Whilst home in London recently, I found this signed print which I picked up during a squadron reunion. During the early nineties, whilst in the Marines was attached to 264 for just over three years.
Since the New Year I’ve been living and working up in Hereford though coming back to London most weekends. I do like the Hereford, it’s a beautiful part of the World – very green with a stunning a town centre. It’s just not London! I used to work here previously – would’ve been around 90-94 and the place hasn’t changed one bit. Still has the same names pubs, little cafes and shops – it’s just so quiet.
For example, I went out one evening and walked in to town – must have been about 7pm on a Thursday evening and the centre of town was like Lewisham High Street at 5am – not one soul, it was eerily spooky!
I will move out of London at some point, more than likely heading to one our great northern cities – till then, London is the Place for Me!
A couple of days back my father George passed away.
Having been given two to three months to live back in October 2012 – he fought the disease with all his strength and good humour throughout the last 16 months, before passing away peacefully on the 11th February – a couple of days after his 73rd birthday.
He was a great man and a great dad, so many memories are flooding my mind at this moment in time, of shared experiences and our times together – the fun we had, even the tellings off I received as a kid! I remember Dad teaching me to drive at the age 15 – he used to help me deliver the Sunday papers (what with all the supplements, the paper bag would weigh a ton, so he would drive me around.) One Sunday, he asked whether I’d like to have a drive, would I!
Several weeks later I was quite competent(!) Every Sunday, Dad would have a few beers at the Working Mans Club in Wolverton – he would drive there and what with my new-found driving skills, I’d have to meet him there c 14:30 to drive him home, just could not imagine doing that now!
A couple of nights back, must have been about three in the morning – I was down in the front room with him – he’d taken to sleeping downstairs as he no longer had the strength nor balance to support himself anymore. I held his hand and told him what a great man he was, how much I loved and respected him, that he was a good mate. He was asleep at the time whacked out on morphine tablets and temazepan – it was good to be there.
I wasn’t there when he passed on – I’d left the house to collect his step-son from football training. As I was driving to the ground (and whilst searching various radio stations,) one of my all time favourite songs came on the radio – Zoom by Fat Larry’s Band, a classic song from the early eighties which is rarely played these days.
I was singing along with gusto – kinda knowing that Dad didn’t have much time left and as I was singing, tears were welling up in my eyes. I arrived at the ground a couple of minutes after the song finished and received a call that Dad had just passed on and to hurry back to the house. This favourite song of mine now means so much more to me.
Take care my old mate, I’m really going to miss you.
Another great christmas dinner at the Olive Branch courtesy of Patrick, Roy and the rest of the team. Catering for 47 was never going to be an easy task and having been told dinner would be served at 6pm (we were also told this last year, we ate gone 10) Patrick sagely suggested we would be eating within an hour of 6pm!
Arriving pretty much on time, the team produced a great spread with all the trimmings.
Everyone had a great evening and stuffed themselves silly – almost everyone was leaning back on their chairs nursing stomachs!
Unfortunately, no presents from the boys though do have some waiting for me in the UK.
Weather is much better today, the sun is shining and we’re soon heading out to complete Caminito del Rey which we postponed from yesterday due to the heavy rain.
Having had such an amazing time, this time last year – me and Don Simon opted to come back to enjoy the sunshine and the great climbing that this part of Spain offers, with our good friend Jonny ’2 Pies’ joining us this time around. Having flown previously we opted to drive, taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander, driving through the night, arriving this morning.
It was a long long journey, probably a little too long as we left London at Noon on Friday, arriving at the Olive Branch Guest House this morning (Sunday 22nd @10am) shattered. The sea crossing was very bumpy though not unexpected as the Bay of Biscay is famed for being rough at the best of times and sailing across late December meant we were bouncing all over the place – we convinced Don Simon that the straps holding his mattress were in actual fact safety straps for when you went to sleep – he duly tied himself into bed much to the hilarity of myself and Jonny ’2 Pies’!
Arriving late Saturday evening we motored through Spain, down through the middle of country, passing Madrid on the West – the roads were empty and we made good progress with the final fifty miles being particularly special as the sun rose causing spectacular views across the mountains. We arrived in El Chorro mid morning this morning, shattered but exhilarated at being back here.
We’ve already met several friends from last year and we’re off this evening to our favourite tapas bar for dinner before getting up nice and early tomorrow to begin climbing. Oh, we’ve also been overrun by mountain goats – hundreds descended upon our tents eating all the foliage, I’m surprised to still have a tent!
I’ve only just noticed this great use for a London telephone box and finally got a chance to have a look and grab some photos…
With libraries closing all over the place it (and public telephone boxes no longer being used) its great to see one being used in such a cool way.
Full of books – the books are free to take with the proviso that you swap a book for the one you take.
…not one whiff of piss, it even had a carpet!
Back in January 2012, I took this picture (plus several others) of some London Phone Boxes located at one of the Charing Cross station entrances, on the Strand. I really liked the way they looked and were framed in the picture.
A couple of days back, I saw the following which made me smile (though the spelling made me grrr!)