Archive for February 2012


Posted by on February 29th 2012 in LMAO!, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)

Back on the painkillers and the soft cushion here so I needed something to lift my spirits.

This hilarious Rich Hall stuff hit the spot.

Mind the language...





He’s not The Messiah…

Posted by on February 28th 2012 in LMAO!, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)

No doubt you've seen it before...


Blunders of the Universe (HD) from darren jonusas on Vimeo.

 Best viewed in full-screen with the volume at 11 on the dial, IMHO.


Not enough? Try the extended version. Poor full-screen option though.


Seconds in… Round Two!

Posted by on February 27th 2012 in Illness and injury, LMAO!

At long last I've got me a follow-up consultation:

Maybe I should send a reply?

I was thinking of something along the lines of:

"The patient will not always see the consultant (or his proxy) personally, the patient may send one of his mates from down the pub."

Connect Four (or Five)

Posted by on February 25th 2012 in Astrostuff

You'll all have noticed the line of lights in the south-western sky at about 18:30 GMT yesterday evening, no?

It's not the greatest of pics but it's the best I could do in a rush:

This is what you get: upper-left = Jupiter, middle = Venus, lower-right = our Moon

The 4th in the line is Jupiter's moon Ganymede (a tiny dot really close to Jupiter, you'll need to look at the full-size pic to find it).

Other folk have also seen Mercury (even lower than and further right of our Moon) from their locations, but from here it was down in the light-polluted clag.

There'll be similar such alignments in the south-western sky for several nights - have a look, take some pics, see what you can catch - here's what's on offer just after sundown on Monday:

Just don't go being stupid and looking directly at the Sun - it's another one of those things that'll make you go blind 😯

Pregn’nt & illitret?

Posted by on February 22nd 2012 in LMAO!, Name and Shame

"Your" in luck - New Look have the perfect garb for you:

I had to go clothes-shopping with the girls yesterday - can you tell that I was bored of waiting outside the changing-rooms?

Next time I'll take a thick black permanent marker so that I can go around making appropriate corrections.

Another Centurion

Posted by on February 21st 2012 in Congratulations!, Just for fun

Congratulations go to Alan Sloman, whose tally of comments here reached the 100 mark a short while ago.

I thought that this might be a suitable pic, seeing as he's such a high-flier 😀


Pic shamelessly-ripped from

R & R @ Ambleside

Posted by on February 20th 2012 in Great Escapes, Illness and injury, Shiny new kit, Testing for review, YHA

After Thursday's drag up the M6 there was an unpleasant surprise waiting for us at Ings - the Little Chef was boarded-up! It's a sad loss - they used to serve fine food there and the service was always excellent. Fortunately we already had our evening meal planned at the hostel. We pushed on to Ambleside, nipped into Gaynor's to buy Anna a new pair of boots and then eventually booked in and settled at Ambleside YHA.

We'd taken up the YHA's "Winter Family Magic" offer - a family-room for four including an evening "family feast" for just £29.95 per night... it sounded good but the YHA website was a bit vague about the terms of the offer so I had enquired as to how they would cope with one of our party being a veggie, they said it was no problem. Since I made the booking the website details have been changed - turns out that they expected all four of us to have the same meal from the "family feast" menu... no good when we all eat different foods. Chris was sent in to negotiate the terms of their surrender and eventually we all got a meal of sorts. Chris ended up with a full 12" pizza, the kids and I got mashed spuds and non-Cumberland sausage covered with onion gravy. None of us got any vegetables despite the website saying that there would be peas or seasonal veg. It was disappointing, only the attitudes of the staff saved the day. The upside was that the dorm was fine with a view out over the upper reaches of Windermere.

Sometime during the evening the clouds cleared and the skies were ablaze with stars and meteors. I went out to grab some pics but for some reason the camera's focus started playing up and all the images were rubbish. Never mind, just seeing such a glorious night sky was enough.

We slept well that night.

Us adults were up bright and early on Friday. Predictably, the kids weren't so bright or so early. Outside it was a calm daybreak so I nipped out with the camera for a while:


Towards Coniston.


Reflections in Windermere.


Towards Langdale.

Back inside the kids were still in bed but they soon got a shift on when I told them that breakfast was being served. Breakfast was good, it made up for the disappointment of the previous meal. After that, we hit the road and headed for Longsleddale. I figured that a couple of easy Wainwrights would be a reasonable test for my new arse.

We parked up at Sadgill and made ready for the steep pull up the side of Grey Crag:


The steep approach to Grey Crag. Mouseover for an indication of the route.

Towards the head of Longsleddale.

Much steepness.

We had a short break at the top of the gully - Ella needed some heel-blister treatment:


Ella and Chris get to the top of the gully.

Another view up Longsleddale.

From there we traversed to the right around the crags in search of the survey pillar. The temperature was dropping and it started to drizzle so we found a sheltered spot for a snack-break. I'd imagine that on a fine day the views from there would be quite good:

Taking a break.

A few minutes of walking brought us to the survey pillar. A quick look through the slot confirmed that the next pillar, on Tarn Crag, was in plain sight:

The survey pillar, with Grey Crag in the background.

Lined up on the distant Tarn Crag survey pillar.

From there it was a gentle stroll across easy ground to the intake fence. The weather closed in and this was our last view of the valley:

Looking back towards the survey pillar and Longsleddale.

After crossing the intake fence we had a short breather - Anna was feeling a tad sick, possibly due to the sight of the multi-coloured Ella wearing my Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket:

Rainbow Girl.

A few minutes later we made the top of Grey Crag. All was clag and rain so I didn't take any pics. We left the top ASAP and made off on a bearing for Tarn Crag - this was the first time the girls had walked in clag, I think that it may have taught them the value of being competent with the old-fashioned compass/map combo when there are no visible references.

Crossing the marshy depression to Tarn Crag was fun - much bog, some huge peat-hags and a fair old tarn had to be negotiated before we reached the relative dryness of the snowy up-slope. The final slopes were confusing and finding the summit cairn took a while as visibility was quite poor:

Anna and Ella atop Tarn Crag

The survey pillar on Tarn Crag.

Anna was still feeling poorly so we hastened northwards to find the fence and followed it down the peat-hagged slope to the col and turned left at the gate, heading for Brownhowe Bottom. There was a fair bit of waterlogged ground to be crossed and it proved to be the undoing of the kids... over the years I've developed a "trying to run over the water like a Basilisk" technique which generally keeps my feet dry, the kids think it's hilarious and call it "Geckoing"... they try to emulate it but always fail - Anna managed to get her boots and socks fully-dunked and waterlogged in a mad dash across a deeper-than-expected puddle, and Ella managed to kick the back of her own leg while trying to run across water. There was much moaning. And a little sympathy.

Eventually we reached the firm ground of the Gatescarth Pass track. The clag meant that it wasn't very scenic but we did manage to get a fine view of the falls below Wrengill Quarry:

The falls below Wrengill Quarry.


From there it was a simple if long trudge past Buckbarrow Crag before heading off into the clag once again:

Buckbarrow Crag - the notice says that it's off-limits due to nesting ravens.

The car's down there... somewhere.

Needless to say, it rained constantly for the rest of the day. After reaching the car we dumped the soggy stuff in the boot and drove to Ambleside via Kendal, not wishing to risk the back-roads as we had on the way in.

Back at the hostel we jumped through the fiery hoop of the evening meal arrangement again... this time Chris had a veggie-option pre-arranged, we had the chicken and bacon hot-pot (which wasn't a hot-pot at all, it was a bowl of roast-spuds with three roasted chicken drumsticks and some bits of micro-bacon, all covered with the same onion-gravy that had bedecked the previous-night's sausages) and still we didn't get any vegetables!

Eventually we summoned enough courage to decant the car's contents into the drying-room. The rest of the evening was spent playing cards and comparing our physical conditions... in addition to the injuries and ailments of the kids, Chris was feeling a tad asthmatic. Surprisingly, I'd had a good day - no bad pain or other difficulties, just a bit of soreness and thrush in the antipodes.

Friday night was stormy but Saturday morning didn't live up to the forecast - it was supposed to start down at zero and drop to minus 6C throughout the day, with a heavy hit of snow. In reality the morning was quite warm and bright - here's the view from our window:

Room with a view.

A bit closer.

Daughters on the stage.

Over breakfast we'd decided that we'd have a bit of retail therapy in Ambleside before spending a few hours at The Lakes Aquarium at Lakeside near Newby Bridge. As the day went on the weather got better, not worse:

Windermere at Lakeside.

There's plenty of interest thereabouts...

The end of the line.




More carp.




Otters again.


Aventacludea fuctifino (a relative of the Piranha).


Big Cat.




It was as if I was looking in a mirror.


Yet another otter pic.


The most dangerous creature in the building...
holding a snake



Friday Summary:

Distance: 5.4 miles
Total ascent/descent: 1722 ft
Wainwright tops reached: Grey Crag (2093 ft), Tarn Crag (2176 ft). These were first-ascents for all of us.
Number of Wainwrights still to do: 7

Regarding gear taken for test-and-review... I took one item supplied by Adam Smith representing Go Outdoors - the Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket. It was worn by Ella and, after her initial reluctance to don it because of the colour, she quite liked it. It kept her warm and dry without any condensation problems. She says that she'll prepare a review as soon as she's cleared her school-work.


Posted by on February 16th 2012 in LMAO!

Since October she'd looked high and low for my trusty Petzl e+LITE...


Today she found it.

In her handbag.

The same handbag that she carries every day.

She still insists that she'd had a thorough look in there.

'Tis a place of mystery and lost souls, that handbag.

I suspect that Shergar and Lord Lucan may be somewhere in there.

R & R

Posted by on February 15th 2012 in Great Escapes, Illness and injury, YHA

I'm fed up of looking at these four walls, I need a change of scenery and some gentle walking.

Ambleside's as good a place as any - good for the body and soul (probably bad for the wallet though).

Might even bag me a few more Wainwrights if my butt holds together.

Off tomorrow, back at the weekend.


Human shield

Posted by on February 14th 2012 in A bit of a rant, Just for fun

The man came to read the meters this morning. While he was here he warned us that the JWs were doing the rounds. He's no great fan of them - if his job takes him to houses that the JWs have just left, the occupiers often refuse to answer their doors again lest they be subjected to second doses of anti-Satanism, so he has to wait a while and it puts him behind schedule.

Anyway, forewarned is forearmed...

Over the years I've used a wide range of tactics to be rid of the doorstep menace. Examples as follows:

  • I've tried reasoning with them;
  • I've tried their own tactic, trying to force my faith onto them;
  • I've answered the door bedecked with cameras, lenses and other photographer's kit, and told them to get upstairs to the bedroom and undressed quickly as they were over an hour late for the photo-shoot;
  • One time, when I was a student, I even invited them in. I plied them with much tea and coffee and kept the debate going non-stop for over five hours. Eventually they needed the loo, when I told then that it was broken they left in a hurry and never came back.

I could see them approaching the house... I rifled through the mental list of rebuffs that I've built up over the years but none of them seemed suitable... I'd have to wing it.

Then came the knock on the door. Why they always eschew the doorbell option is beyond me. Maybe it's too technologically-advanced for them? Who can say?

Anyway, I opened the door and drew breath in order to deliver the following one-liner:

"You've called at a really bad time - I'm in the middle of a training-course to become an evil fascist dictator, please go away!"

but the annoying sods took the wind right out of my sails - the woman said "Here's Harry, he has something for you" and proceeded to thrust before me a previously-concealed small reluctant-looking boy brandishing a copy of The Watchtower.

WTF? God-fearing adults using kids to do their evangelising in public? That's just plain wrong.

I was polite to Harry - I thanked him and declined his outstretched Watchtower. I gave his attendants short shrift and glared at them as they manoeuvred him to the next house in the row.

They'll be back. God help them if they're not protected by children.

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