Thursday, 30 July 2009

Mini Goose

Oh, and I forgot to say - congratulations to the Fullwood's who have a bun in the oven!


Nacho 'Chorizo el Chupacabra Paella' Sanchez is no more (until October). I shall miss his boufont demi wave flouncing around the Climbing works, and no doubt so shall many others. Fare thee well young Spaniard chum - how we are supposed to decipher Percy's sequences now? who shall we watch agape as you swing ape like between the volumes, dispensing with your lower limbs altogether?  
I didn't make it to the Pub last night - too late, and too early a morning, so I ducked out of the wall at 2100. Spent the session on the Beastie board, and feel like some progress is being made. I have thoughts of making an Ace simulator, as my pitifully weak left hand will need strengthening before I can entertain notions of success. Still in love with the board - just such hard work to get up it. Now managing to work my way through the easiest of problems such that I have a repetoire (of easy problems to showboat on - have we been here before?).
I think with all boards you need a circuit you can do, for maintenance sessions. Then the difficulty is in knowing when you are languishing in your comfort zone, and when you should be pushing on. If you're not failing, you're not trying.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


People usually resume after a blogging hiatus with some sort of pitiful apology. Not me. I have been in wedding preparation land (9th August is big day), and weather hasn't been amazing, so there's not been loads to write.
The weekend of the 18th, she and I went down to Exmoor for a weekend camping (this is too far for a weekend). We stayed at the marvellous Cloud Farm, which nestles in the Doone Valley - one of rural England's last tranquil spaces (apparently). It was very nice, I can vouch for that. The weather, however, had other ideas. It wasn't fully minky, but it certainly wasn't glorious. Nice area though, the wild ponies on Exmoor are quite incredible. Related to prehistoric horses, they just roam around free to do whatever they want - we nearly mowed one down in the Astra on the way to Lynmouth. Devon for me is all about hedgerows bounding a narrow lane to a whitewashed cottage. Its lovely, and I will always be very fond of it, its just a long way. We went and looked at Ilfracoombe - what a dump. Woolacoombe is quite nice though.
Anyway, since then I have been to the climbing works, rediscovered the genius that is the motherboard and failed on BlueBand again. There's nothing earth shattering here, so you can presumably see why theres been a 'bloggage' in the U Bend.
BlueBand is brilliant. The moves are amazing. Its just so hard! i keep inching a little bit closer with each visit, but although the holds are quite big, they are all slots and pockets (almost), and my fatty sausage fingers will not fit in when they are hot and swollen. Its a great choice of pre-wedding project as the chances of hurting yourself falling off it are almost non-existent.
The other thing I wanted to talk about which has been swimming around in my head is the motherboard. When it first went in I got quite excited about it, but then I hurt a pulley so I gave it a wide berth. Well, that took ages to heal but feels fine now, yet I dismissed the motherboard as being folly in this heat. Not so! in fact its less rapey on the skin than resin, so is probably a good choice in this weather. And also, having to try really hard in bad nic is not so bad from a training point of view. I am keen. Mondays are motherboard.
As I haven't any gossip of my own, so I shall impart what titbits I do know. Spain's ambassador to Sheffield leaves on Thursday. I am quite sad about this because I have come to love him (Nacho). But, I feel sure our paths will cross again. If you are interested we are going to send him off in a raft of Ketamine on Wednesday night. Text someone to find out where. Its not hard to guess.
Supposed to shit it down with rain on Weds. Dave and I hatched a plan to go Rotherwards then back to the pub for Nacho, but if its bad weather I shall make this the first double motherboard session week. Thursday is wedding rehearsal! eek!
Folog is in Font with Lauren. He came over and we did the Rising Sun pub quiz on Sunday. Me and the monster were worried about work so got pissed. Which takes the Sunday night fear away and replaces it with Monday lethargy. Well done Morton.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Pigeon hanger

He takes a mean snap does that pigeon. Here's a link to his full set. But, this one made me laugh, so I thought I would highlight it for my amusement :

Eeeeh, What's up Doc?

Monday, 13 July 2009


My favourite thing to do in the world on a Friday night is to have a walk down to Broomhill (about half an hour), eat at Thyme café, have a beer or two and then walk back and have an early night. Honestly, I love it. It makes me so happy. We are always so tired on Friday night that we need it too. So we did that. Have a nice chat, couple of beers, some nice food, home by 8pm!

Saturday we lay in, and then she was up and off to her hen do in Manchester. Her plan was to start at our friend Liza's, have a barbecue and then into town for cocktails before back to liza's for kareoke. They all sound to have enjoyed it and I got back a tired, but not that dishevelled honey monster yesterday, which to be honest, was a welcome surprise.

I meanwhile, had arranged to go to the Tor with Spain's second ambassador to Sheffield - the mighty Nacho. There was a nice little scene, Vicky, Dale and nacho were in the roof of Ben, Kristian was working on the Mecca repair, Stone was bimbling about jovially and there were some scottish dudes on Sardine. It was oppressively hot. Humidity through the roof. As I finished warming up the crabmaster Haggis arrived, followed soon after by that most deviant of welshmen Doyle.

Relocated to maximise the shade and any chance of breeze, I move camp to the right hand side. Basically, it all feels damp. In spite of what he proclaims as rubbish conditions, Harris manages to do BlueBand, Staminaband and powerband. I shuffle about and try quite hard but ultimately only acheive brusing of the flesh. Nevertheless, i have had a nice afternoon. I head home to an empty house. I wonder about going to the cinema, but given that Dave Parry is going to the beer festival which is literally 200 m from my house, I realise that is the sensible option and wander around at about 2100. Cofe I owe you £2. Some nice beers, some less nice music and some seriously heavy rain. Doyle, Nige, Adam and Keith turn up. We chat, I go to tescos to buy a pie, home to cook it and to watch the end of sniper 2 - (dog5h1t - seriously one of the worst films i have ever seen).

By sunday morning the previous evenings downpour has been forgotten, so I bimble around the house until my tired fiance gets home. We go to Spoilt for Choice on Eccy road. Its a sandwich shop, but a cut above your bacon heavy standard affair. Sit in the botanical gardens to eat, then put her in bed for an hour so she can get up in time for Gimphanger. I wake her up and bundle her in the car. It costs £5 to get in, but its worth it to see the final. Dylog and Lucy, and Dr Pinch are already in situ. I have taken beers in, concealed in my coat as theres no beer festival again. Well missing a trick there Heasonator - I know its something to do with a single person on the committee, but perhaps they could have an 'accident' before next year?!

So, Keith is disappointed, having missed the cut by one point. Dave and Ned are both through. Ned qualified first so will be out last. Dave is out first. He tries valiantly but doesnt get on with a sloping feature. Next out might be Roddy? cant really remember, so lets just cut to the chase - its all about Dave Barrans, Gaz and Ned. Both flash the first two problems, bish bash wallop. Then it gets harder. Here's dave on problem two :

Dave on choad roof

Ned interprets it another way :

So with those two on level points the gear stepped up one, and at this point Gaz dropped out of the running, leaving it up to Barrans and Ned to thrash it out for the title. It was all about the last two problems. Problem 4 - Barrans ruined it - anhiliated the thing - "Get em boys!". Ned steps up, I am sure he is going to do the business, but no, he tries a wack method, fails and has to try again but is struggling, I fear its over for Ned, but he manages to scuttle to the last move - everyone is baying for him to do it but he misses a foot move and falls. Gutted. Doesnt manage to get back there. As Barrans comes out to do the last problem, Ned sits down. If Ned is to win, then Dave cannot do this problem - and he can't! In a world where you want everyone to do well, then you certainly want your friends to do better. I know Dave, climbed with him a few times and I like him and he is straaaang, but Ned is one of my closest climbing friends, and so I want him to do better. Ned comes out. I feel anxious for him - come on Ned - drop the clutch!

Like a torque steering, slightly over powered souped up Astra Ned sets off, completely misses the first hold and is deposited on the mats. Oh no! my dreams are shattered - does this mean Barrans has won? no! Ned presses the Sport button and like Monica Seles he growls and powers his way through the first move - boom! he switches into overdrive and breezes past Barrans high point - now he is on it, there isnt force in the world which could detach the ginger ninja from the wall at this point, the next moves are dispatched with casual aplomb and ned matches the top jug spins around and lets out a war cry! yeaaaahahhahaha! we all go wild - Ned does it! Champ for another year! Here he is on the final problem :

Battle over, we arent completely sure who has won - both have done the same number of problems, but Dave didnt hold the bonus on this last one, whilst Ned did on the one before, so its Ned's - but by a whisker. Dave rushes in to congratulate Nedward :

And finally, here they are accepting their prizes

The rest of the pics are on my FlickR. Went to the tor this morning (at 0730!), it was cool, but still no wind, so didnt make much progress.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Its great to have a project. I like having something on the go, something to absorb those contemplatative moments when your mind wanders. And so the next one is the mighty Blueband. Some will scoff, as this is powerband backwards missing out some of the holds, but the moves are actually really good. Its butch, kind on the skin and close to the ground so can be tried on ones own. I have previously tried it, but always dismissed it as being slightly too hard and my not being able to do any of the moves. Well, last night I went from zero to a bit better than zero. I have a sequence, I did all the moves, and to be honest, it looked like I could move it up to the being doable category fairly soon. I also went on the Bear Claw, which is another tor classic I havent done. This I have to admit is pretty uninspiring, and so I never put the time in. Well, with a bit of Ned psyche I did all the moves last night and I think that one is on too. Delightfully, another one I dont need an army of spotters, pads or even a belayer for. Being so absorbed in wedding planning of late I have missed having a project to get my teeth into. Now I have two.
The Tor was in a fine state last night, and I am delighted to have to retract my 'will Liam leave litter?' question - no is the answer, there were no signs of the Red end boys, so well done Liam for keeping a low profile. I collected Ned from the Works where he had been training and we nattered on the way to the crag. I really felt I enjoyed last nights session there, have been a bit ambivalent of late, but last night my faith was restored. She really is the crag which even after so many visits, still has gems to offer. Actually, this says more that I am a punter and should have tied up these loose ends years ago. Folog joined us later which was nice and that was it.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Pub Job

In the Guardian a couple of weeks ago was a 'Best pub guide', and in
it the entry for Sheffield was the Kelham Island Tavern. Usually, if I
was in that neck of the woods I'd go to the Fat Cat but with this new
knowledge like a feather in my cap, so this was the destination for
the first friday of the month traditional pub outing.

In times past, so every friday and saturday our little band of chums
would meet up and drink beers, and sometimes go out raving etc etc.
Enthusiasm waned, tiredness and homeliness appealed and we all stopped
going. Then one of our number (not me) took the initiative and set up
a recurring Crackbook event to get us to the pub once a month on the
first friday. Its been a good kick up the arse to stop us all from
slothing. I know I am so tired on Fridays that it feels hard at first,
but when I get out its all worth it.

Anyway, this boozer. Very good. Very small inside, but a lovely
trellised beer garden and some nice ales to sample. Farmers Blonde on
tap too. I have a bit of a problem with farmers blonde. I really like
the taste of it, but fairly consistently it seems to give me a
headache. That was Friday.

She and I were up early on Saturday to go to Church, visit the wedding
reception venue and do some other jobs. A busy day ended in the cinema
watching Ice Age 3 - which is palatable, but ultimately empty rubbish.
Still havent seen Star Trek about which I have heard only good things.

Sunday, again its all about the jobs, the house cleaning, the endless
washing etc etc. Drive up to Leeds to see my sister for tea. She has a
new house which she and hubby Andy have bought out in Horsforth. Its
well nice. On a funny sort of crescent road which feels oh so
desperate housewives. House has been previously owned by guy whose
wife died 15 years since, and the absence of the female touch is all
too obvious in the little things around the place. Nothing a bit of
tittivation wont cure.

Last night I was keen to climb again, and it was a good bit cooler.
Headed to the works to meet Dylog and EdRob. Good session, still kinda
warm - ran out of skin and pain threshold before really exhausting
muscles, but it feels like low season for climbing hard at the moment.
Nacho the problem demonstrator is amazing. I love him. I get to abuse
him and he just laughs through it all - I imagine he is plotting some
sort of hideous vengeance involving chorizo. You jump on a problem,
fail, Nacho comes and does it and then you get to follow. And he
manages to do it without being a cock about it. I dont get a 'woo woo
look at me' vibe from him, just a 'I am psyched out of my tiny mind'
vibe of him wanting to climb. Plus, he is captain inspiration.

News that the Copley boys are in situ at Raven Tor reaches my ears.
Whilst this shouldn't be a problem, I feel a bit uneasy about this
whole situation. I am concerned (possibly unfounded) about the leaving
of litter and about them having fires, neither of which may happen -
lets hope not. But my main concern arises out of hearing that locals
and fishermen have already been complaining about the parking
situation, and I cant imagine some dudes camped out in Ben's roof is
going to make things better - not of course, that they are using a
parking space! more that if the locals are already pissed, then this
is fuel to the fires. What I think we have to keep in mind is that we
are privileged to be able to climb at some of these places, and its
best to keep a low key presence where possible. Its not essential that
they stay at the tor - there is an excellent youth hostel within
walking distance, and, the better rested you are, the better climbing
you will do.

Rest of the week looks like this - Wednesday - out somewhere.
Potentially with Folog, Dylog and Edlog. Maybe check this tube place
out? (although I would like to do BlueBand/Staminaband

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Boiling point

There really is no point at the moment. Perhaps if you have either air
conditioning or a cellar board then maybe, but all other options look
a bit desperate. On the way into the Foundry I saw Dan and Rob and
they were amazed I was going in. I'd made my decisions based on the
temp and on reports that the peak was soaked.

Tim confirmed Rubicon was hideous, Rae described a mist of
condensation rising from the lake and unclimbable conditions. Jules
and I had chatted on the text, she was going to try the Tor, but I got
another text later to say that 'in' was the right answer. In spite of
all of this, Dan Walker has posted on UKB saying that WCJ Cornice was
a bit damp but ok.

At the Foundry meanwhile, so much as standing up and walking to the
wall was enough to break a sweat and I only lasted an hour and half
before sheets of skin were rolling off and it all felt desperate. Went
home and sat in the back garden with the monster before walking to the
Norfolk Arms for a pint of shandy.