Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year

Dear loyal readers, who have had precious little to read of late,

It is time for my annual review (not actually sure if this is a tradition).  Well, by the terms of this very blog, it’s been a truly pitiful year – no climbing, one puny semi-successful Scotland trip, no cycling, an almost complete cessation of training and a descent into terrible fatness.  I now weigh 87kgs.  Take that in, and let it weigh heavy upon you for it weighs most heavy upon me.  I guess I should be thankful, that excluding my belly, I hold weight pretty well (because it’s all on my belly) and in normal clothes with a quick suck in, I look not much different.  I am at the point where few of my clothes fit and I feel uncomfortable most of the time.  I guess I must still be able to hold my own – Lee and I did one of those daft Rat Race 10k in November and came approx. 370th of 5,000, mostly because we started in Wave 1, but still.  A goal for next year will be to break into top 100, which is distinctly possible.  Another post will feature my targets for next year (chief amongst which is to start MOVING again).

But, hey, life isn’t all sport and aside from developing a severe sedentary habit, it’s been a great year.  Holly is about to pop with Baby 2.0 (Male Edition) and Willow has grown into a beautiful witty little girl that has us laughing every single day.  A recent top comedy moment was when she pointed out that I do not have a ‘hole in my hair’, shortly after Lee had left our house!  We have a new car, nay, my dream car (stay grounded, people) which carts the family around with ease and made holidays much easier.  And I have my now-not-so-new job.  After ten months I am still enjoying it (and for those of you who know me well, that statement probably still surprises you), I am very busy and I genuinely think I now will have career options in the future.  Not to mention the great work-life balance I have which lets me spend a lot of time with Willow, and now Holly as she has started her maternity leave.

So, if I can handle reigniting my training mojo and do a bit more actual sport whilst coping with two kids, 2016 is set to be a very exciting year.  I hope yours is too.

All the best,


Monday, 26 October 2015

Happy Meat Day

Twas my birthday.  I am now 34.  Big whoop.

But, my, was there a lot of meat. And I am now well stocked with whisky for a few months, thank you everyone!

According to Willow. featuring 'Action Jam', 'Capim Mecca' and 'Sore'

Sunday, 18 October 2015

That kind of dad

After being 'that dad' at the playground who was trying to explain the Principle of Conservation of Momentum to a two year old (whilst leaning in and out on a roundabout), I then came across this, the ecological inaccuracy of which offends me.  Can you spot the mistake?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Happy news!

Happily, I can announce that at our twenty week scan, the baby was revealed to be both healthy and male.  We are having a son! (which we successfully predicted once again)

The names spreadsheet shall be resurrected.  Boys names are much harder – you can just point at any old tree, flower, month, animal or place.

I completely failed to mention Willow’s birthday party on here – she is already playing second fiddle – so here are a couple of pictures.

Huncle Harry being a pest as usual

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Camping Adventures!

We've had a brilliant week in the Lakes - Willow had, literally, the time of her life.  Here are a few pics from the week.

Our quasi-glamping set up worked perfectly in some terrible weather.  In the heaviest torrential downpours you could actually feel a fine mist coming through the fabric, so fine it didn't even land - the tent stayed dry throughout.  (The car was badass too)

Whilst out DofE spotting, I took Willow up Sticks Pass, to the north of Helvellyn, she loved the 'teeny tiny venture'.

Mike and I got one morning of climbing in.  Mike started up this gop-fest before biffing out of the slimy route.  We then moved on to Brown Slabs; Where It All Began for me as a 14 year old cadet.

Willow loved it so much she built herself a camping bed while I was clearing the kit up.  I think I may find myself camping in the garden before too long.

Thank to Julie and all the cadets and staff who helped make the week so great.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Lakeland Exped

No pictures I am afraid but had an eventful weekend in the lakes on our annual Silver & Gold Practice Expedition.  It’s a nice route that on day one took us up Mosedale to camp not far from the summit of Esk Pike.  The second day saw us summit Esk Pike, Great End, Scafell Pike and Scafell and descend to the scenic Sampson Stones for camp.  On the last day we hopped over the pass back into Mosedale and should have been down by 10am, but a diabetic cadet went down with a serious case of hypoglycaemia.  I saw my group safely into the valley and returned to the incident, via the campsite as I somehow missed them – I effectively did the route three times!  We managed to get her down safely but consuming the sugar needed to get her off the hill and stave off hypoglycaemia saw them swing the other way into hyperglycaemia which required an ambulance to be called from the motorway.  I am glad to say all is now well and although we took the right course of action on the hill, there are still some learning points for all of us.

In previous years I have carried a combination of; climbing kit and climbed in the evenings, running kit, a full head of broccoli etc for gourmet cooking, and a whisky tasting set including galsses.  Fun though all those things are, it was very nice just to carry the essentials (actually Jack carried the tent and cooker), especially with my ever decreasing fitness.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Southwold Again

Just back from a long weekend to Southwold, only two weeks after the last.  Adnams once again trumped whisky, and much was consumed.

Another big thanks to Jim for his hospitality!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Nick, The Painting

We found Holly's GCSE art work, featuring this masterpiece:

That is two modelling jobs I have had!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Return to Southwold

A big thanks to James for letting us use Puffin Cottage again this year for the family hols.  I must admit, I am growing rather fond of Southwold. And Adnams beer.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Nick is a climber!

Except, he's not really.  I have climbed three routes within two months, unfortunately two of them were the same (for logistical simplicity).  The Cracks at a mere HS 5a was hard, and damp, and Oxine at VS was once again steady, but should be with the second ascent this year.  Not exactly a stellar performance.

We did have our own personal photographer this time though, so here are some of Big Jim's (as to differentiate from JfW) snaps.  Thanks Jim.

Mike 'I prefer rambling' Cross

Friday, 22 May 2015

Dirty Weekend and Bellatrix Laspeed

A couple of weekends ago Lee, James and I did the Rat Race Dirty Weekend – a 20 mile, 200 obstacle, race.  It was okay.  The river sections were really fun (apart from for James who lost his specs and then got hypothermia, we put it down as a bad day at the office) but some obstacles had a lot of queuing and there were quite a few using alu scaffolding which wasn’t hard, just uncomfortable.  The final big ‘team’ walls were a comical mess of poor technique.   It wasn’t that hard, yet it was also quite draining.  We finished in about six and a half hours, which put us exactly mid-table (across all categories) but we stopped for a pretty long time in the middle.

James’ experience has made me wonder of the worth of such long events – normally I am ‘hardest, longest, toughest’ but running long distance requires a slow pace which seems at odds to the gun-ho obstacles.  So, after I complained about the events safety processes (James really was that cold!) and received a hefty discount, Lee and I have entered the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest in November, which is a measly 10k, but should allow us to blast it (we even paid the £5 extra to start in the first wave).

In other news, Felicity is dead.  Our beloved Fabia vRS has been part exchanged for a smart new car after we decided the broken power steering was too much and too expensive to warrant repairing.  And what a new car it is!  Say hello to Bellatrix Laspeed; an Octavia Estate vRS Blackline Edition.  She is a DSG automatic (flappy paddles!) and I must say, I am an immediate convert.  She is also reasonably rapid.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Is it possible to be more middle-class?

I sit typing this while working from home on the laptop with the back doors wide open, eating goats cheese on artisan bread while the workmen fix the Smeg dishwasher whilst drinking Nespressos.

Monday, 27 April 2015


Yes, Moose-fans, the release of Age of Ultron can only mean one thing - Nick and Holly's anniversary!  This year, the big one five.  And still going strong!

Naturally, we went to see it the day before general release, and I can confirm it is most good.  Top three material for sure.  Number one? We'll see, after second and maybe third viewings.

Cocktails followed at an unnecessarily noisy, but nonetheless good bar, and then burgers at Five Guys.

The next day, after ballet, I had the curls lopped off.  What looks like grey, is in fact, merely a trick of the light.

I then built a box, that Willow got in.  It's one of the new planters I am building for my new interest in gardening.  Yes, I know.

Holly got me a bottle of The Dalmore, a very, very fine dram.  I think it is time for one...

Monday, 13 April 2015

Running the Lea

Alert – VDP*

*Very dull post

Yesterday I ran the Lea with Lee and James.  18.5 miles from Limehouse to Broxbourne, and very nice it was too.  Today my legs don’t ache as such, but I do feel a bit battered.

At the end I had a Coke with some perfectly aligned ice (aligned to not cool my drink).

Erm, that’s it really.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Back to Wales

Easter means the first cadet 'summer' mountain trip of the year but you wouldn't have thought that on Friday if you had happened to be on the Nantlle Ridge. Okay, it didn't snow, but it was certainly not pleasant with a baptism of wind and rain for the young'uns. 

Saturday was much nicer with the ming clearing as we neared the summit of Moel Siabod.  At which point one of lads declared his confusion at being in Snowdonia and not seeing any domes. Quizzical looks ensued until we realised he had confused Snowdonia with the Eden Project. As you do.

Before the long drive home we set them off on a wee solo route which gave me and Matt a chance to grab a quick climb.  Even though only VS, Oxine gave me that uneasy feeling that comes from hardly climbing for yonks but it was pleasingly straightforward, if a bit pumpy. Matt did well to second it despite a lot less climbing than even my meagre record. I do enjoy a rock climb when it is gloriously sunny.

So VS cruised with no training, imagine the possibilities with...

In lieu of any Welsh action shots, here is The Moose to wish you a happy Easter.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Nick, the council worker

I don’t much care to talk about the day-job here, one never knows who is reading, storing up gossip to shoot me in the foot with later.  But at times, one must make an exception, and rejoicing in my new job is one of those times.

I am now in my third week of working for an unnamed local authority and so far, it is fair to say that the grass is most definitely greener.  Like some kind of iridescent fluro lime compared to the barren wastelands of an abandoned landfill being slowly reclaimed by the desert.  That is not to say I don’t like TfL – in fact, it is a shame I had to leave (no exaggeration) as it is an exciting time there with the massive investment in the Cycle Superhighways and other big schemes being built – but I didn't feel a part of that excitement, adding precisely nothing to the cause.  I think that boredom can be just as stressful as pressure and I was very bored indeed, that, coupled with a feeling that anything I did had no tangible benefit meant I was very keen to take a new job, and after much searching, one surfaced very close to home.

Keeping with my ethic of not ‘talking shop’, I won’t go into a, suffice to sayworkany more detail, save to say that I think I can have an impact here and am enjoying a certain amount of freedom to do things how I think they should be done.  The work / life balance is the real boon though – running a much shorter distance than I cycled, plus flexi-time means I am getting home at about 1645hrs each day – the extra hour and a half with the family are really great.  I keep sitting down, having a cup of tea, giving Willow dinner, having a play and then I look at my watch and realise I wasn’t even home yet at the old job!  I am also working from home one day a week, which is very nice too.

Working here does bring its worries – an ever-shrinking organisation might not yield a lifelong career, and it’s going to be very hard going back to a long commute.  And I am going to need to do something to compensate for the lack of exercise I now get.  Generally though, so far, so great…

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

20 miles on a Sunday

On the back of relatively little training, we had the Thames Riverside 20 on Sunday.  A nice, if out-and-back, route along the south bank of the Thames from Putney Bridge west through the rich and rowing heartlands of Richmond.

James, Lee, Matt and I all took part so it was the full Dirty Weekend team together for the first time - we have two months left before the main event.

The race was paced, with us starting in the 8:30 min per mile group, and although it took me a long while, eventually I pulled ahead of the pacer to beat that target, so I was pretty pleased.  I actually finished with a pace of 8:28 min per mile (I think the pacers must have been a bit slow) and with a time of 2 hours 49 minutes and 26 seconds, making me 127th of 253 runners.

Why, Matthew...
'Worse than the Marathon'