Some Stuff About Me ......

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, but my heart truly belongs in the fells of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ....

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Carthartic Endeavours

I am slowly clearing out remnants of my old [working] life, this morning I even de-cluttered my tatty old wallet. I chucked out my much-loved Global Call card, now defunct of course. I used to credit an account with £££s and then used it whenever I was in the States, something that happened quite a lot and communication home to my boys was very important to me. I guess this was around 20 years back and cellular and VoIP or MoIP technology wasn't quite what it is today, basically you could access your account from any payphone or hotel room and call home at a reasonable cost, my account number was the telephone number to my flat in Cheltenham. Distant memories.

Before I left work I gave a large amount of technical manuals away - I was a bit of a magpie - but couldn't bear to be parted with some and brought them home. I have no idea what I'm going to do with all these Cisco manuals, they're out of date anyhow and I'm pretty sure I will have no need for them going forward. Actually, thinking about it I'm not even sure why I bothered doing all that network training in the first place, most probably because a lot (not all) of the network engineers at work were  capable of making life very difficult, so it was essential that I could compete on level terms or at least have the wherewithal to spot bullshit when it came my way, which was very often. 

Other books I've bought home are more worthy, including my copy of JACKSPEAK - A Guide to British Naval Slang and Usage plus of course my good old Dictionary of Russian Obscenities, of which I fondly imagine myself to be an exponent. I might even litter future blogs with extracts from JACKSPEAK, though of course they will be massively non-PC and may well result in a permanent ban and removal from many people's reading lists! Here's some crackers:

Lumpy Jumper - Descriptive term for a civilian female, in contrast to a *Jenny Wren; can also be used to describe a WRNS *wooly pully. See also *Bumpy Jumper

and of course:

Mad Dog's Vomit - Sandwich spread; also described as MDV

Well, what do you expect? It's raining and I'm bored.

Monday, 20 January 2020

More Best Laid Plans ...

We did the Hebden 22 fell race on Saturday, this event is one of those that kick the season off and actually, it's quite a toughie. Its billed as a 22 mile slog around the Calder Valley with about 4k of climb involved, so enough to be challenging.  Navigationally it's a very twisty-turny and it's easy to mess it up, it's also a race with a bit of an identity crisis; until 2019 it was ran by Calderdale LDWA, but they backed out and from 2019 onwards (i.e. the last two races) it's been promoted by a local Scout group, so not unlike the Rombald's Stride event. I say "identity crisis" because although it's sold as a race, it really isn't - there are no prizes, no age categories and as far as I can tell, no acknowledgment that a given person has won. Last year they really screwed the results up and had no record of which lady had come home first ..... not good really. I think these foibles can be forgiven to an extent, but this [race] is always sold out and presumably scoops in a load of cash for the Scout Group, so I think they need to get that identity problem sorted out.

I'd optimistically set 4:20 as my target, I've never got under four hours here and last year did 4:37, could my improved health lead to a better finishing time? Things got off to a decent enough start and I felt I was running well, keeping Helen in sight for the first few miles. I'd studied the map long enough to be confident I wasn't going to get lost, but then disaster struck with an early fall in the mud (of which there was a lot), meaning a bit of a slide until some convenient rocks halted my progress. Yes, it fecking well hurt and didn't set a good tone for the rest of the race, I was focusing way too much on sore knees and not enough on terrain/navigation. It was a nice day though, so no problems with determining the lie of the land and I managed to more or less get the route spot-on until my silly preoccupied head completely missed a crucial turn coming out of Cragg Vale and thing started to go a bit awry. The course was really chewed-up due to the recent wet weather and it made things tougher than I can remember, certainly I was slower on some descents than I would have liked and I was having cramp issues that made things worse. I proceeded to miss a crucial stile above Mytholmroyd and for some reason it made me really angry.  My reason goes out of the window when the red mist is down, the result being that I forgot to cross the field below Scout Road and had to go the long way round behind the farm, minor mistakes I guess, but they cost time and I should know a whole lot better. I stomped down the finishing track feeling relatively strong, finishing time 4:25:40, so not terrible but could have been better, I feel it should have been ten minutes faster.  I'm not sure which is worse, the fact that I made some minor nav errors or that I missed my target time!!

Results came out this morning and it's a similar mess to last year. They didn't have any kind of a finishing funnel and Helen is listed as coming behind several runners she comfortably beat, so not good really. Constructive feedback to race organiser needed methinks.