No apologies for the length of time it’s taken to update the website; I’m not even sure anyone reads it anymore! Been a busy time including several weeks of a downer, which I’m happy to say I’m coming out of quite nicely now. So happenins has been the last thing on my mind, frankly. But there have been happenins! Read on…
Last post, I spoke of my Three Peaks adventure, which my sister Kathy joined me on. It was a laugh, but quite tiring as usual – and I had to cry off the Scafell Pike climb due to a recurrence of the old familiar knee problem. But it wasn’t as bad as last year’s, which proves that my gym sessions have had some effect. Must go back to the gym one of these days…
Our hire car for the Peaks wasn’t available on the day, so they upgraded us to a Nissan X-Trail. Much to my horror, but it actually turned out to be a brilliant car! My take on 4x4s has forever been subtly altered. So the driving was pretty good, apart from the twisty bits around the Lake District which threw it slightly out of shape – but again, not as much as anticipated. All good.
Driving up to Ben Nevis, we encountered the prelude to the Scottish weather when we hit downpours the far side of Glasgow and discovered the joys of aquaplaning on a dual carriageway while the windscreen was obscured by a tidal wave thrown up by the wheels. Only for a couple of seconds, but quite scary. Arriving at Fort William, we were a little nonplussed to see that cloud cover was at about 2-300 metres, and all we could do was hope for a better day on the morrow.
Fat chance. The day dawned cloudy and grey, but dry. We set off up the path, and within an hour were engulfed in cloud. Meanwhile, the wind gusted up to 40mph and rain trickled. On the latter part of the climb, what this meant was climbing up the path in one direction with the wind at our backs, then turning for the next section with wind in our faces. Driving stinging rain into them. Nice. We got there in the end, though, and could barely see a thing. So back down, escorting one of our Three Peakers who ended up injuring her knee and limping to the finish in a melancholy state – I firmly advised her not to trek the following day. But Kathy bounced up and down the mountain, and wasn’t at all deterred by the complete and utter lack of scenery – something that bitterly disappointed me. To be honest, I can’t see the point of climbing it if you can’t see what you’re climbing above – unless of course it’s your first time, and that’s where the challenge lies. So fair play to the crew who all made it up and down; you’ve done Nevis!
I sat out Scafell Pike, as I say, and spent the morning in the hostel with a couple of the ladies who were suffering with injuries from Nevis. The crew made it up and down in better conditions than the previous day, although the winds were quite stiff at the top. On we went to Snowdon, and finally – a clear day! This time I went for it and got into my stride, barging to the top before almost everyone else. A quick cuppa at the visitors’ centre at the top, then back down. The skies cleared, and I got some decent photos on the way down – and this time, I didn’t need to resort to the mountain railway. Another victory. So overall, it was a good trip – Kathy did all three mountains and loved it, and I managed two of them. I swore I wouldn’t do the Three Peaks again, but as time goes by and the memories fade, I think maybe, just maybe….
So on to September, and my birthday present from Fiona: a business-class trip to New York, and my first ever trip to the US! I have to say, NY is a cracking city, and I wouldn’t mind going there again – but I think I’ve been spoiled by the business-class side of it. Now I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fly economy for seven hours, having experienced the luxury of the lie-flat seat. We stayed in Manhattan and did the full-on tourist trail, starting with a trip to the top of the Rockefeller Centre to take snaps of the skyline by sunset. Very cool. The following day was the downtown bus tour, narrated by a sardonic tour guide who kept us all entertained as well as educating us on the history and architecture of the city. The uptown tour was the next day after that. We got some shopping in; I bought jeans and trainers (what else!), while Fi stocked up on all her high-fashion items. We dined at Gordon Ramsay’s place, Maze at the London NYC, which was pretty cool. The hotel we stayed in had an executive lounge, which pretty much meant breakfast and lunch were catered for as well as evening drinks before going out – excellent stuff! We were ferried from the airport to the hotel and back again by an excellent chauffeur service, and the whole experience was superb. Needless to say, I took a multitude of photographs, and at some point I’ll upload them to the gallery – promise!
Back to the UK, and the depression that had been gathering over the previous couple of weeks dropped onto me. Added to which I acquired a dose of some kind of cold/virus/man-flu that laid me low for a couple of weeks. So I wasn’t a happy bunny throughout September; meeting up with my good pal Julien, he diagnosed me as clinically depressed. Which didn’t exactly cheer me up, but somehow put a focus onto it and pointed me in the direction of the exit. So I’m in much better shape now, and can only attribute the downer to a modicum of pre-natal stress. Which guys get too, you know – honest!
Meanwhile, I’ve been introduced to the trauma that is the weekly NCT class. This is where men are dragged in various states of unwillingness by their partners, to learn in excruciating detail what childbirth and the final stages of pregnancy are all about. In fairness, I’m reasonably well-educated in all of this, but occasionally I’ll learn something interesting that keeps me awake. So it must be worth it. Only three weeks of it to go now – I’m counting the minutes.
Last weekend we went to our friends Vikki and Jon’s post-wedding party in Norwich – they got married in Las Vegas, so they decided to have a ‘wedding lite’ in the UK. And a good night was had, with a hog roast laid on and casino tables around the room to recreate the Vegas vibe. I actually managed not to get totally plastered (I must be growing up!), so a good night as well as a good morning after were had. I see my future, and it’s largely sober…
So we’re into the last 8-9 weeks of expecting, after which it’ll be actual and ongoing. I’m looking forward to meeting the little mite that’s been kicking seven shades of sh** out of her mother’s insides for the past month or so, and no doubt I’ll be getting my fair share then. Our neighbour across the street, Louise, popped in last week with her baby boy Callum, and I had a chance to practice delicately holding him (only 5 weeks, at this stage!). As with all these things, initially scary – but then he fell asleep on my shoulder, so that’s all good then. If the same trick works with our version, I can see that shoulder being much in demand!
So enough chatting; there’s work to be done and I’ve got to do it. Chat to y’all soon, no doubt.