Skiing for wrinklies

We watched them with awe, the wrinkled old dears, skiing gracefully down the mountain in their ancient kit, their baggy-kneed racing pants, faded anoraks and home-knitted bobble hats. Watched and wondered – fresh-faced with the arrogance of youth, in our brightly coloured one pieces, brand new skis and wacky hats – whether, one day, when…

An avalanche of social media and ‘how to survive’

‘You are only as good as you are at the moment people are listening’, wrote pianist Max Levinson in 2009. By which measure, I might well have peaked last week. Because, last week, people were definitely listening. I know this thanks to the verging-on-obsessive, mesmerised eye the Gremlin and I kept on the rapidly mounting…

Sir Chris Bonington, mountain rescue and misrepresentation in the media

‘Rival mountain rescue teams are competing to get to stranded climbers’, said Sir Chris Bonington on Friday morning, in both The Times and The Telegraph, adding that he considers mountain rescue ‘a sport’, in which the volunteers engage because they ‘enjoy the thrill’. None of these contests have ‘quite got to fisticuffs’, he said, despite getting…

Staying sober and sugar-free in Vasiliki. As if.

I go away for five minutes – okay, twenty thousand one hundred and sixty minutes, give or take a couple of hundred – and what happens? Those pesky health experts get cracking again. It’s been a bit hit and miss with the internet but, in between sun salutations, sunshine and sleeping off the odd carafe,…

Snapshots of the Rockies

So that’s it then. Final day. And outside the window, as I blog from our hotel room in Canmore, the mist and rain – make that sleet – has rolled down yesterday’s stunning view of ‘the three sisters’, the town’s iconic mountain peaks, like a curtain gently but firmly coming down on our three-week adventure….

Where’s the bear?

If I imagined for one moment that our second week in the Rockies would be any less frenetic, I was wrong. So wrong, my Fitbit thinks it’s found a new owner. The tourist tick box checking continues apace. Fresh from the train, it was off to Jasper Mountain Park Lodge, and a lengthy walk round…

Rocky Mountaineer

I’ll be blogging all the way, says I, handing the house keys to Helen, charged to keep a watchful eye on the postbox and plants in our absence. ‘Blogging all the way’, it transpires, was a boast too far. For the first seven rapid-fire days, we barely had time to draw breath, let alone write…

Rise of the killer hamster

So. Nuclear war, it now becomes clear, will not be triggered by anything as inspirational to post-Armageddon film-makers as an archduke getting himself shot. Or a bunch of uniformed yobs goose-stepping down a quiet, hitherto peaceful country lane. No, nuclear war will, I am now confident, be triggered by a ‘my willy’s bigger than yours’ contest,…

Mountain man returns

It’s business as usual, now the wanderer has returned from his travels. The smelly bits of ski kit have been subjected to a good thrashing in soapy water, the ski boot inners duly aired and the clanky bits stowed away till next time. True to form, mere minutes in from stepping back through the door,…

Facing cancer: the biggest challenge of all

I passed one of those markers in time in January, this year. My brother too. One of those times when you look again at the faded monochrome photos you’ve had framed and propped by your desk, or stuffed into musty old albums, dog-eared edges straying from their black photo mounts. And I mean really look, desperately trying to see them now, animated and…

Icebergs? What icebergs?

  Well, hands up who knew there was a British Leafy Salads Association? Not me. But there they were, last week, centre stage thanks to the current ‘vegetable crisis’. For, as if we didn’t have enough to worry about, what with impending nuclear doom and the considerably more drawn out, yet equally final, threat to the world of global…