Reviewing 2012…

Terra-Nova

Where do I start?  So much has happened during the past year, and I don’t want to miss anything.  Good job I’m an avid diary writer…

My year began with a bathroom in bits and me covered in nonails (but you don’t need to know about that!)  It was swiftly followed by a weeks skiing in the Austrian Alps with the ATSA and a few days climbing in the Cairngorms of Scotland.  I’m neither a great skier or climber, but I thoroughly love doing them both.  I find this love the entire point for my adventures.  If we don’t enjoy doing something, then why are we doing it..?  As Samuel Butler once said ‘All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it’.  I’ll talk about this more during 2013…

Cairgorm-Sunset

The Derbyshire tradition of Shrovetide Football had me chasing around the streets of Ashbourne, trying to stop my 73 year old mother from joining in.  Her eyesight isn’t the best, so she insists on getting close to the action to see what’s happening.  The problem is that this is a very fast changing game and I don’t want to have to carry her home in pieces..!  I brought her a Kindle for Christmas to help her eyes, so all I have to do now is get past her technophobia…

Visiting Brazil was a highpoint of the year.  I’m not going to go into detail here and I wrote three blogs about the trip, but I can highly recommend a visit.  Michael Palin’s BBC series explored more than I ever could (but he has a full budget and camera crew), yet I truly loved this huge, ever changing country.  I visited good friends, made new ones and would like to return soon…

Surgery then took over my life for the next month.  It’s over thirteen years since I suffered severe frostbite, and my right foot was suffering.  Many sessions of podiatry had been spent digging the front of my foot out with a scalpal, but there does come a point when even the toughest ask for anaesthetic..!  In only a few  minutes my foot was duly numbed, sliced and bandaged, and off on my crutches I went.  Thankfully I’m used to hobbling on crutches, but four weeks enforced inactivity is hard for someone like me.  Still, I had plenty of reading to catch up on, friends visiting and writing to do, that the time seemed to pass swiftly by.  I hear people moaning about life when it takes a different turn, but I used the time positively and became a victor, not a victim.  I’ll be talking more about this too in 2013…

Summer came, but I did little climbing as my foot was still smarting from surgery.  That didn’t stop me speaking across the UK and I worked hard at my technique with new ideas and new material.  Getting gigs still wasn’t easy, particularly when I was (and still am) in full time employment and balancing my time on a tightrope.

The Queens Diamond Jubilee saw millions of people celebrating, myself included.  I’ve always been a royalist and remember the 1977 Silver Jubilee well.  Yes, I still have the photos, and no you’re not seeing them..!

My climbing highlight of 2012 came during August when I summited Mt. Elbrus in the Caucuses of Russia.  Climbing on the mountain was excellent enough, but it was the people that I climbed with that made the trip what it was, particularly Dave Padgen.  The team bonded quickly and laughed all the way up the mountain and down again. Here’s the blog I wrote…

Seated-Volleyball

On the way home I managed to drop into the Paralympics Games in London.  The ExCel Centre was packed with thousand of smiling people, all amazed at the sporting feats of the athletes.  I have never seen so many happy people in one place.  If only we could hold that thought into 2013 and beyond…

Things then took a huge change, as I lectured on Electrical Engineering solidly until the end of the year.  I called it ‘The Presenting Marathon’ as with hardly a break I taught over 400 Engineers, at only six a day.  The hardest part was talking about the same subject day on day.  It’s very easy to get bored, but I made every course just a little different to preserve my sanity.  The marathon goes on and will not reach completion until mid January, but more about that in 2013…

I did take one break during November, presenting at the Kendal Mountain Festival (if you can call 4 days of non stop work a break!!!)  Some say that a change is as good as a rest, and I agree.  A new set of faces, a subject matter that I love, lots of friends and of course, copious amounts of laughter made the four days fly by.  Behind the scenes, it’s hard work, but worth every minute.  See you there next year I hope..?

Quite out of the blue, I was contacted by Nicola Harris – a Derbyshire film maker, who wanted to make a piece about my Mt. McKinley epic.  We’ve spent the last few weeks planning and filming in the UK.  The piece should be out in January 2013 and I cant wait to see the result.

I spent Christmas quietly with my family and turned myself off from the digital world.  I’ve not missed the huge numbers of automated tweets and relentless facebook goings on one bit.  By the way, here’s the joke from my sisters Christmas Cracker…

Frostbite

So that was 2012.  May I wish you all an peaceful and prosperous 2013 and may your heart be filled with adventure…

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