Monday, October 05, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
The UK has just seen a week of tent shows – probably the biggest trade event of its kind in the World. It leaves the outdoor journalist with bright staring eyes and the sort of nervous tick that manufacturers dread to see. It denotes the death throes of brains overloaded by viewing some 760 tents through a haze of alcohol. The softened synapses reach a state of apathy and you cannot be held responsible for your actions.
First day and more than 100 tents viewed. Time for a night out in Royal Leamington Spa – my hometown. It’s a wonderful example of Georgian buildings and Victorian spa. There have been Garretts here for hundreds of years. But, like most Leamingtonian families, we have been drowned out by corporate out of towners who have wheedled their way in with Machiavellian tongues.
But it is still my town and I aimed to enjoy a night out with Nick Harding and John Traynor. As usual John’s delightful wife Fran kept a firm hand on the proceedings, ensuring the men misbehaved by delivering quick verbal rabbit punches if the conversation slackened.
We ended up at a sophisticated back street Italian for dinner. Good food washed down by beer, red wine and sambuca – a powerful mix designed with Editors in mind. After a hard day you have that buzz akin to a syringe full of adrenaline pumped into the chest via a three-inch needle. You need something to remove the edge.
And that was when I was mugged. The bill came while the conversation flowed. It was timed perfectly. Little to no thought just the credit card submitted. Looked right but missed that little bit at the bottom about applying an optional service charge of £13.
I’m now doing my expenses and cursing. What has happened to honour amongst thieves?
Friday, September 04, 2009
Correct me if I am wrong but the miles of flags now snaking their way up Kinder were taken from demolished Victorian factory floors. This is a superb piece of recycling and it really blends in nicely with the countryside. And it also provides hours of fun as you participate in the new wet-weather sport of downhill slalom.
You see, these flagstones are all very well and good on the flat but they are bloody lethal on the descent if there is a little water on them. A recent encounter saw me execute a beautiful double pirouette that took in a ten-metre slide and took out half a dozen ramblers. So full marks for grace but little to show for the slalom…
Rocks are slippery in the wet. But they are also broken and uneven. This little grip provides all the difference between a red face and a comfortable walk. Perhaps crazy paving would be a better idea?
Monday, August 31, 2009
So, over the hill and parked up on the 625. Then a quick traipse over Colborne Moor, Brow Knoll, up onto Kinder Low to the Downfall.
What a day. Haven’t felt so good in a long while. Must be too much sailing and not enough hill-walking. Gliding over bog and skipping down rocks like a goat on coke. Wonderful stuff – the Bastard was back…
Even had time to scoff at people up to their waists in bog and to wish for a bit of clag so that I could get the map and compass out. And, boy did I get it.
The cloud came down at the Downfall. I decided to beat a hasty retreat. By the time I reached Brown Knoll visibility was down to around 100ft. But going well and enjoying the navigation exercise. Onto Colborne Moor – now here is a bleak place when the cloud is down. But things were going smoothly…
…then God took a sideways look and put a bog under my feet…
…you feel a right twat when you run full pelt into a marsh and disappear up to your arse in foul smelling goo. Even worse when the momentum buries your upper half face first. I threw myself backwards to stop myself sinking further then, with water wicking through skiddies and tee, squirmed around like a land-locked seal for a further minute or so to extract myself. Even my jacket pockets filled with turf.
Stripped off and wrung out the water – the mud would have to take care of itself. By this time it was raining hard so much got washed off. I beat the retreat back to the car where I stripped for the second time and got into a spare pair of waterproofs. I did the drive back to Lincolnshire hoping that I would not have to take a comfort stop…
…and that, yer ‘onour, is why I weren’t wearing nothing under my jacket when stopped!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Serenity needs some new sails so if anyone who reads this knows of any... Meanwhile, I've got some old Wayfarer sails that should fit.
Pat has just passed her RYA Powerboat 1&2. Not, I hasten to add, in our Vivacity.
Can I change this? Probably not. But what I will do is post some of the tests and reviews of outdoor gear that I have written for UK magazines. After first publication the words and images revert back to me so I can do what I want with them. I'll post them here as I supplied them to the magazines. I might even add a few comments that I wouldn't think of putting in the original feature...
Let's see how it goes.