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2020 – A Good Year for the Roses…

2019 was a year of death, cancellations and accidents, so I hoped for a more relaxing and rewarding 2020.  It certainly started with a bang as during the 2019 Kendal Mountain Festival, I was asked to don my best Edwardian Mountaineering Tweeds and marry two friends in the Lake District.  Surely enough on January 18th, I stood before Tom and Emily in Sticklebarn and pronounced them Husband and Wife.  I felt extremely honoured to be asked and we all enjoyed a wonderful weekend under sunny skies in Langdale.  2020 was off with a bang..!

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Forever Autumn…

The Earths continual pitch has placed us into Autumn – to me, one of the most beautiful times of the year.  The moors burst into bright purples and the trees slowly turn to reds, yellows and browns.  Leaves rain down in the freshening winds and the nights draw in.  Morning dew settles upon the grass as the evenings chill becomes more apparent.  Autumn signals the slow end to a year I suspect many people would rather forget.  Many lives lost, families forced apart and plans either cancelled or indefinitely put on hold.  COVID-19 has changed our lives for the future, but I don’t think we should sit in the doldrums.  Every Autumn brings change before the grip of winter takes hold and I love that change…

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On Days Like These…

I adore the Dolomites.  For over a decade, I have walked, climbed and skied amongst them, gained wonderful memories and many great friends.  COVID cancelled a planned ski trip in March, but now that restrictions have eased, I couldn’t resist a visit.

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The McKinley Diaries – 21 Years On…

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be recording daily video logs about the fateful expedition to climb Mt McKinley in Alaska. April 30th 2020 will be the 21st anniversary of the adventures start. Using original images, equipment and reading from my mountain diary, I’d like to share my experiences, feelings and emotions from this life changing time in my life…

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Control…

Due to the present COVID-19 outbreak, we’re all under Central Government Control. Control is a subject I’ve been discussing with my close friend Helen Davies for a while, so by the power of the internet, we’ve maintained #socialdistancing and brought our ideas together. Before we get started, here’s an introduction from Helen…

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The Power of Words…

“Sticks and Stones Will Break my Bones, but Words will Never Hurt Me’ is a phrase which many of us grew up with as children, but is it true?  I wonder if anyone reading this has never been hurt by words?  I believe that words have the ability to convey beauty and love, but also horror and hate.  I’d advise you say what you mean and mean what you say…

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2019 – Exemplo Ducemus

What a year 2019 was, or wasn’t.  The first time I missed a Scottish winter for 20 years, a trip to Africa cancelled at the last minute, a climb in India scrapped because of lack of interest and a cycling trip to SE Asia cancelled because of injury.  For some just that would be disastrous enough, but all those setbacks paled into insignificance on March 20th as, out of the blue, I lost my Dad.  The literary world is strewn with poetry, prose and paragraph about death, but no words can describe the feelings of loss I had and still have.  I’m happy that he left us peacefully, with his loving family around him.  He felt no pain or suffering and I thank God for that. Only the night before, he’d been on top form, laughing and joking with me at a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Presentation.  It was a striking lesson in living every day of your life to the fullest of your abilities.

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The Kendal Mountain Festival 2019 – Friends will be Friends

The run up to Kendal is always busy, so this year I decided to spend as much time as possible in Hospital to shield me from the chaos.  Actually, I’d been knocked off my bike by a car and was nursing some rather stiff joints.  Serious care, rest and drinking would be required over the festival weekend if I was to make it through…

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Shout…

It’s been a while since I posted a blog.  The loss of my Father has put many of life’s (so called) priorities into stark perspective.  Caring for my Mother takes up much of my time, but with family support I still get out into the hills.  I reflect more, stare more, say less and await the grieving to come.  I’m a rather stoic old Englishman, with far too much stiff upper lip and not enough heart to easily let go – for now anyway.  Real life has put the virtual world in its place, but it sometimes still intrudes…

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You Lift Me Up…

Imagine a scene.  A woman walks into a bar and orders a drink.  A father and son are sat at a table and upon seeing the woman remark ‘ I wonder what she’s wearing underneath her skirt..?’  They quietly discuss who is going to find out.  As the woman is receiving her drink, she feels her skirt being lifted and hears words of disappointment from the men as they realise they have been discovered.  What’s going through your mind at this moment..?  I would hope shock, horror and disgust.  In my experience this would be seen as highly offensive, possible assault and deserving of immediate action.

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Heal the Pain…

For over a year, I’ve been struggling with the nerves in my right arm.  After many appointments, tests and opinions, I recently underwent surgery on my Ulna Nerve in an attempt to heal the pain.  It’s too early to know whether it was worth getting my 26th scar, but time will tell…

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Racing for the Bottom…

Thousands of years of schooling, learning and education should have provided society with the most intellectual humans ever seen.  The philosophy of ancient Greece, the mathematics of Babylonia and the nuclear science of CERN should make us superbly intelligent.  So why do we choose to ignore them..?  It’s because we race for the simplest way or the lowest common denominator…

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Time After Time…

The phrase ‘Work Life Balance’ has been banded around since the 1980’s.  Then the Yuppie generation armed with brick sized mobile telephones and Filofaxes worked until they dropped, stood up and worked some more.  It was a time of overbearing pressure all in the name of money.  ‘Work hard and you can buy your time back’ was a phrase I once heard at a speaking conference from a sharp suited, tanned and trained presenter.  I’ve heard some ridiculous things in my time, but this must take the prize.  The inference was to make a fortune by 40 and then retire, no doubt with an ulcer or two and a heart problem.  The moment we become able to buy time as a commodity, is the time we should stop the world and get off…

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