Friday, 30 December 2011

Strid Woods headtorcher

We ran from Barden Bridge down to the Cavendish Pavillion and back on the opposite side of the river with headtorchs last night. It was a stunning night; cold but with a beautiful clear sky. It was Stef's third consecutive run and my fifth outing in six days

When we got home it was time for a quick shower before wandering down to the Swan for a pint and then back home (not sure I've ever been in the Swan and had just one beer before!) to make cauliflower cheese. All in all a very pleasant evening

The Ruts

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Roots and culture


More Christmas running

Two more holiday runs have been completed in the last two days and the good news is Stef has done both of them with me. On Tuesday afternoon we did 25minute on the road around the village at what felt to me like a decent pace and last night we went over to the White Lion and did an hour or so steady on Farnhill Moor with a couple of club-mates, Glen and Mick

When we got home after essential re-hydration (Copper Dragon Best Bitter for me, Bacardi and Coke for Stef) I made an enormous frying pan of bubble and squeak with left-overs from Christmas which we ate with home-made turkey and ham pie with plenty of gravy. The photograph above doesn't really do it justice!

It was very windy last night on the moor and I'm hoping that the small group of FRA forumites and friends who are attempting a winter Tan-Cat are okay and still progressing well. Ian Charters is a member of the group and no doubt there'll be news and his usual excellent photographs on his blog soon

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Come here

Stef and I watched one of my favourite films last night: Richard Linklater's 'Before sunrise', starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy. This song soundtracks a lovely scene in a proper old record shop in Vienna

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Levi Stubbs' Tears

For my friend Bryan. He would have enjoyed our run yesterday and a catch up with his mates in Yorkshire

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas holiday running

Stef's sons Tom and Sam are staying with us over the Christmas break. Tom, who is 18, is a typical teenager I suppose and seems to be happy whiling away his free time on Facebook, watching DVDs and keeping in touch with his girlfriend and pals via the internet and by SMS. Sam is 15 and a naturally talented young athlete. I'd hoped we would get out for a couple of runs together and we've done just that

On Christmas eve we ran up Beamsley Beacon with headtorchs in the rain and today we went over to Kildwick where Brett had organised our KCAC Boxing Day Duathalon We didn't do the bike ride but we did have a run out on Farnhill Moor and saw many of the athletes taking part in the event. It was a quality field with former Olympic athlete Sarah Rowell, Bingley Harriers Andy and Martin Peace, Ian and Kali Taylor plus several other good runners, triathletes and ultra runners. Stef and Tom came over to the White Lion to meet us and then we went to Bev and Fraser's in Cononley for home-made soup and a good catch-up with loads of our running club friends

The lads are heading down to the West Country tomorrow from Leeds / Bradford but Stef claims her comeback on the fells will start in the afternoon with a steady jog / walk up the Beacon. I hope so!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Silent Night

The last few days have flown by. Merry Christmas fellow bloggers and anyone else looking in!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mighty Blencathra

A big favourite of Wainwright and a big favourite of mine too. Photo taken on my phone camera on the way home from XOTF on Sunday afternoon (it was a good do!) from just down the road from where the Bob Graham crosses the A66

Saturday, 17 December 2011


Stef and I are going up to Keswick later today to meet up with friends from the FRA forums and take part in what is known affectionally as XOTF (Xmas On The Fells). Steve Taylor came up with the idea and I think this will be the fifth time I've been up and Stef's third. The agenda loosely involves a Saturday morning run followed by drinks in the George, curry at Lakeland Spice, more drinks around town followed by dancing in the Loft until 'chucking out time' . Stef and I have many friends on the forum (we met for the first time after Stef posted on there looking for company for a run in the Dales) and it'll be good to catch up with many of them. It's usually a great night!


I've not heard this for years but it suddenly came into my head this morning just after I found myself humming 'Dreaming of me' by Depeche Mode

Friday, 16 December 2011

'The Bob Graham Round' on Radio 4

In the spring Morgan approached me to ask if Stef and I would be interested in contributing to a radio programme being made by the BBC, which set out to both highlight the Bob Graham Round, plus help publicise a new piece of classical music being composed by an Italian composer inspired by a visit to the Lake District. Ian Bent, who is a senior programme maker with the BBC (and who originates in the East Midlands and is a massive music fan) came to meet and interview us at Cockley Beck. It was stunning day and some of the material in the programme was recorded then

Ian came out to wish both us luck and interviewed us again in Keswick before we set off on our attempt and he was there to interview me too when I finished. In the autumn he came over from Ramsbottom to my house in Wharfedale when Stef was up here recovering from her operation and we recorded more stuff then too

Being involved in what I think has made a wonderful programme has been a big privilege and we are both looking forward to going to hear the world premiere of the music in Kendal early in the New Year. I think it will round off (pun intended) what has been a fantastic year!


I've posted a couple of Joy Division songs on here without ever writing about how much I love this band. Yes, I love the Beach Boys and Buzzcocks and Teenage Fanclub and the Smiths and Motorhead and Eddie Cochran and obviously reggae music and soul and funk and jazz, but Joy Division are right up there among my two or three favourite acts. I always, without fail, get shivers down my spine when I hear this and especially Atmosphere. Closer might be my all-time favourite album 

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Aguas de Marco

Classic bossa for a classic wintery December morning in the West Riding of Yorkshire; a long way from Rio 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Bob Graham on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a programme at 11am on Friday, which involves the Italian composer of a new piece of classical music commissioned to celebrate the Bob Graham Round and Lakeland in general. Morgan and Selwyn from the Bob Graham 24hour club are also involved, along with Wasdale legend Joss Naylor and a couple of people who attempted the round this year. I'm really excited about hearing the broadcast on the radio

Wailing Souls

Classic reggae vocal group recording

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Extreme base-jumping

SENSE OF FLYING from Goovinn on Vimeo.

I think the word 'extreme' under plays the action in actual fact!


After dropping Stef off at Ilkley station this morning I had to nip into the Post Office sorting depot to collect a couple of on-line mail order Christmas presents. It was absolutely hammering down with foul wintery sleety rain and I was glad of my Buffalo jacket. Oddly, I enjoyed dashing across the road and up the driveway and then back in the dark and wet; there was something invigorating about the experience

Monday, 12 December 2011

Running plans for 2012

Running has rather taken a back seat the last couple or three weeks with my trip to Asia and Stef arriving earlier than we'd anticiapated. I managed a couple of sessions in the gym in Saigon but haven't run outside for probably two weeks. Stef hasn't done any running since her operation apart from one 20minute jog around the village what seems like weeks ago now

I'm hoping Stef coming up will enable us to get out running in the evenings and one way or another I need to get some longer / hillier runs in too. I'm targeting doing four races in the Ultra Running Championships this year for the first time (I've been registered with UCR from year one, but haven't ever managed more than two or three races in a year). I'm also toying with doing the Lakeland Classic series if work time and fitness allow. I'd never done much running in the Lakes before starting training for the Bob Graham and haven't done any of the classic races

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The sea and cake

One of the good things about me having a blog is I'm always on the look out (well listen out I suppose) for music to post. Probably 75% of the stuff I post is old favourite stuff from the past but this year I've discovered several new bands / artists from either friends' blogs, the internet or simply following links on YouTube. This song was on a play-list on the aquarium drunkard blog and I really like it


Stef is on her way up to Yorkshire and will not be going back to Southampton. Her home will be here from today. I've been home for a couple of hours and I'm slowly getting to used to the cold! My first proper mug of tea tasted good and I'm on my fourth now I think. I'm well pleased that I thought to leave my central heating to come on in the mornings

The flight back into Manchester was amazing. I do a lot of flying and I've experienced a few emotional returns into local airports but today was extra special. The sky had been clear most of the way from Paris up to and over the Midlands but as we reached the Peak District there was very thin cloud (a bit like lace curtains). Through this you could see the snow covered hills and the run rise and then, as we dropped into Manchester, appear to re-set! The ground was wet and probably slightly icy in places but the pilot landed very gently and it wasn't long before I had my bag and was driving home

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The way young lovers do

God is always soup

It's my last night in Saigon tonight after another good day on the road. It's been a good week actually, with plenty of customer meetings, and a bit of fun too (last night we had dinner with a customer, Mr Hung, who invited me for a 'foot massage'. I told him it was a waste of good drinking time and declined, politely). I love Vietnam and always enjoy the company of the team of people who distribute our products here for us and this week has been right up there with my favourite overseas trips

We have good news at home. Stef called me yesterday to say she has landed a new job in Leeds, which is a promotion in effect. She is moving up now on Saturday and starting work on Monday. I'm guessing one of her first tasks will be to organise her first ever company car! She is understandably in very good spirits

If anyone is wondering what 'God is always soup' means then they are not the only one. I saw the phrase on a menu at lunchtime and it's been intriguing me in a nice way ever since! I'm presuming it's the kind of mis-translation which is common all over the world but I like the metaphysical question it poses

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Dobie Gray R.I.P.

Has there ever been a better record about dancing to soul music?

Pho Hoa Pasteur, Saigon

Today we had an early lunch at a Vietnamese noodle restaurant which is very famous throughout Saigon (and beyond) called Pho Hoa Pasteur, (it is situated on Pasteur Street). Along with the familiar bowls of fresh broth with noodles and meat the tables were laid out with bananas, extra fresh herbs, big piles of pre-cut limes and strange looking 'puffy' fried bread. The noodles were fantastic, the broth light and tasty, and we shared some of the bread to dip into our bowls. The restaurant, which was extremely busy while we were there, is a must for anyone visiting Saigon

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Marvin Gaye

How good is this? I've been meaning to post some more Marvin on my blog for a while and this must take some beating

Josef K

Named for the protagonist in Kakfa's 'The Trial' and purveyors of still amazingly fine and fresh sounding indie music

Monday, 5 December 2011

A good day

I've had a good day today. The weather has been beautiful for a start: maybe 30degrees C but not humid at all. We had three decent customer meetings including lunch with one who insisted I had 'one beer' with him. Thankfully the beer was served with an enormous chunk of ice in the glass (this is another hangover from french colonial times) and because I drank it so slowly I think there was more water in the glass than beer. Tonight I managed a three mile run on the treadmill. The hotel gym has been refurbished since I was last here in March and has been improved considerably. This evening I've had a steak sandwich with french fries. I've had much worse days on the road

Black Sheep Boy

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Father and son

One of the songs we were listening to last night. I might have posted about this before but they have a singer in the bar here in the hotel during the week and he always does this song. He's Filipino and has a good voice and I'm hoping he's around this week as usual 

Ba Ba Ba

I've got the hangover from hell after staying up late last night drinking local 333 (Ba Ba Ba) beer with a couple of 20 year old Australian guys. They have bought scooters and plan to ride them up to Hanoi in the North over the next week or two, which I think will be a fantastic adventure. We had a good laugh teasing each other about national stereotypes, chatting about travel and cricket, and listening to music on an iPhone in a beer glass

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Upsetters

Flying visit to Bangkok

My visit to Bangkok went even more quickly that I expected. I arrived yesterday around 1pm local time; then after a quick shower and shave, had a cordial two hour meeting with a customer in the hotel. Dinner last night  was a really not very inspiring buffet and I'm checking out in around half an hour to go to the airport to fly to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) in Vietnam. Breakfast this morning was much better than last night's dinner with wonderfully tasty eggs fried both side but with runny yokes. I've got tomorrow off but have a full week of meetings / customer visits ahead, in and around Saigon

Friday, 2 December 2011

Laura Nyro

I've got to admit I'd never heard of Lauro Nyro until this evening. She is name-checked by Bobby Gillesbie in the latest edition of Mojo. Perfect listening for 3am in an anonymous airport hotel