Friday, 29 July 2011

Thoughts from Dhaka airport

I'm back in Dhaka airport waiting for my flight home via Dubai. The week has been the usual rollercoaster of emotions. More ups and downs, frustrations but some memorable meetings with lovely, kind and generous folk. It's around ten years now since my first overseas business trip and I love the way of life but sometimes hate it. However, I don't think I'd do anything different; I'm a lifer I guess

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Chicken tikka

A trip to South Asia wouldn't be complete for me without sampling chicken tikka. I ordered it last night in the hotel restaurant and was told, 'it takes a bit of time; maybe 40minutes'. Anyway about three-quarters of an hour later I noticed a waiter walk past with a tell-tale brown paper carrier bag. The chicken tikka was bought in from a local take-away, or at least another restaurant! Anyway it was quite good; the meat was moist and the portion a decent size, albeit a bit spicy for me. The daal I had with it was extremely fiery too. My only problem was the restaurant does not serve alcohol so there was no rum and coke to go with it 

One for Daddy-O

A few years ago I worked with a guy called Keith Cockett who loves jazz and who pointed me in the right direction when I wanted to learn a bit more about it. This is from one of the classic Blue Note recordings made in 1958 and featuring Miles Davis on trumpet. Many of these Blue Note albums are available to buy on-line for a few quid and I ought to get round to buying some more

Monday, 25 July 2011

Home from home

It always amazes me how soon you can get used to being away from home. Two nights ago I didn't like this hotel at all and now my room feels kind of like home

We've had two long (14 hour) days but our meetings with prospective customers have been very amicable (Bengalis are noted for their warm nature and hospitality) and we've made some real progress with business. The weather has been mostly great in spite of it being the rainy season and it's been lovely to get out into the countryside in the car on  the way to customers and see parts of the country I haven't seen before

Cabaret Voltaire

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Saturday night in Dhaka

After setting off from home to Manchester airport before 4pm on Friday I got to my hotel in Dhaka around 10pm last night. The first room I was given was small and dark but thankfully I managed to get a move to a slightly better one. The bar in the hotel is very basic, there's no kettle in the room and I'm still to see what breakfast is like (it's 7-30am here now) but I think I can about manage for a week

Radisson has a great hotel here, but it's now around 300 US dollars per night, which is prohibitively expensive. The Regency, where I stayed recently, is decent and much cheaper but at the wrong end of town for seeing customers. I'm going to have to find a reasonable alternative because business trips to Bangladesh will be ongoing and I need somewhere where I'm happy to stay

Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

Shocked but maybe not surprised. What terrible news

Saturday, 23 July 2011


What day is it?

I'm sat in the Emirates lounge in Dubai waiting for my flight onto Dhaka. Manchester to Dubai was okay and I had maybe three hours sleep although I'm feeling a bit weary now and still have over three hours to kill before my next flight

Sean Ryder from the Happy Mondays was in the bar in Manchester Airport and several other passengers asked him for autographs, which he went to great lengths to decline albeit very politely. I've never been a fan of either the Mondays or Black Grape but it was interesting to see a 'celebrity' in the flesh and in a relatively mundane situation

My flight arrives in Dhaka around 9pm so by the time I've cleared immigration, been driven to the hotel and then checked in it will be time for bed. I'm just hoping the hotel is alright!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Travel plans etc

I'm flying off to Bangladesh tomorrow evening for work via Dubai with Emirates. I'll be away for a week based in Dhaka and I'm slightly anxious because I'm booked into a hotel I haven't been to before, which is always a risk. The hotel I stayed at last time was good but is the wrong end of the city for business visits

It was the Widdop fell race last night, which I was going to do, but it was absolutely lashing down when I left work so I went home and did my ironing instead. It was a grey and damp evening but there's a certain satisfaction in getting tedious jobs like ironing or cleaning out of the way

I've got tomorrow off although I'll have to go over to Manchester airport around 4pm. Hopefully I'll get a run in at some point and I'm also planning to run the Worth Way this evening. We have a club relay taking place tonight but I'll be running the whole 10.5miles, which makes a good training run (I've done it a couple of times before)

Felice Taylor

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sage Derby

My friend Emma posted a photo of Bowland cheese on her blog recently and it inspired me to call into Booths and get some Sage Derby. To be honest the cheese was lacking a bit of 'saginess' but it was quite nice grilled on top of a bagel for supper last night after my weekly hill-reps on the Beacon

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins

There is something quite magical about this song and the video. I heard it for the first time yesterday and ordered the album which has been shortlisted for the Mercury Prize straight away

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


I went for a walk round the village last night in the hope of seeing some swifts before they nip off home. Swifts are one of my very favourite birds and are only with us for a relatively short time in our summer, typically arriving in early May and leaving us again around the end of July

Simon Barnes writes about Swifting in one of his Bad Birdwatcher books (there are two and I can't remember which one it's in). Swifting involves sitting outside a specially selected country pub, ideally in a picturesque village and drinking real ale while watching swifts 'scream' about outside. The Fleece in Addingham is an excellent venue for this, although the cold and damp weather plus a paucity of birds made last night a less than ideal time for it!

See Breeze

I think the correct title is See Breeze not Sea Breeze. I'm still trying to track down Mustard Fields from the same album ('Ha') on YouTube

Monday, 18 July 2011

Washburn Valley Relays

The Washburn Valley Relays are organised by Otley AC on an invitational basis and consist of three legs (one runner per leg) based around Fewston and Swinston Reservoirs. My club KCAC entered four teams for last Friday's event, and I ran the second leg in a team with former world mountain bike champion Karen Ballentine and Pet Shop Pete. The second leg is the longest of the three but still only around 3.5miles. It is very fast and furious albeit with a sting in the tail climb back to the changeover point

Karen ran a great first leg, I ran around a minute faster than last time I did the relays in 2008 and Peter had a very decent run for us to end up with a total time of 1hr21mins15secs and a position around mid-way up the results table

There are some photos here and the results are here

Pressure drop

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Stirton fell race

It was a great evening for the Stirton race; sunny but with a nice cooling breeze. As planned, I helped Brett by marshaling the junior races before running the main event. It was good to see Robert, one of the FRA forum moderators, over here from France with his family, and his son winning the under-8s race too!

I can't make my mind up whether the new course is quicker or slower than the old but my gut feeling is it's a bit quicker. This was the sixth race I've done since my BG and I think I'm getting my legs turning over a bit faster again as I beat one or two runners who've been finishing ahead of me recently

After the race we went over to the New Inn in Cononley, affectionally known as the 'Front Room' by Brett and his friends. The Taylor's Golden Best was on very good form. Results for the race should be up here soon  


I bought the Villagers album earlier this week (this is the title track) and I love it

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Loving Pauper

I first heard Loving Pauper at a party in Matlock many years ago but I'd never heard this version featuring Augustus Pablo on melodica before today. My friend Steve, who's party it was, loved Gregory Isaacs and like Gregory and Pablo he's gone now but much missed

Reps etc

I did 6 x 150ft hill-reps last night on Beamsley Beacon. It was a lovely evening and there were loads of swallows around as I ran over from home. The weather was quite warm but I felt like I did okay on the climbs

It's Stirton fell race tonight organised by my club and I'll be running after helping Brett out with the junior races. I've not run the race for two or three years and I think the route has been altered since last time I did it. It does however still climb over Sharp Haw, the characteristic conical-shaped hill that stands over Skipton, twice

I noticed a group of curlew in a freshly-mowed field between Ben Rydding and Burley on my commute this morning. A sign perhaps that although it's only mid-July, for wading birds it's now the start of autumn?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Edwyn Collins exhibition in Harrogate

I noticed earlier today that Edwyn Collins has an exhibition of his wonderful wildlife illustrations coming up soon at the 108 Gallery in Harrogate. As a long time fan of the one-time Orange Juice frontman I will going over to see the exhibition, which runs from July 23 to August 27 if at all possible

The Skyliners

I was going to post a song by the Flamingos in the hope that someone might think a flock of exotic pink birds had turned up in Wharfedale

Monday, 11 July 2011

Chocolate Milk

Farlington and Warswash

Stef's blisters are still quite bad so we didn't run over the weekend. However we managed a couple of short bird-watching walks yesterday; firstly at Farlington Marshes and then at Warswash

To be honest it's not a great time of year to be at these reserves (breeding warblers etc are are still busy with young and it's a month or so early for the main wader migration) but we saw something like 35 to 40 recently returned black-tailed godwit (many still in breeding-plumage) along with a pair of avocet, plus lapwing, oystercatcher, curlew, shelduck, linnet, skylark, moorhen, heron, coot and a pair of huge great black-backed gulls

The tide was out at Farlington and we spent some time looking at waders a long way from the shore and I suspect we might have had a whimbrel among them but the glare from the sun and the distance made it very difficult to be sure

Friday, 8 July 2011


I'm heading down to Southampton straight after work this afternoon. Stef has some fairly nasty looking blisters following last weekend's mountain marathon so it's unlikely we'll be doing much running but a coastal walk complete with our binoculars should be okay. Apart from that a trip to the Cowherds hasn't been ruled out and / or a walk down to the local Indian restaurant 

Nouvelle Vague

Nouvelle Vague could be really irritating but I love their Latin-flavoured interpretations of classic New Wave, punk and electronic songs. Other favourites include: Making plans for Nigel, Guns of Brixton, A forest and dare I say it, Love will tear us apart!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Oldfield Gala fell race recce

We had a run round the Oldfield Gala fell race route last night from the Grouse ably led by Charlie and his dogs. I'm glad I'm not around for the race as it looks very fast with the exception of one short but rough climb, really all very runnable. There was a good turn-out in spite of an utter cloud-burst not long before we set off and we were treated to a mountain of free chips to go with our Landlord after returning to the pub. Another good KCAC Wednesday evening run out and my fifth helping of chips since Saturday evening in Langdale

Iggy Pop

I've been in a strange 'angry' mood for the last couple of days. Only noisy punk rock seems to soothe it. Iggy is a punk, right?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Stoodley Pike fell race

It was back to Calderdale again last night; this time for my first attempt at the Stoodley Pike fell race, organised by Todmorden Harriers. The course is a horribly-runnable 3miles with around 750feet of climb. The start was a bit congested and I think I should have started nearer the front but I enjoyed it, especially the extremely rare occurrence of me actually overtaking a few runners on the main downhill section

As usual beer was taken afterwards (excellent Timothy Taylor Landlord), along with a chip buttie with a liberal dosing of tomato ketchup. Results are here and some photo here

A good year for the roses

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Curlew and kingfisher

I went for a short walk from Barden Bridge last night. It was very quiet (in fairness it was past 9pm when I arrived) and I was lucky to see two kingfisher just after leaving the car plus an adult curlew with two well developed young a while later. The adult 'buzzed' me a couple of times and I didn't hang around long but the young looked to be doing very nicely

On the drive home I spotted a tawny owl perched on a telegraph pole and my low-key but highly enjoyable walk, the classic scenery and the bird life made me feel extremely lucky to be living where I do: very close to the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Rock Fort Rock

Monday, 4 July 2011

A splendid weekend in Langdale

I had just the best weekend! Stef and Sam arrived as planned on Friday evening and after what felt like 10minutes after going to bed my alarm went off at 4-45am ready for me to take them to Langdale for the Saunders Mountain Marathon. We arrived in plenty of time for registration and for me to then meet John Preston plus three of his friends Richard, Barbara and John at Dunmail for a run out over leg 3 of the Bob Graham route

We set off up Steel Fell in bright sunshine and ran as far as Pike O'Stickle at about 23hour schedule pace. John's friends continued on to Wasdale while me and John made our way back to the cars at Dunmail. We saw loads of Saunders competitors on the hill plus a solo anti-clockwise BG contender and two groups going clockwise. The visibility was fantastic while we were out, the sun continued to shine and we were ready for a drink after finishing so we called at the Travellers Rest  in Grasmere for a pint 

My original plan had been to go home Saturday afternoon and then drive back to collect Stef and Sam on Sunday lunchtime but it didn't take much persuading to stay in Lakeland overnight with John at the Saunders base in Langdale (John's wife, Chris was running in the MM too)

On Saturday evening we went to the Old Dungeon Gyll for food and a few beers before calling in at the Achilles Ratti climbing hut to see some friends who were staying there. John and Chris are associate members of the club and I was made very welcome too and we spent a very pleasant hour there before going back to the campsite

I woke up at 8-45am on Sunday morning (very late for me) in the front seat of my car in warm sunshine after a better night's sleep than I anticipated (I didn't have any camping gear with me!). After breakfast and a cup of tea courtesy of John we went for a couple of hours run out over Lingmoor Fell (a new Wainwright for me). We saw even more mountain marathoners than the day before, including many tired and footsore looking ones

Not long after returning to base I was lucky to see Sam and Stef finish and find out they'd had a pretty good time of it apart from one major navigation error. They had been seventh in their class overnight and had been in the chasing start but suspected they'd lost a lot of places because of the error. We had lunch together (John and I bought food) before heading back to Yorkshire in the afternoon

Fish and chips were in order when we got back to mine and Stef and Sam then headed off down south in decent spirits. On checking the results this morning we found out they'd finished 14th, which I reckon is a brilliant result on what was Sam's first ever visit to Lakeland!

The Trainer Shuffle

Friday, 1 July 2011


Stef is doing the Saunders Mountain Marathon this weekend with her younger son, Sam. They're staying with me tonight and I'm dropping them off at the base for the event in Langdale before going over to do a recce of leg 3 of the Bob Graham from Dunmail Raise with a couple of friends. I'll be meeting Stef and Sam on Sunday lunchtime after they've finished and they'll no doubt be looking forward to a shower and some proper food before heading back down south in the evening