May 23 2008

The list goes on …

Category: homeash @ 3:13 pm

And now the brother has driven over the mothers foot, and bust a big toe.

May 22 2008

2 days down, and Belgium approaches

Category: homeash @ 9:50 pm

Everything sorted with the Nan’s funeral now.  A slight time change today, but set at 3pm on Mon 16th June, Southport Crem, with a wake here afterwards.  It’s pretty much dates in the diary, and that gives the parents a week after they get back before the funeral, so we should be able to sort most stuff between ourselves.

Had the District AGM last night which helped, got to see a lot of Scouting friends which gave a welcome distraction.  Got awarded with the good service badge which was cool, awarded by Carl , which made it a lot more meaningful.

Back at work today, which was hard.  Jake’d been fending everyone off my diary at work, which saved a lot of hassle.  Just did a couple of station installs and then an audit of a school that’s going through a merger in summer.  Didn’t have to talk to many people which was good, not really up for that yet.

However, I’m on the phones all day tomorrow.  Fingers crossed it’s an easy one.  It’s the day before the half term so most people should be doing little on their pc – hopefully a quiet day.  And then off to Belgium for 10 days.  Which will be manic, but calm at points, and if the weathers good I’ll get stacks of climbing in (prays to the Gods).  Will be a little less … lonley than it’s been over the last few days.  The parents’ cats are good company, but there’s a limit.  Nice to get lots of words of support from people though.  However, it’s always at the wrong times when the quietness is deafening.

Looking forward to warm rock, good views, good music and then Skye & Glencoe afterwards.

May 20 2008

A sad day

Category: homeash @ 11:16 pm

Nan passed away this morning.  I was down with her last evening for about 3 hours as she was feeling very rough – in a lot of pain – particularly when moved.  High morphine dose to try to relieve the pain for her.  She was fine when asleep, but very agitated when awake.  Luckily the morphine managed to help her sleep.

Got a call from the home at 04:15 – was there about 5 mins afterwards.  Sat with her for the final 45 mins – she finally passed away in her sleep at about 05:15.  Stayed with her for a while, and then waited for the on-call Doc to come out at about 06:15, then headed home.

Have spent the day dealing with funeral homes, ringing people, collecting paperwork, trying to get some kip, and getting a great many emails, calls and text messages from people with messages of condolence and support.  Cheers everyone, it is making a difference.  Had chance to grab food at Fitz & Ricko’s new place which took some pressure off, then a facebook chat with Heather for half an hour where I managed to empty my head- feeling a lot better now.

Tomorrow, more of the same … Registrar appt.

May 18 2008

Many, many places. But Crags, and the Prodigy.

Category: Mountaineering,Musicash @ 10:36 pm

A ‘quietish’ weekend I thought.  At least, no mountains.

Friday took me to Gradbach Scout Camp, not far from Leek in the Peak (that rhymes, and you KNOW it does) to help Caroline McCann and a bunch of her fellow Scafellians run a Climbing Course for GME Scouts.  Met the other leaders, had a bimble round the site (VERY nice, stunning area, authentic Green Field too!) did the obligitory drinking of booze and so on. 

Sat morning we sorted the kids out & then made over to the Roaches to rig up a set of climbs.  Spent all day moving between a few different areas, keeping the kids doing stuff and trying to ignore the fact that it was raining and making the rock as greasy as hell.  Come 5.30 we were done, and off’d to the cars.  Bade my farewells to the new group of friends, then headed south through Leek, Ashford (possibly), Burton, Nuneaton, and other places (including Twycross Zoo & The Battle of Bosworth areas – both stomping grounds for the family when I was pre 12 & living in Leicester), then down to Coventry to meet up with Creed.  Mark was out dutifully doing the buying from the chippery, then we ate and did a wee bit of catching up, before I ran aweay upstairs and fell asleep for 2 hours (it had been a LONG day thus far).

Creed woke me at half 10 that night, and I re-dressed into gig wear and we drove to Birmingham, getting into the Rainbow Warehouse venue at about midnight.  After a beer and a bit of shouting into each others ear’oles eventually the Prodigy did come on.  And lo, we did bop like maniacs.  Gig was a bit wierd, sound was off & crowd were well chemicalled up, so we spent an hour avoiding the more spaced people and ended up in the mosh.  A mosh to the Prodigy.  Put on my bestest skills as learned from NMA gigs and boogied at the same time.   Set was excellent, but only an hour long -no encores.  Very wierd, we went to the bar expecting a second set & then I noticed that the stage was being taken down.  The gig was promoted as a limited ticket pre-festival warm up, so I guess they were just doing the festival set.  Big crap really, but still a good night.  Got back to hers about 03:15 ish.

Up at 10 Sunday morning, ate & chilled with the couple & the Ring for a while before bidding them farewell and heading North East (after the obligatory Go Outdoors shop-fest, although only bought a knock-off Prana wicking T for £20).  A couple of hours later I was at Stanage Edge in reasonable weather, wandering around looking for a familar face.  Bumped into Lucy the Willmott, a familar face but an unexpected one, who was well & out playing.  10 mins later I’d found Heather Swift & her 2 compadre’s.  2nded the VS that she was on, then we did a S, and a couple of HS routes.  Nice and straightforward … was thinking about a VS 4c when realised it was 6pm.  Sorted kit, ran back to the main car park, drove to Hathersage for a pint o’coke and a chill with Heather and her mates, then bade farewells and up over the Snake Pass & Motorway hopping all the way back.  Round to the parents – they’re off to see Rich 2moro for 3 weeks (well, a 3 week Australasia tour), so am now in cat-sit mode from tomorrow night.  Trying to work out what needs to be done in the next 4 days before Belgium and with life.  Busy busy busy.

May 11 2008

A Swift trip to Llanberis

Category: Mountaineeringash @ 10:59 pm

One most excellent mountaineering weekend, inflicting myself on a new group of unexpecting people.  After work on Fri I drove down to Whalley Bridge, just north of Buxton to meet up with Heather Swift – a mate met through Dave J and Tracey on a drunken evening last Novemberish.  She’d invited me down onto a Merseyside Mountaineering Club meet in Wales & I’d agreed to pick her up on the way.  So, at 8pm, after being fed by her ma & gran on their stunningly beautiful farm, I found myself in an auditorium full of the local farming community, watching an evenings entertainment put on by the local “Young Farmers” group.  They’d recently missed out going to the regional finals for their annual competition, so this was a performance for the local area & supporters.

A bit of a mad night, wasn’t quite sure what to expect, which was for the best as it was utterly bizzare, but very, very well put together.  Some excellent acts, including Heather doing a solo reworked version of “American Pie” giving a sturdy dig in the side at the state of the British Farming & the mismanagement by DEFRA, and a cracking version of Hard Knock Life.

Left there at about 10 … ish, needing to get to Llanberis and do a food shop for a stack of people.  Miles later, we’d done both and got to the cottage at about midnight.  Several wobbly staggers between the car and the cottage later (we had a lot of stuff!), and we were sorted.  Drank dodgy booze and taught Heather most of Blackbird by the Beatles, staggered to bed around 3am.

Woke at half 5 cursing the non-existent curtains.  After a while in a stiflingly hot bag, we all got up, did breakfast , met the other 5 people from MMC that were there (including a guy who works with Dave White & knows Len from BT days), sussed out options for the day then raced off for the hill, me and Heather on a mission to climb on Glyder Fach.


After a stomp in to build up a sweat (and selected bouts of partial nudity) we got to the crag & I did the first pitch, to the bottom of a chimney variant (VS) of the HS route that we were on (Direct Route).  As I’d never climbed that hard on a mountain route, I let Heather have the fun leading that & then thrutched up it after her with our combined rucsac.  We swopped the lead & Heather finished on the 4th pitch up a rather wet and minging Winter Finish.  Avoid the last pitch!  The rest of the route was utterly awesome! 

1143  1152

We scrambled to the top on sound rock, then took in the top of Glyder Fawr with the rest of the walkers, then descended by Bristley Ridge to the Col, then ran away down to the cottage.


Victory ice creams were consumed, then back to the MMC hut to make a start on dinner.  After gaining access to the hut *ahem* we had a quick scrub then we played some tunes until the others arrived, and then made a start on dinner.  This was created, served, consumed and reflected upon, then beers were drunk, the guitars came out and songs were sung. With gusto and enthusiasm from some of the MMC members!  Top guys, some with excellent voices too.  A seperate member with a couple of mates arrived later – one of which was damn good on the guitar & whilst I was playing a bit of acoustic Metallica he came in with the appropriate accompaniment … we spent a happy 20 mins playing tunes with each other – fantastic!

One by one people crashed and burned, till me and Mark were up drinking single Malt and my internal bedtime alarm started ringing.  Staggered to the pit.

Sunday – excellent weather again.  We breakfasted, packed and cleaned a few bits up – a couple of the MMC guys volunteered to deal with the hut, allowing us to escape to the hill.  Drove round to Ogwyn, then headed up to the East face on Tryfan.  Was a bit warm, we build a ‘bit’ of a sweat up.


We were heading for Belle Vue Bastion (VS ***), a 2 pitch route high up on the crag.  We used the North Buttress V Diff route to get to it – a VERY committing cornerpiece for the first pitch which I’m bloody glad Heather led, then a couple of easier bits got us to the Terrace from where our route started.  Two pitches, one harder, the other more photogenic.  I was slightly aware that Heather wanted the photogenic pitch, and I was well up for trying the harder pitch – 4c technical, being the hardest thing I’d led on a mountain route.

After a wee bit of faffing trying to suss out where it was, I got up it & made the crux move easy enough, being quite glad that I wasn’t carrying the rucsac whilst leading this.  However, the constant (and increasing amount of) thunder was getting a bit portentous.  Huge big bloody booms echoing round the valley just when I was doing the tricky bit didn’t help matters! An awesome aspect, great rock, warm day and great company – things were going well! Heather came up to the belay, making the occasional comment about “never EVER climbing with anyone elses rucsac EVER EVER EVER”.  Mental note for the future there!

She led the next pitch easy enough, I obliged and did the photie thing:

1146  1149

After this we were at the top – then ran away before the weather caught us! After a stop to consume victory Battenburg (not Battered Bergs), in honour of the route. On the way down Heather spotted a natural cave, so we hid in that whilst it pissed it down until it stopped, where we left our shelter and obviously 5 mins later we were sopping wet in very warm thundery rain.

Back at the car for about half 4  – a sort of kit, drive back & dropping of Heather at Manchester Airport at the bus station was done before turning North and heading back home.

Now full of curry, shattered, car full of stuff that I can’t quite face dealing with at the moment, and a desperate need for sleep.  A top weekend with a cool set of new contacts from the Merseyside Mountaineering Club, the hardest and bestest UK mountain routes I’ve ever done, and an opportunity to spend some time with a very, very cool young lady.  Who is going to be castrating lambs this week.  It’s nice to have a life with variety in it!

May 06 2008

Welsh Meet 2008

Category: Mountaineering,Scoutingash @ 11:08 pm

Fantastic weekend, very tired now.  Lots of people, lots of vaired weather (as ever!), but managed to get a multi-pitch climb in every day!

Got down after work on Friday.  Tried to get Milestone Direct in before it went dark.  “Nearly”.  Ended up at a polished corner with very little light, but enough to see a stream running down all the veyr polished footholds.  Ran away.

Saturday forecast was a bit wrong so charged over to Cader Idris.  A long drive, but worth it, cracking horseshoe walk, big chunks of rock to climb on too.  Did the ice cream thing in the town, then back to the site.  Sun cracking the flags (well, turf), so me and Matt legged over to Gribin Facet to do a 2 pitch Severe (Zig Zag) in the evening sun.  Got it in, then ran (again) back to the car, drove to Bangor, met the rest, curry.  Back to site after 11 to drink beer and push Smiler out of the ditch that he reversed his car into about 1km away (never follow a Tomtom in wales).

Sunday, forecast grim again but decided to try for something.  Me and Geoff did Charity in spitting rain until the heavens burst when we were at the dodgy descent off the Slabs.  Soaked to … well, everywhere, we decided the bestest thing to do would be to get drunk.  So we ditched the car, ditched the gear, blagged a lift to the pub and did that very thing, next to the fire.  Nicely dry when we left many hours later!

Monday, awesome weather.  Woke in the furnace of the tent at 0700 and started getting my stuff together (THAT good!).  Me and Martin went and re-did Charity, then Lazarus, skipped continuation wall but headed over to the Grey slabs.  Managed some fantastically poor route finding (think we were on utterly the wrong buttress), so did a potentially new route that was about 300m long, about vdiff (mostly due to the worrying looseness of the rock and gardening), but great fun.  On de-kitting at the top we had a guess at the time … slightly amiss in that it was 1830!  Back at the cottage an hour later to desperatly drink water and eat something!  Hit the nightmare of A55 traffic and got home about 11.  Top, Top weekend.  More than a tad burned now!

May 01 2008

Wot a week!

Category: home,Scoutingash @ 10:35 pm

All a bit mental.  In no particular order:

  • Got a sore arse
  • Got about a billion letters.
  • Got to start planning two very different but very ‘fun’ events.
  • Got told I was getting the Cheif Scouts Commendation for Good Service
  • Visited Gilwell Park for about 2 hours then got driven home
  • Did an Aldi shop
  • Got told “it’s only a matter of time” for the Gran.

All very, very bizarre.