Monday, 31 January 2011

Hot Hot Heat

I managed a post work half an hour in the gym this evening on the treadmill and stepper. Then, after a quick shower, went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner. The chef hadn't read my post saying the food in the North isn't as hot as that in the South, and I suspect it was the paneer in an inoccuous looking creamy tomato gravy (Indians call what we think of as curry sauce 'gravy'), that was the main culprit for making my taste buds tingle. The garlic naan was superb again!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Old Monk and A Pair of Brown Eyes

I've been in the hotel bar this evening drinking Old Monk rum. Good stuff it is too

The North

I’m back up in Delhi now. The food here is very different to that found in the South, but more familiar with that found in UK curry houses. Many of the popular dishes served at home are Northern Indian in origin, or to be more specific, Punjabi

I had lunch earlier in the hotel restaurant (I’ve got the day off and lunch looked more attractive than watching Andy Murray lose again in a major final). Amongst other dishes on offer were chicken tikka, pallak paneer, daal makhani and a tasty 'dry' cauliflower dish with lots of finely shredded ginger

Chicken tikka was subtly marinated, moist and perfectly cooked. Pallak paneer was pureed spinach with big chunks of paneer cheese. Daal makhani is one of the classics of Punjabi cuisine. It’s a type of daal made with urad beans. These take a lot of cooking slowly and the dish ends up thick, smooth and the colour of milk chocolate. It usually has good quantities of cream mixed in before serving (Punjabis love dairy products and there are jokes about them churning yoghurt to make lassi in concrete mixers and washing machines)

I was just starting my second plateful of food (there was a buffet) when the waiter asked if I wanted any fresh bread. A minute or two later he returned with fresh tandoori roti (thin wholemeal bread covered in bubbles after cooking in the hot ceramic-lined tandoor oven), and garlic naan. The garlic naan was light (perhaps a quarter of the thickness of the heavy, crashmat thick apologies for bread served at home) and lightly covered in garlic-infused gee (purified butter)

What was meant to be a light lunch (I’m going to the gym in a while) turned into a real feast. How long is it ‘til teatime?


We nipped into McDonald's yesterday for lunch and it reminded me of this. The video is very funny

Saturday, 29 January 2011


I managed to get to the gym in the hotel on Thursday evening. The gym closes at 8.30pm and it was gone 7.30 when I got back from seeing customers, but I did a twenty minute run on the treadmill and thirty minutes on the cross-trainer

After growing up playing on a farm and years spent on the hill mountain biking, running and walking, I find the gym hard work, but needs must and I enjoyed myself on Thursday

I'm moving on to Delhi this evening and have a day off tomorrow so I'll be back in the gym. Even though I tend to think of this indoor work in a similar way to road runners' 'junk miles', it's better than nothing and supplemented with some squats in the room most days (I did 170 before breakfast), and standing around on one leg to aid balance and strengthen my ankles, it's okay and I don’t go home at the end of a trip feeling I’ve lost fitness

Friday, 28 January 2011

That Summer Feeling

A stunning day in Bangalore today reminded me of my favourite song from the I, Jonathan album. I've got a copy somewhere on a cassette, bought many years ago from the now sadly defunct Selectadisc record shop in Nottingham

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Chicken biryani

We had chicken biyani today for lunch. I don't know the name of the restaurant because they didn't have a business card when I asked, but the food was excellent. It made a relatively light but extremely tasty lunch, served on the traditional South Indian banana leaf with cucumber and red onion raita, and a vegetable curry

One of the great things about much Asian food is the quality of the meat. Today's chicken reminded me of the turkey we used to have at Christmas when I was growing up. It had so much more taste than even decent quality  poultry at home. It wasn't filleted either, and cooking meat on the bone like this only adds to the flavour

I'm looking forward to more good food on this trip, especially a masala dosa; a giant rolled up crepe stuffed with potato curry, and served with sambar and green coconut chutney. My mouth has started watering at the thought!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

'The Sweetest Girl'

There's an interesting article in the latest Mojo about Scritti Politti. Green Gartside said he wanted this to sound like Gregory Isaacs meets Kraftwerk. I reckon he wasn't a million miles off

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


I spend around ten weeks per year away from home, travelling on business. At present my main two destinations are Vietnam and India and I'm often asked a) what's it like? and b) do I enjoy the travel?

It's a bit difficult to describe what places in Asia are like. I've been going for over ten years now and it's normal for me. In answer to b), yes I enjoy it immensely. It's tiring and can be very frustrating for all kinds of reasons but I have some amazing experiences I'd never have at home in the UK. I guess it helps if you like Asian food, which I do!

I'm posting this from the Emirates lounge in Dubai airport on my way to India. I'm flying on in two hours time and will probably blog more when I'm there, especially, as for once, I actually have a bit of spare time on this trip

Monday, 24 January 2011


A troubled genius shot down by his own father outside the family home

Bob Graham training

I’m training for the Bob Graham Round again this year and have an attempt planned for June 17. After spending nine months training I was halted by twelve hours of continuous rain and high winds in July last year, managing to get to Great End but ninety minutes or so behind schedule, with no sign of a break in the weather. A hose-pipe ban was announced the day before my run so there was certain inevitability about what happened! Five weeks later I tried again but found it very difficult and bailed out after just two legs. Getting lost in clag coming off Skiddaw in the dark broke my spirits I think. It’s terribly demoralising to find yourself thirty minutes down at the start of leg two in Threlkeld and a bad climb up Clough head after running through Threlkheld virtually without stopping didn’t help. For a back of the pack fell runner like me there is a large amount of luck needed in a successful round and I just didn’t seem to get any during my 2010 attempts

Training has gone well this year so far and I’ve already done the Hardmoors 30 ultra marathon on New Years day as well as increasing my weekly mileage and more importantly, climb. This weekend was the Hebden LDWA challenge event (23miles / 4500+ft) on Saturday and Stanbury Splash fell race yesterday on Penistone Hill near Haworth (7miles / 1200ft). Both events went well as training runs and it was great to catch up with many friends over the weekend. The only sad news was hearing from Alan Greenwood (the organiser of the excellent Hebden) that a fatality had occurred early on in the event. My thoughts go out to the family of the deceased

Friday, 21 January 2011


From the American Graffiti film soundtrack. Reminds me, I must get my DVD back from my friends Dave and Sara

Thursday, 20 January 2011

At last

Welcome to my new blog. After following many excellent blogs over the last few years I've decided finally to have a go myself! I'm not sure what I'm going to write about yet but it's likely to include fell-running, food, music, beer, travel and bird watching