Back on the piste

So. Turns out the consultant was right in seeing no reason why I shouldn’t ski whilst still nursing a bulging disc. ‘It’s about managing pain,’ he said. And I can now report, after two mornings on the piste, that any pain and stiffness completely disappears when skiing. And I mean completely. And remains absent for…

Jabs, jams and scams

What better way to spend a crisp autumn day, eh? Stripped down to a fetching, back-tying gown – one tie already ripped off, I imagine, as its wearer made a last desperate bid for freedom, the other set so tight around my neck I feared the Gremlin was trying to throttle me. Maybe he was? I’m still here,…

Next year’s award…

Well the dust has settled, along with the snow. It’s been non-stop networking since the TGO Awards last Wednesday, around 8.40pm, when I heard my name called and the world turned upside down. And now I want to talk about next year’s award. Not for me, silly. With the best will in the world, I’m unlikely to write…

Training the trainers

I’m thinking of establishing a ‘One in: One out’ policy at Strawberry How. Aimed primarily, you understand, at the Fell Shoe Gremlin. We’d already reached peak ‘approach shoe’ and the route guides have long since multiplied beyond any hope of redemption, but yesterday we hit peak rucksack too. Incidentally, I didn’t know they were called approach shoes…

And the award goes to…

Well that was a busy 48 hours! It’s times like these when you realise just how wide your ‘network’ is. Or isn’t. Although I’m happy to report that mine appears to be flourishing. And it always comes as a welcome surprise when you hear that people out there have actually read – no, not just…

Talking conkers

Today I am talking conkers. Yeah, yeah. I know. I’ve been talking conkers for years. Funny. But, seriously, I’m worried. Because things have changed at Strawberry How this autumn. And, for once, it’s nothing to do with Strawberry Swamp. It was only a couple of weeks ago I remarked to the Gremlin, whilst taking a stroll round our front…

No newts is bad news… and other thongs… er, things

Campaign groups, I learned last week, have taken to planting colonies of great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) on proposed development sites, in a bid to scupper the likes of Story Homes and Persimmon. The diminutive newt, you see, has ‘the power to halt bulldozers in their muddy tracks’. Or so said Conservative peer Lord Borwick…

Artsy fartsy at large

When Samuel Johnson observed (to his friend and biographer James Boswell), that when ‘a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’, he’d clearly never hurtled northwards, after four whistle stop days in the capital, thanking the Lord and Virgin trains to be heading…

Big shiny medals and bags of cash

Thanks to having been privileged to represent mountain rescue on a number of occasions, I’ve met some pretty amazing people, been invited to things I’d never have been invited to otherwise, in places I might never have seen. I’ve eaten dinner on the Cutty Sark, nibbled cucumber sandwiches at Buckingham Palace, quaffed champagne in the…

Developing a taste for Cumbria

Given that the walking weather app that is the Gremlin had been delivering almost hourly gloomy updates along the lines of ‘12.00pm: 90% chance of rain. 1.00pm: 40% chance of rain. 2.00pm: 60% chance of rain’ (you get the gist), we fully expected the Taste Cumbria extravaganza to be a little washed out, to say the least. As…

Hippy heaven

Just when you think that’s it, no more Hellenic ruminations from me – for this year at any rate – up pops the airport. Preveza: an establishment as eccentric as the country it serves, although a good deal more organised these days than the first time I flew in and out, some twenty-six years ago, bound…

Party of the gods

If thunder and lightning is your thing, I can recommend no better spot than Vassiliki. I rather think that rascally pair, Eric the Wind God and his old mucker Zeus, have rather enjoyed this week’s humdingers, judging by the way they were throwing our balcony furniture around. What with that and the rattling shutters, all…