd rearranged my appointment!

I left that consultation with the promise of an appointment with a colorectal consultant within the next month, and true to her word the SP managed to get me booked in - I received a letter, dated 15th August, detailing an appointment on 25th September...

but on 19th August the Booking Centre bumped that to 30th October...

and then on 15th October they bumped it again, to 26th November...

and today I received a letter, dated 7th November, telling me that they had cancelled that. Not bumped, cancelled. There was no explanation other than "due to unforseen [sic] circumstances..."

And they wonder why my blood-pressure is so high!

They can expect me to be in touch soon, and they'd better have a damned good explanation of what's going on. One more bump or fcuk-up and I'll be naming-and-shaming, first in front of the Trustees, and second, if necessary, here on my lowly blog. Oh, and probably on a few choice online forums too.

I tell you; come the revolution, the liars among the Booking Centre staff will be first against the wall.

Second against the wall will be the Macmillan Nurse who, despite having numerous options for sensible parking, insists on obstructing my driveway whenever she visits our neighbour:

 

North Wales 2013 – Thursday/wildcamp/Friday mashup

51 today! A lie-in, breakfast in bed, pressies and cards - the perfect start to another roasting-hot day.

Outside the cottage the RAF did another low-level fly-by, I assumed that it wasn't all in my honour but it was impressive all the same:

 

Chinook #1

 

Chinook #2

 

Chinook #3

 

The resident Squadron Leader looks on, unimpressed by the thundering mechanical behemoth

 

We spent the day in Betws-y-Coed, sight-seeing and getting some retail therapy. As a birthday treat we dined at The Gwydyr Hotel, the food was very good although for some inexplicable reason, in a land that supports so many sheep, the kitchen had run out of lamb. No matter, the beef was fine alternative. Ice-creams were had from Cadwaladers Ice Cream Café, Chris got some walking-sandals from F*** & T***, and we spent much time in many shops trying and failing to get Anna some sunglasses that she'd be happy with.

After an evening meal back at the cottage me and Ella packed our kit - we were off up my mountain to introduce her gently to the delights of wildcamping. We took the same route as we had on Tuesday, eventually finding a great spot in the gap at the base of the Daear Ddu (a place that we christened "The Gap of Rohan"). We'd picked a fine night - clear, warm and calm, with a gentle up-slope breeze that kept the midges at bay. Ella went down to Llyn y Foel to get water while I pitched the tent:

 

The Banshee 300 pitched in the Gap of Rohan

 

After a supper of discounted Wayfarer meals (found a few days before in the bargain-bucket at Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports in Capel Curig) we settled for the night and slept well.

Friday morning was warm and clear, we were up at sunrise to see a warm glow on the mountain and misty haze in the Lledr Valley below. We wandered up onto the nearby ridge and had breakfast (courtesy of Decathlon's Aptonia range) al fresco on a suitable rock:

 

Moel Siabod cwm pano (the tent's on the left)

 

On the ridge just after sunrise

 

Lledr Valley - mist and haze

 

 Dolwyddelan Castle #1

 

 Ella doesn't do mornings...

 

but she does do breakfast

 

Dolwyddelan Castle #2

 

Cotton-grass

 

Ella

 

Heather

 

Knobbly #1

 

Knobbly #2

 

Striking camp didn't take long - we'd not brought much. With the weather set fair and with us being on familiar ground we'd figured that stuff like waterproofs, spare layers, rucksack liners, map/compass/GPS weren't really necessary. Hell, I even eschewed the Scarpa SLs and wore my tatty old Trezetas instead! No shorts though - I didn't want to scare the wildlife 😯

 

Holy Trezetas

 

We shouldered our packs and completed the circuit of Llyn y Foel, taking a few pics on the way:

 

Columnar jointing, Daear Ddu

 

Moel Siabod reflected in Llyn y Foel

 

Llyn y Foel and "The Gap of Rohan"

 

On the way back down we had time for a bit of exploring around the quarry. Ella kept finding rocks shaped like footprints, I aced her with this one that bore an uncanny resemblance to Brian Griffin:

 

Dug

 

Some of the small quarry buildings overlooking the reservoir looked like they'd be fine places for setting up a bivvy:

 

Quarry building 1 #1

 

Quarry building 1 #2

 

Quarry building 2 #1

 

That Lonesome Pine again

 

Ditto

 

Reedy margins

 

Nearly back at the cottage the view was extensive - here's a 180-degree pano:

 

Widescreen

 

Before long we were back at the cottage. Chris did us a superb cooked breakfast, partly to refuel us and partly to use up the bacon, eggs, hash-browns and other such stuff in the kitchen.

The afternoon proved to be hotter than the morning. Nobody was up for going out so we spent a leisurely afternoon getting a lot of our stuff packed up in order to make Saturday's 10 a.m. getaway a tad easier.

Outside the view down the Llugwy Valley was being ruined by these festrous things:

 

Moel Maelogen wind farm

 

Soon afterwards the RAF provided more entertainment. We wondered if we'd been overflown by royalty:

 

Charlie's Angel?

 

Packing almost done, I took a few parting-shots of the cottages:

 

Cottages #1

 

Cottages #2

 

The kitchen

 

The Boss

 

After that, and after a third-and-final hot meal, we had an early night in preparation for an early start on Saturday.

North Wales 2013 – Monday – Zip it, Shrimpy!

So, what do you arrange for a thrill-seeking girl's 18th-birthday treat? That's an easy one... you dress her up in red overalls, stick her in a harness and chuck her off the side of a mountain :mrgreen:

The venue for the day was Zip World near Bethesda. Here's the web-page blurb:

"Zip World has the longest zip line in Europe and is NOW OPEN at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda – “The Nearest Thing to Flying”!!

The Zip World site contains two specially constructed and spectacular zip lines, the first will take you down to the bottom of the quarry where you will pick up your specialised vehicle for a magnificent quarry tour, before zip lining back for a mile to the start.

You will be reaching speeds of up to 100 mph and you will be travelling 500ft above the mountain lake so be ready for a ride of a lifetime!"

Me and Chris took the quarry tour and stayed away from anything dangerous, Anna did the tour and the Little Zipper, Ella got the full works. I'll let the pics and captions tell the story. Don't forget to max the volume when playing the movie.

 

Folk on the Little Zipper

 

Little Zipper end-zone

 

Suiting-up

 

Suited and booted

 

Waiting for the safety lecture

 

Concentrating hard on not looking nervous

 

Up at the Little Zipper end-zone we could see the Big Zipper launch area

 

Zooming in on the Big Zipper launch area

 

The RAF provided a fly-by

 

Ella and Anna wired-up at the Little Zipper launch-pad

 

On the move

 

Approaching the fastest bit

 

Ella approaching the bungee-brake

 

Anna hitting the bungee-brake

 

Just hanging around

 

Happy Ella

 

Happy Anna

 

So alike and yet so different

Ella looking apprehensive up at the Big Zipper launch area

 

Still trying to keep it together

 

The launch pad. The end-zone is the light patch on the spoil-mound the other side of the quarry.

 

Penrhyn Quarry from the Big Zipper launch area

 

Busy at the top - a Beeb crew were there filming Davina Wave of CBBC's DNN fame

 

Anna playing it cool.
Every time I see this pic it reminds me of this.

 

Click here to see the video in fullscreen HD on Vimeo

 

After the truck-ride back down to meet Ella the omnivores in our party filled up with excellent cholesterol-burgers from the van down at the site office. Sadly, the party's veggie had to go without.

Verdict: Top day out. Highly recommended. Great burger-van.

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

Posted by on December 23rd 2012 in Celebrations, Just for fun

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why...

Santa Claus is coming to town.

Here's hoping that you've all been good.

Merry Christmas, folks!

Behind the public face

Posted by on June 2nd 2012 in Celebrations

Went into town today and was surprised to meet The Queen, I even managed to get a few pics:

Her make-up could do with a bit of attention, though.

And that Corgi looks a bit out-of-sorts.

Lies, damned lies and Jetpack statistics

Posted by on January 1st 2012 in A bit of a rant, Celebrations
Tags:

The email from WordPress contains hype such as:

"Your Annual Report from WordPress.com"... "Your 2011 in blogging"... "Our stats helper monkeys have been busy putting together a personalized report detailing how your blog did in 2011!"

I'm guessing that everybody who's using Jetpack will have received such an email.

Indeed, a quick Google shows that several folk are including details from their reports in their blogs.

Hopefully those folk will have checked the supplied facts and figures - I'd find it hard to believe that I'm the only user to discover that his report is a crock of 5h1t.

Here's a clickable edited copy of the report prepared for me:

FWIW, my editing is based on the same data that was (and still is) available to those WordPress/Jetpack monkeys.

Happy New Year!

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