Kudos to Trekmates, and good luck to Claire

2 November, 2010

Great kudos to Trekmates! Yesterday I stumbled across a fantastic offer on their website: their Amphibian Gore-Tex Shell Socks (only available in small) reduced from £29.99 to £9.99 per pair. They’ve been discontinued, apparently, but since I’m not very fond of Sealskinz (they’re bulky, they seem to spring leaks quickly and I find it virtually impossible to dry them in the tent) I decided to give the Amphibians a try.

I ordered two pairs yesterday afternoon at about 1.45pm, and they arrived this morning with the postman! When I asked, on ringing yesterday afternoon to check that the socks were in stock, how long they were likely to take to arrive, I was told that they’d probably come this morning if the dispatch man was as quick as he usually is, so it sounds as though this level of service may be typical for them. I’ve not bought from Trekmates before, but I’d be very happy to do so again.

Incidentally, Trekmates describe ‘small’ as being sizes 6-7. I have size 7 feet in most walking shoes, and I found the socks slightly large, so anyone out there with size 8s who may be wondering whether or not to give them a go may just be in luck. I plan to use them with my trail shoes on wet days.

Tonight’s the final of Professional Masterchef, so fingers crossed all round for Claire, please. She’s been hugely impressive throughout on every front, and it brings me real joy to see her do so well despite the disadvantages she faces as (i) a woman (ii) a scouser and (iii) a portly sort of person. If there’s any justice in the world then she’ll be lifting the cup tonight 🙂


For the person who emailed requesting the stew recipe… apologies!

27 October, 2010

Apologies to the person who emailed me about a month ago asking for the recipe for the dehydrated scrummy stew I consumed with so much pleasure on the Challenge this year. I’ve scoured my inbox but have been unable to locate the email in question, but I do remember that it arrived.

I’d love to be able to take the credit for what was one of the yummiest dehydrated meals I’ve ever eaten, but the credit must go to Andy Howell, whose recipe it was. You can read all about it on his page here.

It’s worth mentioning in passing that (a week ago, at least) Tesco had a 2 packets for £5 offer on their organic minced beef, which brought it down to the same price as their standard mince (from less happy cows). I used the organic mince last year, and I’m about to make another batch. Yum!


Alan’s hand (not for the faint of hearted…)

28 September, 2010

Readers of Martin Banfield’s blog, Postcard from Timperley, will have seen that Ye Olde Slowman suffered a rather misery-inducing injury to his hand earlier today, attempting to climb over a barbed wire fence in the Borders.

A was almost over the fence when his foot, which was balanced on a piece of wire, slipped away below him, as a result of which he felt himself falling backwards. Instinctively he grabbed for the wire with his left hand, to stop himself from falling, but grabbing barbed wire with a hand when travelling backwards at speed isn’t a Terribly Good Idea (The Capitals Are Important Here, as I’m sure Alan would say), and the next thing we knew old Alan was lying on the ground with blood pouring from his left hand, and attempting to extract his first aid kit from his rucksack with the other one. Eep!

The slick rescuing machine that is the Borders (Peebles to Moffat) Assault Patrol slid seamlessly into action, though, and while some people bandaged the hand, and attempted to make the wounded warrior comfortable and warm, others quickly brewed a mug of something hot, sweet and restorative, whilst still others shot off down the hill to retrieve a car with which to convey the fallen Slowman back to civilisation. Yet another managed to gather up the panicky little dog and fasten her down, to prevent her from chasing the runner into Moffat.

Anyway, at the conclusion of the rescue operation Andy Walker and I drove Alan to Carlisle hospital, where they set about putting him back together again. He has a pretty nasty injury to one of the fingers of his left hand (photos below: don’t scroll down if you have any kind of iffy tummy…), but as I write he’s tucked up warm, comfy and sleeping, I hope, in bed there on Beech Ward. The injury wasn’t the sort of thing that could be stitched up in Casualty, and so tomorrow morning the orthopaedic surgeons are going to clean it all out, and check for tendon and/or nerve damage, under general anaesthetic.

Alan was very brave indeed throughout the whole miserable incident: at least a thousand times braver than I’d have been, in the circumstances. He managed to walk off the hill, and at the hospital he braved the insertion of one of those plastic thingies into the back of his hand (he doesn’t like needles), and a tetanus injection, and (worst of all) the removal of the bandage that we applied on the hill. I actually feel a little faint just thinking about it! Andy and I had to hold hands on the other side of the room just listening to the conversation from the direction of the sink 😦 A showed amazing fortitude, though. I was Extremely Impressed, and proud of him.

Ultimately, I have to wonder what purpose the barbed wire was actually meant to serve on top of the fence. Was it just there to make things difficult for walkers? If so, it really served its purpose today. I’ll be carrying wire cutters in future, and I cringe, now, to think of the times I’ve clambered over barbed wire fences in the past. I knew they were dangerous, of course, but it was all just a bit theoretical until I saw the state of Alan’s hand this afternoon. Thank goodness it was ‘just’ his hand; it could very easily have been even more serious.

We took some piccies in the hospital, and Alan said he didn’t mind me posting them here. Scroll down if you’d like to see them. (The last one’s a gory one, but it’s certainly a lesson to me about the kind of damage barbed wire can do in the blink of an eye.) The hospital staff were absolutely brilliant, btw: efficient, friendly, considerate and courteous. Many thanks indeed to them, as well as to all the Peebles to Moffaters who helped out earlier today ♥ ♥ ♥

Alan’s hand will probably be okay, but we won’t actually know until after his operation tomorrow morning whether he’s done serious damage or not. Any good wishes/positive thoughts you can send in his direction will be extremely welcome.

Waiting for the orthopod registrar

Eeep!

Post tetanus injection

About to go up to the ward

Here's what a momentary slip on barbed wire can do 😦


Walking in a hot place — suggestions?

2 June, 2010

The sunshine has inspired me to get out to a lovely hot place and walk, again. My first thoughts were of the GR20, but (i) I’ve already done it quite recently, and (ii) the new booking system is too much of a faff for me to contemplate, if it’s being enforced.

Any suggestions? I could always go back to the Pyrenees and do another 14 days along the Haute Route, but I’m wondering what else might be around. My preference is for camping outside Refuges, and doing some eating inside them (it’s great fun, trying out the fledgling French).

All suggestions welcome 🙂


Save the George & Dragon in Garrigill!

2 June, 2010

The wonderful pub in Garrigill -- closed!

Catching up with blogs this morning, I’ve just read on Mike Knipe‘s that the wonderful George & Dragon pub in Garrigill is currently closed. (I’ve stolen the piccy from Mike’s site: I hope he doesn’t mind.) Apparently locals are getting together to try to work out whether they can afford to save it.

Everybody who’s done the Pennine Way will know this wonderful place. It wasn’t open the first time I was there, as I was there at the wrong time of day, but when I did most of the PW again in March 2008 it was open, and it was one of the most comfy and hospitable pubs I’ve ever had the great pleasure to fall scruffily into, after a long day on the hills. No makeovers had taken place, and I settled happily into a seat and fell into conversation with some blokes I’d seen earlier in the day as I was crawling, on hands and knees, up Cross Fell in gale force winds, through thick snow. I had to leave an hour later to find somewhere to camp, but the memory of that golden hour shines bright in the trove of piggly backpacking treasured memories.

There’s a petition here that can be signed. I don’t know whether the pub can be saved, but surely it’s worth a signature in the hope that something can be done.


Final Challenge Stuff Still To Be Done…

11 May, 2010

Although I’ll be getting up and jumping in the shower to get ready for the off this time the day after tomorrow there’s still quite a lot to be done here, as I’ve been doing the usual combination of juggling act and disorganisation.

Lemme see, now…

1. I rang Paramo y/day to check that they’d posted back my Cascadas to me, as promised, but they haven’t 😦 They say they’ve gone to the laundry, and they’re going to try to get them back first thing this morning and post them out to me Special Delivery.

2. My second dehydrated meal–Andy’s amazing Thai Green Curry Porridge–is dehydrating downstairs. Last night in bed I was woken by a couple of loud clanking noises, and couldn’t work out what it was. This morning I’m not entirely sure that the dehydrator isn’t a bit broken. Although it’s making all the right noises, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hot air coming out and the curry hasn’t changed much in consistency overnight. I hope it’ll work, not because I’ll starve without it (I can always fall back on Beanfeast & Smash) but because I put such a lot of effort into making it, and it sounds really yummy!

3. I should be receiving (i) Innov8 Recolites, (ii) 2 maps and (iii) a camera case in the post today from Amazon. Fingers crossed!

4. However, today I’m driving little Piglet down to Birmingham, where she’ll be spending her holidays in great style with her two Cairn pals Bink and Bluster. I will miss her. I’m pretty sure she won’t miss me. I hope I won’t miss the delivery of my Recolites and maps.

5. I’m taking Quo printouts as well as the full OS maps as they’re easier to manipulate. I printed about half of the route off several weeks ago, and need to finish it.

6. I want to put some waypoints on my GPS (Garmin Geko 201) just in case, but realised a week ago that the lead I’ve got won’t work with this PC, because this PC doesn’t have a serial port. I sent off for a USB lead, which has arrived, but I’ve not had a chance to see whether it works yet. Fingers crossed.

7. I need to choose and download some books from http://www.audible.co.uk, and put them on my MP3 player. I also need to add some music.

8. I need to pack and send off my two boxes.

9. I need to dry the tent! Oops…

10. I really need to sort out the guy lines on the tent because the little tightener thingies are all in the wrong places. Have been meaning to do this since I got the tent about 8 months ago.

11. I need to find, buy and manipulate a piece of foam into a microphone cover for my cunning podcasty device, and then make some sort of cotton cover for it. Have been meaning to do this for almost 12 months, since I bought it. But don’t tell Bob…

12. I need to sort out and wash my clothes.

13. I need to pack my rucksack.

14. Oh, and I need to choose a book for the tent.

15. Finally, I hope, I still need a few batteries.

16. And I need a warm hat. Eep! Those forecasts are scary!!

17. Aaagh! I still need to wash and re-proof my Cioch Glamaig jacket, and my Cascadas if they arrive in time.

18. Need to dig out my train tickets and proof of bookings at Rucksacks and The Park.

19. Still need to find a place to stay in Taynuilt.

So! Still quite a lot to do, bearing in mind that I’ll be in Birmingham most of the day. It’s doable, though, I think.


Photo printing help?

7 May, 2010

Drat. About to dash up to Kendal to get my Terrocs. Would normally be fun but there’s too much going on here ATM so it’s just a faff. Has to be done, though.

In the meantime, can any of you PC geniuses help with what feels like a really stupid question? I’m trying to print out some photos to frame and put on my father’s wall. However, the printer/Paint Shop Pro (can’t work out which) insists on leaving a margin of about 2mm on the left of the page and one of over a cm on the right. I can center it horizontally but nothing I’ve tried (and I’ve tried everything I can think of, over a period of about 4 hours split over two occasions) makes any difference. No matter what paper size I tell the printer I’m using, and no matter how wide I tell it the picture is, that margin is always there.

This is driving me mad. My father’s moving to a new care home tomorrow and I want to print out old pictures and have them waiting for him on the walls. I don’t want them to look a mess, though.

If you can help then I’ll be eternally grateful. My printer is an HP Deskjet of some sort, my graphics programme is Paint Shop Pro and I’m aiming for A4 sized paper. I don’t want to have to start trying to cut off a strip on the right of each picture. I’m sure there must be a simple way!

BFN ♥