Jan 14 2012

Ok, it’s been a while.

Category: homeash @ 8:43 pm

And probably lots of people who follow this (in a very loose way!) have forgotten about this Blog.  I haven’t, and keep meaning to update, but seconds in the day have gone.

To rapidly sum up, I’ve got me a lady friend.  Not “A”, but the I reckon.  Life has certainly become a lot more hectic since Becky Wood arrived on the scene, but all of a sudden life is making a lot more sense, and I’m oozing happyness in a rather filthy way.

Who is she?  A long-distance running paramedic with a climbing fetish, a desire to spin poi and a real passion for life.  What’s she like?  Well, you’ll have to see for yourself, but to me a prowling lioness with a hell of a spark in her eye.

In the past few months since we got together we’ve moved in together, met the parents, been to Norway, seen Levellers, Merry Hell & Primus, climbed all over the place, walked in many other places and done some Winter Mountaineering.  She’s also been to the Jungle for 3 weeks, Graduated (no, not THAT young!) and got a new job.  This year brings many things, including us going to Oz for Rich’s wedding to Em in Oct.

I’m determined to update this Blog more, but it’s a time thing!  Off to Greenland on a Sea Kayaking trip this summer as a recce trip for a future one, plus organising a trip to Austria next year, and Greenland mountaineering in 2015 with a training trip in 2014.  Oh, and Hardman’s booked me to help with Red Rose in 2014, so that’s going to be a busy one!

If you’ve not met herself yet, please get in touch.  It obviously means that I’ve been crap and neglected to see you recently, which obviously needs to be rectified!


Sep 14 2011

Grinning like a fool

Category: homeash @ 10:19 pm


Aug 08 2011

I survived Redefest 2011 …

Category: home,Musicash @ 2:30 pm

For the first time since … well, ever, I managed to make it to Redefest, a festival run by a load of mates who live up in Northumbria in the Rede valley. According to local lore, this has been happening for several years & has been attracting people in their thousands.
However, there was a bit of wet this last saturday. I realised I could make it after coming back from the Alps & going to Hors & Laurens wedding on the friday, so drove up to sams late on the Friday. Had some beers, and volunteered my help to be told I had a 4-5 shift on the car park.
Sat am came, and so headed on down after visiting Claire and Rick to generally help out with stuff. Put up lighting, made some signs, constructed a car park … all good things. Oh, and helped Dav build the bar *ahem*.
Then came the rain. Within a couple of hours the car park was so sodden we were pushing every car out & it was starting to get everywhere. Numbers dwindled right off, the water got too close to teh PA, calls were made and unfortunatly the decision had to be taken to pull the event, for the safety of everyone. It was getting heavier, and although everyone was smiling and having fun, it was starting to turn into a problem – which was a real shame given the time and commitment that had obviously been put into the planning.
Most people had gone by about 8, so we did what we could to finish the opened barrels of beer, did some tidying, played some music and managed to get back to sams place, where there were a million Kellies and Reddings. Did some sleeping, then after helping deconstruct the place for a bit on Sunday headed back home via Clare O’s new place in Kendal. All very tired now.


Jul 04 2011

The North East

Category: home,Mountaineeringash @ 10:06 pm

Its been a busy old year.

Belgium, Scotland, Scouting things left right and centre … kinda copy & paste from previous years but now I’ve got rid of the TV and am trying to embrace Windows Media Centre. Kinda working, albeit slowly.

Anyway, been off to Northumbria recently, doing some climbing with Sam and Ellie, as well as catching up with Ric and the Charlton, & seeing the Joneses.

We went to Crag lough, and I fought my way up a sod of a HVS. Well, after falling on it once. Obviosuly need to work on my layback technique. However, Sam provided educational skills, and Ellie showed us just how much she enjoys three starred Severe routes. Bear with it, there’s about 8 mins of vid!

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC1202F133AAC69B4
[tubepress mode=”playlist” playlistValue=”PLC1202F133AAC69B4″]
It’s a playlist … if it just plays once then click on it to embiggen & it should load the next one automagically.

There’s some pics too … 3701


Apr 03 2011

Zooming about …

Category: homeash @ 6:41 pm

Busy weekend. Friday was a flexi, supposed to be climbing with Tom but after finding a damp patch on the wall whilst cleaning, had to resort to a house day of ripping bathroom to bits & re-sealing. We ended up on a dash to Southport to watch the Eagle – good moovie.
Saturday was a 30th doo down at Alton Towers. Charly’s joined the land of the aged, and we celebrated this by trying to to throw up. Did very well, and no tears from any of us (though some whimpering was occasionally heard). Some of them rides are a bit quick (0-100kph in 2 secs????). Back to Charly & Phlegms for a world of curry, then back home to get kip before heading down to the relatives nr Stourbridge today. Good run down and back, failed to get a usb broadband dongle working on a pc after several hours of working on it – resigned to the fact that it ain’t gonna work. Damn wierd DNS voodooness.

Off to the pub tonight, Gally’s back & are due a catchup. And Nige allegedly has bottles of stuff to sample on the cheap. Here’s hoping it’s quiet on the phones tomorrer.


Jan 29 2011

Today was not a good day.

Category: homeash @ 1:56 am

When I was growing up, we moved from the Midlands to the North West. Right next to the house was a factory – something pretty alien to me as I’d lived in a small village with a few small estates and a quarry, and little else apart from farmland. Lorries came and went from this Factory, and you could time your watch by the times that the workers left for their butties at lunch. Many people worked there, and it was part of life on Orrell Lane, as my bedroom overlooked the car park & occasionally I could see on to the factory floor when up in my bedroom, playing the guitar.
Then one day someone from the factory did a runner with the takings. Pretty much overnight the whole factory folded, and it collapsed under a stream of media accusations, backstabbings and embezzlement. All of a sudden, several hundred people were out of a job – bearing in mind this was a profitable company which had simply been poorly managed.
I remember feeling gutted for them at the time – things really weren’t going to be the same any more, and it was going to knock the village sideways.

Little did I realise that I was going to be in the middle of something very similar, several years later.

Today we found out the results of our restructure at work. When the Con-Dem coalition came into force, they immediatly stopped several education related projects, including the Building Schools for the Future scheme. Many grants to LEA’s and schools also stopped. The effects of these, plus the knockons from other related items which no had no funding, meant that our management of the centre where I work had to look hard at the projected incomings for the next year. It wasn’t hard to see that things were going to be tight. After a few months of working through different potential solutions, a restructure was decided on which would make the books balance. (Evan though I’m a council worker, our centre is a self-funding “Traded Service”, so we need to make the books balance) Around 25% of staff would be cut, with the majority coming from the job title that I have.
The past few weeks have been tricky. A couple of months ago we put in application forms for our own jobs, and interviews were this week. I was lucky enough to have good friends to bounce ideas off & threw some sample interview questions at me – and with a few nights planning I headed in armed with pages of notes, application forms, person critera and so on, determined to sell myself as best I could. The 20 min interview stretched for 50 mins, unknown to me til I staggered out at the end.
The interviews carried on with the other 17 of us the next day, and we spent the rest of the week wondering when we’d find out – there was a good chance this wasn’t going to be until early Feb. However, our management made their decision in time to get to the county Redeployment panel yesterday, and we got notification of our feeback times yesterday afternoon. Being our Unison rep, I was to be first in at 9am, with the main bulk of the rest of the people starting at 12 am.

I didn’t really sleep much on Wednesday night, and Thursday I hit the gym late, then found half a bottle of wine which helped, but I was still awake for a while with butterflies gnawing at me. Was I in at 9 so I then had 3 hours to find our I had no job & then compose myself before “Supporting” our Union members? The thought had me in a right mess for a good while. I knew I’d missed some key parts and considered myself pretty borderline.
When I was told that I had a position, I was obviously relieved, and my inner terror ebbed away pretty quickly. I couldn’t feel happy though – I knew that many of my friends were going to find out that they no longer had a job. This day was going to be tricky.
I mailed everyone to let them know that I was there to help out – doing what I thought really should be done. I bought a stack of sugary things at lunch to help break the ice a bit & provide, well, I dunno what, but something for everyone.
This afternoon was terrible. Person after person came from the room, either grabbing their coat and walking out, or breaking down. We had tears, we had people at a total loss for words, and I think we had people expecting it. We evan had people who had still got a place struggling to keep it together as they had become aware that their mates had just lost their job.
Several people who went were suprises to everyone, for a variety of reasons. Few people came to me for help, but when they did I tried to help as best I could – but everyone was in such a state that they really couldn’t take in the advice I had to pass on. I guess with such a mindf*ck, people need some time to get their heads back to one piece.
After everyone had been in & we knew where everyone was, I went and spoke with the Management team, and pushed for the “next” set of interviews due to start on Monday (that some of these people were to be interviewed at) to be pushed back to Friday, giving people more chance to ‘Do themselves justice’. I’m really worried that that wouldn’t happen otherwise if it was kept on Monday, and am not sure how many people we’ll see back in the office.
Those without a job were obviously utterly gutted. Those with a job weren’t exactly happy, but were relieved. However, we were all knocked when one of our collegues popped in on an offchance to see if we were going to the pub. He’s been off sick for a while with a cancer that he’s been taking treatment for. We found out today that although it’s not a done deal, things are not looking too good for him. All of a sudden, people started looking at their own position, realising just how lucky they were. Having a job is one thing, having your health is something very differnet indeed.

It all reminds me of a song that I amended the lyrics for a bit, back in the early 90’s when the factory next door closed down. It’s not quite as specific to that time, but the sentiment is definately there.

So, here’s the song “Courage” by New Model Army.

We walk every morning in silence
Past the school on Redwood Lane
Where the lights went out for the very last time
And they never came on again
The spokesman all shred crocodiles tears
In the glory of the News at Ten
But the proudest eyes are long since dry
And they’re never going to cry again

Ch: Dear Friend, I salute your courage and I toast to your health
And I wish you all the luck in the whole wide world
May you never be broken like they say you will

Waking up sudden from a nightmare – you were walking the line in pain
With a shaven head to the slaughterhouse and you never came back again
But she took me in her arms and she held me
Close tight for a minute or two
And we laughed and smiled and closed our eyes
Slept again thinking of you
And the way that it is, the way that it really is
With the money talking and a scapegoat lover
With the painted face of a scolding mother
And I salute your courage and I toast to your health
And I wish you all the luck in the whole wide world
May you never be broken like they say you will be


Oct 24 2010

New Model Army – 30th Birthday Gigs

Category: home,Musicash @ 1:07 am

Just back from 2 nights of gigs at Nottingham Rock City.  Did both with Creed, drove down after work yesterday, gigged then back to Cov, then a day wandering round DoveDale in the Peak District before drifting back over to Nottingham for the second of the gigs, then back home afterwards.36313638

These were a set of gigs of their 30th anniversary tour.  It’s slightly worrying that after I’d done most of my ‘following’ of the band, I went to the 20th anniversary tour.  Ah, so many gigs.  No idea how many NMA gigs I’ve done over the years, but it’s a lot, I know that much.  And, thankfully, they don’t deteriorate with age!  The latest album’s a bit different, and the lack of Dave on the lead is also different, but they still play damn well.3641

The gigs were similar to the 20th gigs.  2 sets by the band, 1hr of acoustic tunes, then 2 hours of electric.  Best thing was that it was a guaranteed different set each night – awesome.  Rock City’s a bloody great venue – as Justin said “These gigs should have been in Bradford but there’s nowhere to play”.  Great sound, really did justice to the band.

The audience was on form both nights.  Pretty intense the second night – Creed lasted 1 song at teh front before the second elbow in the face sent her to the back, and I found Stu and Neil hiding by the Bar on the 2nd night after s0me hectic times in the crush.3644

The set list was awesome.  Can’t remember half of the tunes, but here’s some memorable bits:

  • Vagabonds, with Ed on fiddle.
  • Space, with Joolz on monalogue.
  • Marrakesh
  • Christian Militia
  • Brave New World 2
  • Courage
  • Brother
  • Bad Old World
  • The Attack
  • Drag it Down
  • Betcha

Plus, all of the standard tunes that we’d expect from an NMA gig.  About half a dozen of the tracks from the new album, but stuff from every other album too.

Bloody awesome.


Oct 19 2010

Pulled from the ashes …

Category: home,Mountaineeringash @ 12:14 pm

After a reasonably well planned weekend went to the wall after everyone I was out with fell ill, I decided to go solo for the weekend.  A night plotting on Friday led me to head for Patterdale on Saturday morning.

Did a solo stomp round the Grizedale valley.  Up the valley then up the zig-zags to contour round to Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday Crag (after picking up the wrong path and wandering round for a bit trying to find the buttress).  Polished off Pinnacle Ridge in about 15-20 mins, then over St Sunday Crag and on to Fairfield.  Down to Grizedale Tarn, then back up over Dollywaggon and over to Helvellyn, then down Striding Edge and back to the car.  A great route, cracking views all the way round.

Saturday night wasover to Poulton in Blackpool for Mac/Gibby/Pierre’s 30th birthday doo.  A great chance to catch up with loads of people – the Sandays, Gassy, the birthday boys, Julie, and many more besides.  An excellent evening, drove over and back, then made the mistake of cracking a beer open when I got back and so staggered to bed at about half 3!

Sunday, quiet morning.  Did some Scouting paperwork/tasks, then off for a run and then over to Rivington with Fitz as she’d not been over there before and was going a bit stir crazy with her latest MS  flare-up.  Went for a bimble (not that long, honest!), then ate fudge, and cake, and drank brews.

Sunday night, off to the Hop Vine for a few beers with Nige, Pam La and Ali D, catching up and talking random crap. 

All in all, a most excellent weekend!


Oct 06 2010

A bit manic

Category: homeash @ 11:03 am

There’s been loads going on.  2 weeks in Chamonix at Chez Pope, a weekend in the lakes on Dow and Fairfield, Dave Ridouts final mission to Pillar Rock and Splash and Dash.

It’s all been great fun, but there’s been so much fun going on I’ve failed to blog enough.  Work on the pretense that all is going rather well at the moment.  Apart from the fact that Pillar (or the Rock), is now the proud owner of one soggy phone.  No idea where that went, but I’m still waiting on a replacement SIM at the moment, so don’t try to ring me for a bit!


Aug 12 2010

No moby

Category: homeash @ 4:32 pm

Be aware that Vodafone have managed to issue and at the same time cancel my mobile phone SIM card – I’ll not be available by moby for the next day or two.


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