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,…

Eat, drink, Trump

‘I had my ten a day today,’ said the Gremlin, reeling off what I can only describe as a shopping list of mainly fruit with little else to slow its passage through his guts. <Gremlin rolls eyes as I read this out to him> We’ve been monitoring the situation closely, you see, for the last…

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…

An apple a day…

President Trump’s executive order, barring nationals from seven countries perceived as a threat to the US from entering the country – whilst continuing to allow in those from countries whose track record on the terror front leaves a lot to be desired – continues to excite all manner of debate on and offline. As you might expect. It reminded me…

It’s all downhill from here

Time was when all I required for a day on the piste was a pair of navy and white Salomon rear-entry boots, a nifty one-piece ski suit (padded shoulders, nipped in waist), thermal gloves and a silly hat. Sillier the better. Sun cream and lip salve in one pocket, hankie in another, crumpled piste map…

Spiky balls and bicycles

‘Not that I go round randomly sniffing balls,’ said my neighbour Helen, remarkably seriously, and entirely unsolicited. ‘But I definitely caught a whiff of vanilla’. ‘Really?’ I said, spiky ball under nose, equally seriously. ‘Oh yeah’. We were appraising the Strawberry How torture chamber, from the comfort of the sofas, a couple of glasses of wine into our…

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,…

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…

On Risking Life and Limb and winning a TGO Award

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…