I think it's almost two weeks since I last posted, and I would like to say I have loads of things happen to me and loads of exciting things to blog with loads of fantastic pictures. As you will see, I haven't.
It has meant 2 quiz nights have gone by though, and for the first time in 6 months we managed to squeeze into the top 2! Yes, you guessed it, we came second. We did beat Yasser and The Marrowfats on that occasion though which is a triumph in itself. Add the £15 prize to the spot prize we won and we managed to stick £20 in the pot that night. Good work. Monday gone was not quite as successful though - despite only dropping 5 points the whole night we were still nowhere near the money. Somes ya win and somes ya lose. One of the highlights of the quiz was the carefully prepared snowball Paul celebrated his birthday with - and there's not many pubs where you can get the wallpaper to be a perfect match for the colour of your drink!
This morning we took Joe and Isaac to the farm. We all had a great time despite the cold weather. Last time we were there it seemed like there was an unwritten rule that the kids didn't like any animals that were bigger than them, this time they were slightly better and at least walked, or maybe scurried, past the cows/pigs/donkeys. Everything was made better when we got to the soft play, with the lads ruling the roost as always. A great photo below shows Joe posing with his fruit pastilles seconds before turning round, seeing the goose coming, and legging it!
I've only just got in from the latest horror that is Hartlepool playing football. You can't always blame the ref, but this one was terrible, a total game spoiler. Yes, we lost (again), and I think it is safe to say now that we will not be playing in this league again for a few years.
I (and it seemed like everybody else!) was struck down with a bug midweek but I still managed, with the help of Sarah Dale, to get a piece in the Gazette for the Charity Chuckle. If you want to see it it's here. If you still haven't got your tickets yet, why not?! There's well over 100 sold, and when they've gone they've gone! You can get them here.
As it's Easter weekend I am hoping to rack up some walking time, hopefully a couple of days, but certainly one! Due to the bad weather it will be a nearby leg of the walk, we are even contemplating the big 24 mile leg (Richmond to Osmotherley) on Monday, we will have to wait and see....but first of all, a night in Manfield!
Finally, after a few weeks off, I got back on it. It was a free Saturday so it meant I could get out and onto a leg of the walk. After deliberation I decided on the Keld to Reeth leg, or Day 7 on my itinerary.
It's never easy getting up early on a Saturday, especially as I like my late night Fridays, but I was up and ready for 8:30am. Dad picked me up and we met at Ged's, then the three of us set off for what would be the second dry run of a day of the walk.
It was no time at all before we got to Richmond, but the journey from Richmond to Reeth seemed to take forever, it was driving along the winding roads that we had walked along a month or so ago. We left Dad's car at Reeth then headed to Keld in Ged's. I think we actually set off walking about 10:30am. It was a nice day weather-wise, even worthy of unleashing the legs, although we did get some funny looks from the locals. I assume people don't normally dress like that in March.
I never used to be a lover of 'the beautiful countryside' or 'the great outdoors', but I think it sunk in yesterday what a great area is on our doorstep. After leaving the car park, it was a short walk and then we hit our first incline. It blew off some of the cobwebs and gave us a spectacular view of a waterfall, a nice start to the walk. We had decided to follow the 'low route' which took us right along the River Swale. A number of times throughout the day we simply stopped and observed the beauty around us, we were in a valley and pretty much wherever we looked we could see snow capped hills and fields that stretched for miles.
After pointing out the most useless bridge ever which led nowhere, I ate humble pie as it turned out we weren't getting over the river without using it, so we backtracked slightly to it and as we passed we swapped pleasantries with fellow hikers going the way we just came. Despite us only having walked a mile or two, Ged was convincing enough in assuring them they 'only' had 15 miles to go, they were devastated. I can sense that these people didn't quite get the Thornaby sense of humour.
One noticeable feature of the day was the amount of wildlife which was, let's say no longer living, in the fields. Rabbits, pheasants, rats, stoats, and at one delirious stage - a lion and a horse, were all present, and once when we heard the farmers gun we did wonder whether we would be next! We followed the river right along for 6 or so miles up to a little village called Gunnerside. It was there we sat on the Queen's Jubilee benches and tucked into our scran. Having seen a local tea room charging £5.65 for a bacon sarnie it made me appreciate Mam's even more!
We left Gunnerside and before long we were back into the fields. Now I am not against stiles in priniple, but when you get to number 438, then they make me hate them! We had walked over all types of surfaces today - grass, bare soil, hard road, tarmac, water (ok stones in the water) and sand, but the best was when the path led us across what looked like a Roman wall, it was a nice treat to save us from the usual stile/gate/field combo.
I have never been a fan of crossing rivers on stones, and yesterday was no exception (see photo below). Added to the fact I had a £400 phone in one pocket and a £400 GPS tracker in the other, it was no wonder it took me 30 minutes to cross (OK, a slight exaggeration). There was no falling over as such by anyone but I suppose Dad got the closest with his Vicar of Dibley impression. We were walking roadside and he was walking in the puddles to clean shoes off a bit, as you do, and then all of a sudden he disappeared having found the big hole in the road. OK, maybe another slight exaggeration, but it makes for a better story.
As is usual for any sizeable walk, it was the last mile which was the worst. We knew Reeth wasn't far away but it seemed to take an eternity to appear. It was at this point that every stile was a chore, and the slightest uphill was a challenge. We got finished somewhere around 4:45pm, and although that leg of the walk is said to be the relaxing day of the C2C, it didn't particularly feel like it at that point. I am sure though, come May, after a few days crossing the Lakes, it will be looked at as a nice easy day. In total, we had clocked up between 12 - 13 miles.
We all congratulated ourselves on a good days walk and compared aches and pains at church this morning. It is hoped that the three of us will be doing all of the walk together, and if the camaraderie shown yesterday was anything to go by, the twelve days will fly by, and we might actually start to enjoy it! Cheers guys.
I will be planning another one soon, but I have done the two 'easiest' days, so the next one will be a bit more of a grueller.
Just a final note to say we have a new boss! Not only at work (although he is not based in my office), but in life in general. Well done and good luck Pope Francis.
Oh and happy St Patrick's Day to y'all.
With only 68 days to go, that's less than 10 weeks (Zoiks as Shaggy from Scooby Doo would say), the walk is getting ever closer. I am planning my first big walk for a few weeks on Saturday. It's perfect - no Hartlepool match and nothing to do on the night, it could be a big one! After the great dry run of Reeth to Richmond with Dad and Les, I am hoping to do another leg of the walk. If anyone fancies it on Saturday, you're more than welcome!
The Charity Chuckle is coming up even quicker, and if you haven't heard of this yet - where have you been?! See the poster below and get telling your mates, work colleagues, families, in fact anyone who will listen.
It was a bad night weather wise on Monday night which meant a poor turnout at the quiz. We had a ripple of excitement thinking we might be in with a shout to finally win one but we ended up in sixth place, which you may not think is too bad considering there's usually 15 teams, but this time there was only actually six, so yeah, last place it was.....we did scoop up a spot prize though a £5 drinks voucher. Amazingly, nobody in the whole pub knew which constituency Ed Miliband served (and even less people cared!) - it is Doncaster North. The highlight answer was perhaps me knowing whose real name is Gaynor Hopkins, of course, it's Bonnie Tyler, I think it was the rock diva in me getting that. It turns out she has just been picked to do our Eurovision song too.
I finally got my bedroom furniture sorted, it only took about 3 nights (not the 4 hours as prescribed by the instruction manual - that must be for Nick Knowles and his full team). Next up is the new bed, at least when that's done I can just fall into it!
Blogs will hopefully be a bit more regular now so I can keep my Angolan followers up to date. For you guys out there 'Bom Dia', 'Boa Tarde' or 'Boa Noite', depending on when you read this.
Bonnie Tyler eh, who'd have thought......
It was a case of 'more of the same' on Saturday as I continued to hone my DIY skills - this time I finished off the chest of drawers and nailed the bedside cabinet, literally. The afternoon brought around another Pools match, this time at home to high flying Yeovil. It was a pretty drab affair, with their manager quoting afterwards 'It was a long way to come for a 0-0 draw'. Indeed, it was maybe another case of 2 points dropped as we had plenty of chances to nick the winner. We had called into The Showroom, our pre-match haunt for a pint or two, and had to explain to the barman that we were ropey due to the fact we were at games night, not gay night as he had misheard. It was a long time stood at the match in the freezing cold and was glad to get home for my feet to thaw out.
Saturday night brought about more DIY - the recommended time for a 3 door wardrobe is 90 minutes... 4 hours later and I was still going. To keep me sane I went downstairs for a break, only to be whacked by Nat and Cody on Call of Duty Zombie Attack.
Today is Mothers Day, so everyone piled round to Mam's house for dinner, we know that's what she secretly wanted.
It's now 71 days until the walk and I am looking to get some accommodation sorted this week. I have been watching a western with Dad to get tips for when we're out in the wild (namely - don't trust Native Americans and if under attack from rattlesnakes use your spit to scare them away. Very helpful!).
After a money back return from the casino on Saturday night, Sunday brought about the christening of Isabella, aka Muddy's daughter. It was St Francis Church, Acklam for the service, then back to the old Nash club for refreshments, and plenty of refreshments were had! It was a brilliant day out - everybody seemed to be having fun, and at closing time (6ish) we headed to the Roundel for tea and then ended up back at the club with the gang. The only problem was the fact I had a very busy day at work on Monday. Hmm. As if Mondays aren't bad enough to get up for at the best of times, I managed to drag my carcass out of bed and into work (thanks Chris for the lift). Once I was there the mountain of work took away any feelings I had, and I got done what I needed and decided as a reward for my hard work to take the Tuesday off.
Monday night brought about the quiz night again, and again we were down to just three. Buoyed on by the amount of social interaction we were getting, we managed to acheive the (almost) impossible and finish a very respectable 4th, as well as capturing a £5 spot prize. The highlight answer of the night from my hazy memory was dad pulling out of the bag who Conrad Murray is. Answer at the bottom of the blog.
Tuesday was a catch up day of rest before we went out to the Hartlepool match. Due to the terrible weather in January, a lot of matches were rearranged for Tuesday nights so there are plenty of matches to go to in March. It was, in the eyes of most, a must win match against a Colchester side who were only 8 points above us, a great chance to close the gap. Despite them having a man sent off in the first half and us absolutely battering their goal, it ended up 0-0. Certainly 2 points dropped instead of 1 gained, but nobody knows yet how costly that might be.
We discovered on Thursday that there was a potential Anglo - Saxon metal hoard at the bottom of our garden. OK, it turned out to be just a manhole we didn't realise we had, but it was a good job it was unearthed as it turned out some little bugger in the area had been pouring gallons of cooking fat down the drain and the locals were having problems. That wasn't the only excitement for the day as our new bedroom furniture had arrived. After recently spending 3 hours fixing a bookcase together, I was fully DIY'd up enough to get a 2 door wardrobe rigged up in 2 hours, and that was including breaks to see Spurs demolish Inter Milan. I never got round to the 3 door wardrobe, or the chest of drawers, or the bedside cabinet so they will be waiting over the weekend for me *sigh*.
All of which brings me back up to date. Still, not a mention of walking in sight, I know. I have been tremendously busy at work lately with deadlines which have left me tired, but now they are out of the way I hope to pick up my training in earnest. What is terrifying is the countdown widget I have put on my blog sidebar. It tells me there are only 73 days until I start the walk. On Monday I intend to put my intensive head on and 'get on it'.
Finally I want to give a big shout to Mike, from Hull, who made a massive donation of £100 to my Just Giving site for a signed Hull City shirt, and thanks to Chris for making it happen. That takes the fundraising well over the £500 mark. I will be putting a blog up soon on the various ways you can donate, so make sure you don't miss that!
Oh and finally, finally, I feel I should mention the passing of one of Granda's heroes yesterday, jazz trumpeter Kenny Ball. He had seen him a number of times and even had a photograph of him on his living room wall. If it wasn't Louis Armstrong playing at Grandas it would be Kenny Ball, with my favourite being the track where he sings a number of naughty limericks. There once was a woman called Joan..........
Ahhhh, Kenny Ball RIP.
And for those of you who were wondering, Conrad Murray was the doctor to Michael Jackson at the time of his death. Well done Collo.
It's now 81 days, or 11 weeks on Tuesday until the walk starts. That's not very long. Unfortunately (for training purposes) it has been a very busy week and it is nearly 2 weeks since a decent walk out. After quiz on Monday (finished 5th out of about 16, still trying for that first place), Hartlepool match on Tuesday (seven games unbeaten - the great escape is on), two nights of bringing work home on Wednesday and Thursday and a dash to Ruby's 5th birthday party tonight, I finally have a little time to chill out for the remainder of the night. This consists of a couple of films, a couple of cans of Bud, and who knows, maybe even an early(ish) night. Well, maybe not the early night, especially on a Friday.
Tomorrow is going to be a day around the house before a jolly over to the casino tomorrow night. I have already picked my football bets to put on tomorrow and have a feeling an overdue win is on the cards.
All in all it has been a pretty busy week with not too much bloggable excitement, sorry about that!
Couple of bits of good news walk-wise though - Asda have put a couple of posters in store for both the charity chuckle and the walk itself, the Arc in Stockton have donated a couple of their monthly comedy club tickets to raffle at the charity chuckle, and tickets are now starting to shift pretty well for the comedy night. If you want to get your grubs on some you can get them here, or you could just see me......
Anyway, I promise I will have something a little bit more interesting next time!