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 ...

Monday, 31 August 2015

Right Back Down to Earth

It's all a bit hectic and knackered here at Chez Exile, we got back from Geneva at about 0300 this morning, having spent all last week at the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc) in Chamonix. It was a terrific week, Helen and myself along with our friend Carol did the CCC race (Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix) while our other mate Emma did the TDS (it translates to something like "In the Footsteps of The Dukes of Savoie"). I may blog about it all later, it's a story worth telling.

Anyhow, we're all a bit tired and fractious. Can I just say, for the record, that Geneva airport is indescribably crap? I find it hugely ironic that it's possible to buy a Rolex or Omega watch in Duty Free but you can't get a bottle of water or bag of sweets to save your life. You wouldn't think the mega-efficient Swiss would have such a poor setup, but that's how it is. Probably one of the worst airports I've known and that includes some proper sh*tholes. More work required, Mr Johnny Swiss-Bloke.

Anyhow, the thrust of this little story is that I was forcibly brought back to down to earth this morning: We were starving and so I was despatched to our local Co-Op to get the makings for bacon butties. Now, I don't often visit this establishment, but needs must and it's the closest shop to our house. I grabbed the stuff and in front of me in the queue to pay was a very large and indescribably ugly woman (sorry, it's how it was) buying cheap booze (vodka), fags and National Lottery scratchcards and this was just at 11.30. She looked like she had never smiled in her life, most probably she hadn't. I saw her in the car park afterwards, she was rubbing away at the scratchards with an eagerness that belied her previous demeanour and for a second, just a second, I could see that New Horizons beckoned .... but no, Dame Fortune hadn't smiled and her features sagged along with her shoulders, I guess everyone tries to change their stars one way or another.

She shuffled off, doubtless to start work on her other shopping items. I felt as guilty as hell, my life is so different than hers that it's faintly unbelievable. I'd just returned from one of the most beautiful places on Earth, having spend the week in a luxury apartment with my friends, all of whom are mega-fit and dripping with the latest exotic sports gear. I'd seen and done things that this poor woman could never in her wildest dreams imagine and I feel terrible about it and very humbled.

Sometimes we don't realise how lucky we are.

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