With one grain of salt and a teardrop,
we can build an ocean of love;
With two grains of sand and a rock,
we can build a mountain of faith
~ Soul Bros Inc.
I apologise for the gooey intro. It works well for a friend who puts out the most absorbing, beautifully crafted blogs, but not so for me I think - I don't have the whimsical turn of phrase that supports such things. The quote? Well, it's a bit twee I know ... it's from a very rare and gorgeous soul record called "Pyramid", one of my all-time favourites and easily found on You Tube if you're of a mind to look.
I have had a busy few days. My man-cold thankfully didn't develop into the full-on pneumonia that I'd been predicting and allowed me to wobble up to the Lakes on Saturday for a bit of reacquaintance with the Bob Graham Round. Met pal Ben from Ripon at Threlkeld and I think we were both thinking the same thing as we observed the snowstorm raging on top of Blencathra .... something like "f*ck this" or "I must be barking mad" would have been about right. Discretion was the better part of valour, so we scooted over to Newlands intent on doing the Horseshoe, I had a sneaky idea to drop down to Honister from Dale Head like we did with friends Dave and Alix last year ... it wasn't to be. Weather was OK until we got to the Dale Tarn area, where we met snow. As we climbed Dale Head, the wind really got up and by the time we got to the summit it was like something out of a Himalayan mountain documentary .... I hope you can imagine this ..... "inch by inch, Martyn dragged his tired body to the summit of Everest while the 120mph winds tore at his shredded jacket, his broken leg manfully ignored in the quest for glory" .... something like that anyhow. Look, the point I'm making is the the wind was terrible and nearly blew us off the top of Dale Head, OK? We decided not to go down to Honister on the basis that we may never have made it back up! Hindscarth was nearly as nasty, but by the time we reached Robinson things had calmed down. It was a conventional descent down Robinson, although the crags were a bit icy. As I was waiting my turn to scramble down the lower crag I noted a little shelf to my left and what looked like a nice grassy trod beneath it - a quick wiggle over the side and hurrah! I found the shortcut that I've completely managed to miss on my last few visits. I was down at the bottom way before Ben and Helen - they just gave me dirty looks and asked why I hadn't told them. I'm a complete bastard, apparently.
Ben scooted off home as the heavens opened and snow fell, so without anything pressing we went into Keswick for fish and chips at - where else? - The Kingfisher and a wobble round the photo galleries. Didn't buy owt though -it's the Yorkshire influence :-) Went into Planet Fear where there are some good bargains right now and Helen bought an Osprey hydration pack. I like this Osprey kit, possibly the best rucksacks and packs out there .... I just bought one of their bumbags (they delicately call it a "lumbar pack") and it's ace.
Sunday was spent cleaning kit, cars and house (there is always a downside), but I must relate one small story from the morning: You may recall that my garden is frequented by the odd sparrowhawk? Well, as I was boiling the kettle for my morning cuppa and (as usual) gazing through the window, I noticed a small bird sitting on the fence (ominously, I thought) behind us, right over the nesting box we have there. It was a young female sparrowhawk and I watched her for a couple of minutes while I was having my coffee, knowing she was looking for breakfast ..... I was right. A spuggie flew across the garden, heading for the bush in the corner where they seem to congregate. Little Miss Sparrowhawk was off the fence in a flash and actually went into the bush to grab the spuggie. As they do, she dropped down to lawn to kill the poor spuggie and I thought she was going to eat it there and then, but something must have alarmed her (I hadn't moved a muscle) and she flew off with her prey in her claws. What really struck me was the dispassionate way the little hawk slowly killed her prey, she didn't look down - just looked slowly around, it was really quite chilling.
Monday: work was crap, but enlivened by a tough session at the gym afterwards. I have been using a hill-climbing maching (aka "Jacobs Ladder") and currently have the 3000ft record by miles (29:19), nobody else seems to spend much more than 15 minute on the murderous thing. Decided to drop the rate of climb tonight to about 90ft/minute and go for a 45minute stint. Music is absolutely essential, as the thing faces a wall and it's very boring and incredibly hard work, you sweat buckets. 4090ft in 45 minutes is a new gym record, basically as I'm the only one who has been stupid enough to stay on it for this length of time. I will continue with this machine, I intend to put a picture of the Moot Hall on the wall behind it, just to remind myself why I'm putting myself through this God-awful pain.
Collected Helen from work, amazed to see her wearing a skirt and heels for a change (simple answer: all trousers in the wash), endured her moaning for 30 mins and then carted her off to college where she is doing an Indian Head Massage course. Took myself off to pilates with the delicious and incredibly flexible Jennie (I'm the only bloke in the class, I feel like a proper lech) and tortured myself for a further 45 minutes before being ejected into the fresh Yorkshire air. I think I like pilates.
Plan for the week: Interval training Tues, over to Addingham on Weds for a run with Stef up Beamsley Beacon, Thurs rest, Langdale Friday for a long, long day out over to Wasdale and back. Somewhere among all this I will attempt to see my youngest son, who has just come back from Canada (skiing holiday) and who I desperately miss. I miss the other one too, but he's at uni, spending all his money on beer and beyond my reach right now.
Postscript: Training with the Harriers was murder tonight, my legs were like lead at the end. Home to a big bowl of butternut squash soup and enough pancakes to choke a horse. What should I give up for lent? I can't think of anything remotely worth giving up right now.
I do hope you're all OK.