Some Stuff About Me ......

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I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my wonderful wife and soul-mate Helen. I have two incredible sons - Evan and Matthew - who are occasionally show up at home, usually when they're hungry or need money. The three of them are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love them all. I spent over 24 years in the Royal Navy, but since I packed it all in and got a proper job my life has gone from strength to strength and I've never looked back. I am a die-hard soul music fan and this remains a serious passion, but in recent years my life has been dedicated to running on the fells and trails of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ...

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Getting Stuck Up Brenda .....

Today finds me in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote and coming to the end of a two-week sojourn out here. It came just in time, Helen and I were completely frazzled by Life and everything that goes with it, so we made a very deliberate decision to chill and not feel obliged to do anything. In this, I think we've been pretty successful - I can't recall a holiday when I lazed around quite so much, the weather has been fantastic and we have taken full advantage of it. We're in the same villa as last year, a cracking place with a superb outlook over Playa Blanca and Montana de La Brena Chica ("Brenda") and of course I have had to renew my acquaintance with its rocky slopes, just as I have with the extinct volcano just down the road. It's been ace, I've ran, swam, read Mike Cudahy's "Wild Trails To Far Horizons" and drank a lot of beer and rioja.

Am mildly surprised it's been such a while since I last blogged - such a lot has happened over the past few months ..... our friend Emma didn't get round her BGR, a few things went wrong and while we're not 100% sure of the reason as to why she ran out of steam, the good news is that she will be going back and I'm confident that she will nail it. We've taken a bunch of clubmates out on BGR leg 2 for a bit of a Lakeland Fells experience, We've also ran the Yorkshireman Off-Road marathon, coming a creditable 4th mixed pair and just before flying out here supported our friend Stolly on leg 1 of on his successful BGR, so all in all we've had some quality time out in the hills.

On a completely different tack, my brother (who lives in Australia) decided to come and visit, taking us all by surprise.  He had originally come to Finland to visit his son/my nephew, so I suppose it was as convenient as it ever would be to hop over to England. I knew it was going to be stressful, despite my best efforts he and I don't really see eye to eye and as my mum wanted to come along and visit us in Harrogate - bringing him with her of course - I had to be on my best behaviour. It was very hard work indeed, he is clearly uncomfortable when not on home turf and sadly couldn't bring himself to indulge an old lady - that's my mum - and bury the hatchet for the day.  He blames me for a lot - some of it is justified I guess - amongst other things I joined the navy when he was just 14 and he therefore had to go through all the crap associated with my parents' divorce by himself ..... we haven't had much contact since he emigrated, much to my regret. I hope that one day we can be friends, because I believe that blood IS thicker than water, but right now it doesn't look like time has been much of a healer.

See what I mean by a lot going on? That's why we were frazzled and I don't mean by the sun. Slightly compounding this, we had to pack both boys off to University and that made long journeys with a car full of gear to opposite ends of the country. I tell, you it's not easy.  Helen will be pleased to have her house back though and I suspect that next week we'll be detoxing the place. They're a pair of proper grubs and I'm expecting the worse, particularly in brat #1's bedroom.

So my holiday has come to an end. It hasn't all been lazing around the pool though, as usual the most interesting part of any holiday is people-watching and we both do it, albeit looking for different traits. We Brits are crap out of are own country aren't we? I have been deeply distressed by the sight, sound and behaviour of a lot of my countrymen (and women) over the past two weeks and really, it's no surprise that we've got such a bad reputation. We're so easy to spot .... young blokes with grotesque beer bellies and a rolled-up copy of "The Sun", girls hobbling along with plasters on their feet because the holiday sandals were more show than go, overweight, middle-aged men with unintelligible (if you're not English) northern accents, belligerantly and loudly pontificating about how fuckin' shite the beer is, acres and acres of burnt, wobbly flesh, mostly adorned with faded and stretched tattoos .... I could go on.  It does strike me that perhaps it's just me that finds the behaviour of Brits abroad distasteful, so it's a good thing I could hide in our villa and only venture out when the need for food and/or exercise demanded it.

Helen is probably right, I really AM a grumpy old bastard.